Latest News and Views

Latest Occasional Newsletter
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New Book
We are currently writing a new book on the Great Siege of Gibraltar and so have had little time to add new material to this website. In due course, we will add a new page devoted to this new book.


It has been very pleasing to have given so many talks for Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England. Our first one was at the Cheltenham Science Festival, which concentrated on medical matters. This was followed by a talk at Taunton, a memorable event as it was held in the newly revamped Museum of Somerset, on a beautiful summer’s evening, in the Great Hall where Jane Austen’s aunt was tried for shoplifting! Since then, we have done numerous other talks, many of which were sold out.The staff at Torquay's Waterstones on the night of our talk, all in costume (loaned by Brixham Museum) We are always happy to consider invitations to give talks and interviews (such as radio and TV). This picture was taken at a talk at a branch of Waterstones, where the staff joined in the spirit of things by dressing up for the occasion.


For forthcoming talks and interviews, please see our Events page.

Wokingham What's On


Jane Austen in paperback
The UK paperback of Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England is published by Abacus, with a gorgeous new jacket. The Daily Mail has described the paperback as a ‘must for anyone who wants a peek under Mr Darcy’s wet shirt’! The paperback is also available in the US and Canada, as Jane Austen’s England, and is published there by Penguin, with an equally gorgeous jacket.



Jane Austen in hardback
Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England: How Our Ancestors Lived Two Centuries Ago, was published in the UK as a hardback by Little, Brown. It was also published as an e-book.In the US it was published as a hardback by Viking Penguin with a different jacket design, under the title Jane Austen’s England.This is a book about life on land for the lower and middle classes around the time of Jane Austen, a companion volume to Jack Tar, which covered virtually the same date range.’Excellent book’ Sunday Times


‘a richly detailed portrait’ Washington Post


Reasons for not living in Jane Austen’s England!
We have a slideshow in the Huffington Post, giving 13 reasons why you would NOT want to live in Jane Austens England … read books instead!


10 Essential Books for Jane Austen Lovers
We’re thrilled that ‘Jane Austen’s England’ is the number 1 choice in 10 essential books recommended for Jane Austen lovers, featured in the Huffington Post!


Top Recommendation for Reading Groups
A review of Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England in Newbooksmag (the reading group magazine) says: “It’s a great personal read, but I think it would be very rewarding for reading groups who want to branch out into non-fiction. Highly recommended.”


Our Latest Articles and Blogs
We are pleased to have been invited to do several guest blogs, such as one on Julian Stockwin’s website called ‘Why Jane Austen Loves a Sailor’, at Our latest article to be published is: ‘The Female Cabin Boy’ in Folklife Quarterly April 2016. Other articles, guest blogs and so on are are mentioned in our various newsletters.


You can hear a podcast interview related to our article in the BBC History Magazine on Georgian marriage here: book was also featured on Radio New Zealand in an interview with Jim Mora (for his ‘Afternoons with Jim Mora’ show). You can listen to the interview (about 20 minutes) here:


Czech Translations
We are very pleased to hear that our Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome and Handbook to Life in Ancient Greece are now available in Czech, published by Slovart, as Antický Rím and Staroveké Recko. See


Jack Tar
Jack Tar coverOur book Jack Tar: Life in Nelson’s Navy was published in hardcover by Little, Brown in the UK to coincide with Nelson’s 250th birthday. It was a very enjoyable book to write, delving into the world of the lower deck, and we hope you will be surprised and fascinated by our discoveries.Most correspondence from readers comes to us from the USA, so we are very pleased that it is now on sale in the there as a paperback.Jack Tar PaperbackThe paperback is published under the Abacus imprint, with a revamped jacket design and a new subtitle – Jack Tar: the extraordinary lives of ordinary seamen in Nelson’s navy.‘An enthralling book’ (Sunday Telegraph, 5-star review)’Roy and Lesley Adkins possess that rare knack among historians: merging the academic with the narrative and providing a riveting read which also casts light where it is dark’ (Navy News)

We are very pleased that Jack Tar was nominated for the Mountbatten Maritime Literary Award.


Ebooks (love them or hate them)
For those of you who love curling up with an ebook (difficult to imagine!) or who love the convenience of ebooks when on a journey or commuting, we are pleased to say that some of our books are now available as ebooks. These are: Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England, Jack Tar, The War for All the Oceans, Trafalgar (which is called Nelson’s Trafalgar in the US) and Empires of the Plain. They are mostly priced a little bit or quite a bit cheaper than their equivalent paperbacks.If you see any other of our books advertised as ebooks, then avoid them as they will be pirate copies from dodgy sources.


Lindsey Davis Rescues Rome
Lindsey Davis, the acclaimed author of the Falco detective novels, set in Rome, has revealed in her Falco: The Official Companion that she would rescue a suitcase of Rome books from the rising floodwaters, including our Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome. She also chose our Handbook as one of her top 10 Rome books on the Guardian website.


Korean Keys of Egypt
Keys Of Egypt Cover -South KoreaOur book The Keys of Egypt is now published in the Korean language in South Korea by Minumsa Publishing Co (ISBN 978-89-374-8430-8 03900). Their website is, and we see that (among others) they also publish Stephen King!


Find My Past TV series
Bounty at FalmouthThe ship known as His Majesty’s Armed Vessel Bounty was the setting for the most famous mutiny in the world. We took part in the filming (by Lion TV) of a programme on board the replica Bounty, built for the 1962 film ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’. This was for a new 10-part family history series called ‘Find My Past’, in association with the genealogy company Instead of the formula of taking a celebrity and tracing their family history, this series takes a famous incident in history for each programme. Alas, the ship was lost in the 2012 hurricane.For the ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ programme, the family historian Nick Barrett tracked down three people whose ancestors were there. We were filmed with Ken Ford, whose ancestor was John Fryer, the sailing master of the Bounty. Before this programme, Ken had no idea that John Fryer was his ancestor. The series is presented by Chris Hollins and is shown on the ‘Yesterday’ TV channel, repeated from time to time.