Douglas John Sadler
BA(Hons), M.Phil., FRHistS FSA (Scotl.)
My main specialism is in military history
, I am an accomplished, author, lecturer, battlefield tour guide, heritage professional and historical interpreter
For all those who like Bernard Cornwell style genre fiction, my current offering 'Blood Divide' a novel of Flodden is on the shelves, (Lion Hudson - ISBN 978 1 78264 089 9; e-ISBN 978 1 78264 090 S), loads of gratuitous violence and a fair amount of early Renaissance, sharp end medical gore. I hope you enjoy and remember; I need the money...
It does get a good review from 'War Online': 'So what about the novel? Well, it’s kind of Mills & Boon meets Flashman. The book appears to be almost Shakespearean at first glance. A list of characters and their offerings to the story appears on page one and a hint of a play looms. Now, I’m no fan of Shakespeare; shock horror and to my American cousins reading this nor do I live near London or know the Queen (though I do wear a bowler hat to work). But, I was somehow drawn to this novel and I shall make this clear again; it is fictional. The characters who have a ‘part to play’ in the book are based on genuine historical people who were at or involved some way in the battle. Thomas Howard – Earl of Surrey, George Darcy or King James IV of Scotland (soon to be disembowelled) to name but a few. The story is based on exploits that are, in some cases, though by no means all, fictional. Confusing?
Think EastEnders in the 16th Century with all the grit and drama and violence and bed hopping and you’ll go some way to prepare yourself for this ripping yarn.
It’s well written, thoughtful and Sadler, a veteran of many historical novels, rumbles on with just enough historical background to keep you informed and enthused. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t written by a mere storyteller. Mr Sadler clearly knows his history and uses it to full effect. The descriptive text of uniforms and weaponry are spot on, even the colours and textures are described by an author with wisdom on his subject. Something you don’t always get, even with authors of factual historical books. It rushes headfirst from gory, laddish fight scenes to pre-battle nerves and then abruptly stops into more meandering subjects of verse or politics or genteel pastimes of love and passion. That said I couldn’t put it down and I marvelled at every colourfully written chapter and verse.
You can smell the wet and damp soil, the sweat and the smoke . You can taste the earth and the blood on your lips and feel every fall and stumble. (Do not read this with sharp objects or hardwood furniture around you as you WILL hurt yourself whilst trying to re-enact the fight scenes). Ahem!
This book is one hell of a blistering read so be prepared to have scraped knuckles and bruised ribs as you feel every punch, sword blow and parry. As an experienced military book reviewer I was lucky, I escaped with just a black eye and one smashed light bulb in an over zealous bill hook lunge!'
For this autumn, however, I'm extending my story telling - I've been doing this for years but now, through Time Bandits I'm formalising the offer, lively stories from Greek Myths to World War Two, tales of mystery and suspense and all with a local interest.
Of my two current works jointly authored with Rosie Serdiville, our fifth and sixth published collaborations 'Ode to Bully Beef' was published in the spring and 'As Good as Any Man' was published by History Press in August
'Tommy Rot', our alternative Great War anthology was published by History Press last year and 'Ode to Bully Beef' followed this March, two volumes of soldier's doggerel and verse from each of the world wars. We've also completed 'As Good as Any Man' a fascinating biography and Great War diary of a black Tommy who served at Third Ypres. the story of how the diary was found is as interesting as the memoir itself. The diary was published by History Press in August.
Time Bandits is recruiting. We're looking for like minded individuals regardless of age, sex, colour etc who have a passion for history and like getting paid to indulge themselves. We cover all periods from Bronze Age to Cold War, across a wide range of locations. We thrive on fresh challenges. Training and kit are provided. If you are interested in historic combat, gunplay, clothing, textiles, medicine, food technology, equestrian, vehicles or craft based skills, then we'd love to meet you.
Good news for adult learners is that CLL has been superseded by a CIC which is offering an Explore type programme. On 26th April we staged a further session but with a difference; on terrorism with a simulated attack to follow!
I'm offering something new for the autumn - this will be looking at Frontiers, a bias towards the Anglo-Scottish border of course but setting this in the perspective of other frontiers, what these mean in the modern context and what we learn (if anything) from history.
I do offer a whole range of local and family history courses which I've delivered in libraries, to WI & focus groups, usually an hour to an hour and a half, daytime and evening, rates are £100.00 per session.
Our historic murder mysteries always go down well and we've performed these at the Keep, at DLI Museum and Segedunum. We're always looking to hear both from people who might want a booking and from those who'd like to take part!
We can provide fully costumed re-enactors for corporate hire, weddings and social events, choose your period - Spartans, Romans, Vikings, Knights, Reivers, Roundheads, Redcoats & Tommies, gunfighters, saloon girls and suffragettes!
We've formed a link with thisisnorthumberland.com - a new website intended to promote travel, tourism and leisure in the region, check it out. I've just returned from guiding a four day tour of Scottish Battlefields for Cultural Experience, we covered both Bannockburn and Flodden we were at the later 500 years on and to the hour - a 'real time' tour - marvellous!