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🎧 Historical Fiction

🎧 Historical Fiction

30 Episodes

Historical Fiction explores the interpretation of history through writing and the arts, as well as exploring the shadier sides of truth throughout history. You'll find interviews with top authors, actors and propaganda experts.

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🎧 Historical Fiction
  • 🎧 The Mercies

    Episode 1

    In the winter of 1617, the sea around the remote Norwegian island of VardΓΈ was thrown into a reckless storm. The men of the island, out fishing, perished in an instant and VardΓΈ became a place of women. Eighteen months later, a sinister figure arrives. Summoned from Scotland to take control of a ...

  • 🎧 Cleopatra

    Episode 2

    Cleopatra was one of the most famous women of all history. For centuries she has been presented by writers and artists as a seductive temptress, a femme fatale, the tragic lover of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. But who was the real Cleopatra? How true to life are the countless representations in...

  • 🎧 Independence Square

    Episode 3

    Once a senior British diplomat in Kiev, Simon Davey lost everything after a lurid scandal. Back in London, still struggling with the aftermath of his disgrace, he is travelling on the Tube when he sees the woman he holds responsible for his downfall. Set against the 2004 Orange Revolution in the ...

  • 🎧 Marketing Hitler

    Episode 4

    Adolf Hitler understood that persuasion was everything and was the prime mover in the propaganda regime of the Third Reich. For Hitler, everything was a propaganda medium – from typography to architecture, from film to the design of uniforms. Hitler’s mastery of his own image has resonance in tod...

  • 🎧 In Spite of All Terror

    Episode 5

    In September 1940, as Britain faced an imminent Nazi invasion, handpicked groups of ordinary men – known as scallywags – were trained in top secret to act as saboteurs and assassins. In a new series of wartime thrillers, author V.M. Knox has created the character of Clement Wisdom – a humble East...

  • 🎧 The Deep

    Episode 6

    The American novelist Alma Katsu spent 35 years as an intelligence analyst for the US government. But after six acclaimed novels, she’s now known as the Queen of Disasters, taking real events and re-imagining them – with added supernatural elements. Her new novel The Deep gives an eerie, psycholo...

  • 🎧 A Writer's Guide to Ancient Rome

    Episode 7

    Have you ever thought about writing an historical novel? Perhaps you fancy setting it in Ancient Rome? But how would you start researching, for example, what the different classes of Roman would be wearing, or eating, or talking about, at different times in Rome’s history? A Writer's Guide to Anc...

  • 🎧 The Lost Lights of St Kilda

    Episode 8

    In 1940, the thoughts of a captured prisoner of war return to the isolated Scottish island of St Kilda where he once took a summer job and to the island woman he can’t forget. Alice Roberts talks to novelist Elisabeth Gifford about her new book The Lost Lights of St Kilda, a moving portrait of tw...

  • 🎧 The Irish Princess

    Episode 9

    In 1166, the King of Leinster in Ireland is forced into exile and throws himself at the mercy of Henry II to help regain his kingdom. His biggest bargaining tool in getting England’s support is his teenage daughter Aoife who has caught Henry’s eye. Author Elizabeth Chadwick talks to History Hit’s...

  • 🎧 The Animals at Lockwood Manor

    Episode 10

    In August 1939, Hetty Cartwright is tasked with taking a natural history museum’s collection of stuffed animals out of London, to protect it from impending air raids. When some of the animals go missing, and worse, Hetty begins to suspect someone – or something – is stalking her through the darke...

  • 🎧 The Book of Lost Names

    Episode 11

    Inspired by an amazing true story from World War II, a young woman with a talent for forgery helps hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis in an unforgettable historical novel. History Hit's Rob Weinberg talks to author Kristin Harmel about her engaging and evocative new novel The Book of Lost...

  • 🎧 The Pelton Papers

    Episode 12

    Artist Agnes Pelton lived through the early days of modernism in America. Fame seemed inevitable but the shy and retiring Pelton retreated to a contemplative life in the California desert where she produced scores of deeply spiritual, abstract paintings. History Hit's Rob Weinberg talks to author...

  • 🎧 The Name Beneath the Stone: Secret of the Unknown Warrior

    Episode 13

    What would happen if the identity of the unknown warrior, entombed in Westminster Abbey, was ever uncovered? This new novel tells the story of Sarah Harding, who discovers letters from the trenches from a British Tommy, and the 1920 diaries of Captain Peter Harding, tasked with the secret mission...

  • 🎧 The Year Without Summer

    Episode 14

    In 1815, Mount Tambora in Indonesia erupted, impacting the weather throughout the world. The Year Without Summer imagines its impact on six separate lives, thousands of miles away. They include a fenland farm labourer, a soldier returning from Waterloo, author Mary Shelley and painter John Consta...

  • 🎧 Before the Reign Falls: The Lost Words of Lady Jane Grey

    Episode 15

    In July 1553, 16-year-old Lady Jane Grey became de facto Queen of England and Ireland for just nine days. In this new novel, a group of friends renovating an old barn chance upon a stash of manuscripts that reveal clues to a mystery going back more than four centuries. In this edition of Historic...

  • 🎧 Under a Wartime Sky

    Episode 16

    As the threat of war with Germany hung over Britain, Winston Churchill gathered the country’s brightest minds at a remote gothic mansion in Suffolk to work together on an invention that could help the Allies to victory – the Chain Home radar system. The episode has inspired a new novel of courage...

  • 🎧 Loki's Wager

    Episode 17

    In an alternative version of reality, Britain’s culture and traditions are rooted in the legacy of Norse pagans, the Royal Family are of Scandinavian descent, and Norwegians lead the crusades. In this edition of Historical Fiction, Alice Roberts speaks to Ian Stuart Sharpe at York’s Jorvik Viking...

  • 🎧 The Forgotten Novels of World War Two

    Episode 18

    In 2019 four novels that had long been out of print were re-published in the Imperial War Museum Wartime Classics series. It aims to give forgotten novels set in the Second World War a new lease of life. Two more are now being published, novels that take the reader right into the heart of the con...

  • 🎧 The Secret Guests

    Episode 19

    Set in 1940, The Secret Guests speculates what would have happened if the young Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret were sent to a remote stately home in Ireland to get away from the Blitz on London. When a dead body turns up, it takes every effort to uncover the truth and stop the girls’ identitie...

  • 🎧 The Conqueror

    Episode 20

    In the year AD312 Rome is teetering on the brink of war and Constantine's army is on the move. On the Rhine frontier, a Germanic pagan joins the Roman army as a spy, while in Rome itself the pious daughter of a senator finds her self caught in anti-Christian politics. In this edition of Historica...

  • 🎧 Queen Anne's Favourite: The Real Sarah Churchwell

    Episode 21

    Sarah Churchill – Duchess of Marlborough – was the politically influential intimate and then, blackmailer of Queen Anne. Sarah Churchill was vividly brought to life in the film The Favourite, in which she was played by Rachel Weisz. But does the film do Sarah Churchill and Queen Anne justice? How...

  • 🎧 Champion: A German Boxer, a Jewish Assassin and Hitler's Revenge

    Episode 22

    On 7 November 1938, 17-year old Polish Jew Herschel Grynszpan shot a Nazi official dead at the German embassy in Paris. The repercussions triggered a calamity which has been called the opening act of the Holocaust. In the novel Champion, Grynszpan's life is intertwined with that of German boxer, ...

  • 🎧 Napoleon: Propaganda and the Theatre

    Episode 23

    Few historical figures have made as much of an impact on the arts and popular culture as Napoleon Bonaparte, portrayed at times as a heroic visionary, and at others as comically short and bossy. But how does the Napoleon of novels, plays and films, compare with the real man? And how did he contro...

  • 🎧 The Grove of the Caesars

    Episode 24

    In 1st century Rome, public gardens created by Julius Caesar have become dangerous haunts, especially for women alone. When her husband has to leave the city, Flavia Albia is left to supervise his building project in an old grotto. Soon it becomes apparent that a dangerous serial killer has made ...