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  • Writer's pictureHinton Magazine

Colonel Blood - Soldier, Robber, Trickster: Blood, Guts, Conniving, Punch-ups and Daring Robbery. Ac

...Action and Intrigue are Guaranteed in this Stand-out Historic Novel!


D. Lawrence-Young’s ‘Colonel Blood - Soldier, Robber, Trickster’ is a 17 th century romp at its best, skulduggery throughout, but is the man without heart and soul as he marauds around the country? Decide for yourself. This is the true-life tale of self-styled ‘Colonel’ Thomas Blood, the dashing Anglo-Irish adventurer who achieved fame by daring to try and steal the Crown Jewels in 1671. This dodgy character switched sides during the English Civil War, saved a friend from being hanged, yet had his own neck spared by the king himself, Charles II after his failed robbery.


D. Lawrence-Young has written one crime and over 20 historical novels which have been published in the UK, US, and Israel. He loves writing about Shakespeare and the picturesque characters who make English history so fascinating. The self-styled Colonel Blood is no exception in this latest work from this highly successful author. Blood’s particular claim to fame was his near successful attempt to steal the Crown Jewels of England and Scotland from the Tower of London.


The story goes that in April or May 1671 he visited the Tower dressed as a parson and accompanied by a female companion pretending to be his wife. The Crown Jewels could be viewed by the payment of a fee to the custodian. While viewing the Crown Jewels, Blood's "wife" feigned a stomach complaint and begged the newly appointed Master of the Jewel House, a septuagenarian, to fetch her some spirits. As the jewel keeper's domestic quarters was close to the site of the commotion, his wife invited them upstairs to their apartment to recover. A few days later Blood returned with four pairs of white gloves as a gesture of thanks. As Blood became ingratiated with the keeper’s family, an offer was made for a fictitious nephew of Blood's to marry the couple’s daughter, who, Blood alleged, would be eligible, by virtue of the marriage, to an income of several hundred pounds.


Blood convinced the keeper to show the jewels to him, his supposed nephew, and two of his friends. The jewel keeper's apartment was in the Martin Tower above a basement where the jewels were kept behind a metal grille. Reports suggest that Blood's accomplices carried canes that concealed rapier blades, daggers, and pocket pistols. In entering the Jewel House, one of the men made a pretence of standing watch outside while the others joined the keeper and Blood. The door was closed, and a cloak suddenly thrown over the keeper who was struck with a mallet, knocked to the floor, bound, gagged, and stabbed.


After removing the grille, Blood used the mallet to flatten St. Edward's Crown so that he could hide it beneath his clerical coat. Another conspirator, Blood's brother-in-law Hunt, filed the Sceptre with the Cross in two (as it did not fit in their bag), while the third man, Perrot, stuffed the Sovereign's Orb down his trousers. Meanwhile the keeper, part recovered, tried to free himself. His struggle caused a sufficient disturbance to raise the alarm shouting, 'Treason! Murder! The crown is stolen!'


As Blood and his gang fled to their horses waiting at St Catherine's Gate, they dropped the sceptre and fired on the warders who attempted to stop them, wounding one. After a brief gun battle, Blood was captured before reaching the Iron Gate. Having fallen from his cloak, the crown was found while Blood refused to give up, struggling with his captors and declaring, 'It was a gallant attempt, however unsuccessful! It was for a crown!' The globe and orb were recovered although several stones were missing, and others came loose. Blood took the rap for the whole business. His accomplices were also arrested, but not punished.


Synopsis:

‘Colonel Blood - Soldier, Robber and Trickster’ by D. Lawrence-Young has it all: royalty, love-affairs, lusty wenches, war and fighting. But above all, an incredible robbery. This is the life of self-styled ‘Colonel’ Thomas Blood, the 17th century dashing Anglo-Irish adventurer who achieved fame by (almost) succeeding in stealing the Crown Jewels in 1671.


But Blood did much more. He changed sides from being a Royalist to a Roundhead during the Civil War and also became involved in several treasonous plots. He saved a friend from being hanged and twice attempted to kidnap his long time enemy, the Duke of Osborne. But despite being caught after his failed jewel robbery, he was saved by King Charles II. Why was the king so magnanimous? What hold did Blood have over the ‘Merry Monarch’? Read it to find out.


In the author’s words:

“The major aspect of this novel is that it is based on a true story and records the only time that someone (Col. Blood) almost managed to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London. This book stresses his dashing and daring nature, his audacious criminality as well as his loyalty to his friends and family. It also concentrates on his optimistic nature which saves him from being hanged to becoming employed as a spy by King Charles II.”


“I do not know of any other historical novels about Colonel Blood. The only modern books I know about him which I used about him are straight forward history books. They include: ‘The Audacious Crimes of Colonel Blood’ by Robert Hutchinson and ‘Colonel Blood: The Man who Stole the Crown Jewels’ by David C. Hanrahan.


“I got the idea for writing this book while writing a chapter about Colonel Blood in my book‘Villains of Yore’ which was published by Cranthorpe Millner last year. I thought that this 17th century swashbuckling character had more of a story to tell altogether than being a mere chapter in another book. It looks as if I was right.”


About the author:

Originally from Trowbridge in Wiltshire, David Lawrence-Young moved to Israel in 1968 to teach English, history and drama which he did until his retirement in 2013. He also lectured at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and at Tel-Aviv university. During his educational career he obtained a BA and MA in English Literature. He also served in the Israeli army as a sergeant in an armoured infantry unit. David developed a love of Shakespeare and the period he lived in - which was for him a great combination of history and literature. While teaching, he began to write stories for his students in English as a foreign language. From this he went on to writing historical novels, starting in 1998. Since then David has written over 20 novels and two other books about crime; also, a best-selling (in Israel) English language textbook ‘Communicating in English.’ He has also edited a book for tourists visiting Jerusalem.


David says that he really enjoys the process of writing and carrying out of the necessary research, especially for his history-based books. This was especially true for ‘Colonel Blood’ and he hopes his enthusiasm for it comes through in the text. He explains: “When I return to England to visit family and friends I also try and visit the sites where my novels and stories take place so I can get a better ‘feel’ of the site and so I am able to incorporate details which will add to the narrative’s authenticity.”


Today David spends much of his time writing and editing as well as giving talks on military and civil history, the English language and Shakespeare, as well as on writing and publishing. Website: www.dly-books.weebly.com

Twitter: @DLawrenceYoung1


‘Colonel Blood - Soldier, Robber and Trickster’ by D. Lawrence-Young is to be published in paperback by Cranthorpe Millner on 28th September. ISBN:978-1-912964-85-7. RRP:£12.99. It will be available at all


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