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Further reading

Over the years I’ve read a lot about the sixteenth century. And I mean a lot. So to give a taste of how much research goes into writing historical fantasy, I thought I’d start a list. At the moment this is just the books I own plus a few key websites – it doesn’t include library books I’ve read, or the gazillions of titbits of info I’ve found online.

Not all reference books are created equal – the older the source, the more unreliable the content is likely to be. However even an old book can be useful if it contains primary sources such as reproductions of contemporary images.

For publication dates, if the first publication date is more than a year or two before the edition I own (most of them are paperbacks), I give both as an indication of both availability and reliability.



Primary sources

  1. Cordner, Michael (ed.) The Roaring Girl and other City Comedies. OUP, 2001.
  2. Fisher, John (ed.) The A – Z of Elizabethan London. London Topographical Society, 1979. (An annotated reprint of the Agas map of 1560-70)
  3. Stow, John. A Survey of London. Sutton, 2005 (first published in 1598).

Secondary sources

  1. Arnold, Catharine. Bedlam: London and its Mad. Simon and Schuster, 2008.
  2. Bengtsen, Fiona. Sir William Waad, Lieutenant of the Tower, and the Gunpowder Plot. Trafford, 2005.
  3. Cockayne, Emily. Hubbub: Filth, Noise and Stench in England, 1600-1770. Yale University Press, 2007.
  4. Du Maurier, Daphne. Golden Lads: A Study of Anthony Bacon, Francis and their Friends. Virago, 2007 (first published 1975)
  5. Haynes, Alan. The Elizabethan Secret Services. Sutton, 2004 (first published 1992).
  6. Haynes, Alan. Sex in Elizabethan England. Sutton, 2006 (first published 1997).
  7. Hopton, Richard. Pistols at Dawn: A History of Duelling. Portrait, 2007.
  8. Hutchinson, Robert. Elizabeth’s Spymaster. Phoenix, 2007.
  9. Impey, Edward, and Parnell, Geoffrey. The Tower of London: The Official Illustrated History. Merrell, 2000.
  10. Irwin, Margaret. That Great Lucifer: A Portrait of Sir Walter Ralegh. Alison & Busby, 1998 (first published 1960).
  11. Kermode, Frank. The Age of Shakespeare. Phoenix, 2005.
  12. Moses, Brian. A Tudor Warship (Look Inside series). Wayland, 1998.
  13. Mikhaila, Ninya and Malcolm-Davies, Jane. The Tudor Tailor. Batsford, 2006.
  14. Milton, Giles. Big Chief Elizabeth: How England’s Adventurers Gambled and Won the New World. Hodder & Stoughton, 2003.
  15. Nicholl, Charles. The Lodger: Shakespeare on Silver Street. Penguin, 2007.
  16. Nicholl, Charles. The Reckoning: The Murder of Christopher Marlowe. Vintage, 2002 (revised edition).
  17. Partridge, Eric (ed.) The Penguin Dictionary of Historical Slang. Penguin, 1972.
  18. Partridge, Eric. Shakespeare’s Bawdy. Routledge Classics, 2001 (first published 1947)
  19. Picard, Lisa. Elizabeth’s London. Phoenix, 2003.
  20. Salgado, Gamini. The Elizabethan Underworld. Sutton, 1992 (first published in 1977).
  21. Shapiro, James. 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare. Faber, 2005.
  22. Sim, Alison. Pleasures and Pastimes in Tudor England. Sutton, 1999.
  23. Sim, Alison. The Tudor Housewife. Sutton, 2005 (first published 1999)
  24. Tames, Richard. Shakespeare’s London on Five Groats a Day. Thames and Hudson, 2009.
  25. Wells, Stanley. Shakespeare & Co. Penguin, 2007.
  26. Wilson, Derek. The Uncrowned Kings of England: The Black Legend of the Dudleys. Robinson, 2005.
  27. Wrightson, Keith. English Society 1580-1680. Routledge, 2003 (first published 1982)

Other topics

  1. Mithun, Marianne. The Languages of Native North America. Cambridge University Press, 1999


As mentioned above, these are just a few key sites that I’ve used regularly

  1. British History Online – a vast compilation of primary and secondary sources
  2. The Map of Early Modern London – a searchable copy of the Agas Map
  3. Renaissance, The Elizabethan World – a high-quality amateur site, full of snippets of info