Journal

The Rumpa Rebellion, India, 1879-80: jungle fever and the cause of malaria

The greatest challenge facing the regimental surgeons with the Rumpa Field Force in India in 1879 was jungle fever, ‘that severe sickness that paralyses every effort, disheartens the men, and fosters the preconceived belief of the superiority and valour of the insurgents.’ The Madras Military Proceedings for 1879 and 1880, the source of this quote and others below, reveals a stark picture ...

 

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THE SWORD OF ATTILA: military map-makers, Roman and Victorian

One of the characters I most enjoyed creating in my novel Total War Rome: The Sword of Attila was Gnaeus Uago Alentius, a senior tribune of the fabri – the Roman equivalent of the Corps of Engineers – who oversees a military mapping unit in Rome. I'd imagined that by the 5th century AD, Roman proficiency in field survey and road-tracing might have led to a kind of topographical department in the army, with the fabri close to creating detailed maps akin to the early British Ordnance Survey series - something that would have been halted by the collapse of the Roman army in the west shortly afterwards, leaving us no evidence of their work ...

 

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PYRAMID: excerpt from the novel (the wreck of the Beatrice)

In my novel Pyramid, Jack and Costas revisit the wreck of the Beatrice - discovered in my previous novel, Pharaoh - in order to examine the ancient Egyptian sarcophagus of Menkaure for further clues to Akhenaten's lost 'City of Light'. To find out more about the real-life wreck and the sarcophagus, click here. After a horrifying accident with Costas' submersible, Jack has to make a snap decision ...

 

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Diving on the wreck of the Charles P. Minch (1898), Tobermory, Canada

These pictures show my daughter in August 2014 on the wreck of the Charles P. Minch, a wooden schooner that went down in 1898 in Tecumseh Cove off Cove Island in Lake Huron, Ontario. Most of the wreckage lies in 7 to 15 m depth, and in common with the other wrecks here is exceptionally well-preserved in the cold fresh water. Many thanks to the crew from Diver's Den in Tobermory for making this such a great outing for us!

 

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