HISTORICAL FICTION WEEK #1: Include passing references to major historical events

‘This is the damnable thing,’ muttered Edward, stepping gingerly over a bubonic-plague-carrying rat. ‘What with the resurgence of hostilities with the Dutch, who knows when the trade routes will be passable again?’
‘Indeed,’ replied his companion, the Reverend Hobbington. ‘I am as keen as you are to see the merchants’ ships sailing again. As a nonconformist minister forbidden to teach in schools as a result of the Five Mile Act of 1665, I am keener than ever to travel abroad.’
‘I know, my friend, I know,’ said Edward. ‘It is as our mutual friend Sir Isaac says – there are forces at work which remain beyond our knowledge. You are just as likely to find passage to the continent as old Isaac is to crack this problem of his, whatever it might be.’
‘Something of great gravity, no doubt,’ said the clergyman, skirting round a plague pit.
‘Yes,’ replied Edward, squinting at a shop across the street. ‘I say, does that bakery look a little smokey to you?’


  1. I love it when I read something and I know what happens next and the characters don't. The book makes me feel smart. And that doesn't happen a lot. So it has its merits.

  2. I quite like a bit of historical fiction now and again and keep tripping over a dreadful corollary to this, which is the tendency to spatchcock contemporary historical figures into the narrative, such that anything set in London during the latter half of the 19th century will tend to feature cameo appearances by Karl Marx, Charles Dickens, Dan Leno and, in particularly advanced cases, Sherlock Holmes and/or Dracula.

  3. Infodump! Or, rather, lots of mini info-compost-heaps.

  4. :-)
    my historical novel was looking a bit flat. now i know how to jazz it up. thanks.

  5. Huh. I actually learned a lot from this.
    I was under the impression that the Plague was all but eradicated in the 14th century, but no.
    England did, in fact, have the bubonic plague and Isaac Newton working on gravity at around 1665.
    (I thought Newton published his work in 1721, but I was thinking of Leibniz, and I was wrong anyway)