The People’s Publisher?

We are delighted to announce that two of our titles have made it through to the finals of The People’s Book Prize. King’s Company, by Jessamy Taylor, will be competing in the children’s category and Quintember, by Richard Major, in fiction.

For any of you that did vote for these titles in the Autumn and Winter showcases, please be aware that these votes are not carried forward, and you are eligible to vote again in this round. We would hugely appreciate your votes where possible, for these two remarkable debut novelists.

Voting is open until the 22nd May – Vote here 

And in even better news – keep an eye on the results, as if either book manages to take home the grand prize, we will offer discount on the winning title (or titles!) for one day only when you buy direct from our website,


Guest Post: Jessamy Taylor on Castles

First in jessamy_taylora new series of guest posts from our authors…

What is it about Castles anyway?

Choosing a list of Top Ten Castles in fiction for the Guardian was huge fun: hours spent curled up on the sofa reading through piles of children’s books, demanding regular cups of tea and claiming that this was serious work. To be fair, there are a great many books with castles in, and they all needed checking. Castles are everywhere in fiction. But why?

In stories, castles are shorthand for importance and wealth. Something has to be quite significant before you need a castle there to defend it, and you have to have rather a lot of money before you can think about constructing such a building. So castles have automatic associations with power and riches, which are mysterious and intriguing to most of us, whether those are current at the time of the story (always good), or long decayed (sometimes even better). Big, important things happened in castles.

But at the same time, castles were homes, so we have an immediate sympathy for the people who lived in them. No-one can walk through the remains of a castle and not start speculating about the domestic details (“Kitchens, that far from the dining hall? Awkward.”) They are strange and yet familiar, and that is why they are so fascinating.

Jessamy Taylor in Guardian Children’s Books

Our vScreen Shot 2015-03-05 at 17.42.53ery own Jessamy Taylor is featured today in the Guardian talking about the top ten castles in fiction. Her eclectic selection ranges from the Château d’If in Alexandre Dumas’ ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ to the Schloss Adler in Alastair Maclean’s ‘Where Eagles Dare.’ There are a couple of forgotten favourites in there too, and ones we’ve never heard of and now want to track down. Well worth a read. And afterwards, why not compare to the castles in Jessamy’s own King’s Company?

Spot the Difference? (Amazon Can’t…)

Stephen-King-by-Shane-Leonard King_Stephen_from_NPG

We had a stern lecture from Amazon the other day when we were uploading  the e-book of our brilliant new children’s adventure, King’s Company. Amazon warned us that we were trying to break the terms of our agreement or something equally naughty: and eventually we worked out that it was because we had used the keyword “King Stephen”. Now the book is called King’s Company, and it’s set in the reign of King Stephen, so it seemed reasonable to us: but Amazon were having none of it, presumably because they thought we were trying to pinch sales from legendary master-of-all-things-gory Stephen King. We asked Amazon what we should do to avoid the problem: no answer. We also asked if they really thought that we were trying to win extra sales by snaffling readers looking for the latest Stephen King gore-fest, and presenting them with a mediaeval adventure story for children aged 8-12 in which no-one is eaten by any kinds of animals at all (if you ignore the odd flea-bite). No reply to that either. In the end we found a way round – Amazon’s computers will accept “King Stephen of England” as a keyword – and the King’s Company e-book is up on the Kindle store and selling very nicely. But really.

The one person we thought might see the funny side is Stephen King – so if anyone out there happens to know him…

King’s Company Out!

9781908041197We’re delighted to welcome our first debut author in children’s literature as ‘King’s Company’ begins to ship. It’s a wonderful tale in the great tradition of British historical children’s fiction, with an exciting plot, memorable characters and a real evocation of another age. Jessamy has a tremendous feel for the texture of medieval life, whether it’s the withered apples kept in straw until spring or the sharp scent of a newly-built wooden palisade; but none of this is there for show – it builds the sense of immediacy that makes this such a rattling good yarn. Jessemy will be posting some guest blogs with us over the coming weeks. We’re also hoping for some great reviews for a book we’re proud to have published. Meanwhile, spread the word! You’ll find King’s Company in all good physical bookshops and from certain online retailers: but best of all, you can order your copy direct from us right here.

Autumn Releases 2: King’s Company


King’s Company

It could have been a shadow, but the darkness was too thick, and solid. Then the shape shifted, spreading and splitting, until William could see separate bodies: horsemen, five or six of them, gathered as if for a discussion.

       Only horsemen. But born in the middle of the civil war, William had never known a time when strangers in the lanes didn’t bring a warning chill at their backs.”

A chance encounter plunges young William D’Amory into a world of intrigue and betrayal. He meets new friends and dangerous enemies, and learns the truth about his father, as he is caught up in the fight for the throne of England itself.

This is an exciting debut by Jessamy Taylor. We’re sure she’ll become a major voice in historical fiction for children because she blends a sure feel for story-telling with a vivid sense of period, in the tradition of Rosemary Sutcliff and Ronald Welch. And in William D’Amory she has created a hero that boys and girls will want to follow to the last page.