When I started out writing, I was lucky enough to live near to London, so I could wander up to the British Library and gaze happily at books for as long as I wanted. Since moving to Devon, though, and because now a round trip to London would cost me about £100, not to mention the cost of hotels, food and other necessities, it's actually a lot cheaper to check with the bibliography in books, look them up on the internet, and just buy them. For that reason, I've started to build up an extensive library of research books for my own use.

A full list of the reference works on my bookshelves would be very long indeed. But here's an introduction, in which I talk about some of the books I am currently using, or always using, or - well, you get the idea!

And for any of you who may be interested, here's a list that I made a year or so ago of my top 400. You can view the files as an Excel spreadsheet or as a simple table. Enjoy!

There are some strange titles in here. You may be surprised to see how many First and Second World War books there are, as well as modern day crime books, books on drugs, books on plants... the variety is very confusing. Yet there are snippets of human interest in them all. It's easier to get to understand the mind of a soldier if you read how modern soldiers behave and react, and then cross-reference those stories with books about medieval soldiers and Shakespeare's plays. From looking at all references you get more of a feel for human beings and their motivations during different eras.

There are also books about guns and weaponry, detection and crime scene methodologies which have no bearing or relevance on historical works like mine - but in this scary modern world, there is no guarantee as to how long a series will last, and an author has a duty to search constantly for the next set of books. After all, I still have a mortgage and children to support. So the modern stories are there to fill in all the strange and scary bits of information which I lack.

In any case, I hope you enjoy dipping into this listing of my own library. And if, at some future time, I have a fire and lose all my books, it is some consolation to know that now I have the whole lot recorded and can ask the insurance company to replace them!

Cornwell Internet

Website designed and maintained by Cornwell Internet