Promo: 1066 Turned Upside Down – an anthology

I'm delighted to share a teaser today from an unusual anthology: 1066 Turned Upside Down! 

This collection of ’what if' stories by a group of bestselling and award-winning authors will pull you right in. Prepare for your journey back to 1066!

1066 Turned Upside Down 

Joanna Courtney, Helen Hollick, Anna Belfrage, Richard Dee, G.K. Holloway, 

Carol McGrath, Alison Morton, Eliza Redgold, Annie Whitehead

With a foreword by C.C. Humphreys

Alternative Historical Fiction





‘Here lies our leader, in the dust of his greatness.

Who leaves him now, be damned for ever.’

It was the first time I cried while reading. The book: ‘Hounds of the King’ by that near-forgotten wizard of the craft, Henry Treece. Beornoth, the boy favoured by Harold Godwinson, arrives late and sick on that dread October day, to hear the Huscarles’ death chant. Their leader, the last English King, is dying. They are going to die with him. And Beornoth, his own tears streaming, knows where he has to be and runs through the Norman ranks to join them.

I have revisited that scene often. In my own writing, it is always sacrifice that gets to me – for a prince, a country, a lover. A cause. In my novel ‘Possession’, (part of ‘The Runestone Saga’), I finally tackled the battle itself. Oh, the urge to rewrite the history! To make Harold triumph. How I longed to do it – but couldn’t. For me it is still the greatest ‘what if?’, giving rise to lots of subsidiary ones. What if the Northern earls had smashed Hardrada at the first of the three battles that year, Fulford, sparing Harold Stamford Bridge? What if the Northerners had arrived in time for the third, at Hastings? What if Harold had rested a week? Brought more archers? Taught the fyrd not to fall for false retreats? Kept his shield raised to the sunset sky and its steel-tipped rain? 

All these possibilities, and many more, are explored in this book. Because you, dear reader, have a treasure here – a book that imagines, in eclectic and wonderful stories, a very different 1066. These writers have taken ‘the facts’ (and all historical fiction writers are very chary of so-called facts!) and used them in diverse ingenious ways. I won’t detract from their magnificent achievements with spoilers. But if, like me, you yearn for a better outcome to that pivotal year, you will be endlessly intrigued and satisfied here. For there are military solutions, assassinations, the intervention of God (or Gods!), the enterprise of strong women. There is an alternative history of the world where the pagan sits alongside the Christian. Where a story is rewritten – in thread! There is, of course, a time machine – for which of us historical fiction nuts, readers or writers, hasn’t longed for one of them? To go back and observe – or maybe, just maybe, alter something? One little thing, so that Harold wins at Senlac and the whole world shifts.

These stories deal with the ‘what if?’ of the year. Revel in these distinct voices; in what might have been. Then imagine for a moment, like me, that when Beornoth reaches his fallen king, that Harold is not fallen at all. It’s a ruse, he is hoisting high the Fighting Man banner, signalling the counter attack that finishes the Normans and kills William of Normandy. 

C. C. Humphreys



Have you ever wondered what might have happened if William the Conqueror had been beaten at Hastings in 1066? Or if Harald Hardrada had won at Stamford Bridge? Or if Edward the Confessor had died with an heir ready to take his crown? If so – here is the perfect set of short stories for you.

1066 Turned Upside Down explores a variety of ways in which that momentous year could have played out very differently.

Written by nine well-known authors the stories will take you on a journey through the speculative ‘what ifs?’ of England’s most famous year in history.


“1066 Turned Upside Down is the exemplar for how analytical counterfactual history should be done, combining the best elements of fiction and non-fiction to create an immensely impressive achievement.”

“As a collection, the quality of the writing is exceptional and the variety of possible outcomes presented is truly fascinating.”

“The collection is assembled in such a way that between the ‘alternatives’ are the related facts as they happened, as far as historians and archaeologists know – which still leaves room for these experienced writers’ imaginations.”

“A book I will read and re-read. I heartily recommend it”

“The real joy of a collection of stories like this is, of course, that you are likely to be introduced to writers you may not have come across before.”

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About the Authors:

1066 Turned Upside Down is a collection of eleven alternative history short stories of a ‘what if’ nature imagined by nine well-known successful authors:

JOANNA COURTNEY Ever since Joanna sat up in her cot with a book, she’d wanted to be a writer and cut her publication teeth on short stories and serials for the women’s magazines be-fore signing to PanMacmillan in 2014 for her three-book series The Queens of the Conquest about the wives of the men fighting to be King of England in 1066. Her second series, written for Piatkus is Shakespeare’s Queens exploring the real history of three of the bard’s greatest female characters – Lady Macbeth, Ophelia and Cordelia.

Joanna’s fascination with historical writing is in finding the similarities between us and them –with an especial goal to provide a female take on some of the greatest stories we think we know.

ALISON MORTON writes the award-winning alternative fiction Roma Nova thriller series featuring tough, but compassionate heroines. She blends her deep love of Roman history with six years’ military service and a life of reading crime, historical, adventure and thriller fiction. A ‘Roman nut’ since age 11, she started wondering what a modern Roman society would be like if run by strong women. She has recently branched out into a contemporary crime setting with Double Identity, the first of a planned series.

ANNA BELFRAGE Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval se-ries The King’s Greatest Enemy set in 14th century England. Anna has also published The Wanderer, a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense trilogy with paranormal and time-slip ingredients. His Castilian Hawk - returning to medieval times and her most recent release, The Whirlpools of Time, a time travel romance set against the backdrop of brewing rebellion in the Scottish highlands. Anna has won several awards including various Gold, Silver and Bronze Coffee Pot Book Club awards.

ANNIE WHITEHEAD is an historian and prize-winning author. Her main interest in history is the period formerly known as the ‘Dark Ages’. Her first novel, To Be A Queen, is the story of Aethelflaed (daughter of Alfred the Great), who came to be known as the Lady of the Merci-ans. Alvar the Kingmaker, tells the story of Aelfhere of Mercia, a nobleman in the time of King Edgar. Cometh the Hour goes further back in time to the seventh century, to tell the story of Penda, the last pagan king of Mercia. Annie has twice been a prizewinner in the Mail on Sun-day Novel Writing competition, she won first prize for nonfiction in the new Writing Magazine Poetry and Prose competition, and was the inaugural winner of the HWA (Historical Writers’ Association)/Dorothy Dunnett Society Short Story Competition and is now a judge for that same competition.

Annie has had two nonfiction books published. Mercia: The Rise and Fall of a Kingdom (Am-berley Books) has been an Amazon #1 Bestseller. Women of Power in Anglo-Saxon England was published by Pen & Sword Books in 2020.

CAROL McGRATH is the author of The Daughters of Hastings Trilogy. Her fifth historical novel, The Silken Rose, first in The Rose Trilogy, published by the Headline Group, is set dur-ing the High Middle Ages. It features Ailenor of Provence and was published in 2020. The Damask Rose about Eleanor of Castile was published in 2021. The Stone Rose, Isabella of France, follows in 2022. Carol has also written Historical Non-Fiction for Pen & Sword.

ELIZA REDGOLD is an author and ‘romantic academic’. Her bestselling historical fiction includes her Ladies of Legend trilogy, starting with Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva released internationally by St Martin’s Press, New York. Her historical romances are published by Har-lequin Historical, London (Harper Collins). They include Playing the Duke’s Mistress, Enticing Benedict Cole, The Scandalous Suffragette and The Master’s New Governess. They have been translated into multiple languages including Italian, Polish, Czech, Danish and Swedish, and are available internationally.

G.K. HOLLOWAY After graduating from Coventry University with an honours degree in history and politics, he worked in education in and around Bristol, England, where he now lives. After reading a biography about Harold Godwinson, he studied the late Anglo-Saxon era in detail. When he had enough material to weave together facts and fiction he produced his nov-el. 1066 What Fates Impose, a story of family feuds, court intrigues, assassinations, plotting and scheming, loyalty and love, all ingredients in an epic struggle for the English crown.

HELEN HOLLICK moved from London in 2013 and now lives on a thirteen-acre farm in North Devon, England. Born in London, Helen wrote pony stories as a teenager, moved to sci-ence fiction and fantasy, and then discovered the wonder of historical fiction. Published since 1994 with her Arthurian Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy, followed by her 1066 era duo. She be-came a USA Today bestseller with her story of Queen Emma: The Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK), and its companion novel, Harold the King (titled I Am the Chosen King in the U.S.A). She also writes the Sea Witch Voyages, a series of pirate-based nautical adventures with a touch of fantasy. Commissioned by Amberley Press she wrote a non-fiction book about pirates in fact, fantasy and fiction and a non-fiction book about smugglers, published by Pen and Sword.

Recently she has ventured into the ‘Cosy Mystery’ genre with her Jan Christopher Mysteries, the first of which is A Mirror Murder. She runs Discovering Diamonds, an independent online review site for Historical Fiction, primarily aimed at showcasing Indie writers.

She occasionally gets time to write.

RICHARD DEE was a Master Mariner and ship’s pilot, now living in Brixham, South Dev-on.  His novels include Science Fiction and Steampunk adventures, as well as the exploits of Andorra Pett, a reluctant amateur detective.

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  1. Thank you somuch for hosting us today!

  2. Thank you so much for hosting the blog tour for 1066 TURNED UPSIDE DOWN. We really appreciate all that you do.

    Mary Anne
    The Coffee Pot Book Club


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