The best books about Bristol (UK)

2 authors have picked their favorite books about Bristol and why they recommend each book.

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War, Politics and Finance in Late Medieval English Towns

By Christian D. Liddy,

Book cover of War, Politics and Finance in Late Medieval English Towns: Bristol, York and the Crown, 1350-1400

Why would this 50 year period be so interesting in these two cities? In these years Bristol and York were second only to London in influence and growth within the realm, and as the rising merchant class accrued wealth they used it to make agreements with the crown—to their advantage, of course. With King Edward III it was all about his war with France; with his grandson and successor King Richard II it was about gaining charters that made them more independent of royal interference as well as negotiating their way between the political factions within the nobility.

Richard’s reign was a dangerous time, especially at the end when York merchants chose to loan money to Henry Bolingbroke’s uprising against his cousin the king.  The stakes were high and the personalities larger than life.

Who am I?

I have been writing the Owen Archer mysteries, set in and around the city of York in the late 14th century, for 30 years, ever since falling in love with the city of York on a visit. As I studied medieval literature and culture in graduate school, with a special interest in Chaucer, I’ve focused my research on the period in which he lived. I’ve spent months walking the streets of the city, hiking through the countryside, and meeting with local historians. Besides the 13 Owen Archer mysteries I’ve also published 3 Kate Clifford mysteries covering Richard II’s downfall, both series grounded in the politics and culture of medieval York and Yorkshire. 

I wrote...

The Riverwoman's Dragon

By Candace Robb,

Book cover of The Riverwoman's Dragon

What is my book about?

May, 1375. Owen Archer returns from London to find York in chaos. While the citizens are living in terror of the pestilence, a newly arrived physician is whipping up fear and suspicion against traditional healers and midwives. Aided by parish priests, he is especially hostile towards Magda Digby, who has helped and healed the people of York for many years. For her part, Magda is uneasy about the arrival of two long-lost kinsfolk, between whom she senses a hidden agenda. Her troubles multiply when she discovers a body in the river near her home and falls under suspicion of murder.

Days later, fire rips through a warehouse in the city. Amongst the charred debris lies the body of a man – not burned, but stabbed in the back. Is there a connection to the corpse in the river? Determined to prove Magda’s innocence, Owen investigates amidst violent outbursts within and without the city walls– but the more he uncovers, the deeper the mystery becomes… 

A Fearsome Little Ship

By Alex Lobdell,

Book cover of A Fearsome Little Ship

Captain Bristol and his ship Blue 87 are taken prisoner by scientists who want to take Blue’s cognizant brain and use Bristol in regeneration experiments along with the others they have plucked from history. Outgunned, outnumbered, and definitely outdated, this unlikely gaggle of prisoners must find a way to save not only themselves, but the British Galactic Empire. I’ve read this book twice this year and it kept me laughing every time with its crazy antics. I’m dying for the sequel. (Hope they can resurrect me!)

Who am I?

I am a writer of science fiction and fantasy, and a humorist. My husband and I fell in love over Star Trek and puns, and we both share a deep abiding hatred of people acting stupidly to further a plot. I read to escape, so I’m looking for laughs but also compelling characters who live their stories rather than act out the author’s wishes. I will toss a book as soon as it insults my intelligence or bores me. Thus, when I write, I let the characters run the show—and they never fail me.

I wrote...

Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Season 1

By Karina Fabian,

Book cover of Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Season 1

What is my book about?

If you love Star Trek and parodies... If the Orville and Galaxy Quest give you as much joy as Wrath of Khan... Then this is the book for you. Join the crew of the HMB Impulsive as we reverse the polarity on cliches, set phasers to Pun, and boldly go where no parody has gone before.

In Book 1 of this series, the Impulsive’s crew plays matchmaker to warring worlds, rescues the Ship’s Sexy from an environmentally paranoid planet, saves an alien ship by reversing its polarity, and nearly gets themselves killed on an amusement planet in a parody of ST: TOS “Shore Leave.” Plus, we follow a janitorial robot for a day.

Joyce's War 1939-1945

By Joyce Storey,

Book cover of Joyce's War 1939-1945

Personal stories are usually the best way of getting the flavour of a time. Joyce Storey, who would describe herself as an ordinary working-class woman, married in 1939. Her story tells of the everyday struggles of a young mother of two daughters with a husband absent in the RAF. She spent some of the war living with him when he was posted to Grimsbyvery foreign to her as she came from Bristoland with all the everyday battles of in-laws, air raids, and struggling for every penny. She’s a lively writer, conjuring up pictures of her new neighbours in Grimsby, the birth of her babies, and early motherhood ‘Yuk!’which she did grow into. You get very fond of Joyce and her challenges.

Who am I?

I have been writing novels for many years now about the social history of Birmingham and the West Midlands and often find myself writing about World War Two. It’s the history of most families in this country. But I also grew up—unusually for my generationwith parents who were active adults in the war, my father in the army in North Africa and Italy, my mother in a factory that had gone over to munitions in Coventry. So the war felt very present as they talked about it a lot. Only later I grew to understand what it means to people and explored the history for myself.

I wrote...

Meet Me Under the Clock

By Annie Murray,

Book cover of Meet Me Under the Clock

What is my book about?

Growing up in Birmingham, sisters Sylvia and Audrey Whitehouse were always like chalk and cheese. When World War 2 breaks out, Sylvia is still dreaming of her forthcoming marriage to fiancé Ian, while Audrey jumps at the career opportunities offered by the WAAF.

Audrey joins the ranks at RAF Cardington but finds her new freedom also brings temptation. Sylvia takes up work as a railway porter, a job her fiancé disapproves of as not very feminine, unlike Sylvia’s new, pretty friend Kitty. But Kitty’s innocent nature holds a dark secret… As pressures of rationing, bombing raids, and sleepless nights grow, the two sisters must decide what they really want from life and whether they are brave enough to fight for it.

The Columbus Myth

By Ian Wilson,

Book cover of The Columbus Myth: Did men of Bristol reach America before Columbus?

Every European nation has its own conspiracy theory about discovering America. This is the best and most readable evocation of the British conspiracy theory – that, far from being called after Amerigo Vespucci, the new world was called after John Cabot’s backer Richard Ameryk – who, bizarrely, had the stars and stripes as his family crest.

Who am I?

Of all the books I have ever written, this one most allowed me to make it possible to see how the full story adds to the history we know – the vital importance of context. For example, that Cabot set sail just as Bristol was defending itself against the approaching rebel army led by Perkin Warbeck. Or that the Pope at the time, ruling over the church and the world, was the Borgia Pope Alexander VI. I loved researching it and I still feel part of it. My father lives in Spain, which helped enormously.

I wrote...

Toward the Setting Sun: Columbus, Cabot, Vespucci, and the Race for America

By David Boyle,

Book cover of Toward the Setting Sun: Columbus, Cabot, Vespucci, and the Race for America

What is my book about?

When Constantinople fell to the Ottomans in 1453, the long-established trade routes to the East became treacherous and expensive, forcing merchants to find new ways of trading their goods. Yet, because their stories have been told separately until now, it’s easy to forget that Cabot, Columbus, and Vespucci not only knew of each other, they were well acquainted.

Columbus and Vespucci worked closely together; Cabot and Columbus were born in Genoa about the same time and had common friends who were interested in Western trade possibilities, and the huge rewards that could follow. They collaborated, knew of each other's ambitions, and followed each other's progress. This book tells their story.

I Let You Go

By Clare Mackintosh,

Book cover of I Let You Go

The novel opens with a tragic hit-and-run. Jacob’s mother lets go of his hand for a few seconds – and in that moment, her little boy’s life is cruelly taken. Jenna, reeling from Jacob’s death, moves away for a fresh start, but her past soon catches up with her. This story completely turns on its head following the big twist halfway through the book and it made me go back to the beginning to re-read! At times harrowing, at times uplifting, this story will stay with me.

Who am I?

My love of all things to do with the human mind and behaviour led me to study for a psychology degree and it was then I also became interested in criminology. When I landed my dream job in a male prison, working with offenders on rehabilitation programmes, these interests intensified. I read a huge number of psychological thrillers – as well as writing seven of them – and find it exciting trying to come up with fresh plots and brilliantly devious twists! I hope you enjoy reading my selection on this list as much as I did.

I wrote...

The Couple on Maple Drive

By Sam Carrington,

Book cover of The Couple on Maple Drive

What is my book about?

You think you’d know a killer if you met one? Think again.

When Isla McKenzie is brutally mugged, it’s her boyfriend Zach who’s there for her, who moves in to look after her when Isla can’t bring herself to leave the house. But then something else happens, right on their doorstep. And it’s almost like someone’s out to get her…Can Isla and Zach find out the truth before it’s too late? Or at least before the secrets they’re hiding from each other surface. Because those could be even deadlier

The New CSS Layout

By Rachel Andrew,

Book cover of The New CSS Layout

Rachel Andrew has been a pioneer of the new CSS Flexbox and CSS Grid Layout models. These layout models have revolutionized the way web developers design web pages. It is so much easier to create responsive web pages that look good on many different devices when using new CSS layout techniques. In my opinion, this book is best for a person who has a basic understanding of CSS. 

Who am I?

I’ve been working with the Web since the 1990s. It’s been fascinating to see the progress and growth of the web design field through the years. As an information technology professional, I’ve held many job roles, including software developer, systems analyst, web designer, web developer, and consultant. I eventually discovered my true calling of teaching information technology and am a Harper College Professor Emeritus. In the early 2000s, I developed the curriculum for the Web Design and Web Development certificate and degree programs at the college. This book is one of the two web development textbooks I wrote to provide my students with lots of hands-on practice while learning new concepts.  

I wrote...

Basics of Web Design: HTML5 & CSS

By Terry Felke-Morris,

Book cover of Basics of Web Design: HTML5 & CSS

What is my book about?

This updated sixth edition of the popular Basics of Web Design: HTML5 & CSS textbook provides a foundation in the skills and concepts that web designers need. It begins with the basics but also introduces creating responsive web pages for mobile devices using CSS Flexbox and Grid layout systems. 

A key feature of this reader-friendly book is the hands-on practice exercises throughout the chapters that introduce HTML and CSS coding techniques. Hands-on practice reinforces new concepts and helps you to gain confidence with your new skills. The chapters also include case study exercises for you to independently apply the coding techniques you have learned. 

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