I’ve always loved the period from 1775-1815*. These 40 turbulent years take us from the beginning of the War of Independence, through the French Revolution and Regency Period, to the death of the First Empire in the mud at Waterloo. I think I love it because it’s such a vivid, paradoxical time – an age of elegance and savagery, tradition and revolution, war and peace**.
When I set out to write Game Bird, I couldn’t imagine any other period that would quite do. What other period has the same mash and splendour? The Middle Ages you say? Bah, nothing but ignorant grubby men, doing grubby ignorant things.
Anyway… the other appeal of this setting was that I had already read a bit on the period. I firmly believe that the best and most exciting and most tangible fantasy writing knows its period really well, before it starts effing with it.
So, here is a really quick list of 8 nonfiction books that I think are a great starting point for any writer who is keen to write a Regency, Napoleonic or even steampunk novel and doesn’t know where to start. Not all of them are strictly within the period – but they all will give you a tonne of inspiration and background.***