Writing historical fiction combines the first great love of Alan Bardos’ life, making up stories, with the second, researching historical events and characters. He currently lives in Oxfordshire with his wife… the other great love of his life.

There is still a great deal of mystery and debate surrounding many of the events of the First World War, which he explores in his Johnny Swift historical fiction series. The series starts with the pivotal event of the twentieth century, the Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The second book The Dardanelles Conspiracy is based on an attempt by Naval Intelligence to bribe Turkey out of the First World War. In the third book Enemies and Allies Johnny is employed as a useful idiot to flush out a traitor working to undermine the Allies.

His new World War 2 series follows Daniel Nichols, a former pacifist turned crusader, as he moves from the Fleet Air Arm to Intelligence and Special Operations. The first book Rising Tide is set against the backdrop of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor; as Nichols is embroiled in a conspiracy to keep the USA bogged down in the Pacific and out of the war in Europe.

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Praise for his books

‘A gripping wartime thriller with more plot twists and turns than a snake with an itch!’ Damien Lewis, The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare and SAS Forged in Hell.

‘Written with polished panache, it kept me gripped from the first to last.’ A.A. Chaudhuri, She’s Mine

‘As far as writing humorous cads and bounders goes, I am not sure I want the competition…, but this is a brilliant book that kept me gripped to the end, and I bought the next one straight away.’ Jemahl Evans, A Rake’s Progress

‘Political intrigue, an enthralling account of the assault on the beaches of Gallipoli and romantic comedy… it’s all in this highly entertaining romp.’ Shaun Lewis, The Custom of the Trade series

‘I have to say that I think Bardos has really cracked it. Johnny Swift is an excellent drunken anti-hero, somewhat debauched, but with a good heart.’ David Boyle, Before Enigma

‘Gives a carefully-researched and graphically real insight into the doomed campaign, as well as telling a gripping story of courage and redemption.’ Allan Martin, Death in Tallinn

‘With its war-damaged, womanising, loose cannon of an anti-hero, Johnny Swift, The Dardanelles Conspiracy vividly captures the flux and uncertainty – as well as the horror – of war.’ R.N. Morris, A Gentle Axe

‘A thrilling romp through the delights and dangers of WW1 espionage.’ Matthew Willis, The Fortress of Malta series

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A Burning Sea
A Burning Sea
A Burning Sea
A Burning Sea


Oskar Potiorek: The Most Infamous Man in History You’ve Never Heard Of,
When it was announced that Franz Ferdinand, the Heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, would visit Bosnia to attend manoeuvres in June 1914. It fell to General Oskar Potiorek, the military governor to organise the visit.This was a task Oskar Potiorek threw himself into with an extraordinary eye for detail. He over saw all arrangements, from ensuring that the Archduke’s wine would be served ...
Before the Assassination: Archduke Ferdinand and the General
Bosnia and Herzegovina was a hotly disputed territory in 1914. It had been annexed by the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1910 from the crumbling Ottoman Empire, but was also claimed by neighbouring Serbia and had a growing nationalist movement that wanted it to be part of a South Slav state. The decision to send the crown prince of Austro-Hungary into such an unstable region, to attend army ...
Conspiracy Theory: Who ordered the hit on Franz Ferdinand?
Who ordered the hit on Franz Ferdinand?There are two basic schools of thought about the origins of the plot to assassinate Franz Ferdinand. The first is that it was ordered by Colonel ‘Apis’ Dimitrijevic, the head of Serbian Intelligence, to stop Austro-Hungarian interference in the Balkans and allow Serbian expansion. The assassination was organised by his deputy Major Vojislav Tankosic;
Parallel Lives: Franz Ferdinand & Gavrilo Princip
Archduke Franz Ferdinand & Gavrilo Princip are two of the most famous names in the 20th century, but little is generally known about them other than Princip assassinated the Archduke and his wife in Sarajevo on 28th June 1914 sparking the First World War. However they both went through an extraordinary chain of events to arrive at Sarajevo.Being heir to the Habsburg throne was ...
Could the Dardanelles Straits Have Been Forced?
The Gallipoli campaign was originally conceived as a naval operation that could be carried out without the use of troops, to clear the costal fortifications barring the Dardanelles Straits. The plan was to gradually reduce the Turkish defences through a systematic bombardment. The way to Russia’s warm water ports, Constantinople (Istanbul) and the backdoor the central powers would then be ...
Could the Gallipoli Landings have Succeeded?
The Dardanelles campaign in World War One was conceived as a ‘demonstration’ to relieve pressure on Russian troops, fighting in the Caucasus. It quickly developed into a means of opening the backdoor to the Central Powers and to supply the Russians through the Dardanelles, which had been closed when Turkey entered the war.The campaign was originally intended to be a naval operation. When ...
The Ottoman Empire in the Great War
The Dardanelles campaign was intended to be a strategic masterstroke to bypass the stalemate of the Western Front. Instead it has become a byword for missed opportunity and tragedy. Perhaps the greatest of these is that it could have been avoided through a simple bribe.When the Ottoman Empire entered the First World War, on the side of the Central Powers, its government was split over ...
The Mutiny of The French Army
By the third year of the First World War, France was growing increasingly war weary. Over a million men had been killed, wounded or captured, with little to show for it. Russia had had a revolution and unrest was spreading through the French Army, fanned by turmoil at home, lack of leave and German propaganda. The failure of the Nivelle Offensive was the last straw and lead to what has become
The Catastrophe of the Nivelle Offensive
By April 1917 the Allies and the Central Powers had been locked in the stalemate of trench warfare for nearly three years. Numerous offensives had failed to break through at a terrible cost in men. New tactical and technological innovations were developed with some success. General Robert Nivelle, the French commander in chief, was convinced that he’d developed the ‘formula’ to break the ...
The Gallipoli Conspiracy
Gallipoli ConspiracyCaptain Reginald ‘Blinker’ Hall, the Director of British Naval Intelligence, launched an operation to bribe members of the Ottoman Government into making peace during the First World War. Hall hoped that would open the Dardanelles Strait to the Allies, allowing them to supply Russia and bypass the stalemate on the Western front. It was, however, superseded by the ...
A Comedy of Errors: The Killing of Franz Ferdinand
The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was one of history’s greatest turning points, but it happened by accident. Everyone knows the story ends with the death of the Archduke and his wife, Sophie, putting into play the diplomatic crisis that led to the First World War. It is perhaps less well known that the events leading up to the assassination were a terrible comedy of errors that ...
Why did Japan attack Pearl Harbor?
Why did Japan attack Pearl Harbor?Japan’s decision to attack Pearl Harbor has gone down in history as a short-term victory with catastrophic long-term consequences.The Japanese leadership, already bogged down in an unwinnable war in China, were aware that they were hopelessly out matched by the industrial might of the United States. However, they ...

Author Interview

Alan Bardos
Alan Bardos, what prompted you to choose the period that you wrote your first book in?My first book The Assassins is set just before the First World War and is about the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. I chose that period because the events ...
Fiction Book of the Month: Alan Bardos on The Assassins
Alan Bardos, The Assassins was your first novel, set during the build-up to WW1. What is it about the period that is so interesting to you?I think it’s the feeling that the people living through that period were on borrowed time while experiencing an age of great
The Blood of Others: Alan Bardos Interviews Graham Hurley
Graham Hurley your new novel The Blood of Others, is a thriller about the disastrous raid on Dieppe in August 1942. What was it that drew you to the story?A while ago, as a documentary producer with ITV, I made a series of revisionist films to mark various WW2 anniversaries. The first of them, Comrades in ...
Alan Bardos on Rising Tide
Alan, many congrats on embarking on your new novel, Rising Tide. We’re now in WW2, and Pearl Harbor after your earlier WW1 adventures. Why did you want to shift conflict?Thanks very much. In my previous First World War series I looked at how waging a quick decisive war was seen as an effective foreign policy for nations to ...
Every Spy A Traitor: Alex Gerlis Interviewed by Alan Bardos
In your new book Every Spy a Traitor you move away from a World War II/Post War setting and focus purely on a ‘Cold War’ with the Soviet Union in the 1930s. What was it that attracted you to the period?I liked the idea of a series that covered a longer time span, because in the Second World War, particularly ...