Biography

I explore the nuances of history through fiction and non-fiction.

I’ve always had a passion for history … and adventure. My formative years were spent on the Caribbean island of Grenada, where I rarely attended school, spending my days indulging in archaeology, sailing, diving and exploring. I spent my 21st birthday partying at the British Army’s Jungle Warfare Training camp – “Hummingbird Cottage” in Belize, and later I held a Top Secret security clearance while working throughout Latin America and the Caribbean on counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism operations with the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).

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To the surprise of family and friends (not to mention myself), I eventually added the alphabet soup of PhD, JD and MBA after my name, became a senior official in the US government, and spent the following years as an international lawyer and entrepreneur, during which time I rose early and spent weekends to indulge another passion – writing. During that time, I published four books and over 100 articles including scholarly pieces on Caribbean colonial history – “Fedon’s Rebellion” (Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research 1984) – and Scottish history – “Walsingham and the Witch: England´s Failed Attempt to Pacify King James VI” (History Scotland, August-September 2021). I also wrote for the Harvard International Review, The New York Times, US Naval Institute Proceedings and the RUSI Journal.

I’m now devoting 100 percent of my time to building my literary career. My narrative non-fiction biography, Elizabethan Secret Agent: The Untold Story of William Ashby (1536-1593), will be released in hardback on 30 March 2022 by Scotland Street Press, Edinburgh. My “Seth Armitage” series of historical mystery thrillers set on the 1920s are being published by Sharpe Books, as is my latest book Ranger, an Action/Adventure novel set in the 18th century featuring a mixed-raced hero who overcomes overwhelming obstacles to succeed as a British military officer – think of a black “Sharpe” a la Bernard Cornwell´s famous series.

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Books

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

Articles

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Solving the Mystery of The Tobermory Galleon

Solving the Mystery of The Tobermory Galleon

In 1588 a galleon, the San Juan, mysteriously sank in Tobermory, Isle of Mull. Timothy Ashby, historian and author of a new book on Elizabethan espionage traces the history of that Spanish ship.For centuries the sunken Spanish Armada ship known as the ‘Tobermory Galleon’ has lured treasure ...
The Battle of New Orleans

The Battle of New Orleans

The Battle of New Orleans (in reality, a series of engagements leading to the one-sided slaughter of 8 January 1815) was one of the greatest defeats suffered by the British Army in the nineteenth century until Isandlwana in 1879, when a comparable number of British soldiers were killed in ...

Book Reviews

Ranger, by Timothy Ashby

Ranger, by Timothy Ashby

If you are looking for a page-turning historical novel that explores race and class in the late 18th century, as well as being filled with action and engaging characters, then read Ranger.Laced with intrigue, war and the complexity of racial prejudice within English political spheres, ...
Cornwallis, by Richard Middleton

Cornwallis, by Richard Middleton

Charles Cornwallis, Lord Cornwallis, is remembered as one of the salient military leaders of the American Revolution, blamed for the British defeat at Yorktown that marked the beginning of the end of the Revolution. Yet as Richard Middleton´s masterful new biography illustrates, Cornwallis´ ...
Elizabethan Secret Agent, by Timothy Ashby

Elizabethan Secret Agent, by Timothy Ashby

William Ashby, ambassador and spy, is not a well-known historical figure. Indeed, so successful a secret agent was he that few today will have heard of him. To me, he has always been little more than a name, mentioned in biographies of King James (when Ashby, seeking to buy the Scottish king’s ...
Desperate Valour, by Timothy Ashby

Desperate Valour, by Timothy Ashby

Desperate Valour is the sequel to Timothy Ashby’s 5* bestseller Ranger, though it works perfectly well as a ‘stand alone’. It follows the adventure of Major Alexander Charteris (known as ‘Chart’), a mixed-race, English-educated son of an aristocrat and a West Indian slave, commissioned as an ...
Action This Day: A WW2 Short Story Collection

Action This Day: A WW2 Short Story Collection

As the coronation of Charles III approaches, Action This Day ploughs us back into a time of risk, uncertainty and unthinkable steaks. The era of the Second World War might’ve been rife with struggle, but there was more than just that; individual stories, people, humour, murder, mystery.. With ...
The Royal Secret, by Andrew Taylor

The Royal Secret, by Andrew Taylor

The Stuart era is currently undergoing something of a rebirth in historical fiction, with authors turning their keystrokes to the long-reviled and much-decried Stuarts. Andrew Taylor has been amongst the vanguard in reassessing and promoting this era as the passionate, fascinating, and lively ...

Interviews

Timothy Ashby

Timothy Ashby

Timothy Ashby, what first attracted you to the period or periods you work in?I have been fascinated by the Elizabethan era since reading that a distant relative was a top “intelligencer” and English ambassador to Scotland. I lived on the island of Grenada as a young man and was equally ...