Tag Archive: United Kingdom

Catastrophe and Compassion

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Like my colleague Becky Lower, I am moved by generosity in hard times.   Researching fiction always takes us in unexpected directions. This week was no exception. While researching floods along the east… Continue reading

Canada at Vimy Ridge

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… a defining moment for Canada, when the country emerged from under the shadow of Britain and felt capable of greatness. Tim Cook, Canadian War Museum Last Tuesday, as I prepared this post,… Continue reading

Candles Light Up Our Lives

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What is Christmas—or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa—without candles flickering in the night? Light is, after all, the midwinter wish of mankind. Those of us who celebrate Advent begin with candles as a symbol of… Continue reading

The Rise of Muhammad Ali Pasha

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Lately I’ve been envisioning stories set in 1840, with an interest in Egypt. When I began to survey the historical landscape I kept coming back to Egypt. In many ways the fate of… Continue reading

The Cleghorns, Gardens, and a Princess

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Writers often wander down some winding roads; many call it “the research rabbit hole.” This past week I got lost in one when I began by asking about public gardens that may have… Continue reading

Tea, Taxes, and War

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Historians suggest a variety of causes for the Opium Wars. Some declare the cause to be “extraterritoriality,” the refusal of one sovereign nation, in this case, the United Kingdom, to allow their citizens… Continue reading

The Prince of Fraud

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In an era of British imperial expansion, with limited social mobility at home, men with ambition, energy, and imagination looked to the wide world for opportunities to make their fortune. It didn’t seem odd… Continue reading

The Anatomist and the Body Snatchers

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The longer I look at the 1830s, the more I am fascinated by the collision of science, commerce, and social change. There are few colorful characters from that period that exemplify these more… Continue reading

The Anti-Opium Crusader

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Not all the interesting and colorful characters from the 1830s were British. Lin Zexu, also known as Lin Tse-hsu, a Chinese scholar and government official, rubbed against the British mercantile ambitions of that… Continue reading

Zion’s Corner

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In the corrupt, drug ridden, and contentious port of Canton, English and American traders systematically flooded China with illegal opium, spreading addiction to thousands. Many a man succumbed to the lure of riches;… Continue reading