BLOG INDEX (in alphabetical order)
Here’s a quick summary of what you’ll find in each of my published blog posts. All of which give further information or commentary on the people, places, and themes mentioned in my novel, Lies That Blind.
Author's Note: Oops! This should have found its way into my published book but, for one reason or another, it didn't. So, for those of you interested in which are fictional characters, and which are historical, together with the extent of my background research for Lies That Blind, please read on.
The Crazy Claims for Nutmeg: Merchants and traders profiting from the craze for spices in 16th-18th century Europe were more than happy to hear physicians making all sorts of exaggerated claims. For nutmeg, these ranged from a sleep aid to the cure for the bubonic plague!
A Deceiver’s Guide to Power: Have we all got Machiavelli wrong? Was he warning the public about how to prevent the politically unscrupulous coming to power, rather than offering a guide on how to bribe, swindle or assassinate one’s way to the top? Philosopher Erica Benner believes so.
Death by Elephant: If you were a prisoner on the losing side of a battle with the Siamese – or a convicted criminal in India, Malaya, or the country now known as Vietnam, you might hope for a quick death under the powerful feet of a pachyderm. Sadly, that was rarely the case!
Dune and the Double-Edged Dagger: They say art imitates life. This is certainly true when novelists draw, even tangentially, from real-life events and artefacts. Take Frank Herbert's Dune, for example. This seminal work of science fiction mentions the Fremen's crysknife. Yet the keris has featured extensively in Southeast Asian culture for centuries, as well as in the plot of my novel, Lies That Blind.
The Duping of (and by) Journalists: "Fake news" has been around a long time, if this 1758 essay by Dr. Samuel Johnson is anything to go by. In it you'll find him bemoaning the premature publication of stories that have not been properly verified; berating journalists who over-exaggerate to titillate their readers; and wishing such scribblers didn't heap praise on "celebrities" who don't deserve it.
Enslaved by Debt: Imagine your child tripping over a stone and finding yourself, and perhaps your entire family, fined beyond your means. That was the kind of situation many people found themselves in during the period my novel is set, and how they became debt-slaves with little chance of breaking free from an often abusive "owner".
Monkeying Around: As people laugh at the antics of the precocious-seeming macaques found at many Southeast Asian tourist attractions, few realise how human bad behaviour has taught these creatures to become increasingly aggressive, especially where food is involved.
Outtakes #1 Prologue to Epilogue: The first in an occasional series revealing how my early ideas and drafts for Lies That Blind evolved into something quite different than what was published in the final book.
Rogue or Realist? Some regard Captain Francis Light as a rogue who made empty promises to get his hands on the island of Penang. Others glorify him as the man responsible for developing it into an important trading entrepôt. After viewing this 15-scene outline of Light’s life, which camp do you fall into?
Ruse of the Independent Woman: Dressing like a man to enjoy freedom and power isn’t restricted to Shakespeare plays (think Portia, Rosalind, and Viola). If a woman wanted to join her husband in battle, or enjoy a life of adventure, she needed to do similarly. Here are some historical characters who took on the guise of men for their own reasons.
Words of Wisdom: Here’s a Malay word to remember: ‘peribahasa,’ meaning proverb or traditional saying. Can you guess what some of these Malay aphorisms mean?