Toby Venables is a novelist, screenwriter and journalist who also lectures in Cambridge, England. He inhabits various time periods and occasionally writes about zombies. A descendant of the Counts of Blois and Champagne, he numbers the slayer of the Moston dragon among his ancestors, but despite being given a longbow at the age of twelve has so far managed not to kill anyone. In 2001 he won the Keats-Shelley Memorial Prize, and squandered the proceeds.
Guy of Gisburne: The Omnibus
Released 12 February 2016
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England, 1191. Richard Lionheart has left the realm bankrupt and leaderless in his quest for glory. Only Prince John seems willing to fight back the tide of chaos threatening England – embodied by the traitorous ‘Hood.’
But John has a secret weapon: Guy of Gisburne, outcast, mercenary, and now knight. From intercepting the jewel-encrusted skull of John the Baptist to investigating a string of grisly deaths linked to the Prince's own past, Guy is John’s hound, combating chaos and fighting the enemies of England wherever they may be found.
From Ireland to Marseilles and as far as the Levant, aided by his faithful squire Galfrid and the beautiful and secretive Mélisande, Gisburne battles his way with sword, lance and bow in England’s name, drawing ever nearer the day he will have to confront his oldest and greatest foe...
The Secret Zombie History of the World
Released 12 December 2013
THE ROTTING TIDES OF HISTORY
‘A real treat from some of the top talent in the genre today... Braaainnnssss...’
Falcata Times on The Best of Tomes of the Dead
Northern Europe, 976 AD. Bjólf and the Viking crew of the ship Hrafn flee up an unknown river after a bitter battle, only to find themselves in a bleak land of pestilence, where the dead return as draugr to feed on the flesh of their kin.
Terrible stories are told of a dark castle in a hidden fjord, and of black ships that come raiding with invincible draugr berserkers. And no sooner has Bjólf resolved to leave than the black ships appear...
‘Just to be clear, Viking Dead is about Vikings... fighting zombies. And, just to be completely clear, it is awesome.’
Ranulf, a young English knight, is among the force sent to capture Grogen Castle from Welsh rebels. Even as the English celebrate their triumph, the native druids are summoning a tireless army of bone and raddled flesh in retaliation. Now, for the sake of all, Ranulf must defy his masters and rescue the daughter of his enemy, but hope lasts only so long as the stronghold – once thought impregnable – holds out against the legions of the angry dead...
‘Grounded in historical fact, Stronghold is well researched, action packed, grim and brutal, and great fun.’
Orders to chase down the French frigate Elita off the Cape of Good Hope come as welcome news to Captain Havelock, stranded with the rest of the fleet at Spithead and waiting for France to initiate hostilities. Here is a chance for glory – and wealth.
Very soon, however, Captain Havelock will come to realise that theirs are not the only two warships in the southern ocean. An enemy thought long since vanquished has risen from the deeps...
‘A swashbuckling tale of horror and honour, like Pirates of the Caribbean with an 18 certificate.’
Graeme’s Fantasy Review
Released 12 April 2011
THE SHIP OF THE DEAD
Northern Europe, 976 AD. Bjólf and the viking crew of the ship Hrafn flee up an unknown river after a bitter battle, only to find themselves in a bleak land of pestilence. The dead don’t lie down, but become draugr – the undead – returning to feed on the flesh of their kin. Terrible stories are told of a dark castle in a hidden fjord, and of black ships that come raiding with invincible draugr berserkers. And no sooner has Bjólf resolved to leave, than the black ships appear...
Now stranded, his men cursed by the contagion of walking death, Bjólf has one choice: fight his way through a forest teeming with zombies, invade the castle and find the secret of the horrific condition – or submit to an eternity of shambling, soulless undeath!
“Toby Venables wields his pen all sword-like and delivers quirky flashes of fearless text.”
Hunter of Sherwood: Knight of Shadows
Released 23 September 2013
Robin Hood is a cold blooded killer and Richard the Lionheart is a ruthless butcher who cares nothing for England – Toby Venables is taking one of the most beloved English folk legends turning it on its head.
This is the story of Guy of Gisburne. Portrayed in legend as a lackey to the Sheriff of Nottingham, Knight of Shadows reveals Guy as an outcast, a mercenary, and now newly knighted, an honourable servant of King John in his intrigues against the vicious and bloodthirsty Lionheart.
Tears up the clichés of the Robin Hood myth to reveal the deeper issues between this chaotic period of English history, Knight of Shadows will delight readers of Bernard Cornwell and the Flashman series, as it deftly weaves history and legend into a brand new pattern, with Gisburne firmly at the heart of events.
Guy’s mission is to intercept the jewel-encrusted skull of John the Baptist from the clutches of the Knights Templar before it can reach Philip, King of France. Gisburne’s quest takes him and his world-weary squire Galfrid into increasingly bloody encounters with ‘The White Devil’: the fanatical Templar de Mercheval.
“Venables wields his pen all sword-like and delivers quirky flashes of fearless text”
UK: 9781781081617 | 29th September 2013
US: 9781781081624 | 10th October 2013
Hunter of Sherwood: The Red Hand
Released 30 December 2014
Robin Hood: champion of the poor and needy, or history's most infamous sociopath? Toby Venables returns with his original re-working of the legend of Sherwood, which recasts history's most infamous heroes and villians...
England, 1193. Guy of Gisburne, knight and agent to Prince John, is all that stands between England and anarchy, fighting a shadow battle to protect the kingdom from those who would destroy it.
Returning to England after foiling a plot to destroy Jerusalem, Guy of Gisburne is arrested and hauled to the Tower of London; John, England’s regent in the absence of its monstrous King, needs his knight once more. A killer has broken into the Prince’s most secure castle in the north and left a message, drawn on the skin of one of his victims: dies irae venit – ‘Judgement Day is coming’ – signed with a bloody handprint. Is the threat genuine?
Who, or what, is the Red Hand? Someone is killing John’s most loyal supporters, and the obvious culprit – the most dangerous man in the Kingdom, Hood himself – has an alibi even Guy can’t deny.
Deftly plotted and with a fantastic cast of characters The Red Hand is must-read for fans of the original tales of Robin Hood and all alt-history readers.
UK: 9781781082898 | 15th January 2015
US: 9781781082904 | 30th December 2014