A Set of Lies
In July 2000 Carolyn and her husband Colin were in a restaurant in Plymouth with a portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte on the wall beside their table. They began to map out a plot for a book.
The more they talked about the idea the more work was required; research, travel to soak up the atmosphere of particular places, reading about those characters who play their role in the plot and who existed. (Though there is no suggestion that they actually did what they are said to have done in this book which is a work of fiction!)
The plot was revisited many times and Carolyn wrote and published five books in the years following that dinner before A Set of Lies was published to mark the bi-centenary of the Battle of Waterloo (18 June 1815) and to reflect the turbulence in the political scene in Britain 200 years later.
What's it about?
'History is a set of lies agreed upon' Napoleon Bonaparte
Has the accepted history of the past 200 years of English history really been 'a set of lies agreed upon' by the politicians of the day?
A storm leads to a discovery that puts a large question mark over the traditionally accepted events of 19th century history.
Skye Lacey, the illegitimate daughter of a prominent right-wing politician, realises that if she can prove her suspicions true she can sabotage her father’s extreme plans for the future of Great Britain.
With two unlikely collaborators, and through an exploration of the lives of six generations of the Lacey family, Skye discovers evidence that proves an unlikely hypothesis and makes the events of two centuries ago impact on the world of today.
Published by Troubador Publishing June 2015
ISBN: 978-1784622763 (PB)
ISBN: 978-1784629236 (e-Book)
Press coverage for A Set of Lies
Thanks to Historical Novel Society for its review of A Set of Lies. They wrote "Napoleon has been defeated and packed off to St Helena. Or has he? This Alternative History novel explores the possibility that a British agent organised a scheme to keep Napoleon alive in exchange for secrets and information about Britain's many other enemies that only the former Emperor would know. In the present day a student finds some artefacts in the family home on the Isle of Wight and calls for help in the form of a handsome young man with the qualifications and all the right contacts to investigate. Added to the mix are an irascible professor, a crooked MP, a totally dysfunctional family and a trail of clues that lead to the truth and its far-reaching effects. The story flits between the 19th Century and the present day in a clear and coherent manner and I enjoyed this venture into the 'what if'..... The tale is well written, the cover bright and attractive and Carolyn McCrae has pieced together a fine and interesting novel."
Thanks to Yattar Yattar (a free magazine distributed in North and Mid Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire) for its description of A Set of Lies as historical fiction at its best, with separate storylines intricately woven over the centuries' with 'family mysteries, intrigue and a gripping storyline.'
Caroline Sanderson's Independent Author Preview chose A Set of Lies as her Historical Fiction choice for June 2015 in The Bookseller, THE magazine for bookshops and the book trade. In her editorial she states that 'the best self-published titles are fit in both content and presentation to stand spine to spine with their 'traditional' counterparts.' In her review of A Set of Lies she says 'This engrossing multi-generational historical novel explores the questions: what if the Battle of Waterloo had had a different outcome, and what if everything we thought we knew about Napoleon was wrong? In the present day, a storm leads Skye Lacey, the illegitimate daughter of a prominent right-wing politician, to a discovery that puts a large question mark over the traditionally accepted events of 19th century history. She realises that if she can prove her suspicions she can sabotage her father's extreme plans for the future of Britain. Skye explores the lives of six generations of the Lacey family and uncovers evidence which could mean the events of two centuries ago will impact on the present day.
(Note: Carolyn takes issue with one part of this. She does not question the outcome of the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon lost. What she does do in A Set of Lies is question what happened on and after 15th July 1815 when Napoleon gave himself up to the British.)
“I very much enjoyed A Set of Lies on a number of levels. First and foremost, it is a brilliant story, that I could hardly put down. Secondly it was, I felt, a very plausible plot; as with the best of alternative fiction (science fiction; alternate history), one piece of received wisdom is tweaked, and how that change unravels creates the story. The book could be described as an historical novel, dealing as it does with the lives of a family through the events of the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries. But it is also a good old detective story, this element being set in our own current century, and it does include a bit of romance, thus catering for aficionados of that genre too! All in all, I feel there is something for everyone in this book, but most important of all, it is a JOLLY GOOD READ, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.”JM, Cabo Roig, Spain
“A Wonderful read, stunningly fabricated... An epic of triumphs and tribulations of life... A recipe of indulgence to relish.”GJR, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex
“A fantastic page turner that kept me rapt until the last page.”DM, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight
“I've just finished reading 'A Set of Lies' (I don't get much time for reading these days, I'm afraid) and I loved it!! The whole story has such plausibility.”DT, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight
“A very clever and well constructed historical novel. I couldn't put it down". A MUST READ". It would make a great film.”BL, Ludlow, Shropshire
“What an excellent book. I didn't want to put it down. Brilliantly written and well researched.”RC, Witham, Essex
“The tale is well written, the cover bright and attractive and Carolyn McCrae has pieced together a fine and interesting novel.”Historical Novel Society
“A Set of Lies is an alternate historical novel based on an idea that Napoleon Bonaparte did not die in exile on the island of St. Helena.The story has a different take on the lead up to aftermath of the Battle of Waterloo and will be a fascinating read for anyone interested in family lineages and the happenings of around the Napoleonic wars. To find out why the conspiracy was undertaken, you’ll have to read the book!”S, On-line
Moving smoothly between the 1800’s and the present day and utilizing themes of family secrets, dangerous deceptions, conflicting loyalties as well as spotlighting the duplicitous political double talk and paranoia that has survived throughout the centuries we are transported back and forth in time as modern day historians attempt to unravel the secret chronicles compiled by Bernard Lacey and discovered quite by chance some 200 years later.P, On-line
Entering into this narrative and enjoying it does not depend on having an interest in Napoleon nor an in depth knowledge of history . This book should appeal to a plethora of readers since it is a richly imagined novel of ”what ifs” that reads like part biography, part family saga, part mystery and part modern romance. What more could you ask for?”
“An historical novel with a modern twist that reflects current political disquiet in our country today. There are flavours of spy networks and scheming by politicians, together with a family's struggle through time to know a secret. Very plausible and I'm sure Nigel Farage will enjoy it!!!”BP, On-line
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