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The dangers of carrots

Updated: May 17

One of the many tricky things about writing historical fiction is that your words are always liable to trip you up with some anachronism or other. On the other hand, double-checking everything can be a fun sport in itself.

For instance, while editing The Trail of Blood, I learnt that the phrase “a piece of cake” only dated to 1936 (I went for “child’s play” instead – which has been used since the 1300s). Likewise, I found that the North Sea was formerly known as the German Ocean. And my favourite discovery was that carrots only came to Britain in the mid-1500s and were originally purple – so the two men that Antoine searches for, at the Hallowe’en festivities, had to be described as having hair like a fox.

Woodcut of bunch of carrots

Of course, I’m hoping to have avoided any real clangers but if you spot any remaining errors, let me know and I’ll investigate (a word that just sneaks into The Trail of Blood, as it was first used in 1510).

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