Graham Shelby


Gra­ham Shel­by (18 Sep­tem­ber 1939 – 20 Decem­ber 2016) was a British his­tor­i­cal nov­el­ist. He worked as a copy­writer and book-review­er before embark­ing on a series of his­tor­i­cal nov­els, sev­er­al of which are set in the twelfth cen­tu­ry.

List of works

  • The Knights of Dark Renown (1969), set in the King­dom of Jerusalem dur­ing the reigns of Bald­win IV, Bald­win V and Queen Sibyl­la, major­ing on the real-life knights Balian of Ibelin, Rey­nald of Châtil­lon and their arch-ene­my Sal­adin.
  • The Kings of Vain Intent (1970), sequel to the above, deal­ing with the Third Cru­sade, depict­ing Con­rad of Mont­fer­rat as the vil­lain: the US edi­tion con­tains an addi­tion­al chap­ter.
  • The Vil­lains of the Piece (1972) (pub­lished in the US as The Oath and the Sword),is set in an Eng­land racked by anar­chy and civ­il war. It tells of the con­flict between King Stephen and Empress Matil­da .
  • The Dev­il is Loose (1973), is about a rise to pow­er of Richard the Lion­heart and his broth­er John, with the King of France play­ing off one against the oth­er. And the great mod­el of chival­ry, William Mar­shal who remained unswerv­ing­ly loy­al to each of the Angevin kings.
  • The Wolf at the Door (1975), a sequel to the above, fol­low­ing the for­tunes and mis­for­tunes of King John, and the con­tin­u­ing sto­ry of William Mar­shal.
  • The Can­n­aways (1978), First of two books about a fic­tion­al fam­i­ly of 18th cen­tu­ry coach builders in Wilt­shire, tells of the picaresque adven­tures of Bry­dd Can­n­away and his trav­els through Europe to Vien­na.
  • The Can­n­away Con­cern (1980), a sequel to the above, fol­low­ing the sto­ry of Brydd’s daugh­ter, Char­lotte, and her involve­ment with the dash­ing sea cap­tain, Matcham Lodge, and the Jaco­bites.
  • The Edge of the Blade (1986). A fic­tion­al sto­ry about Bay­nard Falkan and his trav­els to the Holy Land at the time of the Third Cru­sade to deliv­er trea­sure to the Cause, and win the hand of the beau­ti­ful Chris­tiane de Mag­nat-Vaul­mi­er.
  • Demand the World (1990), The true sto­ry of Elisa Lynch who escaped pover­ty and the rav­ages of the Irish famine to become the mis­tress of Latin America’s most pow­er­ful dic­ta­tor, Solano Lopez.
  • Colum­bus (1970) Writ­ten under the name of James Gant. A nov­elised biog­ra­phy of the famous explor­er.
  • The Besieged (1972) Also under the name of James Gant, tells the sto­ry of Jew­ish resis­tance to the yoke of Rome, cul­mi­nat­ing in the siege and mas­sacre at Masa­da in AD 72.
  • New Blood (1981) Under the name of Richard Salem, a hor­ror sto­ry set in the US where an appar­ent­ly peace­ful rur­al town hides a hideous secret.


The Knights of Dark Renown and The Kings of Vain Intent were trans­lat­ed into Ger­man as Rit­ter der Fin­ster­n­is in 1975, and The Dev­il is Loose and The Wolf at the Door as Der ertrink­ende Eber in 1980.

All four nov­els were trans­lat­ed into Hun­gar­i­an as Sotet Lovagok ; Hiu Kira­lyok and A Satan Szet­torte Lan­cat ; Farkas a Kertek Alatt in 1983.

The Edge of the Blade was trans­lat­ed into Hun­gar­i­an as A Penge Ele in 1991.

Demand the World was trans­lat­ed into Span­ish as El Fuego de una Vida in 1992.

New Blood was trans­lat­ed into Hun­gar­i­an, appear­ing as a 5-part ser­i­al in Rake­ta Mag­a­zine, Budapest in 1985 as Friss Ver.

Blood Let (by Richard Salem) was unpub­lished in Eng­lish, but appeared in Hun­gar­i­an as a 4-part ser­i­al in Rake­ta Mag­a­zine, Budapest in 1989 as Kion­tott Ver.



Lask, Thomas (July 16, 1971). “Fire and Sword in Pales­tine (review)”. New York Times. Retrieved 1 June 2011. The theme of Gra­ham Shelby’s supe­ri­or his­tor­i­cal fic­tion is found in its title. …


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