I've written three legal thrillers about a tough British barrister called Sarah Newby, and I'm currently writing a fourth. Some readers have kindly compared these books to the works of John Grisham and Scott Turow. The second book in the series, A Fatal Verdict, was awarded a B.R.A.G Medallion for an outstanding independent novel, and the third, Bold Counsel, was awarded the Awesome Indies Seal of Excellence. The first two books, A Game of Proof, and A Fatal Verdict, are also available as audiobooks, read by Susan Edmonds.
I've also published four historical novels. Nobody's Slave, a novel about the Elizabethan slave trade, won first prize in the young adult category of the Kindle Book Review Kindle Book Awards 2014.
Two of the other historical novels, Cat & Mouse and The Blood Upon the Rose, are set in the same historical period as the British TV series Downton Abbey. The third, The Monmouth Summer is set during a Protestant rebellion in seventeenth century England. These three books are all published individually, but are also available as a three-novel boxed set called Women of Courage.
As a university teacher I also wrote textbooks and about twenty graded readers for foreign learners of English in the Oxford Bookworms series, published by Oxford University Press, two of which, Titanic and The Everest Story, won awards from the Extensive Reading Foundation in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
I live in the English countryside, near York. I have recently retired, so my main activity apart from writing is cycling, swimming, and taking our small hyper-active dog for a 'walk'. (I walk 2 miles, she runs 20!) I also have two horses, two cats, and two grandchildren, but only 1 wife, to whom I have been happily married for more years than I can remember.
A Game of Proof
A Fatal Verdict
The Blood Upon the Rose
Cat and Mouse
The Monmouth Summer
Women of Courage
crime fiction/ legal thriller
A mother’s worst nightmare – can her own son be guilty of murder? And if she thinks he is, what should she do?
Sarah Newby became pregnant in the back of a Ford Cortina at the age of 15. Abandoned by her brutal husband, she left school to bring up her son as a single parent on one of the worst council estates in Leeds. From this disastrous beginning she has worked her way up, by sheer strength of character, to begin a career as a criminal barrister.
At first she enjoys her daily battles in the courtroom. She sees each trial as a game – a game of proof – which she plays to win.
But just as her career is beginning to take off, her own son, Simon, is arrested and charged with a series of brutal rapes and murders. Despite all Sarah’s efforts, it seems he is following in the footsteps of his callous father. Sarah longs to believe her son is innocent, but what should she do when she herself finds evidence of his guilt? Should she protect him and destroy her career, or respect the truth and hand him over to the police?
How can Sarah – a brilliant lawyer – find her way out of this trap?
‘A top class British legal thriller. It puts the author up there with his American counterparts, John Grisham, Scott Turow and Michael Connolly.’ Tim Kevan, barrister and author.
crime fiction/ legal thriller
What would you do if someone murdered your child, but the justice system let you down?
Kathryn Walters faces this dreadful decision when her daughter, Shelley, is found dead in a bath in her boyfriend’s flat. Despite the best efforts of the Crown Prosecution barrister, Sarah Newby, it seems likely that the boyfriend, David Kidd, will be acquitted. How can her family tolerate this? And how should the investigating detective, Terry Bateson, act when he finds the murdered girl’s mother seeking revenge – on the man he is sure killed her daughter, despite what the jury says?
And how can Sarah Newby defend a client who is not only reluctant to give evidence on her own behalf, but also refuses to explain why she chose Sarah to defend her in the first place.
How satisfying is revenge? Can it ever bring peace of mind? Read A Fatal Verdict to find out.
‘Excellent … very satisfying.’ Sarah Burns for the Kindle Book Review.
'This was one of the most thrilling page-turners I’ve read for some time … enough suspense to satisfy the most dedicated crime reader.’ Award-winning crime writer Chris Longmuir.
This book is a 2012 B.R.A.G Medallion Honoree
crime fiction/legal thriller
When barrister Sarah Newby presents her first case in the British Court of Criminal Appeal, it seems her career is looking up.
But at the same time her marriage hits the rocks, and to the despair of her former admirer Detective Inspector Terry Bateson, Sarah embarks on an affair with a handsome property developer, Michael Parker. All goes well at first, but then a body is discovered in one of Michael’s cottages. As Terry Bateson investigates this crime, his suspicions fall upon Michael. But is Terry just jealous, or is Sarah’s new lover really a murderer?
In this book, the third legal thriller in Tim Vicary’s best-selling series The Trials of Sarah Newby, danger threatens not just the police and criminals, but the lawyer Sarah Newby herself.
‘Tim Vicary’s books are simply outstanding …. why is it that the name Tim Vicary is not yet seen alongside the likes of John Grisham? I cannot recommend this book more highly.’ John Bartlett, Author of Chequered Justice.
‘All in all, a very satisfying trilogy of books’ Sarah Burns ~ Kindle Book Review
This award-winning historical novel won first prize in the Kindle Book Awards 2014
Two boys meet on a voyage which transforms both their lives.
Madu, a young African boy kills his first leopard and hopes to become a warrior. But his life is transformed by the arrival of Queen Elizabeth’s slave-trader, John Hawkins. Tom Oakley is a sailor in charge of the slaves on John Hawkins’ ship. When the boys first meet they hate each other. But as the story develops their roles are reversed, and each comes to depend on the other more than either would have once thought possible.
This is a work of fiction but all the historical events in the book are true. It’s a story of African and English history as you never learned it in school!
I almost think that this book should be taught in the high schools as it gives such a human “face” to slavery in Africa and at the hands of the English.’ Brenda Maxwell, LibraryThing.
‘The story was amazing and I choked up more than once and kept turning the pages as fast as I could. Definitely recommended to fans of historical fiction, or anyone who enjoys an intense and fulfilling read.’ Stacy Decker, Shelfari.
Won first prize in the Kindle Book Awards 2014
historical fiction/historical thriller
The Blood Upon the Rose is a dramatic historical novel of love, death and divided loyalties set in Ireland in 1919, the last years of British rule.
In a bitter war of terror and counter-terrorism, the British government is pitted against the IRA leader, Michael Collins. A young, beautiful heiress, Catherine O’Connell-Gort, is torn between loyalty to her father, a colonel in the British Army, and her belief in Irish freedom. Catherine is secretly in love with a young IRA volunteer, Sean Brennan, but her father insists that she marries a battle-scarred British war hero, Major Andrew Butler, whom he has recruited to assassinate Michael Collins.
This is a tragic tale of love and terror, based upon real events.
‘The Blood Upon the Rose is a masterfully written historical romance … I enjoyed this book so much, I look forward to reading it a second time.’ Alle Wells, author of Railroad Man.
‘This is one of the most poignant love stories I have ever read … Make no doubt about it, Tim Vicary is a master of his craft. His prose is fluent and beautiful, his characterisation superb, his plots perfectly structured and paced.’ Jenny Twist, author of Domingo’s Angel.
‘Tim Vicary writes well. He has mastered the history of the period, empathises with problem, race, and place, and strings the whole thing together in a quite creditable airport-compatible entertainment in the style of Archer, Seymour, and Uris.' Tim Pat Coogan, The Irish Times.
historical fiction/historical thriller
Set in Ireland and London in 1914, Cat and Mouse is the story of two sisters fighting for their ideals in the turbulent months before the outbreak of war.
When Sarah Becket, a militant suffragette and ally of Mrs Pankhurst, discovers that her own husband, a respected Liberal MP, is involved in a scandalous prostitution racket, she is devastated. Still weak from imprisonment herself, she takes a knife from her kitchen and goes out into London’s West End, determined to protest for women’s rights in the most dramatic way she can.
Across the Irish sea, her younger sister, Deborah Cavendish, is lonely and unloved. When her husband returns home to join the Ulster Volunteers, she faces an agonizing dilemma – the choice between James Rankin, the trade union leader who she thinks can give her the love her husband has denied her, and the respect of her beloved son. When she goes to her sister’s aid, the two women find themselves embroiled a struggle to expose male corruption and prevent civil war in Ireland.
Praise for Cat and Mouse.
‘A gripping novel … which blends authentic history with sexy fiction.’ Daily Express.
‘This book is set in a very interesting window of history, the struggles of which led to the introduction of many social and political changes. It tackles topics such as famine, poverty, poor working conditions, industrial action, hunger strikes, child prostitution and the often hypocritical state of the Edwardian society marriage. All of these historical events are skillfully put into the mix of the story which provides something for everyone: riots, romance, mystery, intrigue and crime all the while depicting lies, deception, betrayal and political struggles complete with a climatic ending – what more could you want from a novel?’ Andria Saxelby for the Kindle Book Review.
A dramatic historical novel about love, rebellion and courage.
In 1685 James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, landed in Lyme Regis to lead a Protestant rebellion against his Catholic uncle, James II.
For 18 year old Ann Carter, her father Adam, and the Protestant villagers of Colyton in Devon, this event turned their world upside down. Adam, trembling with fear, marches to war, while Ann is torn between loyalty to her father and love for a Royalist officer. After the terrible battle of Sedgemoor, father and daughter struggle to escape the vengeance of King James’s cruel Judge Jeffries.
This is historical fiction based on real events and careful research.
‘A masterpiece. It was as if I could hear the musket shots in my ears.’ Samantha J. Morris.
‘I unhesitatingly recommend it.’ Darlene E. Williams, Historical Fiction Review.
If you like historical fiction, why not buy Cat and Mouse, The Blood Upon the Rose, and The Monmouth Summer, all in one boxed set?
A long summer of reading, three historical novels for the price of one!
These three books are very different but they have one thing in common: they are all about women who lived through dramatic periods in history, and showed great courage in fighting for what they believed to be right. All three books are works of fiction, but they are all based on careful historical research. Most of the historical events in them really did happen, more or less exactly as I describe. So although my three heroines – Sarah Becket, Catherine O’Connell-Gort, and Ann Carter – are creatures of my imagination, women very like Sarah, Catherine, and Ann, actually lived through these dramatic events; which is what led me to imagine, if I could, how they really looked and felt and acted, and to tell their stories as well as I could.
I live in the English countryside in the north of England, and have recently retired after working for many years as a lecturer at the Norwegian Study Centre at the university of York. In this job I co-wrote several textbooks for Norwegian schools, and many graded readers for foreign learners of English, published by Oxford University Press. To my delight these short, carefully edited books still sell well all over the world, and writing them gave me lots of practice in how to tell a good story in clear, simple English.
So when I came to write the first of my series of legal thrillers, a book called A Game of Proof, I tried to use a similar style – fairly short, clear sentences, so that the story is easy to read and understand. A Game of Proof is the first of three books (so far) in a series of legal thrillers about a barrister called Sarah Newby. Sarah Newby is partly modelled on a real barrister who I read about in the Daily Mail one day: like Sarah, this lady started life as single mother on a poor council estate in the north of England, and with sheer determination dragged herself up by her bootstraps to go through the Inns of Court and become a successful criminal barrister. It wasn’t easy, not at all. There were lots of trials and pitfalls along the way, and my heroine, Sarah Newby faces them all.
That’s why I called the series The Trials of Sarah Newby: it’s not just that she earns her living by fighting and winning trials in the criminal courts; she also faces many trials in her own life, which are tough and emotionally draining. She’s not a particularly likeable character, Sarah Newby, but I admire her. I guess I’m attracted to difficult, opinionated women! My favourite review of A Game of Proof was written by another tough lady, a former American murder detective called Suzy Ivy. She wrote:
‘I sometimes didn’t like Sarah Newby and other times I loved her.’
That’s how I feel about her too: she’s prickly, awkward, aggressive, stubborn, difficult , determined – but her heart’s in the right place, and that’s why I love writing about her. (You can hear just how difficult she is on the audiobooks, too, read by Susan Edmonds)
I have always been interested in history, which I studied at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and I love reading historical novels, so I decided to try writing my own. The first book, The Monmouth Summer, was inspired by a wonderful school play which I saw in Colyton, Devon, about a rebellion against the Catholic King James II in 1685. The more I learned about this tragic rebellion, the more I was moved by the courage of these ordinary villagers, misled and betrayed as they were by the hopeless ambition of the King’s bastard son, the duke of Monmouth, and I focussed my tale around a young woman, Ann Carter, and her father Adam. Both came from the village of Colyton, where I saw that inspirational school play.
Part of my job at York university involved teaching – and therefore learning about – the tragic conflict between Britain and Ireland which dates back over so many centuries. Much of my reading focussed upon the extraordinary early years of the twentieth century, when Ireland finally became divided and partially separated from Britain. But this was only one of many dramatic events which were turning the world upside down at this time: there was a world war, the collapse of four empires, the first communist revolution, and the rise of militant suffragettes – brave women battling for the right to vote. My attempts to imagine what it must have been like to live through these turbulent times led to two more historical novels,The Blood Upon the Rose andCat & Mouse.
In these books, as in The Monmouth Summer, I found myself imagining the story more through the eyes of women than men, and so, although it is still possible to buy the books separately, I have recently reissued the three books together as an ebook box set, entitled Women of Courage.
My fourth historical novel, however, Nobody’s Slave, is a story of two young boys, one African and one English, involved in the transatlantic slave trade during the time of Queen Elizabeth I. This book can be read by anyone, of course, but it’s particularly aimed at younger readers of historical fiction – the sort of teenager I was myself, once – so I was particularly delighted when it won a prize – first prize in the young adult category of the Kindle Book Award 2014.