THE QUARANT is now available for purchase. If you like your historical fiction underpinned by a resonant emotional, human story, check it out at your local bookshop, or online from Troubador or other online sellers.
I'm also delighted to share that my second novel, THE BROCH, is now expected to be published by Matador on 28 June, 2021.
I love all thing Italian and historical fiction is very much my genre
I loved this
The style of writing drew me in very quickly. I found the book an atmospheric, vivid read
by NetGalley review
Venice in the 14th Century. We follow the merchant Malin Le Cordier as he and his associates play a deadly political game with La Serenissima - the price of failure being exceedingly high, the chance of betrayal overwhelming. The story evolves over a period of forty days - the Quarant - or the period of time a merchant vessel arriving in Venice will spend in quarantine. We accompany the main characters through the highs and lows of their conspiracy, which culminates in the final, thrilling betrayal.
Bullen's attention to detail in describing both the physical and political landscape is superb, and we experience the sense of urgency as the characters do as we are propelled towards zero hour.
by NetGalley review
With everything that has happened in 2020, you might think it was the worst year ever. But it has been nothing compared to 1348 in Europe, and specifically for the city of Venice. That year began with a 6.9 magnitude earthquake across most of Italy. It triggered a Tsunami in the Adriatic that drained the Venice Lagoon before the massive wave crashed into the city, multiplying the earthquake's destruction and washing many citizens out to sea. Within days, the worst pandemic of all time arrived; after a few months, about a third of Venice's population had died of the Bubonic Plague.
In The Quarant, Graham Bullen has woven a fascinating tale of international intrigue into a background of divine destruction. Malin Le Cordier is a British maritime trader with a thriving business in Venice, recruited by the English Crown to help overthrow the Venetian government. Throughout his life, Malin's good character has earned him the trust and love of a circle of capable friends, and he has engaged some of them in the scheme. As the day chosen for their ultimate action approaches, they face increasing peril. A key co-conspirator disappears, and there is a risk he might expose them all under torture. Malin himself fends off an attempted assassination, yet the power behind these attacks remains in the shadows; it may not be the Doge and his Councils but an agent of revenge from Malin's past.
There are few rules in this game, and one never knows who they can trust. Businesses, reputations, and lives are at risk, with no guarantee of a happy ending. To survive, Malin needs help from his friends to reveal and unravel the threads of greed and hostility that tie their fates together. And even that might not be enough to avoid death in all its forms.
Bullen has done a masterful job of making the past feel real, and his descriptions of 14th Century Venice are immersive. For anyone who has had the opportunity to explore this timeless city, the calles and canals will seem so familiar that you'll easily picture yourself there.
Malin's backstory is told through flashbacks to his childhood in England, his escape to Antwerp and apprenticeship, maturation, then eventual recruitment into King Edward III's plot. We meet a rich tapestry of characters, events, and locales that would provide ample material for several engaging prequels.
The Quarant is an absorbing story of intrigue, a first-class spy novel with a wonderfully flawed hero and a solid storyline. The plot it describes is fictional yet plausible when placed within historical events. I loved it!
by NetGalley review
This novel is such an enjoyable and compelling read. I was captivated from the opening scene as Malin Le Cordier sails into the harbor in Venice realizing something is very wrong. Devastation is everywhere but this cannot subvert the secret mission he must complete that is going to change his world and the worlds of all he knows and loves.
Graham Bullen succeeds brilliantly in capturing the essence of Venice culture of the mid 14th century when the city-state was a preeminent global economic power. All of the characters are wonderfully complex and fully-developed. The plot is told artfully in real time and flashbacks that provide the motivation for the characters that are swept up in events much larger than anyone could have expected.
I highly recommend "The Quarant" and look forward to reading Graham's future offerings.
by Goodreads review
Intrigue and Adventure in 14th century Venice
Never having visited Venice I very much enjoyed this obviously well researched; and historically accurate account of Venice in 1348. We first meet Malin arriving in a city recently devastated by an earthquake and tsunami. The aftermath of which adds to the atmosphere, intrigue and intensity that arise as his plans, to secure a coup on behalf of Edward the Third, are met with unexpected obstacles.
It is also a great story of secrets, friendship, love and loyalty. A great read.
by Jools Lambert
Graham spent the thirty-plus years of his working life in the oil and gas industry, first as a librarian and information manager and then as a business improvement and leadership coach.
In 2011, he and his wife Joanne relocated to the North West Scottish Highlands, after spells living and working in Aberdeen and London, and now live on the shores of Loch Ness.
He is interested in pursuing themes of fatherhood, from the persecutive of both fathers and children, and the range of profoundly toxic or benign impacts this can have on individuals lives. He also likes to search for and depict the humour, dark or otherwise, inherent in peoples struggles to make sense of their lives and their place in the world around them. Redemption through love, and the yearnings that emerge when love is thwarted or not fully embraced, are also recurring themes.