Another milestone ...

Managed to complete another manuscript today, a story set in the latter part of the Napoleonic War in an around the Baltic. It's been quite an interesting one to write for a number of reasons, not least being the historical background to the tale. The Baltic campaigns between 1808 and 1812 were pivotal to the outcome of the Napoleonic War. Had Napoleon succeeded in holding together the alliances which prevented the import of British manufactured goods into Europe and the export to Britain of vital shipbuilding timbers, Britain would have lost the war.

In fact, they came very close to total economic collapse. Before 1808, Britain's trade with the Baltic area was worth some £43 million per year. After the Treaty of Tilsit in 1808, the blockade steadily reduced the trade until it dropped below £5 million a year. At this point the British were forced to introduce "Deficit Budgeting" - with the government printing money it didn't have the cash to back. The legacy of this is still with us, on bank notes which are actually "Promissary Notes" and carry the statement "I promise to pay the bearer on demand ..." and signed by the Secretary to the Bank of England. It is also with us in the manner in which all western governments now budget for their activities - borrowing against the taxes they hope to collect ...

Britain was saved by the rivalries and the ambitions of the various royal families and by Napoleon's own ambition. That and the fact that his imposition of his brother as King of Spain, caused the Spanish to revolt. Wellington's successes drained the French at a moment when Napoleon decided to stamp on the Tsar - and lost to the Russian winter.

Through it all the Royal Navy fought a difficult and successful campaign against gunboats, privateers and fixed fortresses. This is the background against which I have set a romatic historical novel ... 

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