Evening all.  I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am to be on this blog tour!!  Today, I’m super delighted and honoured to be bringing you a review of The Tale of the Tailor and the Three Dead Kings by the amazing Dan Jones.  This is a brilliant, retelling of a creepy medieval ghost story – absolutely perfect for this time of year!

about the book

Title: The Tale of the Tailor and the Three Dead Kings
Author: Dan Jones
Genre: A medieval ghost story
Estimated page count: 96
Formats available: Hardback, Audiobook and eBook
Publisher: Head of Zeus (14 Oct. 2021)
Tour organised by: Head of Zeus

A chilling medieval ghost story, retold by bestselling historian Dan Jones. Published in a beautiful small-format hardback, perfect as a Halloween read or a Christmas gift.

One winter, in the dark days of King Richard II, a tailor was riding home on the road from Gilling to Ampleforth. It was dank, wet and gloomy; he couldn’t wait to get home and sit in front of a blazing fire.

Then, out of nowhere, the tailor is knocked off his horse by a raven, who then transforms into a hideous dog, his mouth writhing with its own innards. The dog issues the tailor with a warning: he must go to a priest and ask for absolution and return to the road, or else there will be consequences…

First recorded in the early fifteenth century by an unknown monk, The Tale of the Tailor and the Three Dead Kings was transcribed from the Latin by the great medievalist M.R. James in 1922. Building on that tradition, now bestselling historian Dan Jones retells this medieval ghost story in crisp and creepy prose.

my thoughts

I absolutely love this! As a history student and an avid lover of all things creepy, this is perfect for me! AND not only that, it’s a retelling by one of my favourite historians – could it get any better?!

So first off…..the history part – the introduction gives a fantastic background to where the original story was found (in a 15th century manuscript), who it was written by (a monk), how it was later discovered and translated from latin, and Dan’s thoughts on why the stories were written in the manuscript.  Also at the end of the book, he gives some information on Byland Abbey and also provides the latin text version of the story, which I think is fab!  The information is all clearly well researched and thoroughly interesting, and definitely got me thinking about original old ghost stories!

The story itself is about a tailor called Snowball who gets knocked off his horse by a raven, who transforms into a monstrous dog and sets him off on mission.  If he fails in his mission, there will be dire consequences.  The story follows him as he tries to accomplish his task – but will he be successful and what is the outcome?

The story is creepy and hideous in places and perfect for Halloween.  If you love a ghost story then you will like this, and the ‘old’ element adds even more to it.  The book itself is gorgeous and will most definitely make a fabulous gift for someone (or a great addition to your own bookshelf!).  So if you’re looking for something creepy to read this Halloween, or a spooky little Christmas gift for someone, then this could be perfect.  Highly recommended by me.

about the author

Dan Jones is a historian, broadcaster and award-winning journalist. His books, including The Templars, Crusaders and, with Marina Amaral, The Colour of Time and The World Aflame, have sold more than one million copies worldwide. He has written and hosted dozens of TV shows including the acclaimed Netflix/Channel 5 series, Secrets of Great British Castles. His writing has appeared in newspapers and magazines including the London Evening Standard, Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, Wall Street Journal, GQ and the Spectator.


‘A historian who writes as addictively as any page-turning novelist’ Observer (on The Templars).

‘A gripping page-turner … Genuinely moving and a chilling contemporary warning about the abuse of power through persecution and lies’ Philippa Gregory (on The Templars).

‘Dan Jones has a terrific eye for humanising stories and telling details … His book is packed with moments that make you stop in your tracks’ Telegraph (on A Realm Divided).

‘Each Dan Jones book is impressively researched and beautifully written. He’s a passionate writer, a rumbustious knight who loves his own literary crusade’ The Times .

‘Voyages, battles, sieges and slaughter: a dramatic history that brings the Crusades to fresh and compelling life’ Sunday Times (on Crusaders)

follow the tour

Thanks so much to Head of Zeus for my invite to the tour, and to Dan and HoZ for my copy.  All views and opinions are my own.

Have an absolutely wonderful evening everyone

Chelle x

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