On the one hand, I feel like I did a stunning amount of research for Midnight Never Come; on the other hand, from “proposal accepted” to “finished draft” was a whopping 134 days. So while it’s true that I did a nosedive into the Elizabethan era and didn’t come up for air until four months later, I can’t hold a candle to those historical novelists who spend years researching their periods.

However I measure up, I certainly did accumulate a fair stack of books while producing my own. Since the research I did might be useful to other people, here’s my bibliography, as complete as I can make it, with links to the posts I made evaluating some of the titles. I didn’t read all these cover-to-cover — some of them I only dipped into for a few facts — but I might as well list them all.

my research shelves for MIDNIGHT NEVER COMEThe Elizabethan period

Faerie lore

London books



Other topics

  • Brodie, R.H., ed. Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII.
  • Collins, Arthur, ed. Letters and Memorials of State in the Reigns of Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, King James, King Charles the First, Part of the Reign of King Charles the Second, and Oliver’s Usurpation. Vol. I.
  • Cowie, Leonard W. The Reformation of the Sixteenth Century.
  • David, Paul K. 100 Decisive Battles: From Ancient Times to the Present.
  • Dutton, Ralph. English Court Life, From Henry VII to George II.
  • Gamini, Salgado. The Elizabethan Underworld.
  • Grosek, Edward. The Secret Treaties of History.
  • Haynes, Alan. Elizabethan Secret Services.
  • Haynes, Alan. Sex in Elizabethan England.
  • Mueller, Janel and Leah S. Marcus. Elizabeth I: Autograph Compositions and Foreign Language Originals.
  • Page, Sophie. Astrology in Medieval Manuscripts.
  • Peacock, John. Costume 1066-1990s: A Complete Guide to English Costume Design and History.
  • Simkin, Stevie. A Preface to Marlowe.
  • Singh, Simon. The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography.
  • Starkey, David, ed. The English Court: From the Wars of the Roses to the Civil War.
  • Tighe, W. I. The Gentlemen Pensioners in Elizabethan Politics and Government.
  • Yates, Francis. The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age.
  • Yates, Francis. The Rosicrucian Enlightenment.

Period literature

  • Abrams, M. H. et al. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume 1.
  • Castiglione, Baldesar. The Book of the Courtier. Trans. Daniel Singleton.
  • Dee, John. The private diary of Mr. John Dee, and the catalogue of his library of manuscripts. ed. James Orchard Halliwell.
  • Dowland, John. The third and last booke of songs or aires.
  • Kyd, Thomas. The Spanish Tragedy.
  • Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince. Trans. N.H. Thomson.
  • Marlowe, Christopher. Dr. Faustus.
  • Sidney, Philip. The Complete Works of Sir Philip Sidney.
  • Spenser, Edmund. The Faerie Queene.

Plus a variety of online resources. Chief among those, I should name two: the Oxford English Dictionary and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. The latter is easy to explain; it’s a who’s who of everybody who was anybody in English history, and it meant that I had one localized online resource to turn to for chronological information, that (unlike Wikipedia) I could trust without question. The OED came in handy because, while I certainly didn’t attempt to write the novel in Elizabethan English, I did try to make sure I didn’t use anachronistic terms; the historical quotations in the OED allowed me to check whether certain words had come into usage yet. (If you catch me out somewhere in the book, let me know; maybe someday I’ll fix it.) I’d link to those, but I only have access to them via my university login.

I also made use of “Elizabeth’s Household,” a bachelor’s thesis in history by someone named Sara Batty; I have no idea how I came across it, but it gave me a good sense of the servant-side machinery that propped up the royal court. The NASA website provided sixteenth-century astronomical information for a particular flashback scene, while a program called Stellarium allowed me to work out — I kid you not — the phases of the moon in 1590. (Did I need to do that? No. But my fiancè was playing around with it, and I asked him to check. Because I could.) I know those aren’t the only electronic resources I used — for example, there were a couple of webpages about a certain earthquake, that I never bookmarked; also an online copy of Henry VIII’s Act of Succession — but they’re the major ones that spring to mind. Oh, and a nifty little UNIX widget that let me match dates to days of the week, and to figure out when Easter fell in 1590.

(Oh, yeah, and I made that week-long research trip to London.)

. . . you know, now that I’ve compiled this entire list, I take back the modesty I started it with. I did do a crap-ton of research. If it’s not as much as other people have done, that only proves that other people had more time.