Spies, Sadists and Sorcerers


AMAZON History No. 1 Bestseller

“Brilliantly fun”     “Insightful”     “Intriguing”


Spies, Sadists and Sorcerers unveils the history you were never taught at school.

With a breath-taking sweep spanning Rome to the modern day, popular historian and author Dominic Selwood challenges the traditional version of some of the best-known events of the past.

From ancient Christianity to the voyages of Columbus, and from the medieval Crusades to ISIS and the modern Middle East, this book debunks dozens of historical myths.

You will learn that:

  • Magna Carta was an infamous failure in medieval times
  • Richard the Lionheart was a cruel and dreadful king
  • The Knights Templar were heretical, and have left a genuinely baffling mystery
  • The painter of the Turin Shroud was found in the 1300s
  • Christopher Columbus never saw North America
  • The first computer coder was a woman, a century before Alan Turing
  • The man who unleashed mustard gas in the World War One trenches won the Nobel Prize for chemistry
  • One incredible Spanish spy saved D-Day

This book will challenge everything you think you know about history.

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“A brilliantly fun and informative read. Dominic Selwood has taken the juiciest bits of history from the past two thousand years and put them together in one marvellous volume. Selwood is a rare blend of insightful historian and thrilling writer. Cracking along at a breakneck pace reminiscent of Dan Brown, SPIES, SADISTS AND SORCERERS is as perfect for the beach as it is for serious historical background reading.”
CLAUDIA GOLD, author of
The King’s Mistress: The True and Scandalous Story of the Woman Who Stole the Heart of George I and Women Who Ruled: History’s 50 Most Remarkable Women

“In an intriguing collection of essays, Spies, Sadists and Sorcerers dares to break rank and expose lies, debunk myths and set the record straight about English history from Roman times to the present day.”

“Dominic Selwood dives into the most fascinating (and controversial) historical topics and succeeds in bringing fresh insights and stringent clarity to some of the most baffling mysteries of the last 2,000 years, often overturning conventional wisdom. This book made me wince, laugh, groan and cheer. It’s a fantastic read for any lover of history.”
NANCY BILYEAU, author of the award-winning Tudor series:  
The Crown, The Chalice and The Tapestry

About the Author

Dominic Selwood is a historian who writes for The Daily Telegraph, the UK’s top-selling broadsheet newspaper. He was awarded his masters in history from the Sorbonne in Paris and his doctorate from Oxford. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. His previous books include Knights of the Cloister, a university textbook on the Knights Templar, and The Sword of Moses, an Amazon bestselling historical crypto-thriller.