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Terry Deary: I'm excited by my Horrible History books ... and millions of kids are too

By Linda Stewart

He's the irreverent writer responsible for luring our kids into a morbid fascination with the gory side of history.

And now the Belfast Telegraph is offering all readers a free book by Horrible Histories author Terry Deary.

The fascinating stories range from a tale about Neria, who is too squeamish to mummify the pharaoh's cat, to cabin boy Tom, who is accompanying Sir Francis Drake on his mission to steal gold from the Spanish fleet.

In The Sword of the Viking King, Ethelbert yearns to fight for his country and the War Game reveals the heart-warming tale of how a veteran soldier and a young recruit in the trenches of Flanders in 1914 end up playing football with their enemies. The famous author told the Belfast Telegraph that he started off as a professional actor who wrote scripts for his theatre company and became an author after turning those scripts into children's novels.

"After 50 novels and 15 years of writing I was commissioned to write a series of funny history books, so Horrible Histories was born," he said.

"Rather than random facts and jokes, the books have developed so they tell a more coherent story of a history topic. They've become less of a collection of trivia and more of a narrative story."

He says children are drawn into a fascination with history because he is a children's fiction author rather than an historian.

"My author-voice is not like a teacher - 'I know about history and you don't - sit down and shut up while I tell you something'."

"I am excited by the things I discover and that comes across in the Horrible Histories books. My author voice is, 'Hey! You'll never guess what I've found out about history…'" Terry says he gets a lot of feedback from readers, many of whom thank him for stimulating their interest in history. "The weird letters I get are from students who say I'm responsible for their studying history at university. I never meant that to happen!

"Many are from Northern Ireland. Parents credit me with interesting their child in reading books - not just history."

To claim your free Terry Deary book, published by Bloomsbury, just mention it to your newsagent when you buy your copy of the Belfast Telegraph today, Friday January 9. Books include The Magic and the Mummy, The Pirate Lord, The Sword of the Viking King and The War Game.

Free book offer

We hope you enjoy the free children's book with today's Belfast Telegraph. There are four different titles to choose from. To collect all four buy four newspapers for your friends and family.

If you have any queries or difficulties obtaining your free book please call us on 0800 028 1909.

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