Populism, fake news, independence - sound familiar?

If you read Colchester author Michael Dean’s new book, you will realise these are things that are definitely not new.

For his latest work the historical novelist has brought to life the uprisings which eventually led to the American War of Independence.

Michael says: “I really wanted to write a book about a revolution and how it happens. Currently populism is in a lot of people’s minds, including mine, and this was the first populist revolution and arguably the most influential.”

Set in Boston and London over 16 years, True Freedom, A Novel is a panoramic account of how America came to fight Britain for its freedom in the 18th century.

The scene is set through vignettes about the people and events that shaped history.

Thomas Hutchinson, sixth generation of Boston aristocracy, whose wealth is seemingly unassailable. Self-taught medical doctor Thomas Young, an idealist, meeting his hero Samuel Adams who is determined to have his revolution. Their Sons of Liberty and Mohucks play a key role in the uprising, all the time supported from London by the radical politician John Wilkes.

He adds: “Many of the features of later revolutions began with the American one like the celebration of martyrs and the rallying of the mob. I decided to stop at the start of the war because I was interested in our it all began.”

Michael is now the author of more than 30 books.

Born in Chingford and raised in Walthamstow, he read history at Worcester College, Oxford, before taking an MSc in applied linguistics at Edinburgh University.

A fluent German speaker, it was Michael’s time spent in Germany during the Seventies that led to a career in writing text books for English Language Teaching.

Moving to Colchester in 1979, he has written more than 30 books for publishers such as Longman and Oxford University Press. He has even translated novels including Memoirs of a Geisha and 1984 into German for Penguin ELT.

As with his previous works, Michael spent many months meticulously researching his topic.

“I suspect I must have read about a hundred books,” he smiles, “and around 50 academic articles. There’s something rather wonderful when you come across a snippet of history which you know is going to play out so well in a story, usually a relationship, and there were plenty of gifts with this book, like Lord North and George III, and the Pownall brothers, Thomas and John, who had very different views of America.

“I call my books fictionalised history. Where there isn’t a record of it, I’ve made it up, so when you have a pair like Thomas and John to work from, those relationships really do jump off the page.”

True Freedom is out now published by Holland Press priced £10.99.