> Skip to content
About the book
  • Published: 1 August 2012
  • ISBN: 9780099526421
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $32.99

Tides of War

Formats & editions

A sweeping epic set against the backdrop of Regency England and the battlefields of the Peninsular War

Newly-wed Harriet stands poised on the threshold of the adult world. Her husband, James, is setting off to join the Duke of Wellington’s troops in Spain. Left in London, Harriet is taken under the wing of Kitty, Lady Wellington. While the women are plunged into new worlds of politics, finance and science, the men face the bloody reality of the battlefield, testing their endurance to the hilt. There are betrayals on both sides, and at times it seems their love cannot endure. From the mantillas and palms of Seville to the gas lamps of foggy London, Tides of War carries us deep into the anguish of men at war and the taste of freedom offered to the women left behind. As Harriet and James pursue their destinies, facing hope and heartache in equal measure, this stunning novel returns us to the vivid, lost world of the past.

  • Pub date: 1 August 2012
  • ISBN: 9780099526421
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $32.99

About the Author

Stella Tillyard

Stella Tillyard is a writer and historian whose acclaimed biographies include Aristocrats, Citizen Lord and A Royal Affair. Her first novel, Tides of War, was longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012. She has lived in the USA and Italy and now lives in London.

Also by Stella Tillyard

See all

Praise for Tides of War

“Hugely enjoyable... Intelligent, classy, entertaining”

The Times

“Seldom, since reading Jane Austen, have I so wanted to slip between the pages of a book and become one of its characters… She makes fiction as real as history and considerably more compelling”

Lucy Kellaway, Financial Times

“Marvellous... Her descriptions are wonderful”

Sunday Times

“Tillyard perfectly inhabits her period... Gradually the plot's threads tighten to reveal a perfectly sprung novel”

Daily Telegraph

“Dazzling - I love this book. It's beautifully written, the characters are deeply involving and the historical settings are so right - in short, Tides of War is a triumph”

Simon Schama

“One of the most assured debuts in years...a modern novel that is the perfect answer to anyone who thinks the past is out of date”

Amanda Foreman, Financial Times

“Tides of War is elegantly written, with passages of verve and...poignancy”

Matthew Dennison, Independent

“A perfectly sprung novel of the sort that owes more to Hilary Mantel and David Mitchell than Patrick O'Brian or Bernard Cornwall”

Daily Telegraph

“Love, betrayal, war and peace charge this powerful debut”

Fanny Blake, Woman & Home

“Tillyard writes in fluid, largely understated prose and her descriptions are wonderful”

Lucy Atkins, Sunday Times

“Tillyard is a fluent and attractive chronicler of detail and some of her imaginative liberties are ingenious”

Jane Shilling, Sunday Telegraph

“This saga of lives swept up in the Peninsular War recalls Georgette Heyer at her best...impossible to put down”

Kate Saunders, Saga

“A thrilling romance brought to life with exquisite detail”


“A prodigious talent able to combine meticulous research with novelistic devices...there is much to enjoy and admire”

Norma Clarke, Times Literary Supplement

“Fluently written and impeccably researched”

The Lady


Easy Living

“It is time we stopped thinking of the historical novel as a genre, and an inferior one at that. If its ostensible subject matter means that it doesn't attempt to tell us how we live now, nevertheless a novel set back in time may, if it is good, say as much about what it is to be alive as one set in the next street or another country today. Tides of War is such a novel. It is diverting, but not a diversion”

The Spectator

“A well written, engaging read...beautifully observed”

History Today

“A vivid account of a couple of years in the Peninsula Campaign and a sympathetic portrait of those left behind”

Joanna Hines, Literary Review

“A delicious novel by an experienced author who captures the scientific atmosphere of the early 19th century with a devastating study of infidelity”

Colin Gardiner, Oxford Times

“The real life players of the Napoleonic era spring to life”



Big Issue

“Highly assured and almost educational with its broad sweep of history”

Jane Housham, Guardian

“Tillyard’s achievement is in this original portray log the Regency era and its relevance to our own time”

Philippa Williams, The Lady

“Hugely enjoyable... Intelligent, classy, entertaining”

Sunday Times

Related titles