Actual history...as opposed to the kind taught in schools, is extremely enlightening and, usually, rather surprising. Whoever write history textbooks must be stupid, lazy, deluded, or bribed.
In another of BBC’s excellent programs, I learned something interesting today: Dublin, Ireland, was founded by Vikings in 700 something as a slave-trading outpost. I’m not sure if current-day Dublin has progressed or digressed in stature/usefulness. Even if slavery was outlawed at some point during the next 1000 (!) years, many Irish folks ended up slaving away at low-paying, dirty, and unglamorous jobs around the world and even at home, under the heel of English landowners...who treated the locals as no better than slaves.
I also learned something that will not make Vladimir Putin happy: the name Russia (Rossiya) comes from Ros, which was Turkish for people from the north: what they called Viking traders that made it to Constantinople.
I learned much more, but that’s enough tidbits...
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.