Historical Fiction

My first historical novel, As the Sparks Fly Upwards, is the start of a series of books following the life of Tom Tyler.


I’ve always been interested in history and as I’ve learnt about Poole’s past whilst living here for over 25 years, I’ve became fascinated with what took place in this part of the country during the English Civil Wars in the 17th Century. No major battles happened here, but what adventure and intrigue there was. It seemed to me that there were some really good stories to share and to create about that time. And so the story of my hero Tom Tyler started to come alive.


As the Sparks Fly Upwards

In a country tearing itself apart in a brutal civil war Tom's only aim is to find something, somewhere or someone to believe in. But, where do you turn when you lose your home, job, friends, community in one day? 

Tom, a young baker, is evicted from him home, life and Dorset town when his father dies. He's conscripted into the army in the brutal war between parliament and king. And it's the middle of winter. He needs friends. Fast. What he doesn't need is a psychotic colonel, a mysterious comrade, Effra, who might be a desperate criminal, and to be stuck in a little fishing town besieged by a whole Royalist army. At least Bathsua is a good influence, but she is a Puritan preacher, and a force equal to anything Tom faces in battle. Right across Dorset Tom struggles to replace the home he has lost; to build something from nothing. Then, to lose everything, again. That would be unbearable.  

Support Local Bookshops

As the Sparks Fly Upwards is now available at many local bookshops in Dorset.

Gullivers - Wimborne

D J Brooking - Parkstone

Lyme Regis Bookshop

Little Toller Books - Beaminster

The Bookshop - Bridport

The Dorset Bookshop - Blandford

Many of the towns these bookshops are in feature in the story


Cracking read, l couldn’t put the book down. By the end of the story I felt as though I’d been on a journey with the characters, and we are now good friends. I can’t wait to see what they get up to in the next book.

J Hillman - Amazon Reviewer

Considering its not the kind of genre I would generally find myself gravitating towards... I'm so glad I read this book! Found myself really swept up in the story and the characters and as the book gathered momentum - struggled to put it down! Hence my 2 am review ...and on a work night!! ;-)

Loved that the story was created around a true historical event. That many of the places mentioned are in my county and I could imagine a version of them through the writing. You found yourself rooting for the characters, flaws and all - 3 dimensional, human.

I look forward to finding out more on Tom's adventures and of characters such as Effra - he's very intriguing!

Rachel - Amazon Reviewer

An enjoyable first novel from Steve Cox... Set during the civil war in the 1600's and located in familiar localities in Dorset, I almost felt I could smell the smoke from the fires and hear my stomach rumbling with the hunger!! It'll be great to see what the characters do next...

Lol Scott-Farnell - Amazon Reviewer

Gripping read! I haven't read a historical fiction novel before, it's not usually my sort of book, but this story was an adventure that I couldn't put down. From the first chapter I was rooting for Tom the main character, and always hoped for the best for him and his new friends as they found themselves in all sorts of trouble and danger. I'd recommend this to anyone who likes an exciting read, and I can't wait for the next book to come out.

As we follow Tom through Dorset, Steve Cox serves up excitement and fear in equal measure. He sustains the tension and suspense with style and knowledge and not a little wit, as well as some intriguing characters. This is a really engaging read; you're always on the edge of something new and just have to keep turning the pages. 

The Rev Michael Camp

I can easily recommend this book. The author reminds us that ordinary peace-loving men, women and their innocent children can so easily be caught up in traumatic and bloody struggles anywhere at any time. Real heroes often put their lives on the line not for supremacy, 'glory,' wealth, or ego - but merely to defend the people they love.

Paul Miley - Amazon Reviewer

Rowena Smith - Amazon Reviewer 

I enjoyed this far more than I expected. I was drawn into the characters and cared about what happened to them.

Jane Cox - Amazon Reviewer

You have written a historical novel that feels absolutely authentic. Though it’s clear how much research you must have done in order to make the era and setting feel so convincing, this research never overwhelms the human stories. Great stuff.

Debi Alper - Jericho Writers