News & Events
“Artist on Campaign is literary, historical and funny, a stylish evocation of the history and manners of an era, and an entertainment of the highest order.”
- Mark Tredinnick, Editor, mentor and author The Blue Plateau etc
“Entertaining and will hold the interest of both those who specialize in the era and the casual reader. Highly recommended.”
- Robert Burnham, Editor the Napoleon Series
"A delightful, amusing, colourful romp, stylishly crafted and brought off with great pace and gusto. Miley is a writer of real talent with a very good story."
- Timothy Balding, author The Impostors, The Zucchini Conspiracy
"Who knew painting Army bigwigs' portraits could be so frustrating, so scary and so much fun?”
- Jane Sullivan, author (Storytime, Little People) and literary journalist.
Artist on Campaign was shortlisted for a Varuna Fellowship 2019.
Ralph Oughtred has few ambitions – to be rich, or at least out of debt, to eventually marry his charming mistress, and to get into the Royal Academy.
An amiable rake in Georgian London, Ralph is an artist who thinks he’s got it made when he wins a big commission to paint the Duke of Wellington’s generals. But they’re whisked off to Portugal to fight Napoleon and he must follow or lose the money. In a comic romp through Portugal and Spain in the train of the British army, Ralph leads the reader through war, art, sex, love, travelogue and musings on life. He’s recruited as a spy, accidentally leads a cavalry charge, makes love to an officer’s wife during a battle and is captured by the French.
A man of his time and an everyman bound to the wheel of fortune, Ralph travels the road of the reluctant hero from innocence to experience. His adventures will appeal to readers who want their history lively, their escapism philosophical and their narratives lyrical.
The Napoleon Series
A Darn Good Read
‘Sex, swearing and humour in the Regency’
– English Historical Fiction Authors
‘Writing Regency women’
– Novel Delights
‘The life of an officer on campaign’
– All Things Georgian
- Jane Davis' Virtual Book Club
- Story Addict
I'm an art historian and writer with a long-time passion for art, history and literature. I'm fascinated by the late Georgian era, a time when the old and the new existed side by side in a time of rapid transition. Society was in flux; new worlds were being mapped in the heavens as well as on the planet; Europe was in the grip of revolution; anything seemed possible. How could I resist writing novels that explore this wonderful time?
Making a living as an artist in Georgian London isn’t easy, so when the Royal Academy announces a competition with huge prizes, Edward Armiger has to enter - here is his opportunity to grasp the success he needs. Then a chance commission pitches him into the gritty industrial world of Northern England, of woollen mills and self-made men, of radical politics and frame-breakers. The effect on Edward is shattering and he finds it hard to go back to his old world of coffee-houses, art exhibitions and Academy gossip. Stuck in the middle, he has to decide: safe career or dangerous politics? If he chooses politics, how will he ever make a living, and will he ever be able to marry? And if he chooses the safety of the Academy, will success come at too high a price?
'In the New Land'
The story captures the reflections of a marine as he waits for Captain Cook to claim NSW for the British Crown.
Finalist in the:
Rolf Boldrewood Literary Award
Words of Wyndham Literary Award
Margot Manchester Memorial Award
'Politics in Late Georgian Art'
An illustrated article on the English Historical Fiction Authors website:
Winner of a Varuna Fellowship and a
Fellowship of Australian Writers Award 2015
Selected for the booklist of the Royal Academy (London) 250th Anniverary Exhibition 'The Great Spectacle' 2018
“The Competition is a novel of astounding verisimilitude: it seems incredible that Miley was not present at these events. Yet Edward Armiger’s struggles are of our own times too.”
"Readers feel they are right there... fine, creative historical fiction"
Historical Novel Review No. 82 Nov 2017
“To take a sheet of paper and a pencil and make something where before there had been nothing; to feel the paper under my fist and the sound of the crayon's whisper across the page; to bring to life on the blank surface line, light and shadow…”
Two hundred years ago, Edward Armiger stood at his easel and wondered what to paint. His problems are contemporary, even if his setting is different. His was a world in the grip of war, change and radical new ideas, but what was his place in it?
He and his friends enter a painting competition at the Royal Academy that will establish the winner professionally, but when he’s pitchforked into the gritty world of northern woollen mills, frame-breaking and food riots, his ideas are disrupted by Luddites and progressive political thinkers. When he returns to London, his new beliefs put career and friendships in jeopardy and his pursuit of love falters. Total failure is never far away. But what constitutes success?
Written in a lucid style laced with fascinating period detail and vivid descriptions, The Competition takes the reader on a meticulously-researched but lively journey through the art and industrial worlds of Georgian England.
"A meticulous recreation of period
The Sydney Morning Herald