On one level the Historical Novel Society competition looks pretty good. You submit the first 5000 words of an unpublished historical novel manuscript, and you might win 5000 pounds.
On another level the winner must agree to be epublished by the Historical Novel Society, who presumably have not previously been in the epublishing business (and Lord knows how they will do at it).
Back on the first hand the 5000 pounds is not an advance and the author does earn royalties (50% net).
Do you miss the good ol' days when agents were agents, publishers were publishers, and societies were societies? Because it looks like they are gone, gone, gone.