The Borgias, the French Revolution, and the Crusades : new historical fiction
A glimpse into the past with this selection of new Historical novels. From the Roman seige of Masada in the year 73 C.E. to 1940 Guernsey, the Vikings in Britain to the Borgia’s in Italy, war, suspense, mystery and intrigue, all entertaining reads.
The autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb : a novel / Melanie Benjamin.
“Mercy Lavinia “Vinnie” Warren Bump, the diminutive wife of Gen. Tom Thumb, narrates her life story in this vivacious fictionalized autobiography that takes her from a small New England town to a seedy Mississippi showboat and eventually into the entourage of the impresario P.T. Barnum. Born with proportionate dwarfism, Vinnie, a “perfect woman in miniature,” rejects a career as a schoolteacher in favor of show business, eventually finding an intellectual soul mate in Barnum and international fame that leads her into the opulence of New York society and meetings with heads of state from the White House to Europe and India.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Death of kings / Bernard Cornwell.
“As the ninth century wanes, England appears about to be plunged into chaos once more. For the Viking-raised but Saxon-born warrior, Uhtred, whose life seems to shadow the making of England, this presents him with difficult choices. King Alfred is dying and his passing threatens the island of Britain to renewed warfare. Alfred wants his son, Edward, to succeed him but there are other Saxon claimants to the throne as well as ambitious pagan Vikings to the north. Uhtred‘s loyalty, and his vows, were to Alfred, not to his son, and despite his long years of service to Alfred, he is still not committed to the Saxon cause. His own desire is to reclaim his long lost lands and castle to the north. But the challenge to him, as the king’s warrior, is that he knows that he will either be the means of making Alfred’s dream of a united and Christian England come to pass or be responsible for condemning it to oblivion.” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)
The brink of fame / Irene Fleming.
“In the spring of 1914, Emily Daggett Weiss, the co-owner of Melpomene Moving Picture Studios, leaves Fort Lee, New Jersey, to join her husband and business partner, Adam Weiss, on location in Flagstaff, Arizona. On arrival, Emily finds Adam has run off with vapid actress Agnes Gelert and managed to lose their film company to his odious longtime adversary, Howie Kazanow. Fortunately, Emily encounters Holbert Bruns, an obliging private detective, who helps her land a job with movie mogul Carl Laemmle in Hollywood. Laemmle promises her a chance to direct a film if she can locate missing star Ross McHenry.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
The dovekeepers : a novel / Alice Hoffman.
“Only two women and five children of more than 900 people survived the Roman siege of Masada in the year 73 C.E. after the suicide pact of the Jewish rebels there, according to the historian Josephus. In this well-researched novel, Alice Hoffman vividly brings this tragedy to life, as four women who take care of the dovecote at the fortress tell their stories.“ – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Nanjing requiem / Ha Jin.
“In 1937, with the Japanese poised to invade Nanjing, Minnie Vautrin, an American missionary and the dean of Jinling Women’s College, decides to remain at the school, convinced that her American citizenship will help her safeguard the welfare of the Chinese men and women who work there. She is painfully mistaken. In the aftermath of the invasion, the school becomes a refugee camp for more than ten thousand homeless women and children, and Vautrin must struggle, day after day, to intercede on behalf of the hapless victims. Even when order and civility are eventually restored, Vautrin remains deeply embattled, and she is haunted by the lives she could not save.” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)
The collaborator / Margaret Leroy.
“1940, Guernsey. Vivienne de la Mare waits nervously for the bombs to drop. Instead there comes quiet surrender and insidious occupation. Nothing is safe anymore. Her husband is fighting on the frontline and the facade of being the perfect wife is cracking. Her new life is one where the enemy lives next door and small acts of kindness from one Nazi soldier feels like a betrayal. But how can you hate your enemy when you know his name, when he makes you feel alive when everything else is dying around you?” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
House of the hanged / Mark Mills.
“France, 1935: At the poor man’s end of the Riviera sits Le Rayol, a haven for artists, expatriates and refugees. Here, a world away from the rumblings of a continent heading towards war, Tom Nash has rebuilt his life after a turbulent career in the Secret Intelligence Service. His past, though, is less willing to leave him behind. When a midnight intruder tries to kill him, Tom knows it is just a matter of time before another assassination attempt is made.” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)
Madame Tussaud : a novel of the French revolution / Michelle Moran.
“When Marie Tussaud learns the exciting news the royal family will be visiting her famed wax museum, the Salon de Cire, she never dreams that the king’s sister will request her presence at Versailles: as a royal tutor in wax sculpting. As Marie familiarizes herself with Princess Elisabeth and begins to know Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, she witnesses the glamorous life of court, a very different world from her home on the Boulevard du Temple of Paris where bread can only be had on the black market and men sell their teeth to put food on the their tables. The year is 1788 and men like Desmoulins, Marat, and Robespierre are meeting in the salons of Paris speaking against the monarchy; there’s whispered talk of revolution. Spanning five years from budding revolution to the Reign of Terror, Madame Tussaud brings us into the world of an incredible heroine whose talent for wax moulding saved her life and preserved the faces of a vanished kingdom.” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)
The lion of Cairo / Scott Oden.
“It is the middle of the 12th century Egypt. Caliph Rashid al-Hasan rules as a figurehead over a crumbling empire. In the shadow of the Grey Mosque, generals vie for power and influence under the scheming eyes of a venal grand vizier. Warring factions use murder and terror to silence their opponents. Egypt bleeds, and the scent draws her enemies in: the swaggering Shirkuh, who serves the Sultan of Damascus, and Amalric, king of Jerusalem, whose greed is insatiable and whose Crusader knights are blood thirsty. Yet all is not lost. In a distant land, there lives an old man who holds the power of life and death over the Moslem world. He has decided to help the Caliph and sends his greatest weapon, a single man, an Assassin. The one they call the Emir of the Knife.” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)
The Borgia betrayal : a novel / Sara Poole.
“Francesca Giordano possesses a very special talent a lethal skill required and very much in demand by the venomous Borgia family. As the Borgia court poisoner, she was responsible for Rodrigo Borgia’s convoluted ascension to the papacy. Now, as Pope Alexander VI, Rodrigo needs her to safeguard his life and dispose of his enemies. The trouble is, it is difficult to distinguish between enemies and friends amid the intrigue and deception of Renaissance-era Rome. Forever on guard, Francesca not only works for the pope but is also determined to avenge the brutal death of her father.” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)