Monday, July 19, 2010
Take A Trip Though History
Nemesis by Lindsey Davis
In the high summer of 77AD, Roman informer Marcus Didius Falco is beset by personal problems. Newly bereaved and facing unexpected upheavals in his life, it is a relief for him to consider someone else's misfortunes. A middle-aged
couple who supplied statues to his father, Geminus, have disappeared in mysterious circumstances. They had an old feud with a bunch of notorious freedmen, the Claudii, who live rough in the pestilential Pontine Marshes, terrorising the neighbourhood. When a mutilated corpse turns up near Rome, Falco and his vigiles friend Petronius investigate, even though it means travelling in the dread marshes. But just as they are making progress, the Chief Spy, Anacrites, snatches their case away from them. As his rivalry with Falco escalates, he makes false overtures of friendship, but fails to cover up the fact that the violent Claudii have acquired corrupt protection at the highest level. Making further enquiries after they have been warned off can only be dangerous - but when did that stop Falco and Petronius? Egged on by the slippery bureaucrats who hate Anacrites, the dogged friends dig deeper while a psychotic killer keeps taking more victims, and the shocking truth creeps closer and closer to home...
Falco: The Official Companion by Lindsey Davis
As the girl came running up the steps, I decided she was wearing far too many clothes... So, in 1989, readers were introduced to Marcus Didius Falco, the Roman informer, as he stood on the steps of the Temple of Saturn, looking out across the Forum: the heart of his world. Twenty years and twenty books later, Falco fans want a companion volume. Only here will you learn the author's private background, including her descent from a failed assassin and how atheism improved her knitting. Here too are the real glories and heartache involved in research and creation: why the baby had to be born in Barcelona, which plots evolved from intense loathing of management trainees, what part a thermal vest played in the iconic Falco's conception. It can't be a complete handbook to ancient Rome, but it covers perennial issues. There are a hundred illustrations, some specially commissioned, others from family archives. Enlightening quotations come from the Falco books and from eminent sources: Juvenal, through Chandler, to 1066 and All That. Readers have asked for this book. Their paranoid, secretive author agrees it is now or never. Time to spill beans on the travertine...
The Bloodstained Throne by Simon Beaufort
The new ‘Sir Geoffrey Mappestone’ mystery - When the former crusader knight Geoffrey Mappestone and his friend Roger of Durham try to slip out of England to the Holy Land, a ferocious storm destroys the ship they are on and casts them ashore. The two knights are unwillingly thrust into the company of other shipwrecked passengers, and while attempting to evade the unwelcome attention of the more dangerous members of the group, they become unwillingly drawn into a plot to overthrow the king and return England to Saxon rule . . .
Revenger by Rory Clements
1592. England and Spain are at war, yet there is peril at home, too. The death of her trusted spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham has left Queen Elizabeth vulnerable. Conspiracies multiply. The quiet life of John Shakespeare is shattered by a summons from Robert Cecil, the cold but deadly young statesman who dominated the last years of the Queen's long reign, insisting Shakespeare re-enter government service. His mission: to find vital papers, now in the possession of the Earl of Essex. Essex is the brightest star in the firmament, a man of ambition. He woos the Queen, thirty-three years his senior, as if she were a girl his age. She is flattered by him -- despite her loathing for his mother, the beautiful, dangerous Lettice Knollys who presides over her own glittering court -- a dazzling array of the mad, bad, dangerous and disaffected. When John Shakespeare infiltrates this dissolute world he discovers not only that the Queen herself is in danger -- but that he and his family is also a target. With only his loyal footsoldier Boltfoot Cooper at his side, Shakespeare must face implacable forces who believe themselves above the law: men and women who kill without compunction. And in a world of shifting allegiances, just how far he can trust Robert Cecil, his devious new master?
The Lady's Slipper by Deborah Swift
It is 1660. The King is back, but memories of the Civil War still rankle. In rural Westmorland, artist Alice Ibbetson has become captivated by the rare Lady's Slipper orchid. She is determined to capture its unique beauty for posterity, even if it means stealing the flower from the land of recently converted Quaker, Richard Wheeler. Fired by his newfound faith, the former soldier Wheeler feels bound to track down the missing orchid. Meanwhile, others are eager to lay hands on the flower, and have their own powerful motives. Margaret Poulter, a local medicine woman, is seduced by the orchid's mysterious herbal powers, while Sir Geoffrey Fisk, Alice's patron and a former comrade-in-arms of Wheeler, sees the valuable plant as a way to repair his ailing fortunes and cure his own agonizing illness. Fearing that Wheeler and his new friends are planning revolution, Fisk sends his son Stephen to spy on the Quakers, only for the young man to find his loyalties divided as he befriends the group he has been sent to investigate. Then, when Alice Ibbetson is implicated in a brutal murder, she is imprisoned along with the suspected anti-royalist Wheeler. As Fisk's sanity grows ever more precarious, and Wheeler and Alice plot their escape, a storm begins to brew, from which no party will escape unscathed. Vivid, gripping and intensely atmospheric, "The Lady's Slipper" is a novel about beauty, faith and loyalty. It marks the emergence of an exquisite new voice in historical fiction.
Posted by Arianna at 1:51 PM