Every week Tanzanite features upcoming historical fiction and history related non-fiction books that have come to her attention and may be of interest to others. Since she has an out of control TBR pile, so should everyone else!
The Time of the Wolf by James Wilde. US release October 12, 2012 (this appears to be the same book as one released in the UK last year as Hereward).
A London Times bestseller, this rousing historical debut rescues one of England's forgotten heroes from the mists of medieval history and brings him to brutal and bloody life.
1062, a time many fear is the End of Days. With the English King Edward heirless and ailing, across the grey seas in Normandy the brutal William the Bastard waits for the moment when he can drown England in a tide of blood. The ravens of war are gathering. But as the king's closest advisors scheme and squabble amongst themselves, hopes of resisting the naked ambition of the Norman duke come to rest with just one man: Hereward.
To some a ruthless warrior and master tactician, to others a devil in human form, Hereward is as adept in the art of warfare as the foes that gather to claim England's throne. But in his country's hour of greatest need, his enemies at court have made him an outlaw. To stay alive—and a free man—he must carve a bloody swathe from the frozen lands outside the court, in this evocative tale of a man whose deeds will become the stuff of legend.
Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell. US and UK release February 7, 2013.
A rich tale of power and forbidden love revolving around a young medieval queen
In 1002, sixteen¬-year-old Emma of Normandy crosses the Narrow Sea to wed the much older King Athelred of England, whom she meets for the first time at the cathedral door. Thrust into an unfamiliar and treacherous court, with a husband who sees her as a nuisance and a rival who will stop at nothing to steal her crown, the only way for Emma to secure her status as queen is to give birth to a son.
Clever and independent, Emma is determined to make the best of her difficult situation. She wins a few friends at court and is soon adored by her subjects for her generosity. But her growing love for a man who is not her husband and the imminent threat of a Viking invasion jeopardize both her crown and her life.
Based on real events recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Shadow on the Crown introduces readers to a fascinating, overlooked period of history and an unforgettable heroine whose quest to find her place in the world will resonate with modern readers.
Anarchy rules in Britannia as the Roman Empire collapses,
and two men fight to build stable lives among the chaos
After more than four hundred years of Roman rule, the island its conquerors called Britannia was abandoned—left to its own devices as the Roman empire contracted in a futile effort to defend itself from the barbarian hordes encroaching upon its heart. As Britannia falls into anarchy and the city of Viroconium is left undefended, two cousins who remained behind when the imperial forces withdrew pursue very different courses in the ensuing struggle to unite the disparate tribes and factions throughout the land.
Passionate, adventurous Dinas recruits followers and dreams of kingship. Thoughtful Cadogan saves a group of citizens when Saxons invade and burn Viroconium, then becomes the reluctant founder and leader of a new community that rises in the wilderness. The two cousins could not be more different, but their parallel stories encapsulate the era of a new civilization struggling to be born.
The Turncoat by Donna Thorland. US and UK release March 5, 2013.
(from the author's website): They are lovers on opposite sides of a brutal war, with everything at stake and no possibility of retreat. They can trust no one–especially not each other.
Major Lord Peter Tremayne is the last man rebel bluestocking Kate Grey should fall in love with, but when the handsome British viscount commandeers her home, Kate throws caution to the wind and responds to his seduction. She is on the verge of surrender when a spy in her own household seizes the opportunity to steal the military dispatches Tremayne carries, ensuring his disgrace—and implicating Kate in high treason. Painfully awakened to the risks of war, Kate determines to put duty ahead of desire, and offers General Washington her services as an undercover agent in the City of Brotherly Love.
Months later, having narrowly escaped court martial and hanging, Tremayne returns to decadent, British-occupied Philadelphia with no stomach for his current assignment—to capture the woman he believes betrayed him. Nor does he relish the glittering entertainments being held for General Howe’s idle officers. Worse, the glamorous woman in the midst of this social whirl, the fiancée of his own dissolute cousin, is none other than Kate Grey herself. And so begins their dangerous dance, between passion and patriotism, between certain death and the promise of a brave new future together.
What Darkness Brings by C.S. Harris. US and UK release March 5, 2013.
The death of a notorious London diamond merchant draws aristocratic investigator Sebastian St. Cyr and his new wife Hero into a sordid world of greed, desperation, and the occult, when the husband of Sebastian’s former lover Kat Boleyn is accused of the murder.
Regency England, September 1812: After a long night spent dealing with the tragic death of a former military comrade, a heart-sick Sebastian learns of a new calamity: Russell Yates, the dashing, one-time privateer who married Kat a year ago, has been found standing over the corpse of Benjamin Eisler, a wealthy gem dealer. Yates insists he is innocent, but he will surely hang unless Sebastian can unmask the real killer.
For the sake of Kat, the woman he once loved and lost, Sebastian plunges into a treacherous circle of intrigue. Although Eisler’s clients included the Prince Regent and the Emperor Napoleon, he was a despicable man with many enemies and a number of dangerous, well-kept secrets—including a passion for arcane texts and black magic. Central to the case is a magnificent blue diamond, believed to have once formed part of the French crown jewels, which disappeared on the night of Eisler’s death. As Sebastian traces the diamond’s ownership, he uncovers links that implicate an eccentric, powerful financier named Hope and stretch back into the darkest days of the French Revolution.
When the killer grows ever more desperate and vicious, Sebastian finds his new marriage to Hero tested by the shadows of his first love, especially when he begins to suspect that Kat is keeping secrets of her own. And as matters rise to a crisis, Sebastian must face a bitter truth--that he has been less than open with the fearless woman who is now his wife.
Shakespeare's Rebel by C.C. Humphreys. UK release March 7, 2013.
(From the author’s website): Book is about Shakespeare’s fight arranger - an oft drunk, brilliant swordsman and wannabe actor, John Lawley. All set in and around London 1599-1601 it will be about the Globe theatre, the Earl of Essex’s attempted coup and the first production of Hamlet. With swords!
The Secret History: A Novel of Theodora by Stephanie Thornton. UK release July 2, 2013.
(From the author's website): A theater-tart turned Constantinople's premier courtesan must decide what's more important: pleasing the emperor who claims to love her or keeping the son he can never know about.
Winter Siege by Ariana Franklin. UK release January 2, 2014.
It's 12 Century England and the civil war between Queen Matilda and KIng Stephen is raging. But life in the fens carries on as usual. Until the mercenaries ride through. And a small red-haired girl named Em is snatched and carried off. After the soldiers have finished with her they leave her for dead. But fenland girls are not easy to kill. Although she has lost all memory of her past life including her name, Em survives and teams up with Gwyl a Breton archer who has almost completely lost faith in humanity. Together Gwyl and his new protege--now crop-headed and disguised as a boy--travel through the countryside giving archery exhibitions. But there is one man who hasn't forgotten the little red-haired girl. He has some unfinished business with her and he is determined to finish it. And one freezing winter in a castle completely besieged, he might well get his chance...
Winter Siege is a stand-alone historical novel started by the late Diana Norman under her pseudonym Ariana Franklin. It has been completed by her daughter Samantha Norman.