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 Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau . US release March 5 (reposted with US release date and cover - UK release February 28, 2013).
In the next novel from Nancy Bilyeau after her acclaimed debut The Crown, novice Joanna Stafford plunges into an even more dangerous conspiracy as she comes up against some of the most powerful men of her era.
In 1538, England is in the midst of bloody power struggles between crown and cross that threaten to tear the country apart. Joanna Stafford has seen what lies inside the king’s torture rooms and risks imprisonment again, when she is caught up in a shadowy international plot targeting the King. As the power plays turn vicious, Joanna understands she may have to assume her role in a prophecy foretold by three different seers, each more omniscient than the last.
Joanna realizes the life of Henry VIII as well as the future of Christendom are in her hands—hands that must someday hold the chalice that lays at the center of these deadly prophecies…
Queen Jezebel by Jean Plaidy. US and UK reissue March 12, 2013.
Back in print after twenty years, the final novel in the classic Catherine de’ Medici trilogy (that includes Madame Serpent and The Italian Woman) from the bestselling grande dame of historical fiction.
The aging Catherine de’ Medici has arranged the marriage of her beautiful Catholic daughter Margot to Huguenot King Henry of Navarre. Margot, still in love with Henry de Guise, refuses to utter her vows. But even Catherine is unable to anticipate the carnage that this union is to bring about…
Margot’s marriage to Henry does not result in the peace Catherine and her sickly son King Charles longed for. Realizing her weakening power over Charles, Catherine sets about persuading him of a Huguenot plot against his life. Overcome by fear, Charles agrees to a massacre that will rid France of its “pestilential Huguenots forever.” And so the carnival of butchery begins, marking years of terror and upheaval that will end in the demise of kings and finally expose Catherine’s lifetime of depraved scheming.
The Sinners and the Sea by Rebecca Kanner. US and UK release April 2, 2013.
In the spirit of Anita Diamant, this ambitious and unforgettable novel about the story of Noah blends Biblical history, mythology, and the inimitable strength of women.
Cursed with a birthmark that many think is the brand of a demon, the young heroine in The Sinners and the Sea is deprived even of a name for fear that it would make it easier for people to spread lies about her. But this virtuous woman has the perfect voice to make one of the Old Testament’s stories live anew.
Desperate to keep her safe, the woman’s father gives her to the righteous Noah, who weds her and takes her to the town of Sorum, a land of outcasts. Noah, a 600-year-old paragon of virtue, rises to the role of preacher to a town full of sinners. Alone in her new life, Noah’s wife gives him three sons, but is faced with the hardship of living with an aloof husband who speaks more to God than with her. She tries to make friends with the violent and dissolute people of Sorum while raising a brood that, despite a pious upbringing, have developed some sinful tendencies of their own. But her trials are nothing compared to what awaits her after God tells her husband that a flood is coming—and that Noah and his family must build an ark so that they alone can repopulate the world.
Kanner weaves a masterful tale that breathes new life into one of the Bible’s voiceless characters. Through the eyes of Noah’s wife we see a complex world where the lines between righteousness and wickedness blur. And we are left wondering: Would I have been considered virtuous enough to save?
Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd. US release April 9, 2013 (reposted with summary)
From the acclaimed author of To Die For comes a stirring novel told that sheds new light on Elizabeth I and her court.
Like Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir, Sandra Byrd has attracted countless fans for evoking the complexity, grandeur, and brutality of the Tudor period. In her latest tour de force, she poses the question: What happens when serving a queen may cost you your marriage—or your life?
In 1565, seventeen-year-old Elin von Snakenborg leaves Sweden on a treacherous journey to England. Her fiancé has fallen in love with her sister and her dowry money has been gambled away, but ahead of her lies an adventure that will take her to the dizzying heights of Tudor power. Transformed through marriage into Helena, the Marchionesse of Northampton, she becomes the highest-ranking woman in Elizabeth’s circle. But in a court that is surrounded by Catholic enemies who plot the queen’s downfall, Helena is forced to choose between her ruthless monarch and the husband she’s not sure she can trust—a choice that will provoke catastrophic consequences.
Vividly conjuring the years leading up to the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots, Roses Have Thorns is a brilliant exploration of treason, both to the realm and to the heart.
Royal Mistress by Anne Easter Smith. US and UK release May 14, 2013.
From the author of A Rose for the Crown and Daughter of York comes another engrossing historical novel of the York family in the Wars of the Roses, telling the fascinating story of the rise and fall of the final and favorite mistress of Edward IV.
Jane Lambert, the quick-witted and alluring daughter of a silk merchant, is twenty-two and still unmarried. When Jane’s father finally finds her a match, she’s married off to the dull, older silk merchant William Shore—but her heart belongs to another. Marriage doesn’t stop Jane Shore from flirtation, however, and when the king’s chamberlain and friend, Will Hastings, comes to her husband’s shop, Will knows his King will find her irresistible.
Edward IV has everything: power, majestic bearing, superior military leadership, a sensual nature, and charisma. And with Jane as his mistress, he also finds true happiness. But when his hedonistic tendencies get in the way of being the strong leader England needs, his life, as well as that of Jane Shore and Will Hastings, hang in the balance.
This dramatic tale has been an inspiration to poets and playwrights for 500 years, and told through the unique perspective of a woman plucked from obscurity and thrust into a life of notoriety, Royal Mistress is sure to enthrall today’s historical fiction lovers as well.
Death of an Empire by M.K. Hume. US release May 21, 2013 (released in the UK in January 2012)
Myrddion Merlinus is a product of a brutal rape, and in the second book of this epic trilogy, he embarks on a quest to uncover his father’s identity and sets sail from Celtic Briton with his band of loyal companions. Their journey through war-ravaged France, Rome, and Ravenna to Constantinople will test their skills and strength to the limit.
Roman control over Europe is weakening. Attila’s barbaric army is causing death and destruction and, bound by a healer’s oath to relieve suffering, Merlin must serve under General Flavius Aetius at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains. Merlin saves the lives of thousands of warriors, but a deadlier conflict between Emperor Valentinian of the West and Senator Petronius Maximus awaits, and Merlin must use all his resolve to survive the death of an empire.