Thursday, February 7, 2013

Weekly Wishlist - February 7, 2013

Anne Boleyn:  The Queen of Controversy by Lacey Baldwin Smith.  Non-fiction.  US and UK release March 28, 2013.

The story of Anne Boleyn goes to the root of all history; what makes an individual or event memorable to later generations? Anne is an exceptional case for her life was a double helix intertwining extraordinary human drama with profound historical crisis. A young lady of no particular importance or talents - she was neither a great beauty or a captivating charmer - married a man who turned out to be England's most notorious monarchy, and then three years later she was publicly executed for treason, accused of quadruple adultery and incest. Mistress Boleyn was the crucial catalyst for three of the most important events in modern history: the break with Rome and the English Reformation, the advent of the nation state, and the birth of a daughter whose 43 years on the throne stand as England's most spectacular literary and political success story. Remove Anne and the Reformation as we know it today would not have taken place; remove Anne and Elizabeth I would not have existed at all. Anne Boleyn stands as a monument to the truth that there is nothing consistent in history except the unexpected.

Edward the Confessor:  King of England by Peter Rex.  Non-fiction.  UK reissue March 28, 2013; may already be available in the US.

Between these pages the story of Saint Edward the Confessor is masterfully told by the critically acclaimed historian Peter Rex. Born when England was besieged by blood-thirsty Vikings, the future King of England was forced into exile in Normandy to escape the Danish invasion. Often portrayed as a holy simpleton, Edward was in fact a wily and devious King. To most kings a childless marriage would have been an Achilles heel to their reign, but Edward turned this to his advantage. He cunningly played off his potential rivals and successors to his advantage using the prize of the throne as leverage. Edward's posthumous reputation grew as stories were spread by the monks of his magnificent foundation, Westminster Abbey. The childless King was transformed through the monks' vision into a chaste, pious and holy man. Miracles were attributed to him and he was credited with the King's Touch - the ability to cure illnesses by touch alone. In 1161 he was canonised as Saint Edward the Confessor and is the patron saint of the Royal Family. Includes 40 illustrations, 20 in colour.

Elizabeth Woodville:  The Mother of the Princes in the Tower by David MacGibbon.  Non-fiction.  UK release April 28, 2013.

Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV, mother of Elizabeth of York and the Princes in the Tower, and grandmother of Henry VIII, has been vilified and defended in turn. Was she a cunning enchantress, an ambitious advancer of her family's fortunes, or a courageous and tragic figure who lost husbands, brothers and sons during this turbulent period? Discover the real story of the 'White Queen'. Born into a family of Lancastrian supporters, the exceptionally beautiful Elizabeth captured the heart of the young Yorkist king, Edward IV, and found herself caught in the complex web of rivalries, loves and conspiracies that lay at the heart of the Wars of the Roses. She would wield immense influence as queen, watch her brother-in-law confine her sons to the Tower of London to face an unknown fate, and ultimately unite the Houses of Lancaster and York through the marriage of her daughter to Henry Tudor.

Anne Neville:  Richard’s Tragic Queen by Amy Licence.  Non-fiction.  UK release April 28, 2013.

Shakespeare's enduring image of Anne is one of bitterness and sorrow. She curses the killer of her husband and father, before succumbing to his marriage proposal, bringing to herself a terrible legacy of grief and suffering an untimely death. Was Anne a passive victim? Did she really jump into bed with the enemy? Through Anne's short life, she was the pawn of powerful men and their fortunes on the battlefield. As the daughter of the notorious Kingmaker, she was no substitute for the sons he did not have, but her gender made her a valuable commodity on the marriage market of the day. Married as a teenager to the immature and bloodthirsty heir to the English throne, she returned from exile expecting triumph, only to find herself fatherless and widowed. Worse still, their killer was her childhood friend, the future Richard III. And now he wanted to make her his wife. In a series of events that belong more in a fairy tale, she disguised herself as a kitchen maid but Richard still found her and the marriage took place. She was to ride the wheel of fortune with him, becoming the mother of his child and then his Queen. Always fragile in health, Anne was dead before the age of thirty. Today, this fascinating and elusive woman is shrouded in controversy and unanswered questions about her life, her infamous husband, and her suspicious death.

Viking:  The Norse Warriors’ Unofficial Handbook by John Haywood.  Non-fiction (I thinkJ  - I admit this one's a little out there, but it sounds like it might be fun.  It's apparently a series).  US release June 1, 2013.

Combines the latest research and discoveries with a humorous eye to take us inside the Viking world.

So you want to be a Viking?
Vikings are the lords of the northern seas. Fame, glory, and wealth await those who brave storms and enemy spears to plunder far and wide in foreign lands. Who wouldn’t like to come home laden with silver, earning a reputation that will live on long after lesser men have been forgotten?

This book tells you everything you need to know to become a successful Viking warrior in the tenth century.
How to join a Viking war band
What to look for in a good Viking leader
How to behave at a feast
How to choose the right weapons and armor 
How to plunder a monastery and ransom a monk
How to navigate at sea

Claudia, Wife of Pontius Pilate by Diana Wallis Taylor.  US release June 1, 2013.

Claudia's life did not start easily. The illegitimate daughter of Julia, reviled and exiled daughter of Caesar Augustus, Claudia spends her childhood in a guarded villa with her mother and grandmother. When Tiberius, who hates Julia, takes the throne, Claudia is wrenched away from her mother to be brought up in the palace in Rome. The young woman is adrift--until she meets Lucius Pontius Pilate and becomes his wife. When Pilate is appointed Prefect of the troublesome territory of Judea, Claudia does what she has always done: she makes the best of it. But unrest is brewing on the outskirts of the Roman Empire, and Claudia will soon find herself and her beloved husband embroiled in controversy and rebellion. Might she find peace and rest in the teaching of the mysterious Jewish Rabbi everyone seems to be talking about?

Readers will be whisked through marbled palaces, dusty marketplaces, and idyllic Italian villas as they follow the unlikely path of a woman who warrants only a passing mention in one of the Gospel accounts. Diana Wallis Taylor combines her impeccable research with her flair for drama and romance to craft a tale worthy of legend.

Hereward:   End of Days by James Wilde.  UK release July 4, 2013.

England, 1071. Five years have passed since the crushing Norman victory at the Battle of Hastings. The country reels under the savage rule of the new king, the one they call 'the Bastard'. The North has been left a wasteland - villages razed, innocents put to the sword, land stolen. It seems no atrocity is too great to ensure William's grip upon the crown. Rats feed upon fields of the dead and now he turns his cold gaze east, towards the last stronghold of the English resistance. After years of struggle, he will brook no further challenge to his power: his vast army masses and his siege machines are readied. 

In their fortress on the Isle of Ely, the English have put their faith in the only man who might defeat the murderous invaders. He is called Hereward. He is a warrior and a master tactician - as adept at slaughter as his enemy and plans have been been set in motion for a bloody uprising that will sweep the Norman king off the throne once and for all.
But Hereward is missing. With their hopes of victory dwindling, can the English rebels find the leader who seems to have abandoned them before William the Bastard begins his final, devastating assault that will truly be the end of days...
Here is a tale of heroism and treachery - and the bloodiest rebellion England has ever known.

Fatal Rivalry, Flodden 1513:  Henry VIII and James IV and the Battle for Renaissance Britain by George Goodwin.  Non-fiction.  UK release July 4, 2013; US release August 26, 2013.

In 1509 the young Henry VIII renewed his father's Treaty of Perpetual Peace with Scotland. Yet by 1511 he was already planning an invasion of France, Scotland's traditional ally. 
Over the next two years, the King of Scots, James IV, resisted both the threats of Henry VIII and the blandishments of Louis XII of France. But in 1513 he was forced to choose. 

In Fatal Rivalry, George Goodwin, the bestselling author of Fatal Colours, captures the vibrant Renaissance splendour of the royal courts of England and Scotland, with their new wealth, innovation and artistic expression. He shows how the wily Henry VII, far from the miser king of tradition, spent vast sums to secure his throne and to elevate the monarchy to a new magnificence. He demonstrates how James IV competed with the older Henry, even claiming Arthurian legend to support Scottish independence. Such rivalry served as a substitute for war - until Henry VIII's belligerence forced the real thing. 
As England and Scotland move towards their biggest ever battle, Goodwin deftly deploys a sparkling cast of characters. There are maneuvering ministers, cynical foreign allies, conspiring cardinals, and contrasting queens in Katherine of Aragon and Margaret Tudor. 

Treachery by S.J. Parris.  UK release August 29, 2013.

Perfect for fans of C.J. Sansom and The Name of the Rose, the fourth historical thriller featuring Giordano Bruno, heretic, philosopher and spy.

Summer, 1585: As English ships are held captive in Spain, fear mounts of an Invincible Armada, built by King Philip II, and intended to invade English shores.
Sir Francis Drake prepares to embark on an expedition by royal commission to cross the Atlantic and seize major Spanish ports, diverting Philip’s American treasure supplies to Queen Elizabeth.
Giordano Bruno, radical philosopher and spy, accompanies his friend Sir Philip Sidney to Plymouth to oversee Drake’s departure. Unbeknownst to Bruno, Sidney intends to join the mission – and he wants Bruno to go too.

But when a ship captain is brutally murdered, and Drake’s life threatened, it becomes clear that someone plans to destroy the expedition before it begins. Bruno and Sidney hunt for the killer, but are they being lured into a trap? And when Drake’s young wife and her cousin arrive, Bruno and Sidney find themselves thrown into an unexpected rivalry.

Artemesium by Christian Cameron.  UK release August 29, 2013.

Close your eyes and you could be in fifth-century Egypt - with his trademark ability to step into the shoes of his fifth-century protagonists, once again Christian Cameron plunges us headlong into the thick of the action. This time, the indomitable Arimnestos of Plataea finds himself caught up in the ill-fated Spartan expedition to the land of the Sphinx, while on the horizon, forces gather for the colossal naval battle of Artemesium. Whether it's in the unforgiving furnace of the Egyptian desert or the blood-frothed seas off the coast of Greece, Christian Cameron brings these momentous events to thrilling life as we watch the epic story unfold.

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon.  UK release September 26, 2013.

June 1778, and as the American War of Independence nears its turning point, time-travelling lovers Jamie and Claire find themselves torn apart by the warring forces. As sons fight against fathers and whole families are splintered by the conflict, even Claire's foreknowledge of the future can only help her so much. Caught in the maelstrom of historical events, once again Jamie and Claire must battle to survive.

Tudor:  The Family Story by Leanda de Lisle.  Non-fiction.  UK release October 3, 2013.

The Tudors are a national obsession. But, as Leanda de Lisle shows, beyond the familiar headlines, and deep into their past, is a family still more extraordinary than the one we thought we knew. 
The Tudor canon typically starts with the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 and really picks up with Henry VIII and the Reformation. But our story starts earlier, with the obscure Welsh origins of Owain ap Maredudd ap Tudur, the man who would become known simply as 'Owen Tudor' and fall (literally) into a Queen's lap and later her bed. It continues with the courage of a pregnant thirteen-year-old girl who went on to found and shape the Tudor dynasty; and the childhood and painful exile of her son, who would become Henry VII.The colossus of the next century, Henry VIII, his wives, and sisters, are given a fresh perspective in this context and show the sister Queens Mary and Elizabeth in a most unexpected light.

Here is the story of a dynasty's rise and fall. It presents a family struggling at every turn to establish their right to the throne; a family dominated by remarkable women doing everything possible to secure influence and the family line. Packed with all the headlines we know and love and with many new revelations along the way, it brings to life in a completely new - and very human way - this extraordinary family and their times.

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