The Ides of March by Valerio Massimo Manfredi

Have you ever known the ending from page one and still been unable to put the book down? Since Italian novelists Valerio Massimo Manfredi’s novel The Ides of March is about the last few days of Julius Ceasar’s life, we all know how the book is going to end, at least we all know how Julius Ceasar is going to end.  The challenge for the … Continue reading The Ides of March by Valerio Massimo Manfredi

Sudden Death by Álvaro Enrigue translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer

Before she was executed, Anne Boleyn’s head was shaved.  Afterwards, her hair was given to the executioner as part of the payment for his work.  He then sold it, at a considerable sum for the time, to a maker of tennis balls, which were often filled with human hair in that century.  Anne Boleyn’s hair was valued material for tennis balls because it was female, reddish … Continue reading Sudden Death by Álvaro Enrigue translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer

Company of Liars by Karen Maitland

In 1348, a group of people, strangers, come together in an attempt to out run the plague as it spreads across England.  Nine strangers in all, each with a secret, something they can only reveal at the risk of losing their lives. The narrator is a seller of phony religious relics.   He is joined by two Italian musicians, a master and his apprentice  on their way to … Continue reading Company of Liars by Karen Maitland

Wild Boy by Jill Dawson

On January 8, 1800, a wild boy emerged from the French forest of Aveyron.  He had been spotted several times, and twice captured over several years, but he had always escaped before.  Apparently deaf, unable to speak, bearing scars that told of an abusive history,  the boy, christened Victor, eventually ended up in the home of a young medical student Jean Marc Gaspard Itard where … Continue reading Wild Boy by Jill Dawson

The Judges of the Secret Court: A Novel About John Wilkes Booth by David Stacton

Does this description of Lincoln on his death-bed make up for all that I hold suspect about historical fiction? It was a sad face, everyone knew that, and an ugly face, but the approach of death made something evident in it that few had noticed, something youthful, ageless, and despite itself commanding. It was something worse than a face born to rule, something far worse. … Continue reading The Judges of the Secret Court: A Novel About John Wilkes Booth by David Stacton