Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Historical Fiction Enticements 5/22

Enjoy our five Historical Fiction synopses. Historical Fiction Enticements is a regular Wednesday feature on this blog. 

Fair Weather
Barbara Gaskell Denvil

His voice haunts her quiet hours and like the rustle of dead leaves it whispers, threatening and insistent.

All her life Molly has been haunted. The place of her visions is dark and its people are troubled by hunger and poverty. This is the distant past – England at the turn of the 13th Century; medieval shadows during the reign of King John. The past and the present exist at the same time.

Her personality splits and as the past encroaches further, Molly inhabits the life and thoughts of Tilda, a young orphaned waif whose friends and companions are a group of children, taught to steal to avoid starvation in a period of famine. They are looked after by an ambiguous figure whose motives seem confusing and dangerous. At best, he appears more aware of the alchemy inherent in the time switch than should be expected. Molly is not frightened at first, she is bewitched and excited. She loves Tilda and wants to protect her. Gradually she learns to relish her experiences in medieval London, and regrets all spontaneous returns to her modern platitudes.

But it is murder within her own modern time which suddenly changes everything. Molly is drawn into the police investigation, and now pulled between past and present, each as disturbing as the other, she becomes confused. Then an identical murder in the haunted past of her dreams joins the two worlds in equal danger. Molly passes between. She travels time while followed by a horror which kills and mutilates at will. She has opened the way to evil and the man, his words ever echoing, is always there.

It is the ancient battle between good and evil, yet Molly discovers far more than fear and misery. In both this world and that there are astonishing surprises, and some involve her more personally than she could even have dreamed. She discovers a whole new life, and a love she could never have imagined. She no longer wishes to lose the deep happiness of the past – but she is given no choice. Choice seems to be the last thing she can be allowed.

This is a historical thriller set in England of 800 years ago compared to modern values. The plot is founded on strong individual characterisation with a deep magical content, several important twists, and considerable inherent romance.

Amazon US
Amazon UK


A Thing Done
Tinney Sue Heath

Florence, 1216: The noble families of Florence hold great power, but they do not share it easily. Tensions simmer just below the surface. When Corrado the Jester's prank-for-hire at a banquet goes wrong, a brawl erupts between two knightly factions. Blood is spilled, and Florence reels on the brink of civil war. One side makes the traditional offer of a marriage to restore peace, but that fragile peace crumbles under the pressure of a woman's interference, an unforgivable insult, and an outraged cry for revenge. It's the thirteenth century, and the great families do not forgive – they even the score, for lost honor must be regained.

Corrado is pressed into unwilling service as messenger by both sides, watching in horror as the headstrong knight Buondelmonte violates every standard of chivalry to possess the woman he wants, while his betrothed, spurned and furious, schemes to destroy him. Corrado is sworn to silence, but he already knows too much. The need for secrecy is destroying all trust between the Jester and his housemate Neri, the musician who is like a brother to him. The Jester can neither stop the inexorable tide of events nor step outside of it to safety.

Will Buondelmonte's reckless act set off a full-scale vendetta? If it does, will even the Jester's famous wit and ingenuity be enough to keep himself alive and protect those dear to him? And what of his beloved city, torn apart by the knights' bitter feud?

Corrado's story is also the story of three fiercely determined women in a society that allows them little initiative. Selvaggia may have been humiliated, but as Corrado will learn, she is not a woman to cross. Gualdrada is the proudly partisan noblewoman who tempts Buondelmonte with her daughter's extraordinary beauty. She manipulates him adroitly, alternately goading and flattering him. Ghisola, Corrado's great-hearted friend and Neri's lover, agonizes over the rift between Corrado and Neri. From behind the scenes each will do whatever she must to achieve her goal—to avenge, to prevail, to survive.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Last King of Lydia
Tim Leach

In the ancient world, myth is more important than history, martial strength is the only guarantor of peace, and the power of the fickle Gods is feared by all. It is in this world that Croesus, a king of legendary wealth and ruler of a great empire, finds himself haunted all his life by a single question – what does it mean to be happy?

When an old Greek philosopher gives him a troubling answer – that no man can be called happy until he is dead – Croesus dismisses it as nonsense. Surrounded by a loving family and benevolent ruler of a peaceful kingdom, his happiness seems assured. But a new power rising in the east threatens to shatter his idyllic life of wealth, power and love. As his world begins to collapse around him, he will find everything that he holds dear under threat, everything that he thought about himself newly questioned.

Following in the tradition of writers like Robert Graves, Mary Renault and Gore Vidal, this is a story about the corruption of power, the birth of wealth and empire, and the search for redemption when all hope seems lost.

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Waterstones UK

The Fall of the Empire
Zoe Saadia

"One empire is about to fall, another is about to rise - the Empire is dead, long live the Empire.

A successful trader, a slave girl, an ambitious warlord of the invading forces, thrown together in a triangle neither of the three anticipated, in the face of the war that is destined to change the history of the Mexican Valley, bringing the Aztecs to power.

Having just been advanced into the ranks of the first-class traders, Etl thought his life could not get any better. He was a trader of the Tepanec Empire, living in the Great Capital itself. Yes, there had been a war, an outright revolt by the united tributaries and other subdued nations of his beloved city-state, but those would be squashed easily. The Tepanecs were always victorious.

The only thing that made him worry was the decision of Tlalli, the girl from the marketplace he liked, to sell herself into the Palace’s services. He didn't want her to do that, having intended to take care of her himself, but the stubborn, pretty thing went on and did it all the same. Why?

Apparently, Tlalli was not just a simple market girl, but a young woman with a very unusual agenda. She had her own grudge to settle, and with no lesser person than the Emperor himself.

But then the enemies struck…"

Amazon US
Amazon UK


Syncopation: A Memoir of Adèle Hugo
Elizabeth Caulfield Felt


Adèle Hugo.

Balzac called her the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, like a statue from antiquity. She was a talented poet and musician but her father, the famous Victor Hugo, prohibited her from publishing and performing. She had marriage proposals and lovers but never wed.

Syncopation, by Elizabeth Caulfield Felt, breathes life into the unconventional thoughts of this controversial female figure. An elderly Adèle recounts her desperate attempts to gain personal freedom. Her memoir blurs the fine line between truth and madness, in a narrative that is of off-kilter,
. . . syncopated.

For humans there is only memory, and memory is unreliable.

Cornerstone Press

Come back next Wednesday for five more synopsis. You may find your new favorite book!

Authors of historical fiction from any location may contact me to submit a synopsis using the contact form on this site. No steamy romance novels, please.

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