Historical Fiction

The North Water was one of the titles from last year’s Man Booker Prize long list and I was impressed. This is an excellent piece of historical fiction, which crosses the boundaries into the thriller genre. It works equally well in both. Having finished the book, I reflected on why I enjoyed it so much… Read More

This is a departure for Sebastian Barry, a book set entirely in mid to late nineteenth century America. We follow the fortunes of two young men, John Cole and Thomas McNulty, who sign up for the army and end up fighting in the Indian Wars and then the Civil War. I say it is a… Read More

This is a good yarn from a writer who is more familiar for several Russian themed novels such as Gorky Park and Red Square. The Girl from Venice is set in the final days of the Second World War, with Italy on the cusp of defeat as the Americans slowly push north through the country… Read More

I asked to review this book because the storyline caught my attention at once. The events of December 1642 when the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman came to New Zealand and encountered Maori for the first time. The images of this sketchy moment in our history, preserved only in a few small drawings and the logs… Read More

To the Bright Edge of the World is an extremely enjoyable read. It works particularly well due to a combination of viewpoints. The basic story is about Lieutenant Colonel Allen Forrester, who embarks upon the first American expedition to the interior of Alaska, with a small group of men. What makes it compelling are the… Read More

According to author Lindsey Dawson, Scarlet and Magenta is only loosely based on the kernel of truth but there is something very attractive about stories inspired by this land and the women and men who came to be here. This is historical fiction, New Zealand historical fiction but also Victorian historical fiction - and yes, if… Read More

War stories take us back to a place where truth, honour, loyalty and courage all come into play in a grand chess game orchestrated by paper architects who never have to face the firing line. As a result, the stories and indeed the histories, that are handed down are often constructed to tell a particular… Read More

I read Cecilia Ekbäck’s first book, Wolf Winter, a few months ago and really enjoyed the way she evoked both place and season. I was thrown into the dark and snow of a Swedish winter in the early 1700s. In her new book the place, a dark brooding mountain called Blackåsen, still figures as a… Read More

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