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Posted: Mon May 7th, 2012, 9:01 pm
Tudors: A History of England (Volume II) by Peter Ackroyd. Non-fiction. UK release September 13, 2012.
The second volume of Peter Ackroyd's masterful history of England: the Tudors
Rich in detail and atmosphere and told in vivid prose, Tudors recounts the transformation of England from a settled Catholic country to a Protestant superpower. It is the story of Henry VIII's cataclysmic break with Rome, and his relentless pursuit of both the perfect wife and the perfect heir; of how the brief reign of the teenage king, Edward VI, gave way to the violent reimposition of Catholicism and the stench of bonfires under 'Bloody Mary'. It tells, too, of the long reign of Elizabeth I, which, though marked by civil strife, plots against the queen and even an invasion force, finally brought stability. Above all, however, it is the story of the English Reformation and the making of the Anglican Church. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, England was still largely feudal and looked to Rome for direction; at its end, it was a country where good governance was the duty of the state, not the church, and where men and women began to look to themselves for answers rather than to those who ruled them.
Posted: Mon May 7th, 2012, 9:04 pm
Sunne in Splendour: The Rise of the House of York by Mike Ingram. Non-fiction. UK release November 1, 2012.
The first book to explore how the House of York came to the English throne. A fascinating examination of the military power and capabilities that led to the House of Yorks claiming of the throne. Paints a vivid picture of the struggle between the nobility and the ordinary people as the country descended into lawlessness. Re-examines the battles of the Wars of the Roses.
Posted: Mon May 7th, 2012, 9:05 pm
Battle Story: Bosworth 1485 by Mike Ingram. UK release June 1, 2012; US release September 1, 2012.
Bosworth Field saw the two great dynasties of the day clash on the battlefield: the reigning House of York, led by Richard III, against the rising House of Tudor, led Henry Tudor, soon to become Henry VII. On 22 August 1485 this penultimate battle in the Wars of the Roses was fought with the might of the Lancastrian army ranged against the Yorkists. This book describes how these two great armies came to meet on the battlefield and how the tactics employed by the Yorkists eventually led to their defeat and the death of King Richard III. Through quotes and maps the text explores the unfolding action of the battle and puts the reader on the frontline. If you truly want to understand what happened and why - read Battle Story.
Posted: Mon May 7th, 2012, 9:05 pm
Soldier of Crusade by Jack Ludlow (2nd Crusade book). US and UK release November 15, 2012.
Bohemund is heading east into the Byzantine Empire, part of the greatest military expedition of medieval times, the Papal Crusade to take back the holy places of Christendom from the infidel. But Bohemund has his own agenda, the increase of his own riches, fiefdoms and influence at any cost.
Bohemund and his nephew, Tancred, are heading east into the lands of the Byzantine Empire. But Bohemund and his fellow Normans never pass into a new territory without an eye to the notion of gaining land and power, and this is no exception.
On his mission to wrest territory for himself, through a maze of smiling villains and shifting alliances, one man will come to play the deciding role in Bohemunds story, the wily Emperor, Alexius Comnenus.
Posted: Mon May 7th, 2012, 9:06 pm
The Emperor's Conspiracy by Michelle Diener. US and UK release November 27, 2012.
Set in early nineteenth-century England, this vivid and romantic historical novel goes from the most elegant ballrooms of London to the citys most tawdry slums, as a spirited young woman helps unravel a plot by Napoleon to bleed England of all its gold.
Through good fortune, Charlotte Raven escaped the poverty of the London slums and is now an educated, wealthy Society lady. But she lives between two worlds, unable to completely turn her back on her old lifespecifically Luke, her childhood protector and now a ruthless London crime lord.
When Lord Edward Durnham is asked to investigate the alarming movement of gold out of England, his search leads him to London, and his recent acquaintance with Charlotte affords him access to a dark world he barely knew existed. As they delve deeper into the underbelly of London, danger lurks at every turn, and Charlotte must navigate between her two worlds to save England.
And soon she faces a defining choice: to continue in the familiar limbo shes lived in for years, or to take a painful and risky leap toward a happiness she never thought possible.
Posted: Mon May 7th, 2012, 9:07 pm
1775: A Good Year for Revolution by Kevin Phillips. Non-fiction. US release December 1, 2012.
The contrarian historian and analyst upends the conventional reading of the American Revolution.
In 1775, iconoclastic historian and bestselling author Kevin Phillips punctures the myth that 1776 was the watershed year of the American Revolution. He suggests that the great events and confrontations of 1775Congress's belligerent economic ultimatums to Britain, New England's rage militaire, the exodus of British troops and expulsion of royal governors up and down the seaboard, and the new provincial congresses and hundreds of local committees that quickly reconstituted local authority in Patriot handsachieved a sweeping Patriot control of territory and local government that Britain was never able to overcome. These each added to the Revolution's essential momentum so when the British finally attacked in great strength the following year, they could not regain the control they had lost in 1775.
Analyzing the political climate, economic structures, and military preparations, as well as the roles of ethnicity, religion, and class, Phillips tackles the eighteenth century with the same skill and insights he has shown in analyzing contemporary politics and economics. The result is a dramatic narrative brimming with original insights. 1775 revolutionizes our understanding of America's origins.
Posted: Thu May 24th, 2012, 5:53 pm
The King's Spy by Andrew Swanston. UK release August 2, 2012.
Dark secrets, vicious rumours and treachery in the English Civil War.
England is at war with itself. King Charles I has fled London, his negotiations with Parliament in tatters.
The country is consumed by bloodshed. For Thomas Hill, a man of letters quietly running a bookshop in the rural town of Romsey, knowledge of the war is limited to the rumours that reach the local inn.
When a stranger knocks on his door one night and informs him that the kings cryptographer has died, everything changes. Aware of Thomass background as a mathematician and his expertise in codes and ciphers, the king has summoned him to his court in Oxford.
On arrival, Thomas soon discovers that nothing at court is straightforward. There is evidence of a traitor in their midst. Brutal murder follows brutal murder. And when a vital message encrypted with a notoriously unbreakable cipher is intercepted, he must decipher it to reveal the kings betrayer and prevent the violent death that defeat will surely bring.
ETA: Just noticed a recent thread for this in the review section
Posted: Thu May 24th, 2012, 5:56 pm
The Black Count by Tom Reiss. Non-fiction. US and UK release September 18, 2012.
By the author of the internationally bestselling biography The Orientalist, The Black Count brings to life one of history's great forgotten heroes: a man almost unknown today yet with a personal story that is strikingly familiar. His swashbuckling exploits appear in The Three Musketeers, and his triumphs and ultimate tragic fate inspired The Count of Monte Cristo. His name is Alex Dumas. Father of the novelist Alexandre Dumas, Alex has become, through his son's books, the model for a captivating modern protagonist: the wronged man in search of justice.
Born to a black slave mother and a fugitive white French nobleman in Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti), Alex Dumas was briefly sold into bondage but then made his way to Paris where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy.
He was only 32 when he was given command of 53,000 men, the reward for series of triumphs that many regarded as impossible, and then topped his previous feats by leading a raid up a frozen cliff face that secured the Alps for France. It was after his subsequent heroic service as Napoleon's cavalry commander that Dumas was captured and cast into a dungeon-and a harrowing ordeal commenced that inspired one of the world's classic works of fiction.
The Black Count is simultaneously a riveting adventure story, a lushly textured evocation of 18th-century France, and a window into the modern world's first multi-racial society. But it is also a heartbreaking story of the enduring bonds of love between a father and son. Drawing on hitherto unknown documents, letters, battlefield reports and Dumas' handwritten prison diary, The Black Count is a groundbreaking masterpiece of narrative nonfiction.
Posted: Thu May 24th, 2012, 6:01 pm
The General's Mistress by Jo Graham. US and UK release October 23, 2012.
Elza believed her Dutch husband would be her handsome prince, with whom shed live happily ever after. But he soon turned cold, dismissive, and scornful, more interested in politics than Elza. When he grows violent, she leaves everything and runs away to post-revolutionary Paris, where she finds herself in need of a protector. Elza makes a deal with a commander in the French army: in exchange for his defense against her husband, she will become his mistress.
So begins a sensual journey that leads from the decadent salons of Paris to the Italian coast to the bed of General Napoleon Bonaparte himself. Elza finds that she has a survivors instincts, a courtesans passion, and the gift of second sight. When a tarot reading reveals the face of a soldier who she senses is her soulmate, Elza must once again decide if she is strong enough to risk everything for her destiny.
Posted: Thu May 31st, 2012, 8:19 am
Abdication by Juliet Nicholson (published on 7 June in the UK)
England, 1936. After the recent death of George V, the nation has a new king, Edward VIII. But for all the confident pomp and ceremony of the accession, it is a turbulent time. Terrible poverty and unemployment affect many, but trouble few among the ruling elite; for others, Oswald Mosley's New Party, which offers a version of the fascism on the rise in Germany, seems to offer the vision of the future. Nineteen-year-old May Thomas has just disembarked at Liverpool Docks after making the long journey by steamer from Barbados to escape the constraints of her sugar-plantation childhood. Her first job as a secretary and chauffeuse to Sir Philip Blunt, Chief Whip in Baldwin's Conservative government, will open her eyes to the upper echelons of British society...The unlikely friendship she forms with Evangeline Nettlefold, American god-daughter of the Chief Whip's wife and an old school friend of Wallis Simpson, will see her through family upheavals including the shocking, sudden loss of her mother; but more significant for May, the Blunts' son Rupert has an Oxford University friend, Julian, a young man of conscience for whom, despite all barriers of class, she cannot help but fall. Secrets, hidden truths, undeclared loves, unspoken sympathies and covert complicities are everywhere - biggest and most dangerous of them all, the truth about the new King's relationship with a married woman, and the silent horror that few in Britain dare voice: the increasing inevitability of another world war...