Chaucer’s People by Liza Picard (Historical/Literary Nonfiction, American Edition 2019). Liza Picard has written a series of books on various aspects of English history. For her latest, published in England in 2017, with its American edition now out, she uses Geoffrey Chaucer’s best known work as a springboard into an entertaining and informative account of what […]Read more "BOOK REVIEW: Chaucer’s People"
Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey (Fantasy Novel, 2001). Phedre is a young woman born with a scarlet mote in her left eye. In her culture, this (known as Kushiel’s Dart) signals that she is destined to be a special sort of Sacred Prostitute. But the nobleman who takes her in as an indentured servant has other plans […]Read more "BOOK REVIEW: Kushiel’s Dart"
War of the Wolf by Bernard Cornwell (Historical Novel, 2018). By my count this is the eleventh novel in Cornwell’s sprawling Saxon Tales series. As usual, the main character, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, narrates the book with a keen eye and ever-growing self-awareness. And yet, as ever, he remains dedicated to the cultural imperative central to his […]Read more "BOOK REVIEW: War of the Wolf"
The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar (Novel, 2018). Whether it’s the mood of the country/world, various authors responding to what’s in the news or just plain coinicidence, I’ve noted several recurrent themes in novels (and even nonfiction books) I’ve been reading. For one thing, I’ve been encountering plots involving women in either […]Read more "REVIEWED: The Map of Salt and Stars"
Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson (Biography, October 2017). One of the most accomplished and successful of biographers, Walter Issacson shows a particular interest in the lives of world-changing innovators. His mammoth account of the life, works and times of the man who produced art the likes of the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, not to mention his […]Read more "REVIEWED: Leonardo Da Vinci"
Empress of the East by Leslie Peirce (Historical Biography, 2017). Leslie Peirce is a recognized authority on the Ottoman Empire and its unique royal harem practices. She takes on her most challenging topic yet in this striking account of the one woman who rose from slavery to be the legal wife of a great Sultan and […]Read more "REVIEWED: Empress of the East"
My latest fiction publication is a historical fantasy story, set in the medieval period (early 14th century) in part of what today is central Vietnam. Lots of magic, local color. It’s included in the SF/F magazine aimed at younger readers that you see above–FROSTFIRE WORLDS, February 2017 issue (Alban Lake Publishing). The magazine contains seven […]Read more "Historical Fantasy Story Released"
The Flame Bearer by Bernard Cornwell (Historical/Adventure Novel, 2016). Set in the year 917 AD, this one is the latest in a series of historical adventure novels from one of the field’s best-known and most successful authors. These “Saxon Tales” deal with the time when various Saxon Kingdoms were in the process of recapturing what would eventually […]Read more "REVIEWED: The Flame Bearer"
The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury. (Novel, 2005). This 526-page adventure epic followed close on the heels of The Da Vinci Code and proved a bestseller in its own right. I wouldn’t quite call it a rip-off of Brown’s work, but there are conspicuous similarities: a seemingly mismatched pair of modern-day adventurers seek the truth behind a […]Read more "REVIEWED: The Last Templar"
North Men by John Haywood. (History, 2016). I don’t want to be snotty about it, but honesty demands that I say this straight out: In this book, John Haywood has managed the dubious and improbable feat of turning the story of the sprawling and dramatic, violent and complex heyday of the bold raiders we commonly call […]Read more "REVIEWED: The Northmen"