Book talk: Historical fiction


This week, Michael Popple looks at three exceptional pieces of historical fiction. You can find more of Michael’s book reviews on his blog:

The Gates of Athens by Conn Iggulden

The Gates of Athens

Michael Joseph, $32.99

Acclaimed author Conn Iggulden presents an impressive start to his Athenian series with The Gates of Athens. In 490 BC, the warriors of Athens defeat a Persian army at Marathon, changing the lives of the city’s leaders forever. Their subsequent struggles for power will have impacts down the years as Persia prepares for a massive invasion, which comes to a head at a desolate area known as Thermopylae.

This is an outstanding and expansive novel that combines masterful storytelling with compelling historical elements, great characters and exciting action sequences. One of the best historical fiction books of 2020.

Execution by S. J. Parris


Harper Collins, $32.99

England, 1586. Queen Elizabeth rules, but many detractors and rebels wish her dead, including her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots. Former monk, Giordano Bruno, returns to England with news about a conspiracy against the Queen. Forced to infiltrate the conspirators, while also investigating a shocking murder, Bruno attempts to uncover evidence of Mary’s betrayal. Before the book’s end, a Queen will die, and history will be forever changed.

In this sixth entry in the Giordano Bruno series, Parris has produced another captivating and slick historical thriller. Featuring a complex mystery, an intense conspiracy and an addictive narrative, Execution is a highly recommended read.

Blunt Force by Lynda La Plante

Blunt Force

Zaffre, $32.99

Detective Jane Tennison has been transferred to a quiet station at Gerald Road. When the brutally slaughtered body of a successful celebrity agent is found, Tennison dives into the cutthroat world of show business, as the victim has left behind a multitude of influential clients and dangerous suspects. Can Tennison find the killer before they strike again?

This is the sixth entry in the Tennison series, which serves as a prequel to the cult 1990s television show, Prime Suspect. This is an amazing murder mystery novel that features a captivating and intricate investigation that readers will thoroughly enjoy.

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