Books For Fans Of Historical Espionage
The finest works of historical fiction are those that thoroughly recreate the past through precise research, creating a world inspired by our own and shaped by the author’s ingenuity. This co-mingling of reality and fiction transports us to a time and place long since passed, reflecting what might have been while upholding a certain plausible deniability.
While evidence may be limited in reconstructing the past, an author’s imagination is thankfully here to fill in those gaps.
Rivals of the Republic by Annelise Freisenbruch (historical thriller) follows Hortensia who must navigate the male-dominated courts of ancient Rome in her quest to uncover a sinister plot to overthrow the Republic - one that is mysteriously connected to the body of a Vestal Virgin dredged up from the river Tiber.
The Ornatrix by Kate Howard (literary women’s fiction) tells the story of Flavia who is banished from her home to live in the convent of Santa Giuliana where she becomes entranced by Ghostanza, a courtesan turned widow whose beauty and cruelty are unmatched. Painted against a vivid sixteenth-century Italian landscape, this novel faces issues of belonging, female identity, and the perception of beauty in a way that is simply dazzling.
The Romance Reader’s Guide to Life by Sharon Pywell (post-WW2 ghost story) is a haunting, darkly funny and compelling tale of sisterhood. When bookworm Neave finds her outgoing sister Lilly has disappeared, Neave is desperate to find her and receives help from the most unlikely of places, proving that the bond between sisters can overcome anything in life – and beyond.
Midnight in Berlin by James MacManus (historical espionage): As the threat of war escalates in Berlin, 1938, newly-appointed military attaché Noel Macrae and his extroverted wife Primrose arrive at the British Embassy. It’s not long before each becomes embroiled in German affairs that are both intimate and political. As loyalties are stretched to the limit can their courage hold-out against such daunting odds?
Vladimir M. by Robert Littell (biographical fiction on Russian Revolution): In March 1953, four women meet in Room 408, each claiming to have been a muse to Vladimir Mayakovsky, having loved or loathed him in the course of his life. As they piece together their stories of the national Soviet idol, a portrait of the artist as a young, complex and passionate idealist emerges bringing to life this influential period in history.
Lose yourself in the thrills, romances and scandals of the past, travelling through time into spaces and experiences otherwise inaccessible.