Hot New Releases in Historical Fiction – Really Amazon?

I found this quite amusing – it seems Amazon has embraced the idea of alternate history completely! According to their UK site George RR Martin’s books about Westeros now rate as historical fiction. Maybe a sign that we truly do want to escape our real world and imagine we were elsewhere!

Man Booker Prize: George Saunders wins for Lincoln in the Bardo

Not only has a historical novel won the Booker Prize this year (that’s not uncommon), but one with distinct speculative elements as well – in fact I’d say that with the large dose of the supernatural in the book, it’s practically a historical fantasy book – but of course it won’t be shelved as fantasy by any bookshop.

Saunders has also been published in Best of Science Fiction and Fantasy anthologies in the past so I think to some extent he is a genre writer – although I don’t think any writer should be limited to a category as such.

Anyway as a fan of realistic and fantastical historical fiction, I must say I am very pleased to see this book win!

Naomi Novak’s Crucible of Gold published in the US

Crucible of Gold, the seventh book of Naomi Novak’s Temeraire series has just been published (6th March) in the US. I have only read the first book in the series so far, but I loved the premise and the execution of it – reminded me of a slightly dumbed down version of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, but a great read nevertheless (sometimes dumbed down is good!) I have a special affection for historical fantasy, so the next six books of the series are in my to read eventually list!

There’s a funky trailer here:

And here’s some more information from Del Rey’s press release about the book:

Naomi Novik’s beloved series returns, with Captain Will Laurence and his fighting dragon Temeraire once again taking to the air against the broadsides of Napoleon’s forces and the friendly—and sometimes not-so-friendly—fire of British soldiers and politicians who continue to suspect them of divided loyalties, if not outright treason.

For Laurence and Temeraire, put out to pasture in Australia, it seems their part in the war has come to an end just when they are needed most. But perhaps they are no longer alone in this opinion. Newly allied with the powerful African empire of the Tswana, the French have occupied Spain and brought revolution and bloodshed to Brazil, threatening Britain’s last desperate hope to defeat Napoleon.

And now the government that sidelined them has decided they have the best chance at negotiating a peace with the angry Tswana, who have besieged the Portuguese royal family in Rio—and thus offer to reinstate Laurence to his former rank and seniority as a captain in the Aerial Corps. Temeraire is delighted by this sudden reversal of fortune, but Laurence is by no means sanguine, knowing from experience that personal honor and duty to one’s country do not always run on parallel tracks.

Nonetheless, the pair embark for Brazil, only to meet with a string of unmitigated disasters that force them to make an unexpected landing in the hostile territory of the Incan empire, where they face new unanticipated dangers.

Now with the success of the mission balanced on a razor’s edge, and failure looking more likely by the minute, the unexpected arrival of an old enemy will tip the scales toward ruin. Yet even in the midst of disaster, opportunity may lurk—for one bold enough to grasp it.

New Historical Fantasy Book: The Folded World (Dirge for Prester John) by Catherynne M. Valente

The Folded World (Dirge for Prester John) by Catherynne M. Valente

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597802034
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597802031

Available from

Available from

When the mysterious daughter of Prester John appears on the doorstep of her father”s palace, she brings with her news of war in the West–the Crusades have begun, and the bodies of the faithful are washing up on the shores of Pentexore. Three narratives intertwine to tell the tale of the beginning of the end of the world: a younger, angrier Hagia, the blemmye-wife of John and Queen of Pentexore, who takes up arms with the rest of her nation to fight a war they barely understand, Vyala, a lion-philosopher entrusted with the care of the deformed and prophetic royal princess, and another John, John Mandeville, who in his many travels discovers the land of Pentexore–on the other side of the diamond wall meant to keep demons and monsters at bay. These three voices weave a story of death, faith, beauty, and power, dancing in the margins of true history, illuminating a place that never was.

About the Author

Catherynne M. Valente began September’s adventures in installments on the Web; the project won legions of fans and also the CultureGeek Best Web Fiction of the Decade award. She lives with her husband on an island off the coast of Maine. She has written many novels for adults and a few for children.

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Harry Sidebottom Video on the Emperor Tiberius

Monday’s featured new historical fiction book was Lion of the Sun: Book Three of Warrior of Rome by Harry Sidebottom

While researching this title I came across this interesting YouTube video from Dr Sidebottom. Well worth a watch.

New Historical Fantasy Book: Master of the House of Darts by Aliette de Bodard

Master of the House of Darts by Aliette de Bodard

Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Angry Robot; Original edition (October 25, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0857661604
ISBN-13: 978-0857661609

Available from
Available from

You can see a preview of the book at the Angry Robot website.

Praise for Servant of the Underworld:

“An Aztec priest of the dead tries to solve a murder mystery, and finds that politics may be even more powerful than magic. A vivid portrayal of an interesting culture in a truly fresh fantasy novel.”
– Kevin J. Anderson, New York Times bestselling co-author of The Winds of Dune

“Amid the mud and maize of the Mexica empire, Aliette de Bodard has composed a riveting story of murder, magic and sibling rivalry.”
– Elizabeth Bear

“I haven’t enjoyed a proper detective story this much in ages, and the rich setting, monsters and magic just added an extra layer of delight.”
– David Devereux

The year is Three Rabbit, and the storm is coming…

The coronation war for the new Emperor has just ended in a failure, the armies retreating with a mere forty prisoners of war – not near enough sacrifices to ensure the favor of the gods.

When one of those prisoners of war dies of a magical illness, ACATL, High Priest for the Dead, is summoned to investigate.

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New Historical Fiction Book – The Dovekeepers: A Novel by Alice Hoffman

The Dovekeepers: A Novel by Alice Hoffman

Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Scribner (October 4, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 145161747X
ISBN-13: 978-1451617474
Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.5 inches

Available from

Available from

View the Book Trailer:

From the Publishers Website:

Over five years in the writing,

The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman’s most ambitious and mesmerizing novel, a tour de force of imagination and research, set in ancient Israel.

In 70 C.E., nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic and iconic event, Hoffman’s novel is a spellbinding tale of four extraordinarily bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path. Yael’s mother died in childbirth, and her father, an expert assassin, never forgave her for that death. Revka, a village baker’s wife, watched the horrifically brutal murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers; she brings to Masada her young grandsons, rendered mute by what they have witnessed. Aziza is a warrior’s daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and an expert marksman who finds passion with a fellow soldier. Shirah, born in Alexandria, is wise in the ways of ancient magic and medicine, a woman with uncanny insight and power.

The lives of these four complex and fiercely independent women intersect in the desperate days of the siege. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets—about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love. The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman’s masterpiece.

Read the first chapter

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New Historical Fantasy Graphic Novel: Sword of the Apocalypse Illustrated Novel

Sword of the Apocalypse Illustrated Novel by Flint Dille, Daniel Arey and David Liss

  • Hardcover: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Radical Publishing (October 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193541738X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935417385

Available from

Available from

Description from Amazon:

Product Description

In the 13th Century, amidst an ongoing battle for control of the holy city of Jerusalem, unlikely alliances are formed between warring factions when the existence of a mysterious sword that grants its bearer awesome and devastating power comes to light. With the fate of the world resting in their hands, Richard the Lionheart, Robin Hood, Saladin, Maimonides, Genghis Khan, and Morgiana – all legendary figures in their own right – must band together amidst hardship, betrayal, and the nightmarish assassins of Hassan-i-Sabbah to discover and protect the long-hidden secrets of Al-Batar: the Holy Sword of the Apocalypse!

About the Author

Flint Dille has spent most of his creative life on the porous border between the game business and the film business.  He has designed games with Gary Gygax and written movies for Steven Spielberg. His friend, Frank Miller immortalized him as Dillios (a Spartan-ization of Dille), the narrator in 300.  Flint has twice won ‘Game Script of the Year’ (Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay and Dead to Rights) and is up for awards in 2010 for Ghostbusters and Dark Athena.  He has worked on numerous franchises including Transformers (writer onTransformers: The Movie), G.I. JoeJames BondBatman (in Guiness Book of Videogame Records for having created the first Batman villain outside of the comics), Superman,Dungeons & DragonsAmerican TailTeen TitansScooby-Doo (writing a story about the guy who made all of those rubber costumes and is the grandson of the originator of Buck Rogers.  He has a degree in Ancient History from U.C. Berkeley and an MFA from USC.  He is also a consultant to the intelligence community. Sword of the Apocalypse was a product of his fascination with History and all things involving spies and swords.

David Liss is an award winning novelist. His debut, A Conspiracy of Paper was named a New York Times Notable Book and won him the 2001 Barry, MacAvity and Edgar awards for Best First Novel. David has also won awards for The Coffee Trader, which was also named a New York Times Notable Book and was selected by the New York Public Library as one of the year’s 25 Books to Remember. His A Spectacle of Corruption, the sequel to A Conspiracy of Paper, became a national bestseller. Other titles include Ethical Assassin, his first full-length work that is not historical fiction, The Whiskey Rebels and The Devil’s Company.

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