Readers’ Resources

Readers’ Resources

Like most writers, I’m also a reader. For those books that grab me, I’ll write a review on my blog and talk it up at readers’ groups. I’ll occasionally do giveaways of books that I want to share. This page has links to book reviews/giveaways (most recent first) and guest posts on my blog. I’ve conducted interviews with such famous authors as Ursula K. Le Guin and Anita Diamant. You can find links to those interviews here. If you have any questions for me or suggestions for additional content, please feel free to leave a comment.


 Book Reviews:

 

  • boudica-coverTitle: Boudica: Iron Age Warrior Queen
  • Authors: Richard Hingley and Christina Unwin
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; (August 21, 2006)
  • Format: Trade paperback, 256 pages, (prices vary)
  • Blurb: Boudica, or Boadicea, queen of the Iceni, led a famous revolt against Roman rule in Britain in AD 60, sacking London, Colchester and St Albans and throwing the province into chaos. Although then defeated by the governor, Suetonius Paulinus, her rebellion sent a shock wave across the empire. Who was this woman who defied Rome? Boudica: Iron Age Warrior Queen is an account of what we know about the real woman, from classical literature, written for the consumption of readers in Rome, and from the archaeological evidence. It also traces her extraordinary posthumous career as the earliest famous woman in British history. Since the Renaissance she has been seen as harridan, patriot, freedom fighter and feminist, written about in plays and novels, painted and sculpted, and recruited to many causes. She remains a tragic, yet inspirational, figure of unending interest. (Read review.)

 

  • boudica-collingridge-coverTitle: Boudica
  • Authors: Vanessa Collingridge
  • Format: Trade paperback, 402 pages, $11.25
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group (April 28, 2006)
  • Format: Kindle, 1383 KB, $11.84
  • Publisher: Overlook Books, (June 26, 2007)
  • Blurb: Boudica has been immortalised throughout history as the woman who dared take on the Romans – an act of vengeance on behalf of her daughters, tribe and enslaved country. Her known life is a rich tapestry of wife, widow, mother, queen and Celtic quasi-Goddess. But beneath this lies a history both dark and shocking, with fresh archaeological evidence adding new depth and terrifying detail to the worn-out myths. From the proud warrior tribes of her East Anglian childhood to the battlefields of her defeat, this is a vividly written and evocatively told story, bringing a wealth of new research and insight to bear on one of the key figures in British history and mythology.(Read review.)

 

  • hand-of-fire-cover-large-203x300Title: Hand of Fire
  • Author: Judith Starkston
  • Publisher: Fireship Press (September 2014)
  • Formats: Paperback (336 pages), eBook
  • Price: $17.50 (PB), $5.50 (eB)
  • Blurb: The Trojan War threatens Troy’s allies and the Greek supply raids spread. A young healing priestess, designated as future queen, must defend her city against both divine anger and invading Greeks. She finds strength in visions of a handsome warrior god; will that be enough when the half-immortal Achilles attacks? Hand of Fire, a tale of resilience and hope, blends history and legend in the untold story of Achilles’s famous captive, Briseis.(Read review.)

 

princesses-cover

  • Title: Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History—Without the Fairy-Tale Endings
  • Author: Linda Rodriguez McRobbie
  • Publisher: Quirk Books, (November 19, 2013)
  • Formats: Hardcover (288 pages), eBook, Audio book
  • Price: $19.95 (HB), $9.99 (eB), $23.95 (AB)
  • Blurb: You think you know her story. You’ve read the Brothers Grimm, you’ve watched the Disney cartoons, you cheered as these virtuous women lived happily ever after. But the lives of real princesses couldn’t be more different. Sure, many were graceful and benevolent leaders – but just as many were ruthless in their quest for power, and all of them had skeletons rattling in their royal closets.Princesses Behaving Badly is a fascinating read for history buffs, feminists, and anyone seeking a different kind of bedtime story.(Read review.)

 

copper-woman

  • Title: Daughters of Copper Woman
  • Author: Anne Cameron
  • ISBN: 978-1550172454
  • Publisher: Harbor Publishing, updated edition 2002 (original edition 1981)
  • Format: Paperback, 200 pages
  • Price: $19.95
  • Blurb: And then the Creator, who is neither male nor female, man nor woman, but both, and something more than either…took the shells of the sea and the minerals of the rocks and fashioned a skeleton…took the salt water of the ocean and made from it blood…took handfuls of dirt and on the skeleton fashioned a body, which was then encased in skin, made from the skin of the Creator and the same color as copper…she became First Woman, she became Copper Woman. (Read review.)

 

eighty-days-cover

  • Title: Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World
  • Author: Matthew Goodman
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (February 26, 2012)
  • Format: Hardcover (480 pages), Paperback (496 pages), eBook, Audio book
  • Price: $28.00 (HB), $16.00 (PB), $9.99 (eB), $29.95 (AB)
  • Blurb: On November 14, 1898, Nellie Bly, the crusading young female reporter for Joseph Pulitzer’s World newspaper, left new York City by steamship on a quest to break the record for the fastest trip around the world. Also departing from New York that day—and heading in the opposite direction by train—was a young journalist from The Cosmopolitanmagazine, Elizabeth Bisland. Each woman was determined to outdo Jules Vern’s fictional hero Phileas Fogg and circle the globe in less than eighty days. A vivid real-life re-creation of the race and its aftermath, this is history with the heart of a great adventure novel. (Read review.)

 

seven wonders cover

  • Title: The Seven Wonders: A Novel of the Ancient World
  • Author: Steven Saylor
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books, 2012
  • Format: Paperback (336 pages), eBook, Audio book
  • Price: $14.99 (PB), $8.89 (eB), $23.95 (AB)
  • Blurb: Gordianus the Finder is back in this prequel to Steven Saylor’s popular series of mysteries set in the Roman Republic of Cicero and Caesar. Gordianus is eighteen and embarks on the First Century BCE equivalent of a “Grand Tour” with his old tutor and famous poet Antipater of Sidon. As the Italian peninsula simmers with rebellion, the pair head east to visit the Seven Wonders of the World encountering murder, mysteries and political intrigues. Over the course of their year+ journey, Gordianus evolves into “the Finder” series readers have come to know and love. (Read review.)

 

kings-mistresses-cover1

  • Title: The Kings’ Mistresses: the Liberated Lives of Marie Mancini, Princess Colonna, and Her Sister Hortense, Duchess Mazarin
  • Author: Elizabeth C. Goldsmith
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs (member of Perseus Book Group)
  • Formats: Hardcover (256 pages), eBook
  • Cover Price: $26.99 (HB), $14.57 (eB)
  • Blurb: The Kings’ Mistresses is the true tale of two sisters: Marie Mancini and her younger sister Hortense, the nieces of one of the most powerful men in seventeenth century France, Cardinal Mazarin (a protégé of Richelieu.) Mazarin, rose from obscure roots in Rome to become Prime Minister to the Queen Regent of France, Anne of Austria and her son Louis XIV. Along the way he acquired great wealth as well as influence and enemies. He hoped to consolidate his influence by the well-known ploy of strategic marriage, so he summoned his Italian nieces to the French court. It was the first of many journeys in their fascinating lives.(Read review.)

 

catherine-the-great-cover

  • Title: Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman
  • Author: Robert K. Massie
  • Publisher: Random House, November 2011
  • Format: Hardcover (656 pages), Paperback (672 pages), eBook, Audio book
  • ISBN: 978-0-679-45672-8 (ARC)
  • Price: $35.00 (HB), $14.93 (PB), $9.99 (eB), $35.95 (AB)
  • Blurb: The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Peter the GreatNicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, the extraordinary story of an obscure young German princess who traveled to Russia at fourteen and rose to become one of the most remarkable, powerful, and captivating women in history. (Read review.)

 

  • Noah's wife coverTitle: Noah’s Wife
  • AuthorT. K. Thorne
  • Publisher: Chalet Publishers, LLC (2009)
  • Format: Paperback (354 pages), eBook, Audio book
  • Price: $16.95 (PB), $2.99 (eB), 21.95 (AB)
  • Blurb: Noah’s wife is Na’amah, a beautiful, brilliant girl with a form of autism (now) known as Asperger’s. She wishes only to be a shepherdess on her beloved hills in ancient Turkey—a desire shattered by her powerful brother’s hatred, the love of two men, and a looming disaster only she knows is coming. (Read review.)

 

 

  • alexandria coverTitle: Alexandria: A Marcus Didius Falco Mystery
  • Author: Lindsey Davis
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books, 2009
  • Formats: Paperback (349 pages), eBook, Audio book
  • Price: $14.99 (PB), $8.89 (eB), $27.94 (AB)
  • Blurb: In first century A.D. Rome, during the reign of Vespasian, Marcus Didius Falco works as a private “informer,” often for the emperor, ferreting out hidden truths and bringing villains to ground. But even informers take vacations with their wives, so in A.D. 77, Falco and his wife, Helena Justina, with others in tow, travel to Alexandria, Egypt. But they aren’t there long before Falco finds himself in the midst of nefarious doings—when the Librarian of the great library is found dead, under suspicious circumstances.Falco quickly finds himself on the trail of dodgy doings, malfeasance, deadly professional rivalry, more bodies and the lowest of the low—book thieves! (Read review.)

 

  • antony and cleo coverTitle: Antony and Cleopatra
  • Author: Colleen McCullough
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (2007)
  • Formats: Paperback (576 pages), eBook, Audio book
  • Price: $17.00 (PB), $12.38 (eB), $23.95 (AB)
  • Blurb: Caesar is dead, and Rome is, again, divided. Lepidus has retreated to Africa, while Antony rules the opulent East, and Octavian claims the West, the heart of Rome, as his domain. Though this tense truce holds civil war at bay, Rome seems ripe for an emperor—a true Julian heir to lay claim to Caesar’s legacy. With the bearing of a hero, and the riches of the East at his disposal, Antony seems poised to take the prize. Like a true warrior-king, he is a seasoned general whose lust for power burns alongside a passion for women, feasts, and Chian wine. His rival Octavian, seems a less convincing candidate: the slight golden haired boy is as controlled as Antony is indulgent and as cool-headed and clear-eyed as Antony is impulsive. Indeed, the two are well- matched only in ambition. (Read review.)

 

  • cleopatra coverTitle: Cleopatra: A Life
  • Author: Stacy Schiff
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (2010)
  • Formats: Hardback (369 pages), Paperback (432 pages), eBook, Audio book
  • Price: $29.99 (HB), $16.95 (PB), $9.99 (eB), $20.95 (AB)
  • Blurb: Her palace shimmered with onyx and gold but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator. She was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first and poisoned the second; incest and assassination were family specialties. Famous long before she was notorious, Cleopatra has gone down in history for all the wrong reasons. In a masterly return to the classical sources, Stacy Schiff boldly separates fact from fiction to rescue the magnetic queen whose death ushered in a new world order. (Read review.)

 

  • outlaw coverTitle: Outlaw
  • Author: Angus Donald
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin, New York (March 2011)
  • Formats: Paperback (352 pages), eBook, Audio book
  • Price: $14.99 (PB), $9.99 (eB), $17.95 (AB)
  • Blurb: In the tradition of Bernard Cornwell and Ben Kane, Outlaw is a rousing historical novel that mixes legend with fact to bring to life the time, the lives and the struggles of late 12th century England.  As the Henry II struggles with his rebelious children and the conflict between the Saxon nobility and the Norman conquerors continues on as bloody as ever, there is a figure that has remained firmly fixed in the imagation of generations – Robin Hood, an outlaw and a renegade nobility determined to bring down the men who took his land, his family, and his position. (Read review.)

 

  • hypatia coverTitle: Hypatia of Alexandria
  • Author: Maria Dzielska, (translated by F. Lyra)
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (1995)
  • Format: Paperback (176 pages)
  • Price: $22.34
  • Blurb: Hypatia—brilliant mathematician, eloquent Neoplatonist, and a woman renowned for her beauty—was brutally murdered by a mob of Christians in Alexandria in 415. She has been a legend ever since. In this engrossing book, Maria Dzielska searches behind the legend to bring us the real story of Hypatia’s life and death, and new insight into her colorful world. (Read review.)

 

  • martyr coverTitle: Hypatia of Alexandria: Mathematician and Martyr
  • Author: Michael A. B. Deakin
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (2007)
  • Formats: Hardback (231 pages), eBook
  • Price: $29.99 (HB), $20.99 (eB)
  • Blurb: This is the first biography of Hypatia to integrate all aspects of her life. Mathematician Michael Deakin emphasizes that, though she was a philosopher, she was first and foremost a mathematician and astronomer of great accomplishment. In a fascinating narrative that brings to life a richly diverse ancient society, he describes her work so that the mathematics, presented in straightforward terms, finds its true place in the context of her life as a whole. Deakin supplies full detail on the historical, intellectual, and religious context of Hypatia’s times. He also analyzes the pattern of her life and thought, and finally gives an account of the events leading up to her lynch-mob execution. (Read review.)

 

  • latro coverTitle: Latro in the Mist (omnibus)
  • Author: Gene Wolfe
  • Publisher: Orb Books (2003)
  • Format: Paperback (640 pages)
  • Price: $21.99
  • Blurb: This omnibus of two acclaimed novels is the story of Latro, a Roman mercenary who while fighting in Greece received a head injury that deprived him of his short-term memory but gave him in return the ability to see and converse with the supernatural creatures and the gods and goddesses, who invisibly inhabit the ancient landscape. Latro forgets everything when he sleeps. Writing down his experiences every day and reading his journal anew each morning gives him a poignantly tenuous hold on himself, but his story’s hold on readers is powerful indeed, and many consider these Wolfe’s best books. (Read review.)

 

  • de medici coverTitle: Catherine de Medici: Renaissance Queen of France
  • Author:  Leonie Frieda
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (2006)
  • Formats: Paperback (440 pages), Audio book
  • Price: $15.99 (PB), $14.95 (AB)
  • Blurb: Poisoner, despot, necromancer — the dark legend of Catherine de Medici is centuries old. In this critically hailed biography, Leonie Frieda reclaims the story of this unjustly maligned queen to reveal a skilled ruler battling extraordinary political and personal odds — from a troubled childhood in Florence to her marriage to Henry, son of King Francis I of France; from her transformation of French culture to her fight to protect her throne and her sons’ birthright. Based on thousands of private letters, it is a remarkable account of one of the most influential women ever to wear a crown. (Read review.)

 

  • khan-empire-of-sliver-coverTitle: Khan: Empire of Silver
  • Author: Conn Iggulden
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press (December 28, 2010)
  • Formats: Paperback (416 pages),  eBook, Audio book
  • Price: $16.00 (PB), $11.99 (eB), $26.95 (AB)
  • Blurb: Genghis Khan is dead, but his legend and his legacy live on. His son Ogedai has built a white city on a great plain and made a capital for the new nation. Now the armies have gathered to see which of Genghis’ sons has the strength to be khan. The Mongol empire has been at peace for two years, but whoever survives will face the formidable might of their great enemy, China’s Song dynasty. (Read review.)

 

  • dorritt coverTitle: Little Dorrit
  • Author: Charles Dickens
  • Availability:  Borrow it from the library, download it free (it’s in the public domain), or pick up a cheap paperback. You can find this classic book in any format and every price range.
  • Blurb: When Arthur Clennam returns to England after many years abroad, he takes a kindly interest in Amy Dorrit, his mother’s seamstress, and in the affairs of Amy’s father, William Dorrit, a man of shabby grandeur, long imprisoned for debt in the Marshalsea. As Arthur soon discovers, the dark shadow of the prison stretches far beyond its walls to affect the lives of many. A masterly evocation of the state and psychology of imprisonment, Little Dorrit is one of the supreme works of Dickens’s maturity. (Read review.)

 

  • roma coverTitle: Roma
  • Author: Steven Saylor
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin (2009)
  • Formats: Paperback (592 pages), eBook, Audio book
  • Price: $9.99 (PB), $6.76 (eB), $35.95 (AB)
  • Blurb: Spanning a thousand years, and following the shifting fortunes of two families though the ages, this is the epic saga of Rome, the city and its people.
    Weaving history, legend, and new archaeological discoveries into a spellbinding narrative, critically acclaimed novelist Steven Saylor gives new life to the drama of the city’s first thousand years — from the founding of the city by the ill-fated twins Romulus and Remus, through Rome’s astonishing ascent to become the capitol of the most powerful empire in history. (Read review.)

 

  • empire coverTitle: Empire
  • Author: Steven Saylor
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin (2010)
  • Formats: Paperback (608 pages), eBook, Audio book
  • Price: $15.99 (PB), $8.89 (eB), $41.95 (AB)
  • Blurb: Continuing the saga begun in his New York Times bestselling novel Roma, Steven Saylor charts the destinies of the aristocratic Pinarius family, from the reign of Augustus to height of Rome’s empire. The Pinarii, generation after generation, are witness to greatest empire in the ancient world and of the emperors that ruled it—from the machinations of Tiberius and the madness of Caligula, to the decadence of Nero and the golden age of Trajan and Hadrian and more. (Read review.)

 

  • Imperium coverTitle: Imperium
  • Author: Robert Harris
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (2007)
  • Formats: Paperback (305 pages), eBook, Audio book
  • Price: $16.00 (PB), $10.38 (eB), $29.95 (AB)
  • Blurb: On a cold November morning, Tiro opens the door to find a terrified, bedraggled stranger begging for help. Once a Sicilian aristocrat, the man was robbed by the corrupt Roman governor, Verres, who is now trying to convict him under false pretenses and sentence him to a violent death. The man claims that only the great senator Marcus Cicero, one of Rome’s most ambitious lawyers and spellbinding orators, can bring him justice in a crooked society manipulated by the villainous governor. But for Cicero, it is a chance to prove himself worthy of absolute power. What follows is one of the most gripping courtroom dramas in history, and the beginning of a quest for political glory by a man who fought his way to the top using only his voice — defeating the most daunting figures in Roman history. (Read review.)

 


Guest Posts:

Early-modern Crime (and Punishment) in The Raven’s Seal

  • raven coverTitle: The Raven’s Seal
  • Author: Andrei Baltrakmens
  • Publisher: Top Five Books (November 2012)
  • Formats: Paperback (416 pages), eBook
  • Price: $14.00 (PB), $8.99 (eB)
  • Blurb: In the fictional 18th-century English city of Airenchester, the body of Thaddeus Grainger’s rival turns up stabbed to death in an alley just hours after their inconclusive duel. Only one suspect comes to mind. Charged with murder, Grainger’s fate is sealed before his trial even begins. A young gentleman of means but of meaningless pursuits, Grainger is cast into the notorious Bellstrom Gaol, where he must quickly learn to survive in the filthy, ramshackle prison. Set against the urban backdrop of late 18th-century England, The Raven’s Seal unravels a tale of corruption, betrayal, murder, and–ultimately–redemption and love. (Read post.)

 

Two Geniuses on the Nile

  • rooms-nile-coverTitle: The Twelve Rooms of the Nile
  • Author: Enid Shomer
  • Publisher: Simon and Schuster (August 2012)
  • Formats: Paperback, (480 pages), eBook
  • Price: $16.00, $10.38
  • Blurb: Before she became the nineteenth century’s greatest heroine, before he had written a word of Madame Bovary, Florence Nightingale and Gustave Flaubert traveled down the Nile at the same time in 1850. But where history would have these two figures float right by each other, the award-winning writer Enid Shomer brings them together to ignite a passionate friendship that alters both their destinies. (Read post.)

 

Writing The Discovery of Jeanne Baret

  • baret coverTitle: The Discovery of Jeanne Baret
  • Author: Glynis Ridley
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (2011)
  • Format: Paperback (291 pages), eBook, Audio book
  • Price: $15.99 (PB), $9.99 (eB), $17.95 (AB)
  • Blurb: The year was 1765. Eminent botanist Philibert Commerson had just been appointed to a grand new expedition: the first French circumnavigation of the world. As the ships’ official naturalist, Commerson would seek out resources—medicines, spices, timber, food—that could give the French an edge in the ever-accelerating race for empire. Jeanne Baret, Commerson’s young mistress and collaborator, was desperate not to be left behind. She disguised herself as a teenage boy and signed on as his assistant. The journey made the twenty-six-year-old, known to her shipmates as “Jean” rather than “Jeanne,” the first woman to ever sail around the globe. Yet so little is known about this extraordinary woman, whose accomplishments were considered to be subversive, even impossible for someone of her sex and class. (Read post.)

 


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