Book Reviews

Review of The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau

The Chalice follows Joanna Stafford after Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries out into the secular world and into a complex conspiracy against the crown, involving mysterious prophecies, spies and danger for the people Joanna loves most.

Review of The Golden Dice by Elisabeth Storrs

The Golden Dice is the second novel in Storr’s series about the Etruscans and their conflicts with the Romans during the early period of Roman history. Vel Mastarna, the general of Etruscan Veii and his Roman wife, Caecilia, strive to overcome both the Roman army and those enemies inside Veii who would gladly destroy them. Through three female narrators we see Roman and Etruscan life and motives from both ends of the social stratum.

Review of The Serpent and the Pearl by Kate Quinn

Renaissance food in yummy detail, a sophisticated, lascivious pope and his gorgeous (not to mention smart and courageous) concubine, murders reflecting some fascinating if sick mental states, an ornery but lovable dwarf, a mummified saint’s hand with strong opinions—what is not to like about Kate Quinn’s foray into the world of the Borgias?

Giveaway and Review of All Different Kinds of Free by Jessica McCann

Jessica McCann builds an emotionally engaging, heartbreaking story out of a fundamentally unfair situation in American history. A free Black woman, Margaret Morgan, and her three children are kidnapped in 1837 from their home in Pennsylvania and sold into slavery.

Giveaway and review of Proof of Guilt by Charles Todd

The fifteenth Inspector Rutledge mystery will not disappoint Todd fans and should encourage new readers. The plot, set between 1916-1920, takes us to Madeira and throughout England as Rutledge tries to track down an elusive murderer. Even the victims are elusive.

Review of The Trojan War: A Very Short Introduction by Eric Cline

The Trojan War: A Very Short History is an up to date (2013) summary of the evidence for a Trojan War by excellent scholar Eric Cline.

Rich as Croesus: A Review of The Last King of Lydia by Tim Leach

Tim Leach has taken the Greek legend of Croesus, the extravagantly rich king of Lydia whose river, the Pactolus, flowed with gold, and retold it in a smart, meaning-laden manner that I enjoyed. This is a book that pursues the big philosophical questions.

Review of Claws of the Cat by Susan Spann

Susan Spann’s Claws of the Cat takes us to Japan during the period of samurais and limited contact with the West. Her two “sleuths” are a most unlikely pair. Hiro, a shinobi assassin (think ninjas for the most part), is living undercover as the protector of Father Mateo, a Jesuit priest who has come to Japan to make converts. From this intriguing partnership Spann spins a mystery that won’t let go of you.

Review of The Raven’s Seal by Andrei Baltakmens

Baltakmens has created an imaginary, Dickensian city with a dark prison looming on a hill at the top of this grim, fairy tale-like world.

Interview and Giveaway with MJ Rose, author of Seduction

Interview and book giveaway with MJ Rose, author of Seduction, a novel about Victor Hugo and the modern mythologist and perfumer Jac L’Etoile.