Review of The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Madeline Miller says the idea for her novel The Song of Achilles arose from wondering about the extremity of grief Achilles suffers when his closest friend Patroclus dies in the ancient Homeric poem the Iliad. What kind of relationship did they have that Achilles loved Patroclus that much? She answers that question with depth and sensitivity. Told from the point of view of Patroclus, The Song of Achilles is a graceful new exploration of the ancient tale, taking you inside these two heroes in a compelling way.

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Interview with Kate Quinn, Author of Empress of the Seven Hills

An interview with Kate Quinn author of Empress of the Seven Hills, discussing the challenge of building suspense about known historical figures, romance in Rome, the similarities between Roman and modern military experiences, the advantages of being a woman in Rome and what’s up next for Kate Quinn.

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Review of A Game of Lies, by Rebecca Cantrell

Hannah Vogel is back in Berlin, this time to report on the 1936 Olympic Games and do some spying for the British under cover as neutral Swiss reporter Adelheid Zinsli. She hopes to undermine the Nazis and awaken the British before it’s too late, but is she actually accomplishing anything? Quite the existential crisis in the midst of terrifying action.

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Review of Queen without a Crown by Fiona Buckley

Fiona Buckley’s latest installment in her Ursula Blanchard mystery series set in Elizabeth I’s court, Queen without a Crown, will please her fans. Ursula is back in action on a double mission, to track down Elizabeth’s hidden foes and to lift an accusation of poisoner from a man who died twenty-three years before. Both seem impossible, but Ursula has no choice.

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Review of A Bitter Veil by Libby Fischer Hellman

Iran is in the news these days and the issues are important to us all, so it was with interest that I picked up Libby Fischer Hellman’s new novel, A Bitter Veil, set in the midst of the Iranian revolution that brought Khomeini to power. Two essential themes predominate in this viscerally effective novel: the fate of women when their choices have been taken from them and the banality of evil, to borrow a phrase applied to the Nazis—who also appear in this book if somewhat indirectly.

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Review of A Trace of Smoke, by Rebecca Cantrell

Berlin, 1931, the year Germany was lost to the Nazis. Hannah Vogel, a crime reporter, wanders into the Hall of the Unnamed Dead to examine the police reports from which she gathers her stories each week. Instead she sees her brother’s photograph on the wall. But her identity papers, and with them her ability to talk to the police, are on their way to America in the hands of her Jewish friend Sarah. Finding out who killed her brother is the least of many traps Hannah will fall into.

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Review of A Killing Season by Priscilla Royal

The setting of A Killing Season is a fearsome castle in the middle of winter—a castle that “looms like Satan’s shadow” on a wild coast connected to the mainland only by a narrow walkway over jagged rocks and crashing sea. Murders are propagating at an alarming rate. Is some evil plot of men behind these deaths or has the devil come to exact his due? Can Prioress Eleanor and Brother Thomas stop them or will they fall victim to Satan’s wiles?

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