“One of the top five books I have read all year”

Yesterday a fantastic review of Of Honest Fame appeared on the Historical Writers’ Association website by author Robert Low. Here are some highlights:

“I thought The Emperor’s Gold one of the best Napoelonic-based whodunnits of the year… it is Smiley’s People with a Brummel cravat. Of Honest Fame is every bit as good, with the added grit of seasoned realism borne from an absolute awareness of place, especially the high and low of 19th century London. The use of language is also brilliant – you know the idioms used are just as were spoken (my favourite is unrepeatable here) – and even the occasional lapses into conversational French are excusable; even if you don’t speak it, the scene itself reveals the gist of it.

“It is Dr Zhivago meets Jane Austen and the wonderfully-drawn characters perfectly compliment the Byzantine plot. I won’t go into that, but it is every bit as gripping as any Le Carre – I got this on my birthday (thanks for that – best present of all) and I have not been able to put it down since. …

“I simply love this book and now I want to read the other one, called May 1812. …This deserves to be a huge success. …One of the Top Five books I have read this year.”

You can read the full review on the HWA website.  Robert Low is author of the Oathsworn series and the Kingdom series, both published by HarperCollins.

Buy Of Honest Fame from Amazon UK, or with free worldwide shipping from The Book Depository

Different terms of reference

At the Chalke Valley History Festival today, an extremely thoughtful question was asked by a member of the audience at the end of the talk on historical fact and fiction.

The question was, in essence, how the historical novelist copes with the fact that their characters had different terms of reference, different mores, from their modern-day readers.

It’s a tough question, and whilst the authors on stage answered it up to a point, it deserves fuller consideration.

Here’s a recent post from our own M.M. Bennetts, paying tribute to the late, great Dorothy Dunnett.

“She faced up to the horrors of life in the Renaissance [says Bennetts] and whilst I would never say she wallowed in it, she never made excuses nor did she pass judgment, because their ways of doing things, their sense of right and wrong or justice, were very different from ours.  And that takes a great degree of courage.”

This clear-sighted honesty about the past is yet another thing that good historical fiction can convey perhaps more effectively than any other medium.  Certainly better than film, since one has the whole of a book to explore these things, rather than 90 minutes of action.  Better even, perhaps, than historical textbooks, since the novelist can explore cause and consequence, and can allow his or her contextual understanding to explore the gaps between the recorded facts.

OK, time to shut up and let you read Bennetts’s post now.  Here it is.  Dazzled by Dunnett.  And here’s today’s post, extrapolating the same theme still further:  Getting it right.

A book and a chat with M.M. Bennetts – tomorrow at 6.30 pm EST/11.30 pm GMT

M.M. Bennetts will be a guest of online radio show A Book and a Chat tomorrow at 6.30 pm EST (11.30 pm GMT).  Follow the link to listen online.

You can call in to the show with a question for Bennetts on Of Honest Fame, May 1812, writing, historical trivia, the power of language or whatever (within reason!) on +1 (347) 237-5398.

Join us if you can!

Give an #e-book for Christmas – now from only $2.99

So the UK has once more been brought to a halt by snow.  But don’t despair – you can still order all our titles from Amazon as e-books, and download them to read by the fire.  If you’re buying from amazon.com, you can also give Kindle books as gifts.  So why not give someone a great winter read this Christmas?

All Diiarts titles are now available as e-books from as little as US$2.99.  (Local prices may vary, but are outside our control). Continue reading

Another excellent book review for OF HONEST FAME

Of Honest Fame has had another excellent review on the website Broken Teepee.

“I found myself lost,” wrote the reviewer, “in story full of page turning intrigue. And not the whitewashed type you get in some novels, the real look over your shoulder because someone is trying to kill you intrigue.”

The reviewer went on:  “This is a thinking person’s book. … An excellent book for someone who truly loves history and how people react to war.”

We’re very glad you enjoyed it.