Both stories are set in the Heian court of the emperor Ichijo — and tell of the ill-fated love between the emperor and his first consort, Teishi, and of the political rivalries that threaten to divide them. Pillars of Light by Jane Johnson. Meanwhile in England, John Savage, a foundling boy, runs away with The Moor, a mysterious man driven by a dream of perfection.
Oswald by Edoardo Albert. The Errant Hours by Kate Innes. All Illesa has left is the secret manuscript entrusted to her—a book so powerful it can save lives, a book so valuable that its discovery could lead to her death. Blood and Beauty by Sarah Dunant.
When Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia buys his way into the papacy as Alexander VI, he is defined by his wealth, his love for his illegitimate children, and by his blood: He is a Spanish Pope in a city run by Italians. If the Borgias are to triumph, this charismatic politician must use papacy and family—in particular, his eldest son, Cesare, and his daughter Lucrezia—in order to succeed.
The Book of the Maidservant by Rebecca Barnhouse.
Dame Margery feels the suffering the Virgin Mary felt for her son, but cares little for the misery she sees every day. When she announces that Johanna will accompany her on a pilgrimage to Rome, the suffering truly begins. She is no monster as portrayed in the Old English epic, Beowulf. We learn her side of the story and that of her defamed child. We learn how the invasion by brutal men is not a fairy tale, but a disaster doomed to cycle relentlessly through human history. Only the surviving women can sing poignant laments, preserve a glittering culture, and provide hope for the future.
The Painter of Souls by Philip Kazan. So it is for Filippo Lippi, growing up in Renaissance Florence. He has a talent to see, capture, and paint the beauty in everything.
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But talent cannot always feed you or protect you. His life will take him down two paths at once. He will become a gambler, a forger, a seducer of nuns; and at the same time he will be the greatest painter of his time, the teacher of Botticelli and the confidante of the Medicis.
The Harrowing by James Aitcheson. The Harrowing has begun.
As towns and villages fall to the invaders, five travelers fleeing the slaughter are forced to band together for survival. But are they fleeing the Normans or their own troubles? As enemies past and present close in, their prior deeds catch up with them and they discover there is no sanctuary from fate. Lady Macbeth by Susan Fraser King.
As she encounters danger from Vikings, Saxons, and treacherous Scottish lords, Rue begins to respect the man she once despised. The Abbess of Whitby by Jill Dalladay. This beautifully written story expresses the suffering caused by war and conflict, the transformative potential of a commitment to practicing peace and building reconciliation, and the simple beauty of a spiritual life. Laconic, ambitious and handsome, he is the one man the Stewart king dares to trust, the one man strong enough to save the kingdom from the civil war planned by the Archdeacon Columba Crozier and his bastard son, Adam de Verne.
Tied by blood on one side and by a forbidden, love on the other, Ninian is precipitated into violence and tragedy, in which she, too, has a vital part to play. Equal of the Sun by Anita Amirrezvani. But few people know of the powerful women in the Muslim world. Watermark by Vanitha Sankaran. But rebellion is in the air, and the question of how Richard II really died lingers, poisoning the court. The Horse Healer by Gonzalo Giner. When word travels that the most feared fighters of the Muslim world, the Imesebelen, are advancing on Toledo, the innkeeper tells his son, Diego, to flee with his sisters.
But Diego refuses to abandon his father.
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The old man and one of his daughters are slaughtered, and the other two girls are kidnapped. As Edwin walks alone by the shore, he is confronted by a mysterious figure—the missionary Paulinus—who prophesies that he will ascend to greater heights than any of his forefathers. The Burning Times by Jeanne Kalogridis.
She flees her village and takes refuge in a Franciscan sisterhood. The Duchess of Aquitaine by Margaret Ball. Everyone, that is, except for her dying father, who insists on leaving Eleanor his most valuable provinces—and making her prey to the first baron who rides in to kidnap her. Land of Wooden Gods by Jan Fridgard. The novel begins with the abandonment of a slave baby, condemned to the wolf-infested woods by a Viking chieftain upset by thrall unrest.
The ensuing action shows Holme, the father, acting as no slave has ever before. Sequel to The Moon in the Palace. The Siege by Ismail Kadare.
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Awarded the first Man Booker International Prize. Azazeel by Youssef Ziedan. The Empress by Meg Clothier. Princess Agnes of France is thirteen when she marries the heir to Byzantium, an empire unmatched in wealth, power, and glamour. The Witch of Eye by Mari Griffith. Eleanor Cobham has married into the highest ranks of the aristocracy — she is now the Duchess of Gloucester. She and her husband, Duke Humphrey, set up a court of their own to rival the royal court in London, surrounding themselves with fascinating and influential people.
But Eleanor craves the one thing she lacks: a son and heir, and with him a possible route to the throne of England. Desperate, Eleanor turns to the one person she believes can help her: Margery Jourdemayne, a woman now remembered as the infamous Witch of Eye. Hangman Blind by Cassandra Clark. But their quiet lives are thrown into chaos by the arrival of Lady Ermentrude Fenner. She demands wine, a feast…And her niece, the angelic Thomasine. The lady desires to enrich herself and her reputation by arranging a marriage for the devout novice.
But all her schemes are brought to a sudden end with murder. As suspicious eyes turn on the pious Thomasine, it falls to Sister Frevisse, hosteler of the priory and amateur detective, to unravel the webs of unholy passion and dark intrigue.
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Down the Common by Ann Baer. It is beautiful and lyrical, finding joy and beauty in the mundane. Harem Secrets by Alum Bati. In the center of empire lurks sexual depravity, murder, intrigue, lies, spies, and deceit.