Bring Up the Bodies

There will be two sequels to Hilary Mantel's successful novel Wolf Hall, about Thomas Cromwell, chief minister to England's King Henry VIII. Their titles will be Bring Up the Bodies and The Mirror and the Light.

An American in Vienna

I received an email from Chip Wagar about his first novel, An American in Vienna, about a journalist who visits Austria in 1914 and witnesses the end of the Habsburg dynasty.

The book has a nice official website that offers information about the story's historical background and the Habsburgs. Check it out! (Thank you to Chip for telling me about his book.)

Royal exploitation?

According to the blurb published with this article, a new historical novel about the future King Edward VIII is "cashing in on Wills and Kate hysteria."

However, The Golden Prince by Rebecca Dean was published in the UK in November 2010, several days before Prince William's engagement to Kate Middleton was announced. Unless the writer and publisher have much better crystal balls (or time machines) than most royal watchers, it is impossible that this novel (which is getting good reviews on Amazon) was created to exploit the current British royal engagement, oops, I mean "hysteria."

As for The Celestial Voice of Diana by Rita Eide… well, it is out of print, but Amazon has used copies if you really want to read it.

Real people and historical fiction

Sarah Johnson of Reading the Past asks, "Do historical novels require celebrities to play more than passing roles, so that readers get the opportunity to 'meet' them?"

My answer is no. I like biographical novels, but I also like historical novels about fictional people. I can always pick up a nonfiction book to learn more about a specific historical person or event.

However, historical nonfiction is often very dry and academic. (One of the most boring books I've ever read was a biography of Mozart; don't ask me how the author managed to make him so dull.) Maybe that's why some readers turn to fiction to learn about history. Maybe there's a need for more entertaining — not dumbed down — historical nonfiction. Just a thought.