You ought to know me by now, after almost 4 years and not far off 400 posts …
Not overly-blessed with common sense (as my Dearest Partner of Greatness) would confirm; prone to flights of giddy excitement, silliness even; with a pretty good memory for quotations and an eye for intertextual connections; but usually sceptical when it comes to wild conspiracy theories, especially about Shakespeare.
So I want to be clear that this is not one of the latter.
Thomas Cogswell, James I: The Phoenix King (Penguin Monarchs), (London: Allen Lane, 2017)
Thomas Cogswell’s biography is recognisably one of the Penguin Monarchs series. That means it’s concise (just 109 pages) and informative; a good general introduction to the king who succeeded Elizabeth. For those studying Shakespeare or the Early Modern period, the information about James’ early life is useful and potentially revealing.
AD Swanston, Incendium, (London: Bantam Press, 2017)
This is the first in a new series, and much as I love this period (and am increasingly interested in historical fiction) I’m not convinced I’ll follow Christopher Radcliff’s adventures. Not, at least, at full price.
PF Chisholm, A Famine of Horses (London: Head of Zeus, 2016)
This was a promising start to a series by Chisholm, who also writes as Patricia Finney. Although our hero is a historical figure, and some of his exploits are based on actual events, there was something refreshing and interesting about setting the novel so far from the usual world of court intrigue and plots to kill Elizabeth. Neither is our hero conventionally heroic, or handsome, or some kind of Elizabethan übermensch, as we see too often in historical fiction.