Imogen Robertson’s INSTRUMENTS OF DARKNESS is set in the village of Hartswood, West Sussex, at a time when the colonies were waging war against England. The male protagonist, the brusque Gabriel Crowther, is an eccentric and a recluse who has a wide-ranging knowledge of and interest in human anatomy. One day, a local woman, Mrs. Harriet Westerman of Caveley Park, pays him a visit and insists that his maid give him the following note: “I have found a body on my land. His throat has been cut.”
This is a modern, woolly mastodon of a book, a book with tusks and chewing teeth, a throwback to the most towering storytelling in literary history. But it is also a Seraph, a three-paired-winged novel that is full of zeal and respect, humility and ethereal beauty, an airborne creature that gave me five days in heaven. And, it is a sea serpent, because it lifted itself up like a column and it grabbed and swallowed me. Whole.
June 30, 2010
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 18th-Century, David Mitchell, Real Event Fiction, Time Period Fiction Â· Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Commonwealth Prize, Facing History, Japan, Literary, y Award Winning Author
Benjamin Weaver, Jew, thieftaker, and former pugilist, enjoys a certain notoriety and standing in 1722 London. As a Jew he is accustomed to derision and discrimination and has only in recent years come to bask in a sense of family and community. As a champion boxer he is a bit of a celebrity; feared and admired – a natural for the freewheeling, dubious profession of thieftaker, the 18th century private eye.
Novelizations of historic events can serve as an exemplary tool for understanding history for those who donâ€™t have the patience to explore original documentation. Graeme Fifeâ€™s THE ANGEL OF THE ASSASSINATION, the story of Charlotte Corday: her life and her ultimate sacrifice, is no exception.
Basing this fine novel about the settlement of Australiaâ€™s New South Wales on the real life and notebooks made by Lt. William Dawes from 1788 â€“ 1790, author Kate Grenville subjects the empire-building attitudes of the Crown and its representatives to careful scrutiny and creates a novel filled with conflicts and well-developed themes.