I sometimes feel that I have a puritanical aversion towards fiction - and as the research for my work-in-progress on the Grail required me recently to wade through a certain well-known book about certain "clues" left by a certain well-known Renaissance artist, I think I know why.
But then, every now and then I do read a work of fiction which turns out to be spellbinding. One such is The Crown in the Heather, the first part of a trilogy based on Robert the Bruce. I had come across the first part of N. Gemini Sasson's novel a few years back on the Authonomy website for authors, and I'm proud to say that Gemi and I became friends in an online sort of way. I started her first Bruce book hoping to enjoy it, and I needn't have worried. I was gripped from the very first page.
From the Scotland I love so much to the England I know so well ... Gemi's Isabeau, about the French wife and queen of Edward II, featured locations familiar from my Shakespeare research. If The Crown in the Heather is a rather breathless historical adventure told from a male point-of-view, Isabeau is a colourful historical romance written in a feminine voice. Both deserve to take their place up there with the best of historical fiction (sadly, I can't say the same for Nigel Tranter's Druid Sacrifice, which I tried to read recently and struggled to enjoy), and I look forward very eagerly indeed to reading Gemi's latest novel, this time about the Welsh national hero, Owain Glyndwr.
Anyway, Gemi has very kindly allowed me to post as a guest on her excellent "My Dog Ate Manuscript" blog, which is well worth a visit; I heartly commend it, along with her novels, to the reader: