The Wake – Paul Kingsnorth

The Wake - Paul Kingsnorth
The Wake – Paul Kingsnorth

A first part of a trilogy, the final instalment of which (Alexandria) was lauded in The Guardians picks books to be published in 2021.

So I thought I’d start at the beginning, especially as The Wake is set at the time of the Normal Conquest, and I do like my history.

I didn’t get past the first page – I’d not realised it was all in (phonetic?) Old English. In normal times I might have persevered but in COVID times and on holiday, I felt the need for an easier read.

Author page: The Wake – Paul Kingsnorth

A Thousand Ships – Natalie Haynes

A Thousand Ships - Natalie Haynes
A Thousand Ships – Natalie Haynes

I am loving these recent retellings of the Greek Myths from the women’s perspective.

Natalie Haynes’ A Thousand Ships is, not surprisingly, the story of the Trojan War and the siege of Troy, triggered by Helen whose face launched those ships, and Paris – and the golden apple, but primarily for the story of where it came from and the three Goddesses vying for its accolade.

Penelope, relentlessly weaving and unweaving – and – my favourite chapters – writing increasingly exasperated letters to her errant husband-with-wanderlust, the wily Odysseus. Andromache, Cassandra, Hecabe (Hecuba when I was at school), and lesser known women whose passing mentions are fleshed out into, well, flesh and bones.

Fab.

Author page: A Thousand Ships – Natalie Haynes

The Grove of the Caesars – Lindsey Davis

The Grove of the Caesars - Lindsey Davis
The Grove of the Caesars – Lindsey Davis

With Tiberius Manlius away visiting his ill sister, Flavia Albia is in charge of their home and business and finds herself investigating (possibly ancient) scrolls unearthed by their builders during a project in The Grove of the Caesars – when the rape and murder of a respectable Roman matron occurs at an evening party near by.

Author page: The Grove of the Caesars – Lindsey Davis