Editor’s Picks: Historical Fiction Series

One of my personal favorite book genres is historical fiction, and we distribute so many fantastic historical fiction series at Casemate IPM! From romance in 17th-century Japan, to warfare in ancient Rome, to adventure on the 16th-century English seas, there is something for any interest within these books. Keep reading to see some of the enthralling historical fiction series we distribute!

Do you have a passion for a particular subject area or genre of books? Let us know in the comments and you might see a selection of books on your favorite topic featured in the next Editor’s Picks!

The Scarlet Kimono | The Gilded Fan
by Christina Courtenay

The Scarlet Kimono
9781906931292Abducted by a Samurai warlord in 17th century Japan – what happens when fear turns to love? England, 1611, and young Hannah Marston envies her brother’s adventurous life. But when she stows away on his merchant ship, her powers of endurance are stretched to their limit. Then they reach Japan and all her suffering seems worthwhile – until she is abducted by Taro Kumashiro’s warriors. In the far north of the country, warlord Kumashiro is intrigued to learn more about the girl who he has been warned about by a seer. There’s a clash of cultures and wills, but they’re also fighting an instant attraction to each other. With her brother desperate to find her and the jealous Lady Reiko equally desperate to kill her, Hannah faces the greatest adventure of her life. And Kumashiro has to choose between love and compromising his honour …
Buy it here $11.95

The Gilded Fan
9781781890080(Editor’s note: I’ve read this title, and wrote about my thoughts on it here!) It’s 1641, and when Midori Kumashiro, the orphaned daughter of a warlord, is told she has to leave Japan or die, she has no choice but to flee to England. Midori is trained in the arts of war, but is that enough to help her survive a journey, with a lecherous crew and an attractive captain she doesn’t trust? How do you start a new life, leaving behind all you love? Having come to Nagasaki to trade, the last thing Captain Nico Noordholt wants is a female passenger, especially a beautiful one. How can he protect her from his crew when he can’t keep his own eyes off her? During their journey, Nico and Midori form a tentative bond, but they both have secrets that can change everything. When they arrive in England, a civil war is brewing, and only by standing together can they hope to survive… The prequel, The Scarlet Kimono won the 2011 Big Red Read Best Historical Fiction Award.
Buy it here $11.95

Soldier of Fortune | Drums of War | Fire and Sword | Under Siege | A Very Murdering Battle
by Edward Marston

Soldier of Fortune
9780749080884The first in a series of adventure novels featuring Captain Rawson—spy, linguist, sportsman, duellist, ladies’ man and career soldier involved in the campaigns of the Duke of Marlborough during the war of the Spanish Succession. 1685: the young Bevis witnesses the regiment of his fierce Protestant father being destroyed by the troops of the Royal Army’s second-in-command, John Churchill, and his Dutch mother narrowly avoiding rape at the hands of a soldier from the same platoon. After his father has been executed, Rawson and his mother leave Devon and sail for the Netherlands. 1688: Rawson returns to England as a soldier in the Dutch Army. Among those who flock to support William of Orange in his bid to replace James II on the throne is John Churchill: Rawson and the future Duke of Marlborough are now on the same side… Filled with political intrigue, suspense, romance, private feuds and public scandals, Soldier of Fortune traces the shifting geographical patterns of Europe at a key time in history.
Buy it here $16.95

Drums of War
9780749007904Dashing career soldier and ladies’ man, Captain Daniel Rawson is always up for an adventure. So when the Duke of Marlborough proposes a dangerous undercover mission, Rawson happily accepts. One of their spies, a Dutch tapestry-maker based at the court of Louis XIV, the Sun King, has gone missing and Daniel is instructed to find out what has happened to the man. Meanwhile Rawson’s stalwart Sergeant Welbeck is left in the camp with complications of his own. His wide-eyed nephew has joined the army as a drummer boy in pursuit of honor and glory. Welbeck would like nothing more than to ignore this eager young boy, but circumstances are conspiring to make this impossible. Furthermore, as opportunities to prove his victory at Blenheim more than a fluke are becoming scarce, the Duke himself is also coming under fire, while the Dutch are increasingly loath to play their part in such a costly war, making demands that are costing the British vital victories. With daring exploits and all the drama of the battle of Ramillies, the second in the Captain Rawson series is a worthy follow-up to the explosive success of Soldier of Fortune.
Buy it here $16.95

Fire and Sword
9780749008956Returning to camp from a dangerous solo mission behind enemy lines, career soldier Daniel Rawson finds himself stranded on foot, with French soldiers in fierce pursuit. With a help of a farmer Daniel manages to escape. Later, when Daniel goes back to return the horse, he finds the farmhouse and barn have been set ablaze and the farmer approaching death, apparently at the hands of English soldiers. After several other farmhouses are burnt down in seemingly similar raids, Daniel decides to investigate. Back in England there is political unrest. Having lost royal favor the Duke of Marlborough to forced to resign as Commander-In-Chief. And all the while the treacherous and scheming French Commander, the Duc de Vendome, is becoming hell-bent on capturing Daniel, by any means at his disposal.
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Under Siege
9780749009793In the wake of the resounding victory at the Battle of Oudenarde, career soldier Captain Daniel Rawson must take a leading role in the Allies’ new strategy – to strike deeper into French Flanders and lay siege to Lille, the ‘pearl of fortresses’. Daniel is sent to steal vital plans from inside Lille but only partially successful, he has to return to the city to rescue his accomplice, the effervescent Rachel Rees. The Duke of Marlborough, meanwhile, finds his position as captain-general threatened by political enemies back in England. He is not helped by his wife Sarah, whose forthrightness has soured her hitherto close friendship with Queen Anne. Daniel Rawson is unaware that his beloved Amalia is herself under siege in England. A dangerous admirer is determined to seduce her, even if he has to have Daniel murdered before he can do so. As the weather worsens and Lille’s famed defenses appear to be holding, Daniel has to fight against one of his own allies, dwindling supplies, weakening morale, French patrols and a hired assassin. He must battle bravely on or risk losing everything …
Buy it here $16.95

A Very Murdering Battle
9780749011543Europe is in the midst of the coldest winter for a century. France is suffering profoundly: with her people starving and her army rattled by mutiny and desertions, King Louis XIV is at The Hague, searching for peace with the English on almost any terms. To assist these negotiations, the Duke of Marlborough sends Captain Daniel Rawson on a dangerous mission to Paris to seek out a package of vital information that could secure an advantageous peace deal for England. Yet when the peace talks collapse, Daniel is again embroiled in a dangerous adventure behind enemy lines And as the French army regains its strength and a bloody encounter looms at Malplaquet, Daniel faces his most murdering battle yet.
Buy it here on sale for $10.00

Mercenaries | Warriors | Conquest
by Jack Ludlow

9780749007850Six brothers, trained since birth to become great warriors, prepare to experience their first taste of battle… 1033, the Norman/French border. The sons of Tancred de Hauteville are following in their father’s footsteps. As knights, they have but one true purpose: to fight. But denied service with their duke, they are forced to take employment as mercenaries: their unequalled battle skills are for hire to the highest bidder. Victory and defeat, betrayal and revenge combine as the desperation to rule the wealthy Norman lands becomes an intense battle, testing even the strongest of ties.
Buy it here $16.95

9780749007041Italy, 11th Century. The Byzantine Empire rules much of Europe and in the Italian states it does so through force and bribery, but the indigenous populations are restless. Arduin of Fassano – with the Lombard and Norman men he commands – are mercenaries for the young and enterprising Byzantine general, Michael Doukeianos. However, Arduin feels the time may have come to rejoin his Lombard brethren and rise up in revolt against their Eastern rulers. A crucial city in this revolt is the fortress of Melfi. General Doukeianos appoints Arduin to protect it, unaware of his imminent betrayal. To guard this stronghold Arduin hires the most-feared of all the Western soldiers: the Normans. Led by Rainulf Drengot and his right-hand man William de Hauteville, oldest of the mercenary de Hauteville brothers, these men are Arduin’s greatest hope of overcoming the might of Byzantium.
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9780749008802In twenty years the de Hauteville brothers have gone from penniless obscurity to become the most potent warrior family in Christendom: depended on by the Pope, feared by Byzantium and respected by the Holy Roman Emperor. And now Roger, the youngest son, has finally come to Italy and proves himself also to be a great warrior and canny politician. The path is not easy, there are enemies at Roger’s back as well as before him, treacheries both secret and transparent to circumvent. Yet the loyalty of blood that binds this family of warriors together is still present and it is that, above everything, which will be the catalyst that propels the name de Hauteville to the pinnacle of power, as they undertake, with papal blessing, the first true crusade of the 11th century.
Buy it here on sale for $10.00

The Three Body Problem | Flowers Stained with Moonlight | The Library Paradox | The Riddle of the River
by Catherine Shaw

The Three Body Problem
9780749011833Cambridge, 1888. Miss Vanessa Duncan, a young schoolmistress, is enjoying her work and the intellectual atmosphere that pervades the town when things take a dramatic turn with the murder of a Fellow of Mathematics. Intrigued by the circumstances surrounding his death, and Sir Isaac Newton’s unsolved ‘n-body problem’ upon which the man had been working, Vanessa is drawn into the mystery with a theory of her own.
Buy it here $16.95

Flowers Stained with Moonlight
9780749011932Four years have passed since Vanessa Duncan’s life was turned upside down: when she was first turned detective and discovered the true identity of a murderer amid the hallowed halls of Cambridge academia. As Vanessa’s investigations progress, she is carried on a perilous journey from the beautiful English countryside to the bright lights of Paris. But with her intelligence and nerve tested to the limit, will she be able to save the day again?
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The Library Paradox
9780749011888When three somber scholars knock on the door of her family home, Vanessa is presented with perhaps her most puzzling case yet. Professor Gerard Ralston, Head of the History Department at King’s College, London, has been shot dead in his study. As the only suspect left the building a matter of seconds before the shot was heard, and with witnesses testifying that no one left the building after the shot rang out, all are perplexed as to how the killer could have escaped. Vanessa must use all her logic and intuition in order to solve the paradox of a seemingly impossible murder.
Buy it here $16.95

The Riddle of the River
9780749079031On a balmy summer in 1898 Vanessa Wetherburn is contentedly feeding a clotted cream scone to her young son in her Cambridge garden when she is startled by the abrupt arrival of her long-time friend, the journalist Patrick O’Sullivan. Eager to discover the identity of a beautiful young woman found floating in the River Cam, Pat has called on the one woman he knows is sure to be able to solve the mystery. As Vanessa considers what to do, her first important clue arrives in the form of Ernest Dixon, who is worried by the disappearance of his favorite actress; a young woman named Ivy Elliot, who was playing the part of Ophelia. Could the missing girl and unidentified body be one and the same woman? Forced to go undercover to continue her research, Vanessa stumbles across an amazing and revolutionary discovery, which not only helps her to solve the case but will have a major impact worldwide.
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Fatal Inheritance
9780749014858It is New Year’s day, 1900, when the brilliant violinist Sebastian Cavendish is found dead. The last few days of his life are a mystery, but in the final hours of 1899 he wrote a cryptic suicide note mentioning a “cursed inheritance”, took poison, and died in agony. Yet his friends and relations are utterly perplexed. The man they knew and grieve for was vivacious, exuberant and extroverted. His fellow musicians speak of his passion, his drive, and his love of living. The socialites he met, all of whom lavished him with praise, saw only a dazzling future ahead of him. So why, his friends and loved ones ask, would he change his plans at such short notice, disappear for days on end, and take his own life? Vanessa Weatherburn, an established detective and ex-tutor to one of Sebastian’s friends, is engaged to investigate the dead man’s final movements. It is a journey which will reveal to her the science of genetics, the history of Sebastian’s equally brilliant grandfather and the long-kept secrets of the Cavendish family. She must cross continents and trace every lead if she is to uncover the mystery of Sebastian’s inheritance, and why it meant his death.
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Eight Ball Boogie | Slaughter’s Hound
by Declan Burke

Eight Ball Boogie
9781907593543Harry Rigby likes a smoke, the easy life, and Robert Ryan playing the bad guy in late night black-and-whites. Sweet. But when the wife of a prominent politician is murdered in her best nightie, Rigby finds himself caught in a crossfire between rogue paramilitaries, an internal police inquiry and the heaviest blizzard of coke ever to hit the northwest. If all this wasn’t bad enough, his relationship with girlfriend Denise is on the rocks and he’s hitting the bottle. Then there’s Rigby’s psychotic brother Gonzo, back on the streets and meaner than a jilted shark. Television rights have been acquired by a UK production company in 2013 for a potential series to be commissioned.
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Slaughter’s Hound
9781907593499Harry Rigby is right there, an eye-witness when Finn Hamilton walks out into the big nothing nine stories up, but no one wants to believe Finn is just the latest statistic in Ireland’s silent epidemic. Not Finn’s mother, Saoirse Hamilton, whose property empire is crumbling around her; and not Finn’s pregnant fiance, Maria, or his sister Grainne; and especially not Detective Tohill, the cop who believes Rigby is a stone-cold killer. Welcome to Harry Rigby’s Sligo where death comes dropping slow. Studded with shards of black humor and mordant wit, Slaughter’s Hound is a gripping noir from one of the most innovative voices in Irish crime fiction. In the twisted moral landscape of his surroundings, Harry must find a way free of his own heartache and pain to discover the truth about Finn’s death and what is really going on…
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The Silver Locket | The Golden Chain | The Penny Bangle
by Margaret James

The Silver Locket
9781906931285If life is cheap, how much is love worth? It’s 1914 and young Rose Courtenay has a decision to make. Please her wealthy parents by marrying the man of their choice – or play her part in the war effort? The chance to escape proves irresistible and Rose becomes a nurse. Working in France, she meets Lieutenant Alex Denham, a dark figure from her past. He’s the last man in the world she’d get involved with – especially now that he’s married. But in wartime nothing is as it seems. Alex’s marriage is a sham and Rose is the only woman he’s ever wanted. As he recovers from his wounds, he sets out to win her trust. His gift of a silver locket is a far cry from the luxuries she’s left behind. What value will she put on his love? Moving from rural Dorset to war-torn London and the horrors of the Western Front, The Silver Locket is a compelling story about different kinds of courage and the enduring power of love.
Buy it here $11.95

The Golden Chain
9781906931643Can first love last forever? 1931 is the year that changes everything for Daisy Denham. Her family has not long swapped life in India for Dorset, England when she uncovers an old secret. At the same time, she meets Ewan Fraser – a handsome dreamer who wants nothing more than to entertain the world and for Daisy to play his leading lady. Ewan offers love and a chance to escape with a touring theatre company. As they grow closer, he gives her a golden chain and Daisy gives him a promise – that she will always keep him in her heart. But life on tour is not as they’d hoped, Ewan is tempted away by his career and Daisy is dazzled by the older, charismatic figure of Jesse Trent. She breaks Ewan’s heart and sets off for a life in London with Jesse. Only time will tell whether some promises are easier to make than keep … The Golden Chain is the second novel in the trilogy, it follows The Silver Locket.
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The Penny Bangle
9781906931773It’s 1942 when Cassie Taylor reluctantly leaves Birmingham to become a land girl on a farm in Dorset. When should you trust your heart? In Dorset she meets Robert and Stephen Denham, twins recovering from injuries sustained at Dunkirk. Cassie is instantly drawn to Stephen, but is wary of the more complex Robert – who doesn’t seem to like Cassie one little bit. At first, Robert wants to sack the inexperienced city girl. But Cassie soon learns, and Robert comes to admire her courage, finding himself deeply attracted to Cassie. Just as their romance blossoms, he’s called back into active service. Anxious to have adventures herself, Cassie joins the ATS. In Egypt, she meets up with Robert, and they become engaged. However, war separates them again as Robert is sent to Italy and Cassie back to the UK. Robert is reported missing, presumed dead. Stephen wants to take Robert’s place in Cassie’s heart. But will Cassie stay true to the memory of her first love, and will Robert come home again? This final novel in the trilogy follows The Silver Locket and The Golden Chain.
Buy it here $11.95

A Shot Rolling Ship | An Awkward Commission | A Flag of Truce | The Admiral’s Game | An Ill Wind | Blown Off Course | Enemies at Every Turn | A Sea of Troubles | A Divided Command
by David Donachie

A Shot Rolling Ship
9780749081058Pressed into King George’s Navy for the second time in a month, John Pearce and his Pelicans find themselves working aboard the HMS Brazen, sailing the Channel from Plymouth to Dover in search of the numerous French privateers that prey on English merchant shipping: her task to stop them and, if possible, to capture or destroy them. Pearce has greater things on his mind–he must rescue his ailing father from the dangers of revolutionary Paris and to do that he must somehow leave the ship. He tries mutiny, the crew being readied by failure, but Captain Benjamin Colbourne is quick and smartly promotes Pearce to Midshipman. Pearce is thereby freed to leave the ship immediately–which appears to the remaining Pelicans as though their leader has deserted them.
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An Awkward Commission
9780749080679Stranded in Portsmouth, John Pearce has once again failed to secure the release of those who depended on him—his fellow Pelicans. They have been shipped off to the Mediterranean while he was indulging himself in London. So he must take ship and follow them. His application to William Pitt for a place finds him as 8th lieutenant on HMS Victory, flagship of Admiral Lord Hood. South and ahead of him, his Pelicans are serving under a flogging captain, but all is not lost as each of the gang does what he can to promote himself—O’Hagan fights to establish his place in the below decks hierarch; Taverner carves out a niche where his trickery can work to the gang’s advantage; Gherson ends up as secretary to Rear Admiral Ralph Barclay. As the action moves to the main French Mediterranean port of Toulon, the tension between crews and captains intensifies, coming to a brilliant head when the HMS Brilliant is detached from the fleet under the orders of Captain Horatio Nelson, bound for North Africa.
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A Flag of Truce
9780749079888John Pearce comes back from Corsica demanding that Captain Barclay of HMS Brilliant, the man who originally pressed him and his fellow Pelicans into the Navy, be tried at home by a civilian court. Against the background of the ongoing siege of Toulon and with the Revolutionary Army massing to attack, no-one in authority sees this as a good time to accede to his requests. Barclay’s patron Admiral Hotham contrives a way out of the dilemma. He staffs the ship Pearce captured in Corsica with members of the Revolutionary Navy refusing to serve under the Bourbon flag and gives it to Henry Digby, with Pearce and his Pelicans under him, so that they may transport the renegade French sailors to an Atlantic port and set them free. Whilst Pearce is gone Hotham fixes a court martial where Barclay is found innocent for lack of evidence, a ruse that leads to an open breach with his wife Emily. Pearce eventually returns to the siege having survived conflict on both land and water only to find Barclay acquitted and exempt from further trial under the law of double jeopardy. Despite clear warnings not to do so he begins a romance with Emily Barclay, but mayhem surrounds the evacuation of Toulon and the revolutionary forces, including Napoleon Bonaparte, are closing in to retake the port…
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The Admiral’s Game
9780749079314Lieutenant John Pearce is caught between the constant feuding of a trio of admirals. Their demands put him in positions of extreme danger but, as they know, he will risk a lot to protect his friends. Pearce’s chances of constructing a perjury case against Admiral Ralph Barclay seem weak, especially when Barclay is willing to use any pawn to finally silence Pearce. Setting out for Tunis to garner support for the siege of Toulon, Pearce faces a different kind of danger–the wiles of the beautiful Lady Emma Hamilton. After escaping her clutches, and returning to France, Pearce has finally got the evidence he needs to nail Barclay, as well as secure the release of the Pelicans. But the siege is coming to a climax and time is running out for Pearce and his friends… Highly charged, packed with historical detail and loaded with action, The Admirals’ Game is a must-read for all nautical adventure fans. Entwining historical personages with fully-imagined characters, Donachie captures the action and the period precisely.
Buy it here on sale for $10.00

9780749008703Toulon, 1793. With the Republican Army at the gates, the citizens of Toulon are panicking, trying to flee the retribution of the guillotine. Amongst this confusion John Pearce and the rest of the Allied forces must put the needs of war before their lives: the Arsenal and dockyard must be destroyed, the ships they cannot get away must be set alight to deny them to the enemy. And Pearce is entrusted with dangerous tasks by Admiral Hotham. His orders take on a particularly a challenging form when Pearce is tasted with evacuating the hospital and finds himself sailing in close proximity to Captain Ralph Barclay – the man he intends to have court-martialled – and his wife Emily. Matters between the men come to a head, and Pearce is sucked into a web of intrigue and devious politics.
Buy it here on sale for $10.00

9780749009847    9780749009663    9780749013394    9780749014254
Click on the cover images for more information about the rest of the books in this series

The Importance of Being Emma | Persuade Me
by Juliet Archer

The Importance of Being Emma
9781906931209Mark Knightley – handsome, clever, rich – is used to women falling at his feet. Except Emma Woodhouse, who’s like part of the family – and the furniture. When their relationship changes dramatically, is it an ending or a new beginning? Emma’s grown into a stunningly attractive young woman, full of ideas for modernising her family business. Then Mark gets involved and the sparks begin to fly. It’s just like the old days, except that now he’s seeing her through totally new eyes. While Mark struggles to keep his feelings in check, Emma remains immune to the Knightley charm. She’s never forgotten that embarrassing moment when he discovered her teenage crush on him. He’s still pouring scorn on all her projects, especially her beautifully orchestrated campaign to find Mr Right for her ditzy PA. And finally, when the mysterious Flynn Churchill – the man of her dreams – turns up, how could she have eyes for anyone else? With its clueless heroine and entertaining plot, this modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma stays true to the original, while giving fresh insights into the mind of its thoroughly updated and irresistible hero.
Buy it here $11.95

Persuade Me
9781906931216When do you let your heart rule your head? When it comes to love, Anna Elliot is stuck in the past. No one can compare to Rick Wentworth, the man she gave up ten years ago at the insistence of her disapproving family. What if she’s missed her only chance for real happiness? Since Anna broke his heart, Rick has moved on – or so he thinks. Out in Australia, he’s worked hard to build a successful career – and a solid wall around his feelings. The words ‘forgive and forget’ aren’t in Rick’s vocabulary. The word ‘regret’ is definitely in Anna’s. So, when they meet again on his book tour of England, it’s an opportunity for closure. But memories intrude – the pure sensuality of what they once shared, the pain of parting … And she has to deal with another man from her past, while his celebrity status makes him the focus of unwanted attention. With Anna’s image-obsessed family still ready to interfere and Rick poised to return to Australia, can she persuade him to risk his heart again? This contemporary retelling of Jane Austen’s last completed novel is the second book in Juliet Archer’s Darcy & Friends series, offering fresh insights into the hearts and minds of Austen’s irresistible heroes.
Buy it here $11.95

None of these are your cup of tea? Click here to see even more historical fiction (series and single titles) distributed by Casemate IPM.

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