Historical fiction

London after the Great Fire: The King’s Evil, by Andrew Taylor, reviewed

11 May 2019 9:00 am

The scene is London in 1667, the city recovering from the Great Fire the year before, with 80,000 people homeless…

'The Charge of the 10th Hussars at Benevente (Corunna Campaign), 1809', c1915 (1928)

On the run from Corunna: Now We Shall be Entirely Free, by Andrew Miller, reviewed

1 September 2018 9:00 am

There is only one Andrew Miller. In the 20 years since his debut novel Ingenious Pain won both the James…

Francis Spufford makes history: the pleasures of Golden Hill

18 June 2016 9:00 am

Good historical fiction takes more than research. Henry James once said that writers needed to shed everything that made them…

Pick of the crime novels

1 March 2014 9:00 am

Stuart MacBride’s new novel, A Song for the Dying (HarperCollins, £16.99, Spectator Bookshop, £14.99), is markedly darker in tone than…

Women on their mettle

2 June 2012 6:00 pm

Edwardian Park Lane was lined with grand houses. The occupants, conspicuous consumers and domestic servants, acted out layers of deception.…

In the land of doublespeak

27 August 2011 10:00 am

An Oxford don and poet, Patrick McGuinness lived in Bucharest in 1989, and in this fictionalised account of the regime’s death throes he puts his first-hand experience to compelling use.

The long walk

11 September 2010 12:00 am

In this long and fascinating novel, Ora, an early- middle-aged Israeli woman, walks for days through Galilee to escape the ‘Notifiers’, the officers she fears will come to her door to inform her of the death of Ofer, her soldier son, at the hands of Palestinians.

Dark Satanic thrills

4 September 2010 12:00 am

If you have not yet gone on holiday, do pack The Anatomy of Ghosts. It is excellent airport reading; and this is no trivial recommendation.

Confounded clever

14 August 2010 12:00 am

‘C’ is for Caul, Chute, Crash and Call, the titles of the four sections of Tom McCarthy’s new novel; for Serge Carrefax, its protagonist; and for, among other things, coordinates, communication technology, crypts, cryptography, Ceres, carbon, cocaine and Cartesian space, motifs that trellis this book.

The French connection

7 August 2010 12:00 am

If ever there was a novel to which that old adage about not judging a book by its cover could be applied, it’s this one.

Paranoia and empty promises

12 May 2010 12:00 am

It has taken more than half a century, but at last the Anglophone world has woken up to the fact that 20th-century communist history makes a superb backdrop for fiction.

A slave to her past

10 February 2010 12:00 am

It is to Andrea Levy’s credit that for this, her eagerly-awaited fifth novel, she adopts a narrative approach strikingly different from that of the best-selling, prize-winning, televised Small Island.

Objects of obsession

30 December 2009 12:00 am

The Museum of Innocence is the sixth novel by Turkey’s most garlanded novelist and his first since he became a Nobel laureate in 2006.

Recent crime fiction

9 September 2009 12:00 am

An Empty Death (Orion, £18.99) is the second instalment of the series Laura Wilson began with her previous book, the award-winning Stratton’s War.

Rich pickings

9 September 2009 12:00 am

Delicious is a word that keeps coming to mind as one reads Jane Gardam’s new novel.