This past week Castles, Customs and Kings: True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors edited by Debra Brown and M.M. Bennets was released. Anyone interested in historical fiction -- or history generally -- will find this a delightful source of "little known facts" presented in a logical and easily accessible fashion.
As Debra Brown explains in the introduction, the book consists of selected entries from the English Historical Fiction Authors Blog ( http:// englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.com/ ) on which a historical fiction author posts an essay each day about a historical topic he/she has studied. As Ms. Brown reminds us, "to craft good historical fiction, [authors] have studied the times of which [they] write and the events that came before." In the blog, and now in this anthology, the members of the English Historical Fiction Authors Blog have shared some of the fascinating things they have learned.
What I liked best about this book, however, is that is so easy to use! First, the table of contents provides an overview of the wide range of topics, and a reader can jump right in and read any essay that catches their fancy. On the other hand, the entries are organized by time-period, enabling a reader to zero in to the articles most likely of interest to them, without wading through the rest. Perhaps best of all, there are a list of books published by contributors, so that a reader who likes one entry or another can quickly cross-check what that author has written without having to go to amazon or the like. There are also short biographies of the contributors.
All in all this is a fun way to learn more about history and discover the kind of historical novelists, who take history seriously. I think most of you will enjoy it!