Two respected historians debut this month with historical novels.
Classicist Victor Davis Hanson focuses on the Theban defeat of the Spartan army in 371 BCE in The End of Sparta. The tale, inspired by the battles of the Greek military leader Epaminondas, is told through the eyes of the farmer Melon, who leaves his home to serve under the general and is swept up against his better judgment in the fever to spread democracy, even as he yearns to return to his pastoral hillside.
Stella Tillyard, author of Aristocrats, intertwines fictional newlyweds with the duke and duchess of Wellington in Tides of War. The war in question is the Peninsular War (1812–15), and it sends James Raven to battle in Spain with the Duke’s troops even as his spirited wife, Harriet, finds both friendship and a sense of self at home.
Other double-duty authors are Carolly Erickson, whose most recent book is a novel about The Favored Queen, Jane Seymour, third wife of Henry VIII, and Alison Weir, who returns to nonfiction with Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings.