For those unfamiliar with the first two volumes, Imperium and Conspirata, Harris's three-parter tells the story of the great Roman advocate and orator Cicero, whose speaking skills were so convincing that he became only the second man who was neither a military commander or nobleman to win the consulship.
Based on historical events 'One Night, Markovitch' takes the reader from Europe, as she was fast approaching the onset of World War II and British Mandate Palestine. Ayelet takes her skills as a storyteller to new heights, crafting a tale structured around both historical and deeply personal events.
I am not a fast reader. So the fact that I finished all five books in David Downing's John Russell series in just over three weeks means that a) Zoo Station (book one) hooked me on the first page b) I made more time to read fiction that at any point in the past five years of get up-research-write-parent-go to bed-repeat c) Downing is a master of plot, characterisation and pace.
The first time I wrote historical fiction I had no idea what I was taking on. Even now, with one historical novel under my belt, and with a second on the way, I am filled with admiration for anyone who can craft a good period narrative. Of all the literary genres, historical fiction must be the toughest.