A powerful you-are-there narrative, authentic and engaging.

RAVENSPUR

RISE OF THE TUDORS

From the Wars of the Roses series , Vol. 4

Iggulden (Bloodline, 2016, etc.) concludes his Wars of the Roses series with Richard III dead on Bosworth Field and Henry VII taking the throne for the House of Tudor.

After the bloody battle of Towton, Edward of York seizes the crown from Henry VI, House of Lancaster, a frail and incompetent ruler. However, Edward IV prefers ale and the hunt to kingly duties, and soon Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick restores Henry VI to the throne. Edward and his ever loyal brother, Richard of Gloucester, take refuge in Burgundy. That’s close by the Paris sanctuary of Henry’s queen, Margaret of Anjou, and their son, Edward. Edward and Richard mount a campaign to retake England, one leaving Warwick dead after a battle near Barnet. Edward, crown restored, again turns dissolute. Richard schemes. Princes are murdered. Edward dies. Richard takes the throne. Margaret and son Edward return, landing in Wales, but then young Edward dies in battle, and from the wilds of Wales springs young Henry Tudor (Tewdyr from Welsh), “no doubt or indecision in him,” descendant of John of Gaunt, House of Lancaster. Mentored by his uncle Jasper Tudor, Henry Tudor lures Richard III into battle and defeats him at Bosworth Field. Iggulden’s a masterful writer, capable of setting a scene, sketching a description, or defining a character in a few words, often while turning a literary phrase—a dead York brother “raised to an angelic presence by the smoothing iron of memory.” The dialogue sounds modern, but it's laced with historical syntax and grammar to lend credibility. Moreover, despite the complicated history and plethora of Edwards, Henrys, and Richards, Iggulden’s narrative remains clear as the aristocratic houses fight not only for political power, but also titles and crown estates, land and wealth.

A powerful you-are-there narrative, authentic and engaging.

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68177-685-9

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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The writing is merely serviceable, and one can’t help but wish the author had found a way to present her material as...

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THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ

An unlikely love story set amid the horrors of a Nazi death camp.

Based on real people and events, this debut novel follows Lale Sokolov, a young Slovakian Jew sent to Auschwitz in 1942. There, he assumes the heinous task of tattooing incoming Jewish prisoners with the dehumanizing numbers their SS captors use to identify them. When the Tätowierer, as he is called, meets fellow prisoner Gita Furman, 17, he is immediately smitten. Eventually, the attraction becomes mutual. Lale proves himself an operator, at once cagey and courageous: As the Tätowierer, he is granted special privileges and manages to smuggle food to starving prisoners. Through female prisoners who catalog the belongings confiscated from fellow inmates, Lale gains access to jewels, which he trades to a pair of local villagers for chocolate, medicine, and other items. Meanwhile, despite overwhelming odds, Lale and Gita are able to meet privately from time to time and become lovers. In 1944, just ahead of the arrival of Russian troops, Lale and Gita separately leave the concentration camp and experience harrowingly close calls. Suffice it to say they both survive. To her credit, the author doesn’t flinch from describing the depravity of the SS in Auschwitz and the unimaginable suffering of their victims—no gauzy evasions here, as in Boy in the Striped Pajamas. She also manages to raise, if not really explore, some trickier issues—the guilt of those Jews, like the tattooist, who survived by doing the Nazis’ bidding, in a sense betraying their fellow Jews; and the complicity of those non-Jews, like the Slovaks in Lale’s hometown, who failed to come to the aid of their beleaguered countrymen.

The writing is merely serviceable, and one can’t help but wish the author had found a way to present her material as nonfiction. Still, this is a powerful, gut-wrenching tale that is hard to shake off.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-279715-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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Romance and melodrama mix uneasily with mass murder.

THE WINTER GUEST

An 18-year-old Polish girl falls in love, swoons over a first kiss, dreams of marriage—and, oh yes, we are in the middle of the Holocaust.

Jenoff (The Ambassador’s Daughter, 2013, etc.) weaves a tale of fevered teenage love in a time of horrors in the early 1940s, as the Nazis invade Poland and herd Jews into ghettos and concentration camps. A prologue set in 2013, narrated by a resident of the Westchester Senior Center, provides an intriguing setup. A woman and a policeman visit the resident and ask if she came from a small Polish village. Their purpose is unclear until they mention bones recently found there: “And we think you might know something about them.” The book proceeds in the third person, told from the points of view mostly of teenage Helena, who comes upon an injured young Jewish-American soldier, and sometimes of her twin, Ruth, who is not as adventurous as Helena but is very competitive with her. Their father is dead, their mother is dying in a hospital, and they are raising their three younger siblings amid danger and hardship. The romance between Helena and Sam, the soldier, is often conveyed in overheated language that doesn’t sit well with the era’s tragic events: “There had been an intensity to his embrace that said he was barely able to contain himself, that he also wanted more.” Jenoff, clearly on the side of tolerance, slips in a simplified historical framework for the uninformed. But she also feeds stereotypes, having Helena note that Sam has “a slight arch to his nose” and a dark complexion that “would make him suspect as a Jew immediately.” Clichés also pop up during the increasingly complex plot: “But even if they stood in place, the world around them would not.”

Romance and melodrama mix uneasily with mass murder.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7783-1596-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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