VOICES FROM THE PAST: NEW HISTORICAL FICTION AT THE FIELD

Whether you’re interested in Ancient Egypt, or the nineteen-teens, or pre-World War II Europe, we’ve got you covered with new historical fiction at the Field Library.  Come in and take a look!

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Ancient Egypt is the setting of Wilbur Smith’s new book, Pharaoh, which continues the series he began with Desert God and River God. The former slave, Taita, has risen to the rank of general in the army of Pharaoh Tamose, now mortally wounded and close to death. As the book begins, Egypt is under attack, and Taita has to use all his cleverness and resource to save the critical city of Luxor.  When he manages to call in allies to defeat the enemies of Egypt, he might reasonably figure he’s in good shape, except that Tamose has died and been succeeded by his weakling son, Utteric. Utteric is jealous of Taita’s influence in the palace, and brands him a traitor, throwing him in prison.  Utteric’s younger brother, Ramose, is placed in the position of leaving Taita to his fate or standing up against his brother, the new Pharaoh, but, being the kind of man he is, it’s not really a question: Taita must be released and Utteric opposed.  For people who love stories of battle, intrigue, blood and passion (I’m looking at you, fans of Game of Thrones), Wilbur Smith’s Egyptian series should be right up your alley.

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Across the ocean and across the centuries, come to a younger, more innocent America in the aftermath of World War I in Rita Mae Brown’s Cakewalk.  Set in Runnymede, the same Maryland area as Brown’s former bestseller, Six of One, the book revels in small-town life and the relatively low level issues and problems the people in the town face: a rich young man who “has to” marry the mother of his illegitimate child, a well-to-do woman trying to take care of the man she loves without making it so obvious his pride gets hurt, the wild doings of the Hunsenmier sisters who are free spirited, free thinking and out to upend the social conventions of their town. Rita Mae Brown is talented at creating vivid and lively characters, and the Runnymede books are based, loosely, on the doings of the author’s mother in that era, so you can expect a good time with plenty of accurate period detail.

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Of course everybody knows, at least in general outline, the story of Albert Einstein, creator of the theory of relativity.  But very few people know about his first wife, Mileva Maric, and the extent to which she might have contributed to Einstein’s understanding of the universe.  Here to rectify that lack is The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict.  Mileva was born with a hip defect, and assumed from an early age that she would never marry, so she devoted herself to physics, in which she believed she saw the hand of God in mathematics.  Her father, unusually for this time (the late 19th century), supported Mileva’s desire to learn science, and sent her to the Swiss Federal Polytechnic, in Zurich.  There, she had to fight to be taken seriously by her fellow students and professors, with the exception of one disheveled young man, Albert Einstein, who insinuated his way into her heart and her life. When the birth of their daughter and her subsequent marriage to Einstein caused her to lose her place in the university, Mileva hoped to continue working in the field of physics, collaborating with her brilliant husband and trusting — unwisely as it turned out — that he would acknowledge her contributions to his theories. Mileva is a fascinating character, a brilliant mind in her own right, caught up in the contradictions of her time and place, and the question of how much she was responsible for the theory of relativity is still an open, and controversial one.  

Escape to different times and places and get absorbed in the wonders of historical fiction.  Check them out at the Field!

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