There are now four volumes in the series that crime fiction expert J. Kingston Pierce calls "historically compelling" and which has earned numerous accolades, including winning a CWA Debut Dagger Award.
Last week I asked Levack what he was reading. His reply:
I'm currently reading the second volume of Shelby Foote's The Civil War - A Narrative -- a book that won't need any introduction for American readers. Foote's idea of writing out the history of the conflict as though it were a novel told from multiple points of view has to be admired for sheer ambition. I love its epic sweep although more of the common footsoldier's and the civilian's experience would have been welcome.Learn more about Simon Levack and his writing at his website and his blog.
As a historical novelist, much of my reading is to support my writing, of course. For my Aztec stories I have been dipping once again into Sahagun's General History of the Things of New Spain - The Florentine Codex -- but I now know this work so well I'm unlikely to read it from cover to cover again.
I'm planning a series of books about Robert Clive, First Baron Plassey -- Clive of India -- and refreshing my memory by re-reading Mark Bence-Jones's biography of him -- still the best after a quarter of a century or more. Clive was a truly remarkable man -- self-important, overbearing and sometimes vindictive, but also loyal, generous to a fault, humane and courageous.
I recently read David Lindsay's extraordinary philosophical fantasy (or proto-science fiction) novel A Voyage to Arcturus -- an imaginative tour de force in which a man searches for the meaning of life in one fantastical landscape after another. Makes CS Lewis and even Tolkien look like amateurs. The fact that it only sold a few hundred copies when first published just underlines what a brave and original book it is.
Check out Jeri Westerton’s recent interview with Levack.
Read a sample chapter from Tribute of Death, the fourth volume in the Yaotl series.