The Moor’s Account: Laila Lalani

History is written by the victors, as the saying goes. What we know of the conquest—or the invasion—of the Americas tends to come from those who conquered the land. This book gives another perspective—the narrator, Mustafa ibn Muhammad ibn Abdussalam al-Zamori, is among the Spanish conquistadores, but not one of them. He is different, both …

Continue reading The Moor’s Account: Laila Lalani

Tombland: CJ Sansom

I wasn’t going to write this, since I’ve already reviewed a book in the Shardlake series (Dark Fire). But Tombland is a little different—it is not just a murder mystery but also describes a little-known event in English history. The series centres around Matthew Shardlake, a hunchback lawyer in London, who used to work for …

Continue reading Tombland: CJ Sansom

The Man Who Loved Dogs: Leonardo Padura

Translated from Spanish by Anna Kushner “If the social dream and economic utopia supporting it had become corrupt to the core, what remained of the greatest experiment man had ever dreamed of?” It is easy to forget today how seductive the idea of communism was for generations of intellectuals the world over. They were drawn …

Continue reading The Man Who Loved Dogs: Leonardo Padura

The Dictator’s Last Night: Yasmina Khadra

Translated from French by Julian Evans On 20 October 2011, the news was full of the capture of the Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi, found hiding in a culvert in near Sirte. It was an unimaginable fall for the man who saw himself as the saviour of his people who, in turn, loved him. Outside Libya, …

Continue reading The Dictator’s Last Night: Yasmina Khadra

The Matthew Bartholomew Chronicles: Susanna Gregory

Monks and murder in the Middle Ages—an irresistible formula! Maybe it's the mixing of piety and nefarious doings that makes it so attractive. And a reason why this is one of my favourite crime series. It is set in Cambridge in the 14th century, and the detective is Matthew Bartholomew, a young physician who teaches medicine at …

Continue reading The Matthew Bartholomew Chronicles: Susanna Gregory