Historical Thrillers

Takashi Matsuoka
"In the year 1311, in the highest tower of Cloud of Sparrows Castle, a beautiful woman sits by the window, watching as enemies gather below and fires spread through the night. As she calmly awaits her fate, she begins to write, carefully setting down on a scroll the secret history of the Okumichi clan--of the gift of prophecy they share and the extraordinary destiny that awaits them. For six centuries, these remarkable writings lay hidden—until they are uncovered by an American woman, a missionary named Emily Gibson, who arrived in Edo harbor in 1861, in flight from a tragic past. Soon an extraordinary man would enter her life: Lord Genji of the Okumichi clan, a nobleman with a gift of prophecy who must defend his embattled family—and confront forbidden feelings for an outsider in his midst. Emily, too, soon finds herself at a turning point; courted by two westerners, she knows her heart belongs to the one man she cannot have. But Emily has found a mission of her own: translating Genji’s ancestral history, losing herself in an epic tale of heroism and forbidden love."
Betsy Tobin

"It is the tale of two women. One is Dora -- large, voluptuous, and charismatic -- a prostitute to whom men are drawn for pleasure, women for friendship. Her strange death in an icy ravine affects everyone in the tiny village: her enormous, slow-minded son; an embittered midwife; the hunchbacked lord of the manor; his decaying mother; and an itin- erant portrait painter, whose arrival in the village unearths secrets and passions beyond anyone's expectations.

The other -- young, slight, and solitary -- is a dutiful chambermaid to the mistress of the manor until Dora's accident begins to distract her from her daily tasks. Her quest to uncover the truth about the prostitute's mysterious life and sudden death leads her to a terrible discovery, and the beginnings of a future."

Haruki Murakami

"In this propulsive novel by the author of Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End of the World and The Elephant Vanishes, one of the most idiosyncratically brilliant writers at work in any language fuses science fiction, the hard-boiled thriller, and white-hot satire into a new element of the literary periodic table."  (Publisher's description)

Eleanor Cooney

Over a period of forty years, chief magistrate Dee fights the malevolent empress Wu, who has killed her own children, exiled her most respected statesman, and reduced her husband to idiocy.

Brooks Hansen

Dr. Perlman -- classical music lover and scrupulously scientific hypnotist -- is about to leave for the symphony when a hysterical teenage girl is brought into his office. Soon, in a time just before the reign of Freud, a charismatic imposter and the pioneering doctor will fight a heated battle over the teenager's soul.

Caleb Carr

1896 Manhattan is awash in grotesquely mutilated corpses. An alienist (19th century term for psychologist) and a New York Times reporter join forces with chief of police Theodore Roosevelt to put pay to the monster against a backdrop of decadence and corruption. Angel of Darkness is the sequel.

Sheri Holman

Fifteen-year-old Gustine is a "dress lodger", a young prostitute who rents a beautiful dress from her landlord to attract a higher class of clientele. Surgeon Henry Chiver is a prisoner of his own past and is looking to start over.

Doctor and dress lodger come together in the filthy, cholera-infected East End of Sunderland. Here, during the worst epidemic since the bubonic plague, Gustine secures bodies for the doctor's school in exchange for medical care for her ailing child. The arrangement is gruesome but profitable for both until Henry's greed and his growing obsession with her child challenge Gustine's loyalty to him.

Katherine Neville

About to embark on a business trip to Algeria, Catherine Velis meets a mysterious man who offers her an enormous sum of money if she will find the pieces of an old chess service reputed to be in Algeria.

Patricia Finney

Troubled by visions, Tom O'Bedlam, the mad son of a prominent Catholic family, wanders the London streets, where he finds evidence that his brother has launched a scheme to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I.

Ken Follett
1914: the world hangs on the brink of catastrophe--the eve of the war to end all wars. Feliks, a man consumed with a mission, comes to London to commit a murder that could change history. Against him are the whole of the English police, a powerful and brilliant lord--and the young Winston Churchill.
Elizabeth Redfern
"In the London of 1795, intrigue and death walk the dark streets. England is at war with its neighbor and nemesis, France, and espionage is rampant. It is the job of Jonathan Absey at the Home Office to catch these spies, but his mind is elsewhere, his dreams haunted by the still unsolved murder of his fifteen-year-old daughter in these same streets. Desperately pursuing both investigations, hestumbles across a strange society of astronomers called the Company of Titius who are on a furious search of their own: to discover a long-lost star in the wide black sky. Soon, as he digs into their arcane world, their quest begins to merge with his own, and Absey finds himself discovering more than he had ever imagined-not only about spies and murderers but also about celestial numbers and the making of codes; about passions as unnatural as they are obsessive; and about the bonds of family...and the lengths we will go to preserve them."
Umberto Eco

In 1327, finding his sensitive mission at an Italian abbey further complicated by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William of Baskerville turns detective, penetrating the cunning labyrinth of the abbey and deciphering coded manuscripts for clues.

Ann Benson

In the year 1348, a physician journeys to England on an impossible mission to save the royal family from the Black Death. In the year 2005, a scientist unearths a terror laying dormant in the soil for nearly 700 years. Their stories are linked by history and defined by circumstances. They are the plague tales.

Glenn Meade
A beautiful Jewish archeology student and her two suitors, one American, the other German, find their romantic interlude, while working on a dig outside of Cairo, brought to an abrupt halt by the beginning of World War II. As the war spreads from Europe to the banks of the Nile, the three find themselves thrown together in a deadly plot.
Michele Jaffe
The brilliant daughter of a renowned physician, Bianca Salva is thrust into an uneasy alliance with Ian Foscari, a handsome aristocrat notorious for his outrageous escapades and romantic conquests, when they masquerade as a betrothed couple to find the murderer of a beautiful courtesan.