Tag Archives: 15th Century historical novels

E. Knight Catches the Torch in A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii Series

In celebration of the release of the historical novel A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii, I’ve been doing a “Ring of Fire” series where I toss the fire torch to each of the authors every Wednesday or so for SIX WEEKS in order for them to answer a few quick questions about the book. All of the authors were given the same two questions!

Remember this Doctor Who episode in the fires of Pompeii?

Hey! Remember this Doctor Who episode in the fires of Pompeii?

Today, the E. Knight is in the hot seat, but there are links to the four past micro-interviews too. Follow along and see what each has to say about their experience! I’m going in order based on where their part of the story falls within the book. My review will be posted during the six weeks as well, mostly likely next week. I’m planning some additional reading over the holiday weekend.

In case you haven’t heard, or read my past posts, this book was written by six top historical novelists who joined forces to bring readers the stories of Pompeii’s residents—from patricians to prostitutes—as their world ended. It’s a combined novel by Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn and Vicky Alvear Shecter, with an introduction by Michelle Moran, in which each takes on a character and intertwines them into the story.

Take it away, E. Knight…..

Q1 : What did your character bring to the volcano gods for the book (i.e. what voice did they bring to the volume)?

A: Julilla brought the voice of a young, happily married woman well into the final stages of her pregnancy who is forced to make one of the most difficult and painful choices of her life. Having lost her first baby, she is extremely protective of the one in her womb. But with the impending destruction of Pompeii, and her family trapped in their home, she is now not so sure she wants to deliver her child into the world—for its first precious breath to be that of ash. Julilla’s story, THE MOTHER, is an emotional journey in which we see her turn from compliant Roman wife to a mother willing to do anything to protect her child from pain.

Q2: What is one of your favorite moments from the collaboration?

A: I myself traveled along an emotional journey right with Julilla. I cried, I mourned, I was lost. Having the group to take that journey with me was a blessing. So that, in itself, is one of the best parts of working on a collaboration. But, one of my favorite moments out of all was the Roman naming process—and the joy my writing pals had teasing me about it. Coming from medieval/Elizabethan fiction, it was quite a bit different! All children are named for their pater familias. I had the hardest time comprehending that EVERY ONE of Julius Polybius’ children would be a Julius (or Julia for girls). But, I felt like Julilla was different, and so I didn’t want her to be Julia. She was, is and always will be a Julilla to me.

Previously posted in the series:





E. Knight, Biograpy~

Eliza KnightEliza Knight is the award-winning, multi-published, Amazon best-selling author of sizzling historical romance and time travel erotic romance. She runs the award-winning blog, History Undressed.

When not reading, writing and researching, she likes to cuddle up in front of a warm fire with her own knight in shining armor. Visit Eliza at http://www.elizaknight.com or http://www.historyundressed.com

A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii released on November 4, 2014. Order now!

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00NI5CBXI</

pre-order cover ElizaKnight_ADayofFire_HR

A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii, Information~

by Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn and Vicky Alvear Shecter,
with an introduction by Michelle Moran

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: November 4, 2014

Six top historical novelists join forces to bring readers the stories of Pompeii’s residents—from patricians to prostitutes—as their world ended. You will meet:

Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens died in the chaos, some escaped the mountain’s wrath . . .these are their stories:

A boy loses his innocence in Pompeii’s flourishing streets.

An heiress dreads her wedding day, not knowing it will be swallowed by fire.

An ex-legionary stakes his entire future on a gladiator bout destined never to be finished.

A crippled senator welcomes death, until a tomboy on horseback comes to his rescue.

A young mother faces an impossible choice for her unborn child as the ash falls.

A priestess and a whore seek redemption and resurrection as the town is buried.

Six top historical authors bring to life overlapping stories of patricians and slaves, warriors and politicians, villains and heroes who cross each others’ path during Pompeii’s fiery end. But who will escape, and who will be buried for eternity?

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Filed under Feature Articles, Q and A with Authors

The Mapmaker’s Daughter, by Laurel Corona, Offers Emotionally Gripping Story of Loss, Love, and Faith in 15th Century

9781402286490-PRThe Mapmaker’s Daughter, by historical author Laurel Corona, is an emotional, well-researched, highly intelligent novel set in 15th century Iberia where the Spanish Inquisition is complicating (or worse) the lives of Jews, Muslims and Christians alike. However, as the Inquisition sent away those of Jewish faith, ordered them to convert, or caused them to hide among them posing as Christians, stories of hundreds of families arose in history that are now being pulled from the history books and made into educating fiction.  As a Christian, my heart breaks for the people of Jewish and Islamic faiths and what they endured during this time period of persecution.

Corona does a phenomenal job with her protagonist Amalia Cresques, the daughter of a famous cartographer (as a side note, Amalia is an invented character, but the family actually existed).  At first living as conversos, eventually she and her father are sent to Portugal to serve Henry the Navigator, who is exploring the African court. Though an affluent family in the Jewish community, their faith now puts them in servitude.  Her father, as he spends time plotting maps for the conquering men that were ripe in this time period, ironically is assisting these men in claiming their dominance.

But the book doesn’t focus on the mapmaking, it focuses on the mapmaker’s daughter, as it is rightly titled. Amalia is a young girl coming of age in a very tumultuous time period of confusion where not only are things difficult, and downright frightful, but the mental fatigue that would probably come from defining yourself, and your faith, in a time when so many theories or restrictions were put into place (and faith was very personal and fervent and felt so deeply). Her portrayal of Amalia brought depth and emotional connection to her character, whether it was when the novel was reaching forward into time and revealing Amalia 60 years later and at the end of her life or when it showed her just beginning her foray into life, love, and faith.

It was interesting how Corona added many real figures from history and how someone such as Amalia’s character would have interacted with them given the circumstances of that historical family (her family). The relationships between Amalia and many of the other characters are strong and rich and interwoven among historical detail of the time period. Corona’s prose also really showcases for us how the time period truly felt to those of the Jewish faith, as she tried to capture sentiments of those who were easy to convert, those who held strong, and those who floundered in not knowing their truest heart’s desires.

The detail of Iberia, the scenery set in the novel, and the lush verbiage was lovely and allowed for breathing between the action of the story. I was amazed to learn even more about the Jewish people and what they endured during the Spanish Inquisition. I’ve read several novels lately that dealt with stories of this time period and I am always floored by the civil injustices endured by Jews, as well as several other types of faith throughout time. In relation to our modern era, there are lessons to be taken away from this history, lessons we must never forget.

Corona’s newest epic novel of faith, family, love, and personal survival will amaze you with an emotional and historical tapestry weaved with remembrance of just how far humankind can fall and what we must do to always ensure compassion and tolerance.

For readers who enjoy learning more about 15th Century Spain, the Spanish Inquisition, and how various faiths intertwined during this time period, then this book is a sweeping saga and an intelligent read that will leave you wanting to learn more. Corona has presented a well-written, well-researched, and emotionally gripping story of courage during the turbulent time of the Spanish Inquisition.

The Mapmaker’s Daughter (Sourcebooks), Synopsis~
On sale date: March 4, 2014

9781402286490-PRA sweeping novel of 15th-century Spain explores the forgotten women of the Spanish Inquisition

In 1492, Amalia Riba sits in an empty room, waiting for soldiers to take her away. A converso forced to hide her religion from the outside world, She is the last in a long line of Jewish mapmakers, whose services to the court were so valuable that their religion had been tolerated by Muslims and Christians alike.

But times have changed. When King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella conquer Granada, the last holdout of Muslim rule in Spain, they issue an order expelling all Jews who refused to convert to Christianity. As Amalia looks back on her eventful life, we witness history in the making—the bustling court of Henry the Navigator, great discoveries in science and art, the fall of Muslim Granada, the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition. And we watch as Amalia decides whether to relinquish what’s left of her true self, or risk her life-preserving it.

Exploring an under-published period in history, The Mapmaker’s Daughter is a sweeping saga of faith, family and identity that shows how the past shapes our map of life.

Praise for The Mapmaker’s Daughter~

“A close look at the great costs and greater rewards of being true to who you really are. … A pivotal period of history and inspiration” —Margaret George, NYT bestselling author of Elizabeth I

“Sentences of startling, hard-won wisdom leap from the page and command our memories not to forget them.” —Susan Vreeland, NYT bestselling author of Luncheon of the Boating Party

 “Amalia is the perfect character through which readers will experience these turbulent times … Vividly detailed and beautifully written, this is a pleasure to read, a thoughtful, deeply engaging story of the power of faith to navigate history’s rough terrain.” – Booklist

 “Well-researched, evocative, and a pleasure to read”
—Mitchell James Kaplan, award-winning author of By Fire, By Water

Author Laurel Corona, Biography~ 

Laurel Corona author photoLaurel Corona is the author of three historical novels, including Finding Emilie (Gallery Books, 2011), which won the 2012 Theodore S. Geisel Award for Book of the Year, San Diego Book Awards.

She has taught at San Diego State University, the University of California at San Diego, and San Diego City College, where she is a professor of English and Humanities.

Corona is a member of the Brandeis National Committee, the National Council of Jewish Women, and Hadassah. She has written over a dozen nonfiction Young Adult books for school library programs, primarily on Jewish topics.

She lives in San Diego, California.

You can visit her online at: www.laurelcorona.com


Sourcebooks Blog Tour Schedule

March 5

Passages to the Past

Guest Post

March 6

Unabridged Chick


March 7

My Friend Amy

Guest Post

March 10

Let Them Read Books


March 11

Read Lately


March 12

Julz Reads


March 13

Broken Teepee


March 14

A Patchwork of Books


March 17

Mina’s Bookshelf


March 18

Oh for the Hook of a Book


March 19

Poof … Books!


March 20

A Bookish Affair


March 21

Historical Boys

Guest Post

March 24

Reading the Past

Guest Post

March 26

Radiant Light



Filed under Book Reviews