Holland, Cecelia. Rakossy.

NY: Atheneum, 1967.

I’ve been a big fan of Holland’s historical novels almost the appearance of her first book, written while she was still a college undergraduate and published shortly after she graduated. This is her second novel, written when she was twenty-one.

The year is 1523 and Janos Rakossy is master of Hart Castle, in the foothills to the east of the wide Hungarian Plain. Just beyond his closely-held territory are the Turks, who are making their way farther into Eastern Europe with each passing year — but this is where they will be stopped if Rakossy and the other Magyar barons have any say in it.



Schoonover, Lawrence L. The Burnished Blade.

NY: Macmillan, 1948.

Schoonover was a very popular historical novelist in the 1940s and ‘50s, though he’s largely forgotten today. My father was a fan, though, and bought all his books, and so I read his copies more than half a century ago. Something brought him to mind recently and I began searching out his novels, of which I remembered only bits and pieces, and I’m glad I did.


Powers, Tim. The Drawing of the Dark.

NY: Ballantine, 1979.

This was Tim’s third novel but his first of the type that made his reputation, and which he has been ringing the changes on ever since: The “secret history” in which things are happening below the surface of the history we know (or think we know) that explain the true course of events.