Summer reading - first in historical fiction series

Falling in love with a set of characters, a location and a period is a wonderful thing. Finding there is a series featuring the same three is heaven. You can plunge back into your favourite characters’ world and find out what happened next. You may want to grab a few moments’ peace during the holidays. Here’s a selection of first-in-series books that you may enjoy…

The Disappearing Dowry by Libi Astaire

The Disappearing Dowry When a crime wave sweeps through 19th-century London’s Jewish community, wealthy widower Ezra Melamed is forced to turn sleuth. His first adventure involves the mystery of The Disappearing Dowry: a family fortune is stolen, dashing the marriage hopes of a young lady—unless Mr. Melamed can find the thief before the young man’s family hears about her misfortune.

The Ezra Melamed Mystery Series currently has four full-length novels and two novellas, with the latest novel being The Doppelganger’s Dance.

Read more about the series at Libi’s website.
Buy the book at


Kydd by Julian Stockwin

KYDDKYDD is the first in the Thomas Kydd series of historical adventure fiction set in the Age of Fighting Sail. In KYDD, a young wigmaker from Guildford is press-ganged into the Navy; despite the harsh reality aboard a man-o’-war he finds he is drawn to the sea life and takes up the challenge to become a true sailor.

The following titles take the reader on the rest of one man’s journey from pressed man to admiral – 15 titles published to date, of a projected 21.

Read more  at Julian’s website.
Buy the book from Amazon (US and UK).


 Sea Witch by Helen Hollick

SEA WITCH In this first voyage of Captain Jesamiah Acorne, we learn that our hero has been a pirate from the age of fifteen. Then he meets Tiola (a healer, midwife and white witch) and his life changes  forever. But there comes a day when he has to choose; the woman he loves, or his ship…? Swashbuckling adult nautical adventure that is a blend of Hornblower, Indiana Jones, Richard Sharpe and James Bond – with a dash of Jack Sparrow thrown for that extra bit of sexy spice.

There are three more ‘Voyages’ so far – Pirate Code, Bring It Close and Ripples In The Sand, with the fifth, On The Account to be published early in 2015.

Read more at Helen’s blog.
Buy the book from Amazon (UK and US).


Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray 

Lily of the NileHeiress of one empire and prisoner of another, it is up to Selene, the daughter of Cleopatra, to save her brothers and reclaim what is rightfully hers. Trapped in an empire that reviles her heritage and suspects her faith, the young princess struggles for survival in a Roman court of intrigue. But faced with a new and ruthless Caesar who is obsessed with having a Cleopatra of his very own, Selene is determined to resurrect her mother’s dreams.  And what will it cost her in a political game where the only rule is win-or die?

A 3 book series including Lily Of The Nile, Song Of The Nile and Daughters Of The Nile

Connect with Stephanie on her site.
Buy the book (choice of retailers).


When Women Were Warriors Book I: The Warrior’s Path by Catherine M Wilson

The Warrior's PathTamras arrives in Merin’s house to begin her apprenticeship as a warrior, but her small stature causes many, including Tamras herself, to doubt that she will ever become a competent swordswoman. Worse, the Lady Merin assigns her the lowly position of companion to a woman who came to Merin’s house, seemingly out of nowhere, the previous winter. This stranger wants nothing to do with Tamras.

When Women Were Warriors is a trilogy – Book II: A Journey of the Heart and Book III: A Hero’s Tale

Read more about the series. Book I is permanently free on Amazon UK and Amazon US.


The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau

Crown coverThis first in series introduces strong-minded Sister Joanna Stafford and follows her dangerous quest to find a Dark Ages relic during the turbulent reign of Henry VIII.

The second novel, The Chalice, won the RT Reviews Award for Best Historical Mystery of 2013. The third and final book in the trilogy, The Tapestry, will be published in March 2015.

Read more at Nancy’s website.
Buy the book from


A Rip in the Veil by Anna Belfrage #1 in The Graham Saga

9781781321676-Cover.inddOn a muggy August day in 2002, Alexandra Lind was unexpectedly thrown backwards in time, landing in the Year of Our Lord 1658. Catapulted into an unfamiliar and frightening new existence, Alex could do nothing but adapt – how fortunate that Matthew Graham was around to help her!

Seven books on, and in Whither Thou Goest Alex and Matthew face new adventures in a 17th century Caribbean setting.

Find out more on
Buy the book (Amazon US).


The Midwife’s Secret: The Mystery of the Hidden Princess by Linda Root

OL EAfter the Queen of Scots flees to England in 1568, her mortal enemy, the Earl of Morton, searches the shores of Loch Leven for human remains hoping to disprove rumours that one of the twins the queen allegedly miscarried survived. A child named Marguerite Kirkcaldy is kept hidden from outsiders by Abbess  Renée de Guise, Marie Stuart’s aunt, who suppresses evidence that the knight Kirkcaldy never sired a child named Marguerite. Who is La Belle Ecossaise and who wish her dead?

There are a total of three books in the  Legacy of the Queen of Scots series to date including 1603: The Queen’s Revenge, and a fourth coming in January.

Read more about the  author at
Buy the book at


The Bride Prize: Allan’s Miscellany 1839 by Sandra Schwab

Schwab-TheBridePrize-kleinA medieval tournament in Victorian Britain, two unlikely lovers, a very grumpy editor, and an unfortunate dearth of umbrellas: In their first adventure, the reporters of Allan’s Miscellany travel to Scotland to attend the infamous Eglinton Tournament of 1839.

So far, there are three novellas in the series, with the latest being Devil’s Return and more to come in 2015.

Visit Sandra’s website to find out more.
Buy the book at (currently free).


Feud by Derek Birks

FeudCover_sm1459 – The Wars of the Roses have brought chaos to England. Ambitious lords, like the Radcliffe family, seize the moment to overcome local rivals, in this case the Elders. With their father and older brother dead, it falls to young Ned Elder and his sisters to fight back. But they are young, they make mistakes and they will need help if they are to survive the feud.

Feud is the beginning of a story – the story of the Elder family’s struggle through the Wars of the Roses – and the story continues in A Traitor’s Fate and Kingdom of Rebels, the second and third books of the 4-book series, Rebels & Brothers.

Find out more at Derek’s website.
Buy the book at Amazon UK.


Britannia’s Wolf by Antoine Vanner

Britannia's Wolf1877 and the Russo-Turkish War is reaching its climax. To protect Britain’s strategic interests an ambitious British naval officer, Nicholas Dawlish, is assigned to the Ottoman Navy to ravage Russian supply-lines in the Black Sea. In the depths of a savage winter, Dawlish confronts enemy ironclads, Cossack lances and merciless Kurdish irregulars, and finds himself a pawn in the rivalry of the Sultan’s half-brothers for control of the collapsing empire. And unexpectedly, Dawlish finds himself drawn to a woman whom he believes he should not love…

Read more about the Dawlish Chronicles.
Buy the book at


Sultana by Lisa J Yarde

Sultana ebookIn thirteenth-century Moorish Spain, the realm of Granada is in crisis as a royal wedding destroys a fragile alliance between families. When bitter civil war threatens the bride’s and groom’s future, they discover the bounds of love, trust and family.

The Sultana series will comprise a total of six novels. The fourth,  Sultana: The Bride Price is available now.

Visit Lisa’s website to find out more.
Buy Lisa’s books.


And here’s me…

INCEPTIO by Alison Morton

Hunted by a killer, New Yorker Karen Brown flees to Roma Nova, her mother’s mysterious homeland. Founded sixteen hundred years ago by Roman exiles and ruled by women, Roma Nova gives Karen safety, at a price, but the killer pursues her and sets a trap knowing she has no choice but to spring it…

The first of three books. Numbers four, five and six are in the pipeline…

You are already on my blogsite!
Buy INCEPTIO here (numerous retailers)

Happy reading!


Update 2017

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers INCEPTIO, PERFIDITASSUCCESSIOAURELIA and INSURRECTIO. The sixth, RETALIO, came out in April  2017. Audiobooks now available for the first four of the series

Get INCEPTIO, the series starter, for FREE when you sign up to Alison’s free monthly email newsletter. You’ll also be first to know about Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways.

7 comments to Summer reading – first in historical fiction series

  • What a lovely selection of good books! Thanks for hosting this Alison…. as soon as I’ve had breakfast I’m going to do a tour of everyone who is mentioned above (LOL anything to get out of doing the housework!)

  • Thank you Alison for this offering of good books to snuggle down and enjoy over the holiday. I too own and have read quite a few of your selection; including yours and Helen’s superb novels. The one that took my immediate fancy was “When Women Were Warriors” Straight to Amazon of course to buy all three of the series! All the others look well worthy of adding to my very long wish list. (smiles) Have a lovely Christmas x Leila.

  • Alison

    Delighted you’ve found something you like, Leila. I know you are a voracious reader. 😉
    Have a good holiday too!

    • Thank you Alison. Mind you I won’t be sacrificing piglets as they did in Ancient Rome. I have no slaves to swop over with either! LOL. As a widow, I only have my beloved cats and sometimes I think it is me who is the slave!!! Leila x

  • Great selection of books, I’m adding them all to my reading list. Now just have to find time to do the reading!!

  • […] Short intros to a number of excellent historical authors—each talking about the first book in their series. If you’re looking for good reads that you can get hooked on, this is the post for you. Featured authors: Libi Astaire, Julian Stockwin, Helen Hollick, Stephanie Dray, Catherine M Wilson, Nancy Bilyeau, Anna Belfrage, Linda Root, Sandra Schwab, Derek Birks, Antoine Vanner, Lisa J Yarde, Alison Morton. Click here […]

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