Historical books to look out for in 2022 – Historia Magazine

Our popular annual list of books to look out for during the year is back for 2022. History, biography and historical fiction. Here are books to read from HWA authors covering eras from Ancient Rome to the 1980s and sweeping across continents from China to Russia and India, the USA to Australia and the Antarctic, and Africa to all around Europe.

We’ll be updating this list when information about new books comes in, so do come back and see what’s been added.

January

The year opens with three powerful, immersive tales of murder, treachery and revenge on 6 January, 2022. WC Ryan‘s The Winter Guest is set in Ireland in 1921. The Great War is over, but the killing goes on and Tom Harkin, an IRA intelligence officer and former British Army captain must find the murderer of his one-time fiancee amid the gloom of a decaying Big House and his own memories of battle and loss. William is writing a feature for Historia about creating a sense of place in his book.

City of Vengeance, the first in DV Bishop‘s Cesare Aldo series, gets its paperback publication. In Florence in 1536 money is king and Alessandro de’ Medici is duke. Law officer Aldo has four days to catch the murderer of a prominent Jewish moneylender; but he stumbles across a plot to overthrow Alessandro. Can he solve the two mysteries and avoid having his own deadly secret revealed? Read about the author’s research journey in Walking in the footsteps of Florentine history.

Matthew Harffy‘s For Lord and Land is also out in paperback. Beobrand of Ubbanford unwittingly changes the balance of power in Northumbria, setting the kings of Bernicia and Deira against each other in a deadly final fight. Meanwhile his chief warrior, Cynan, is entangled in conflict in the West when a figure from his past calls for his help.

Bjarki and Tor, Angus Donald‘s berserkers, return on 13 January in The Saxon Wolf, the second in his Fire Born series. Widukind, lord of pagan Saxony, will stop at nothing to reconquer his lands from the Christian Franks. Can he persuade his people to follow him into war, and will Tor and Bjarki join him in his doomed venture? Angus is writing a piece for Historia on the background to his book.

The Key in the Lock by Beth Underdown is out on the same day. Ivy Boscawen mourns the loss of her son, Tim, in the Great War, but by night she mourns another boy whose death, decades ago, haunts her still. Ivy is sure that there is more to what happened: the fire at the Great House, and the terrible events that came after. But once you open a door to the past, can you ever truly close it again?

Three books are published on 20 January. The Queen’s Lady, the second in Joanna Hickson‘s Queens of the Tower series, continues the story of ‘Lady of the Ravens’ Joan Vaux. The Tudor court of Henry VII is in turmoil, the succession rocky. Joan faces a stark choice: be true to her heart and risk everything, or play the dutiful servant and watch her dreams wither and die? Joanna’s feature on the background to her new book will be in Historia.

The Good Death, the fifth in SD Sykes‘s Oswald de Lacy Medieval Murders, has its paperback release on the same day. Oswald’s dying mother clutches a letter which will force him to confront a secret which has haunted him for over 20 years: the mysterious disappearance of young girls near the monastery where he was a novice monk, and the sequence of events that led to him becoming Lord of Somershill. Read Catherine Hokin’s review.

Also out in paperback is Mrs England by Stacey Halls. Newly-graduated nurse Ruby May takes a position looking after the children of Charles and Lilian England at the isolated Hardcastle House. But there’s something not quite right about the mistress of the house. Then a series of strange events forces Ruby to question everything she thought she knew. Stacey has written about the background to her novel in Nanny state: why the golden era of Edwardian childhood is ripe for fiction.

On 26 January, The Commandant’s Daughter, the first in a four-part series by Catherine Hokin, is published. In 1945, Hanni Foss hides from her concentration camp commandant father, developing the photographs she took to record the brutality of the camp and get justice. But before she can hand them to the Allies, Hanni discovers that he is now working with the British forces and will do anything to protect his secrets.

Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman is out in hardback and ebook on the following day. Dora Blake, an aspiring jewellery artist, lives with her uncle in what used to be her parents’ respected antiquities shop. When a mysterious Greek vase is delivered, Dora enlists a young antiquarian to find out more about the vase – and, she hopes, restore the shop to its former glory. But the vase holds secrets…

As yet unconfirmed, we’re expecting Twice Royal Lady by Hilary Green to be reissued this month.

February

February begins with The Silver Wolf, the first in the Fiskardo’s War series by Jacky Colliss Harvey, on the third of the month. Amidst the chaos of the Thirty Years’ War, Jack Fiskardo embarks upon a quest which takes him from France to Amsterdam and then onto the battlefields of Germany. Will he unravel the mystery of his father’s death before the killers find him, too?

On the same day, The Heretic’s Mark, the fourth in SW Perry‘s Jackdaw Mysteries, is out in paperback. Nicholas Shelby, unorthodox physician and unwilling spy, and his wife Bianca flee accusations of treason in London and head to Padua, accompanied by a strange young woman. Once there, they begin to wonder: who is this troublingly pious woman? And what does she want?

The Wolves of Odin are back on 10 February in The Bear of Byzantium, the second in SJA Turney‘s series set in the 11th century. Halfdan and the crew of the Sea Wolf sail to Constantinople and join the Varangian Guard. But the Emperor is dying and courtiers, as well as Varangians, are picking sides. Meanwhile Gunnhild, unable to join the Guards, has visions of a wolf, a boar and a golden bear fighting to support the throne. What do they mean?

Alex Rutherford‘s Fortune’s Heir, the second in the Ballantyne Chronicles, is out in paperback on 14 February. Nicholas Ballantyne, in his Himalayan retreat, hopes for a peaceful life. But Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, with French help, aim to drive the East India Company from India and when Warren Hastings, the Company’s newly appointed Governor-General, seeks Nicholas’s help, he agrees.

What Only We Know by Catherine Hokin is released in paperback on 15 February. Karen Cartwright discovers an old photograph and a stranger’s love letter to her dead mother postmarked from Germany after the war. Karen had struggled to understand her shy, fearful mother, but now she realises there was more to Elizabeth than she knew. For one thing, her name wasn’t Elizabeth; it was Liese… Catherine writes about the historical background to this book in Concentration camps and the politics of memory.

On 16 February Son of Mercia, the first in MJ Porter‘s Eagle of Mercia Chronicles, is published as an ebook. In 825 Beornwulf, King of Mercia, is dead and Ecgberht of Wessex prepares to strike the divided kingdom. Wiglaf has claimed the right to rule Mercia, but can he unite it against the might of Wessex? MJ has agreed to write a Historia feature about the background to her story.

Four books are published on 17 February. TL Mogford‘s The Plant Hunter starts in the exotic world of Victorian plant nurseries. Harry Compton is no plant hunter, but when he inherits a specimen of a fabled tree and a map, greedy eyes fall on him and soon he’s sailing up the Yangtze alongside a young widow, both in pursuit of the plant that could transform both their lives. There’ll be a Historia piece about the inspiration for this book.

On the same day, Miranda Malins returns with The Rebel Daughter, her second novel about Oliver Cromwell’s daughters. It’s 1643, and 19-year-old Bridget finds herself at the heart of the Civil War. With her father’s star on the rise, Bridget has her own ambitions for a life beyond marriage and motherhood. And as fractures appear in her own family, Bridget faces a choice: to follow her heart, or to marry for power and influence. Miranda will write more about Bridget for Historia.

In The Little Wartime Library by Kate Thompson it’s 1944 and Clara Button has created the country’s only underground library in the disused Bethnal Green tube station. But as the war drags on, Clara and her best friend’s determination to remain strong in the face of adversity is tested when the lives of those closest to them are at stake. Kate has written us a feature about the true story behind her novel.

And Andrew Taylor‘s The Royal Secret is out in paperback. In 1670, James Marwood is investigating the murder of a colleague. Cat Hakesby is working on Slaughter Street, where a captive lion prowls the stables, until the King commissions a poultry house for his sister, visiting from France – with a secret that could change Europe. Will they be thrown together to solve the mysteries? (Is Louis XIV a Catholic?)

Other books expected in February which there are no publication dates for yet include Castles of Wales by John Paul Davis and Aphrodite’s Island by Hilary Green.

March

The Dark Queens by Shelley Puhak is one of seven books published on 3 March. Brunhild was a Visigothic princess; her sister-in-law Fredegund started out in servitude. In sixth-century Merovingian France, these two rival queens reigned for decades; but after their deaths, their stories were rewritten, their names defamed. This double biography reinterprets their lives.

DV Bishop returns to Cesare Aldo’s story in The Darkest Sin. Aldo’s investigation of intruders at a convent in Florence is complicated when a man’s naked body is found in the convent, Could a nun have killed him? Meanwhile Constable Strocchi investigates the body of a law officer pulled from the Arno. Identifying the killers will put both men in great danger. And we’re promised a Historia feature about 16th-century Florentine nuns.

Hunlaf, Matthew Harffy‘s cleric turned warrior, is sent by the King of Northumbria to seek an alliance against the marauding Vikings in A Night of Flames, the sequel to A Time for Swords. But Hunlaf and Norseman Runolf have their own plans – which see them caught up in a violent revolt led by a fanatical escaped slave in the wild lands of the North.

Lizzie Pook‘s debut novel, Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter, is set in a pearl-fishing community on the Western Australian coast in 1886. When Eliza Brightwell’s father, the bay’s most prolific pearler, goes missing at sea, she refuses to believe the rumours that he was murdered. But in a corrupt town, the cost of truth is greater than pearls, and Eliza must decide what price she’ll pay to pursue the truth.

The Clockwork Girl by Anna Mazzola takes us to Paris in 1750. Madeleine Chastel arrives at a clockmaker’s house, plotting to discover the truth of his experiments. For as children vanish from the streets, there are rumours that the clockmaker’s intricate mechanical creations are more than they seem. Has she stumbled upon a conspiracy which reaches as far as the court at Versailles?

Jacqueline Riding‘s biography Hogarth: Life in Progress has its paperback publication on the same day. William Hogarth’s vision still largely defines the 18th century. Here we meet an artist who was far bolder and more various than we realise: an ambitious self-made man, a devoted husband, a sensitive portraitist, an unmatched storyteller, philanthropist, technical innovator and the author of a seminal work of art theory.

And finally on 3 March, the paperback edition of Laura Shepherd-Robinson‘s Daughters of Night hits the shelves. It’s 1782 and Caro Corsham finds a dying woman in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. With the clock ticking on her own secret, Caro sets out to find the killer; a search that takes her to the most elegant and sordid worlds of Georgian London – and into deadly danger.

On 17 March, VB Grey‘s Sisterhood is released in paperback. Twin sisters swap roles during the Second World War, with decades-long repercussions. Can Freya’s daughter Kirsty untangle the secrets as her mother, unable to speak, watches while the Berlin Wall falls – and dreads the truth coming out?

Traitor in the Ice by KJ Maitland is published on 31 March. Murder at the Catholic household of Battle Abbey in 1607 and the suspicious King James sends unwilling spy Daniel Pursglove to find proof of treachery. But nearly everyone at the abbey has something to hide – deeds far more dangerous than religious dissent. And could the traitor Spero Pettingar be hiding among them?

Anne O’Brien‘s The Royal Game is out is paperback on the same day. In 1444, King Henry VI’s grip on the crown hangs by a thread as the Wars of the Roses tear England apart. From the ruins of war, three remarkable women use cunning, ambition, and good fortune to raise the Paston family from obscurity to the heart of Court politics and intrigue.

Barossa Street, the second Bob Kelty book by Rob McInroy, is expected to be published in the Spring.

April

The Bear’s Blade, the fifth in Tim Hodkinson‘s Whale Road Chronicles, is released as an ebook on 5 April. Einar, rightful Jarl of Orkney, is too injured to hold a weapon. His Wolf Coats have been fighting their enemy’s warriors, who are led by a ferocious man called the Bear, owner of a legendary sword. Such a sword could be key to Einar’s plans – but first they must contend with the Bear himself. And can a man unable to wield a weapon be a true Viking warrior?

Out on 7 April, The Empress and the English Doctor by Lucy Ward examines how Catherine the Great summoned the physician Thomas Dimsdale from Hertford to St Petersburg to carry out a secret mission that would transform both their lives; inoculation against smallpox. It’s a story of Enlightenment ideals, female leadership and the fight to promote science over superstition.

England descends into a bitter civil war in A Marriage of Lions by Elizabeth Chadwick, released in paperback on 14 April. In 1238 Joanna of Swanscombe must separate from her husband, William de Valence, when he flees for his life. She has only her wit and courage to prevent their enemies from destroying her husband, her family, and their fortunes.

International Trade in the Middle Ages by Hilary Green, published on 15 April, journeys through the complex developing exchanges which are the foundation of trade today. As trade expanded and became more valuable, international relations became more sophisticated when governments moved to protect the valuable income it brought and nations became ever more competitive. (We’re thrilled that Hilary was asked to write this book after her feature on the subject appeared in Historia.)

Nicola Griffith retells Arthurian myth in Spear, out on 19 April in hardback and ebook. Filled with magic and determination, Peretur (whose name means ‘spear’) leaves her home in the dark wood to travel to Artos in Caer Leon, where she steals the hearts of beautiful women, fights warriors and sorcerers, and makes a place to call home.

A Silent Way to Die, the second Kember and Hayes Mystery by NR Daws, is published on 26 April and continues the murder-solving partnership of DI Jonathan Kember and psychologist and pilot Lizzie Hayes during the Second World War.

The first in a new series, The Bangalore Detectives Club by Harini Nagendra hits the shelves on 28 April. After a murder at a party, Kaveri sets out to find the killer and discovers that sleuthing in a sari isn’t so hard when you have a talent for maths, a head for logic and a doctor for a husband. And she’ll need them all as the case leads her deeper into danger, sedition and intrigue in Bangalore’s darkest alleyways.

On the same day, Alex von Tunzelmann‘s Fallen Idols: Twelve Statues That Made History is out in paperback. Statues are one of the most visible, and controversial, forms of historical storytelling. This book looks at 12 statues in modern history: why they were put up; the stories they were supposed to tell; why those stories were challenged; and how they came down.

Crusader, the second in Ben Kane‘s Lionheart series, gets its paperback release on 29 April. Richard the Lionheart is crowned king in 1189 and can, at last, go on crusade, accompanied by Ferdia, his loyal Irish follower. In the Holy Land he finds war at stalemate, a dispute over who will be King of Jerusalem – and the iconic Saracen leader, Saladin.

Also scheduled for publication this month are Britain’s Plot to Kill Hitler: The True Story of Operation Foxley and SOE by Eric Lee and The King’s Cavalier (working title), book three in Mark Turnbull‘s Rebellion series of novels.

May

Four books are in the shops on 12 May. In One Moonlit Night by Rachel Hore Maddie and her daughters flee the Blitz to the house her missing husband stayed in during his childhood. She won’t accept that he’s dead; and she becomes curious about a mysterious event in his youth that seems to be unresolved. No-one will tell her the truth – or reassure her that he’ll ever return to her.

Louise Fein‘s The Hidden Child is out in paperback. In inter-war London, a successful couple must confront their fears and their lies when their daughter is found to have epilepsy, a condition her eugenicist father campaigns against. Also out in paperback is Commander, Paul Fraser Collard‘s tenth Jack Lark book. It’s 1869 and Jack is in Egypt, where he’s offered work on an expedition into the Sudan to eradicate the slave trade and open the area to commerce. How can he refuse?

The Fallen Sword, AJ Mackenzie‘s latest book, will also be published; more details when we have them.

Widows of the Ice: The Women that Scott’s Antarctic Expedition Left Behind by Anne Fletcher is published on 15 May. Unlike other accounts of the famous expedition which became a powerful symbol of heroic failure and British bravery, this book examines the rest of the story through the experience of the wives whose husbands did not return: Kathleen Scott, Oriana Wilson and Lois Evans.

Richard Sharpe is back in Bernard Cornwell‘s Sharpe’s Assassin on 26 May. Napoleon’s army may be defeated, but another enemy lies waiting in the shadows – a secretive group of fanatical French revolutionaries. Wellington sends Sharpe to a new battleground: the maze of Paris street. In search of a spy, he will have to defeat a lethal assassin determined to kill his target or die trying.

June

On 9 June there are four books by HWA authors published. Madwoman by Louisa Treger tells the story of Nellie Bly who, penniless and desperate to make her name as a journalist in New York, tricks hers way into an asylum to report on conditions from the inside. Cold, isolated and starving, her days of terror reawaken the traumatic events of her childhood. She entered the asylum of her own free will. But will she ever get out?

Elizabeth Macneal‘s Circus of Wonders gets its paperback release. Nell, the ‘leopard girl’, is the star of Jasper Jupiter’s Circus of Wonders. But who gets to tell her story? And, as she falls in love with Toby, can he detach himself from his past and the secret binding him to his brother?

It’s clear by AD312 that Constantine and Maxentius’s rivalry must end in Simon Turney and Gordon Doherty‘s Sons of Rome, the final book in their Rise of Emperors trilogy. When the two forces clash in a battle that will shape history, only one thing is certain: the sole ruler of an empire will be decided.

In Sara Sheridan‘s Celtic Cross, a Mirabelle Bevan mystery, Mirabelle and her fiance Alan move into a secluded house on the banks of the Firth of Forth. But when a nun dies in mysterious circumstances at the Little Sisters of Gethsemane Convent nearby, they are drafted to uncover what happened.

July

Tim Hodkinson‘s The Bear’s Blade (out as an ebook on 5 April) gets its paperback publication on 7 July.

The latest in Alexandra Walsh‘s Marquess House Saga, The Jane Seymour Conspiracy, is out as an ebook on 20 July. Perdita and Piper have a new mystery to unravel: a code that leads to a new outlook on Henry’s relationship with Jane Seymour. But before they can reveal the secret, their cousin starts his campaign to take Marquess House from them. A potentially deadly campaign…

On 21 July, National Treasures by Caroline Shenton is released as a paperback. She tells the gripping and sometimes hilarious true story of how an unlikely bunch of men and women saved London’s museums, galleries and archives in the Second World War. Caroline has written about one unusual aspect of the operation in How WWI veterans saved Britain’s treasures in WWII.

Hawker and the King’s Jewel, the debut novel by by Ethan Bale, is out on the same day.

The second book in Alex Gerlis‘s Wolf Pack series is expected to be published this month, as is a new novel from Vanessa de Haan. And Paris Requiem by Chris Lloyd, the sequel to his HWA Gold Crown Award-winning novel, The Unwanted Dead, will be out in July or August.

August

Frances Quinn‘s new novel, That Bonesetter Woman, is published on 4 August. Endurance Proudfoot isn’t exactly an ideal Georgian lady, but she has inherited her father’s skills. So while her pretty sister makes a name as a society beauty, she makes hers as London’s first and best female bonesetter. But it’s dangerous at the top, and there’s a long way to fall…

On the same day, The Fair Botanists by Sara Sheridan is out in paperback. In the summer of 1822 two young women are drawn to Edinburgh’s Botanic Gardens as the rare Agave Americana plant draws near to flowering. But what secret is Belle hiding from Elizabeth?

Gill Paul‘s latest novel, The Manhattan Girls, comes out on 18 August. New York, 1921; four extraordinary women form a bridge group that becomes a firm friendship. Dorothy Parker, renowned wit, member of the Algonquin Round Table; Jane Grant, first female reporter for The New York Times; Broadway actress Winifred Lenihan; and Peggy Leech, magazine assistant by day, novelist by night.

September

A Night of Flames by Matthew Harffy is released as a paperback on 1 September (see 3 March for details).

Domitian, the third in  SJA Turney‘s Damned Emperors series, is published this month.

October

We haven’t got any information about books coming out in October yet. But, judging from previous years, there are likely to be several and we’ll update this page as soon as the details come in.

November

Tracy Borman‘s next book, Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth I: The mother and daughter who changed history, is expected to be published this month.

December

As yet we haven’t got any news about books by HWA members out in December.

This list is a work in progress. We’ll update it as more information about new books becomes available, so if you don’t see a book you want, pop back in a few weeks and see what we’ve added.