- The Lover of Pilatus, by Gisbert Haefs (German title is Die Geliebte des Pilatus and in English would be "The Lover of Pilate's", and I haven't been able to find an English edition, so do your homework or ask your editor for it!) is an interesting historical thriller set in the times of the governorship of Pontius Pilate in the Roman province of Judæa. The title is a little bit misguiding, IMO, because she is just a character in the novel, and not even the most important one: the different espionage groups in the early Empire conspire to change the balance of power in the allied (and not-so-much) regions between the Roman Empire and the Parthian Persian Empire.
The characters are well defined, the political situation is rich and, as always, Haefs manages to create a rich embroidement of different threads that contribute to the final carpet, finely crafted and full of exquisite details.
While it's not his Hannibal or his Troja, and more in the line of Amilcar's Garden, it's a really enjoyable novel, with different points of view that create atmosphere and provide the story with a high degree of humanity in all its full glory and gory(ness).
- ¡Devuélveme mis legiones! (Give Me My Legions Back), by Spanish writer José Manuel García Torres. It's a small novel, and it's easy to read. He's not Haefs, but I liked it quite a bit. As far as I know, it's well documented, and it looked fairly natural, which is refreshing, to say the least. His style is light and moving, and while I may have enjoyed a little bit more of weight (I think that story can be fleshed a little bit more) I can say that it's a novel well worth the time, and you finish with a little bit of hunger, which is, I think, the way to finish a good book, almost satisfied, longing for a little more.
- El candelabro enterrado, (in German Der bergrabene Leuchter. Eine Legende, the translation should be somewhat like "The Buried Candlestick. A Legend") by Stefan Zweig, a short historical novel about the Jewish Menorah which gets robbed by the Vandals in 455, when sacking Rome, and it's recovered almost 80 years later by Count Belisarius, and finally buried to protect it. The story is sweetly told, and Zweig was an excellent writer: there's nothing specially magical about the novel, but the whole story is, as I'm not able to find a different word, precious. Easy to read, it's a good story. You may like it or not, but it's a good one, indeed a book to learn from, and an author who still surprises me as I find his books (because I don't look for them, I let them come to me, this formula is working fine so far... :-)
- Cartago en llamas, (in Italian Cartagine in fiamme, in English that would be "Carthage in Flames"), by Emilio Salgari, about the Third Punic War. Well, we was a master writer, and this book, written some three years before his suicide, is a novel I didn't know, and it looks to be well documented (at least to the standards of his times) and it's being filled with action and details so far (I'm still in the first chapters, but I wanted to throw it in, as a gift :-)
And as for Revolt!, I am taking my Greeks to the cold waters of Bosphorus, to live the seeds of the Battle of Marathon, when Miltiades leaves his Thracian domains and returns to Athens. Chan-chan-chaaan... :-)
Well, I'll let you know, be well, blessed be!