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Who in the World? Fictional Biographies

The Man Who Loved Mata Hari
by Dan Sherman
A master of espionage exposes the shocking truth behind the legendary Mata Hari. Though she was Europe’s most seductive entertainer at the time, she probably was not a spy at all, but rather a pawn of the British and French who needed a scapegoat for such wartime tragedies as the Battle of the Somme.

Poppie Nongena
by Elsa Joubert
An epic tale of a humble black woman who, under the burden of South Africa’s discriminatory laws, never gives up in her never ending struggle to live her life in the best way possible.

The Lost Diaries of Frans Hals
by Michael Kernan
Ancient notebooks are found in a Long Island garage and a Columbia graduate student starts translating them. The notebooks seem to be the diaries of the Dutch artist, and offer a fascinating portrait of a man living in the age of Rembrant and Descartes.

The King’s Way
by Francoise Chandernagor
After her birth in prison, Francoise d’Aubign marries a crippled old poet when she is 16, rather than enter a convent. Through the years at her husband’s salon, she becomes learned and witty enough so that when she becomes Louis XIV’s morganatic wife, she wields power over France as Madame de Maintenon.

The Death and Life of  Miguel deCervantes
by Stephen Marlowe
Marlowe’s Cervantes is a flesh and blood living legend who survives war, prison and poverty in Renaissance Europe and writes his literary masterpiece at a time when lofty tragedy and lyrical poetry reign as queens of the literary arts and the novel is struggling to be born.

The Wind From Hastings
by Morgan Lywellyn
In 1066, William the Conquerer defeated Harold of England at Hastings, changing the course of Western civilization. This is the story of harold’s wife, Edyth, who witnessed the battle, then vanished forever, taking with her the legitimate heirs to the thrones of England and Wales.

Great Black Russian
by John Oliver Killens
Alexander Pushkin was born in Moscow in 1799, in a time when the Czar and the church shared power in Russia. He was descended, on his mother’s side, from Hannibal, an Abyssinian prince who became a ward of Peter the Great. The poet, father of Russian literature, lived a tumultuous life and died in a duel in 1837.

Let the Emperor Speak
by Allan Massie
The fictional memoirs of Caesar Augustus, the father of the Roman Empire, evoke the splendor, brutality and color of late republican Rome.

The Biggest Modern Woman of the World
by Susan Swan
The picturesque tale of a 19th century real-life Nova Scotian giantess named Anna Swan. Anna’s journey through a world that doesn’t fit is long, varied and legendary.

The World As I Found It
by Bruce Duffy
Ludwig Wittgenstein, the most magnetic philosopher of our time, is at the center of this mammoth novel. The tome also gives glimpses of Bertrand Russell, D.H. Lawrence, Sigmund Freud and other contemporaries of this brilliant, tortured philosopher.

by Paterson Hamilton
In 1923, Sir Edward Elgar is widowed, idle and unproductive. On impulse, he books passage on a cruise to South America. There, he encounters the woman who was the inspiration for the Enigma Variations, and learns to understand himself and his genius.

A Time for the Death of a King
by Ann Dukthas
The first in a series of mysteries featuring Nicholas Segalla, a man condemned by his past to travel through time investigating great historical mysteries. Did Mary, Queen of Scots conspire in the murder of her husband, Lord Darnley, in 1567? Segulla uncovers clues to unanswered questions about Darnley’s death. For a more conventional treatment of a fascinating life, Rea Tanahill’s Fatal Majesty is witty, readable and full of political intrigue.

by Elena Poniatowska
Mexico’s premier woman writer, and one of the most original voices of the Americas, rescues Tina Modotti from an oversimplified historical fate as a glamorous movie star and lover of photographer Edward Weston.

King and Goddess
by Judith Tarr
The incredible story of Hatshepsut, mysterious queen of Egypt, daughter of Pharoh Thutmose. After the death of her husband, Hatshepsut was made regent for her young nephew. She then did the unthinkable – she took the crown of Egypt in her own name and made herself king. A fascinating chapter in the strange and wonderful history of Egypt.

I, James McNeill Whistler
by Lawrence Williams
The flamboyant, indomitable American expatriate and controversial artist here paints his own portrait in a purported autobiography. John Ruskin, the foremost art critic of the day who despised Whistler’s work, and Whistler brought suit against him for ridiculing one of his paintings. The resulting trial provides the climax to a swashbuckling career.

Coco, the Novel
by Patricia Soliman
If you thought that Chanel was no more than a perfume with a number, a classic suit and a design label, you will think again as you read this novel. Chanel’s odyssey from peasant to self-made career woman, friend to Picasso, Cocteau, Stravinsky, the Dutchess of Winsor and Churchill, is the story of a woman ahead of her time.

Dvorak In Love
by Josef Skvorecky
In 1892, Antonin Dvorak was invited to leave Bohemia and come to new York as Director of the national Conservatory of Music. Dvorak fell in love with America and with American music, particularly the music being written and played by African-Americans.

I, Victoria
by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
The autobiography Queen Victoria might have written is a personalized journey across 80 of the most fascinating years of the 19th century, seen through the eyes of one of its most prominent leaders, a woman who gave her name to an era.

A God Against the Gods and  Return to Thebes
by Allen Drury
In these two novels, Drury recreates the fabled court and society of the Egypt of 3300 years ago. At the center of the story is the Pharoh Akhenaten, the first monotheist, who placed Aten, “The Sole God” above Amon and his powerful priesthood. When Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti are killed, Tutankamon becomes Pharoh for a brief chaotic time. Here is the ancient world brought to life by a master storyteller.

Dreams of Empire
by Jeanne Mackin
The year is 1799 and Napoleon, Lord Elgin, Tallyrand and the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, as well as young Marguerite Verdier are all in Egypt, searching for a legendary treasure called The Woman Carried Away. Intrigue, unlikely alliances and ancient curses all add to the excitement of a richly imagined epic tale of adventure.

Benjamin’s Crossing
by Jay Parini
In 1940, the German-Jewish critic Walter Benjamin was in Paris, writing his masterpiece. With Nazis in the Paris suburbs, Benjamin had to flee with his precious manuscript. Scrupulous research coupled with originality of perception bring to life one of this century’s most brilliant thinkers in an exciting story emblematic of our age.

The Gospel of Corax
by Paul Park
Corax, an escaped slave, flees Rome and lands at Caesarea, where Pontius Pilate governs the province of Palenstine. Corax is identified by Romans as a runaway slave, and is about to be returned to slavery when he meets a burly Essene, Jeshua, who is accused of treason. The two accused escape together and journey eastward in this masterpiece of spiritual fiction.

Passions of the Mind
by Irving Stone
Sigmund Freud was one of Vienna’s most distinguished neurobiologists when he gave up a life of respectability and affluence to become a daring researcher of the uncharted seas of the human mind.

The Detective and Mr. Dickens
by William J. Palm
This book focuses on a series of real, documented events in the life of Charles Dickens that took place in April and May of 1851, allegedly observed by Dickens’ friend, Wilkie Collins.