This month I thought I would do something slightly different and put together a little quiz for you. I’ve listed below the opening lines from fifteen historical fiction novels, ranging from classics to recent bestsellers to some of my personal favourites. If you think you can identify any of them, leave a comment with your guesses and I’ll post the answers next week.
1. I was down in Surrey, on business for Lord Cromwell’s office, when the summons came.
2. It wasn’t a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance.
3. His children are falling from the sky.
4. Ashton Hilary Akbar Pelham-Martyn was born in a camp near the crest of a pass in the Himalayas, and subsequently christened in a patent canvas bucket.
5. He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.
6. When the east wind blows up Helford river the shining waters become troubled and disturbed and the little waves beat angrily upon the sandy shores.
7. On the step of her new husband’s home, Nella Oortman lifts and drops the dolphin knocker, embarrassed by the thud.
8. Richard did not become frightened until darkness began to settle over the woods.
9. On the first Monday of the month of April, 1625, the market town of Meung, in which the author of Romance of the Rose was born, appeared to be in as perfect a state of revolution as if the Huguenots had just made a second La Rochelle of it.
10. The method of laying out a corpse in Missouri sure took the proverbial cake.
11. My father is Sir Richard Woodville, Baron Rivers, an English nobleman, a landholder, and a supporter of the true Kings of England, the Lancastrian line.
12. When the year one thousand came, Thorkel Amundason was five years old, and hardly noticed how frightened everyone was.
13. In that pleasant district of merry England which is watered by the river Don, there extended in ancient times a large forest, covering the greater part of the beautiful hills and valleys which lie between Sheffield and the pleasant town of Doncaster.
14. In the tender green time of April, Katherine set forth at last upon her journey with the two nuns and the royal messenger.
15. At half past six on the twenty-first of June 1922, when Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov was escorted through the gates of the Kremlin onto Red Square, it was glorious and cool.
How many of these do you know?