I started Black Ships yesterday, a book some of us heard about and were excited about pre-publication. I'm 160 pages in and just loving it! An historical novel - one of my favorite genres - Black Ships is a retelling of The Aeneid from the point of view of a female character invented by its author, a young girl named "Gull" who becomes the Pythia.
I love historical fiction because when it's done well it can give the reader a feeling of being transported completely into a different place and time (I love science fiction for the same reason). Graham is expert at this, creating a world and culture so unlike our own yet highlighting universality of human emotion and community in the process. The ancient world she plunges her readers in is one of crisis and conflict and also one of great beauty and magical connection - between people and nature and gods. Graham has been compared to Renault and Bradley and I find the book has many of the qualities that endeared both of those authors to me, yet in no way does it feel derivative of either.
I'll do a more complete review when I'm done, but I felt moved to share how much I'm enjoying this now.