Why is History so valuable and why are so many of us fascinated by it? Perhaps because a knowledge of the past helps us to understand ourselves a little better - of who we are today, and why we think the way we do.
Historical fiction can add to this process. A good novel can speculate on how people once felt about things: their values and priorities, their dreams and desires? What did they really believe in? What did they strive for each day? And what did they get up to after dark?
We might not always be able to answer these questions with perfect accuracy. But that’s not what counts. It's the asking that is important - the setting out of all the options: all the different ways that people can be.
It is a key that liberates the imagination from the narrow chambers of the here and now. And every time we open a history book or read a good story we hold that key in our hands.