Finished Yourcenar's The Abyss over the weekend. I can't remember reading a better historical novel. & it's more than an "historical novel".
Set in mid-1500s. Makes you realize very clearly why Pilgrims etc. came over here (& of course everything was sweetness & light, over here! like in Salem!). Pure hell of religious wars, totalitarian empires, persecution of science, free thought... she piles on layer after layer of human folly.
Her gift for depth of detail, characterization. The dialogues read like a very good play.