The author of twelve novels (ranging from political thrillers through social satire, comedy of manners, and near-gothic), still at the height of her career, Africa
to Saudi Arabia
, northern England
, and revolutionary France
She has more sparked controversy with her treatment of royal or political figures of her own time.
has been likened to
for the sharpness of her humour, and to
for her command of suspense and of accurately rendered political background. She has also published memoirs and short fiction. She is a leading practitioner of the current form of the historical novel, and her fiction encompasses as wide a variety of geographical as of historical settings, from