There are a number of different ways to write a novel based on historical characters. You can go for a modernisation of the characters and follow the general story but change bits of the plot – Susan Kay’s Elizabethan Legacy, which is a total romp and hugely enjoyable despite it’s lack of accuracy.
You can interweave an imaginary character into a historical narrative; Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon introduces Lawrence Waterhouse into the development of the code breaker during WWII to such an extent that I have no longer any idea what really went on because my memory of the history is so tarnished by reading it. Loved that book: I have a cat named after Enoch Root, one of the minor characters. Continue reading