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English authors Jim Crace (pictured) and Rose Tremain must have a lot to chat about on their joint book tour. “How did it feel when you won the Whitbread?” “How did it feel when you won the Whitbread?” “Why do you like to write historical novels?” “Why do you like to write historical novels?” “Did Robert Downey Jr. play a protagonist of yours?” Oops, trump to Tremain, whose novel Restoration was adapted for the screen in 1995. Both have been short-listed (alas, the lists were not short enough) for the Booker Prize, and both have celebrated new novels. Tremain’s Music & Silence takes us across the North Sea from the scenes of Restoration into the court of King Christian IV of Denmark, his lusty and avaricious queen, and the new addition to their household, the beautiful English lutenist Peter Claire. His physical beauty and musical talent serve as a counterpoint to the palace’s upstairs/downstairs intrigues. In Being Dead, Crace takes us even further into alien territory—the decomposing bodies of zoologists Joseph and Celice. After the scientists sneak off to the dunes where they first fell in love, their skulls are crushed by a piece of granite wielded by the last thing they have in common—their murderer. As Joseph and Celice’s bodies deteriorate—”Again the crabs and rodents went to work…frisking them for moisture and for food”—the story of their lives and love arises from the decay. Crace and Tremain read from and sign copies of their new books at 5 p.m. Saturday, May 6, at Chapters, 1512 K St. NW. Free. (202) 347-5495. (Janet Hopf)