Lessons from Hilary Mantel
I am reading 'A place of greater safety' from the author of Wolf Hall. She uses very many minor characters to reflect and highlight the three main characters of Danton Desmoulins and Robespiere. Sometimes there are too many characters and it gets confusing. You need to know a fair bit about the French Revolution to keep up.
She cleverly inserts brief timelines about what is going on in Paris on a certain day. This keeps the plot anchored in its historical context. These things include the riots, the weather, starving people etc. You get a feel for how it gradually became less dangerous to speak one's mind and how restricted speech and publication was before then.
She builds new insights through using the well researched writings and sayings of her characters in domestic settings.
It is bloody long!