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Old 03-26-2010, 04:51 AM   #1
StanByk
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Historic Fiction

Hi,
can you please recommend historic fiction books to me?
Books I have read and which I liked a lot are for instance "The Pope Joan" and "The name of the rose".
Thank you
Robert
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Old 03-26-2010, 04:59 AM   #2
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Have you read Dickens' two historical novels, "Barnaby Rudge" and "A Tale of Two Cities"? Both classics, and well worth reading.
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Old 03-26-2010, 05:03 AM   #3
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There has been a previous "Historical Fiction recommendations" thread that may be helpful.

I love 'Tale of Two Cities', but always thought 'Barnaby Rudge' wasn't one of Dickens' best.
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Old 03-26-2010, 05:09 AM   #4
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They are both medieval and European. Is that what you are interested in or would other times and places be interesting? I've just suggested a variety - and since I guess you are a man(?) also books that aren't too 'female-oriented'. Don't know if all are available as ebooks.

Colleen McCoullough's 'Master's of Rome' series
'Owen Archer' English medieval mystery series
'Rose' by Martin Cruz Smith
'Roanoke: A Novel of Elizabethan Intrigue' by Lawrence, Margaret
'Fingersmith' by Sarah Waters
Mary Renault's novels set in ancient Greece
'The physician' and 'Shaman' by Noah Gordon
'Vindication' by Frances Sherwood
'The Forest' and 'London' by Rutherfurd (and perhaps 'Sarum')
'Lempriere's Dictionary' by Lawrence Norfolk
'A paper conspiracy' by David Liss (and his other novels)
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Old 03-26-2010, 05:10 AM   #5
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The most popular historical novel at the moment is Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall. It won the Man Booker Prize in the UK last year and it won the NBCC award in the US last month. It is available as a Kindle book from Amazon, and in EPUB format from most other re-sellers. There is also an enhanced version available in the Apple iTunes store that includes an author interview and videos.
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Old 03-26-2010, 07:53 AM   #6
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Not sure if they're yet available in ebook, Stan, but I'd highly recommend anything by the late James Michener or Edward Rutherfurd.

Their work tends to be lengthy and tremendously researched. Both authors will pick a city and then, using interlinked short stories, follow the progress of families leaping a few hundred years at a time from the very dawn of civilisation to the present day. Absolutely fascinating. I've re-read everything several times aned can never get enough of it.

Good luck. Neil
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Old 03-26-2010, 08:45 AM   #7
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I love 'Tale of Two Cities', but always thought 'Barnaby Rudge' wasn't one of Dickens' best.
It certainly has the reputation of not being one of his best, but I've just finished reading it, during the process of thoroughly proof-reading it, and was surprised how good it was, especially the last third of the book which describes the Gordon Riots - gripping stuff!
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:40 AM   #8
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Hi, fellow historical novels reader!

If you enjoyed the literary quality of The name of the rose you might find interesting "Baudolino" a 2000 novel by Umberto Eco about the adventures of a young man named Baudolino in the known and mythical Christian world of the 12th century.

Of the same historical period, you can consider the founder of historical novel as a genre, the great Sir Walter Scott in his novels of Scottish history such as Waverley (1814) and Rob Roy (1818). His Ivanhoe (1820) gains credit for renewing interest in the Middle Ages. In my modest opinion it is still a pretty good reading.

If you like action and suspense, than you can resort to The Pillars of the Earth, a historical novel by Ken Follett published in 1989 about the building of a cathedral in a fictional location in England, in the middle of the 12th century. Follet established himself as an excellent writers of thrillers. It shows.

A great bestseller that has chapters on that period and makes a very good reading is Poland by James A. Michener (1983). The chapters are:
From the East: Invasion by Tartars in the years 1240 to 1241. This chapter tells the story of the historic Mongol invasion of Poland and the Siege of Kraków and the Battle of Legnica.
From the West: Occupation by the Teutonic Knights in the late fourteenth century.

If you are ready to go back in time and enjoy one of the best story teller ever, read "I, Claudius" by Robert Graves, set in Roman times at the beginning of the Empire.

If you endure coming closer to modern time do try the first one of the enormously successful Angelique series. Angélique, the Marquise of the Angels is a 1956 novel by Anne Golon & Serge Golon, the first novel in Angélique series. Inspired by the life of Suzanne de Rougé du Plessis-Bellière, known as the Marquise du Plessis-Bellière.
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:42 AM   #9
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Addendum: I enjoied Raptor by Gary Jennings (1993) very much.

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Old 03-26-2010, 11:54 AM   #10
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Millicent, I found Wolf Hall a compelling read - the best historical novel I've read for some time (it must have been, since I've part-read so many recently, I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever finish another book in my life). However, Ms Mantell's has a habit of leaving the reader to guess who was saying what to whom (although, to be fair, not all the time) but for most of the time I knew when Cromwell was speaking ('he, Cromwell, ...'). One problem is that in Tudor times there were far fewer 'first' names to go round - no Garys or Traceys or Beccas etc. Consequently, it was often difficult to remember which Richard, or Thomas, or Mary, or Jane, she was referring to. She is such a beautiful writer, though, I forgave her unreservedly and completed the book in record time (for me).
I think Wolf Hall would certainly suit history buffs, but also those of us who have only a vague knowledge of English history, but would like to know more, because she enters so authentically into Tudor times; but not the whole sweep of Tudor times, just a tiny segment of them. This isn't a Thomas Cromwell biography as much as it's an account of a political divorce and the forces arraigned pro and con it. Wolsey and Moore were very sharply portrayed, as was Anne Boleyn (I pictured her as a Tudor 'Spice Girl', and couldn't get Victoria Beckham out of my head). In particular, Thomas Cromwell. What a remarkable man to drag himself, literally, out of the gutter to be such an indispensable (that is for the extent of this book) advisor to Henry, who was certainly nobody's fool. Wolf Hall also gives a wonderful insight into the origins of the 'class' war, vestiges of which still abound in our society (at least, the British side of it).
Yes, it's a 'demanding' read, so it's best not to skim it, or fall asleep over the more complex passages, but it has pace, mystery, intrigue (by the bucketful) and wonderful little snippets of domestic Tudor trivia.

Read and enjoy MJ

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Old 03-26-2010, 12:13 PM   #11
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I haven't finished Wolf Hall yet, I got it for Christmas, because I'm savoring it. I'm not a Tudor scholar, but I have read more about those times than most people. I'm finding that this book is very well-researched and engrossing. I have a hard time putting it down. Once I do finish it, I will probably turn it over and start it again (not really, I'm planning to buy an electronic copy, cause man that tome is heavy - I haven't done an immediate re-read like that since high school.
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Old 03-26-2010, 04:06 PM   #12
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Thanks a lot for all the suggestions, they will keep me busy for a while!
I have already bought Wolf Hall earlier this year and it is now the next book on my list once I have finished what I am reading now.
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Old 03-26-2010, 06:15 PM   #13
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Thanks a lot for all the suggestions, they will keep me busy for a while!
I have already bought Wolf Hall earlier this year and it is now the next book on my list once I have finished what I am reading now.
I was going to buy this book until I saw the price: $21.10... ouch..
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Old 03-26-2010, 06:35 PM   #14
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They are both medieval and European. Is that what you are interested in or would other times and places be interesting? I've just suggested a variety - and since I guess you are a man(?) also books that aren't too 'female-oriented'. Don't know if all are available as ebooks.

Colleen McCoullough's 'Master's of Rome' series
'Owen Archer' English medieval mystery series
'Rose' by Martin Cruz Smith
'Roanoke: A Novel of Elizabethan Intrigue' by Lawrence, Margaret
'Fingersmith' by Sarah Waters
Mary Renault's novels set in ancient Greece
'The physician' and 'Shaman' by Noah Gordon
'Vindication' by Frances Sherwood
'The Forest' and 'London' by Rutherfurd (and perhaps 'Sarum')
'Lempriere's Dictionary' by Lawrence Norfolk
'A paper conspiracy' by David Liss (and his other novels)
I certainly agree with your recommendation of Mary Renault; have most of her books on Alexander The Great. Guess I should read her last one of her Alexander trilogy, Funeral Games. Might find that on paper; doubtful that it will be digital.
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Old 03-26-2010, 07:00 PM   #15
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I was going to buy this book until I saw the price: $21.10... ouch..
I managed to get it for $14 from Amazon.com
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