Historical Fiction

gsk8

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This is probably my favorite genre! Of course Kenneth Follett's novels top my list.

I also like Conn Iggulden and have read the Emperor (Julius Caesar) and Conqueror (Genghis Kahn) series.


What are yours?
 

Sandpiper

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I'm currently reading Margaret George's The Memoirs of Cleopatra. I like so far, but it is a little, well, long-winded.
 

ramurphy2005

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I've been reading the 1632 series by Eric Flint. They are well worth it if you start them, but there are a ton of books written in this series, so getting through them if you hadn't started them from the beginning is a bit of a marathon.
 

gsk8

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1632 series by Eric Flint

Oh goody! Time travel! Got it on my list :)

Water For Elephants

I read that when it first came out and plan on reading another of her (Sara Gruen) novels: Ape House. Here's a small snippet:
Millions of fans are glued to their screens watching the apes [who know sign language and have escaped a lab after an explosion] order greasy take-out, have generous amounts of sex, and sign for Isabel to come get them. Now, to save her family of apes from this parody of human life, Isabel must connect with her own kind, including John, a green-haired teenaged vegan, and a retired porn star with her own agenda.
:laugh2:
 

attyfan

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Margaret George is (IMO) a little long winded as an author, but her "Autobiography of Henry VIII" and "Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles" are very good.
 

makaihime

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Just finished Heading out to Wonderful last month and thought it was really enjoyable. Its a light read and the ending was quite unexpected/intense. I would recommended it for anyone who wants to past some time.
 

el henry

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I'm sure everyone has probably read Hillary Mantel's Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, but they are absolutely wonderful. Can't wait for the third in the Cromwell Trilogy.
 

makaihime

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The Secret Scripture was also a recently finished book. It can seem a bit slow at times but I'm really glad I picked it up. A sad and painful story told in an extremely beautiful way.
 

LRK

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I love historical fiction. :)

Just a few mentions then.... to start with the Classics:

Sir Walter Scott: "Ivanhoe" and "The Heart of Midlothian" (the latter is set in 18th century Scotland)
Alexandre Dumas: "The Three Musketeers" and "Twenty Years After"
Captain Frederick Marryat: "The Children of the New Forest" (One of the first - if not first? - historical novels for children; set in the 17th century during the English Civil War)
Charles Dickens: "A Tale of Two Cities"
R D Blackmore: "Lorna Doone"
Robert Louis Stevenson: "Treasure Island"; "Kidnapped" and its sequel "Catriona"
Baroness Orczy: "The Scarlet Pimpernel" &c.

Books by Georgette Heyer, and Rosemary Sutcliff, of course.

Historical mysteries by Ellis Peters (Medieval) and Lindsey Davis (Roman).

"The Sunne in Splendour" by Sharon Penman. Also, I've read "Falls the Shadow" and "The Reckoning" by her - but not the first book in that trilogy ("Here Be Dragons", I believe?). My mother happened to have "Falls the Shadow", so after that I was more keen to read the next book...

The same thing happened with William Golding's trilogy, actually. My mother had "Close Quarters", so naturally I wanted to read "Fire Down Below" first. I have never got around to reading the first book ("Rites of Passage".)
 
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Sandpiper

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Margaret George is (IMO) a little long winded as an author, but her "Autobiography of Henry VIII" and "Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles" are very good.
Heh, I thought her Helen of Troy was alright--not long-winded at all. (It's not historical fiction, per se, more like the retelling of a myth). I was a bit surprised by how, um, detailed The Memoirs of Cleopatra turned out to be. I guess long-winded is her default? (But on a scale of authorial mistakes, it doesn't rank very high for me. Nowhere near "flat characters" or "directionless plot." :))
 

Buttercup

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The absolute best for me is Dorothy Dunnett. I got my grandfather hooked on her stuff and he spent over a year reading the books and looking up the events and historical figures online. Really really good. We're a bit unusual in preferring her House of Niccolo series (starting with Niccolo Rising), over The Lymond Chronicles (starting with The Game of Kings). But both are very good. HoN is set in the second half of the 15th century and LC in the mid-16th century. The scope and detail of both series is astounding.

Diana Gabaldon's Outlander books mix a lot of genres, but they're probably closest to historical fiction. I think it's best to stop after the first three, which cover the 1740s through the 1760s (plus some 20th century stuff).

Naomi Novik's Temeraire books starting with His Majesty's Dragon are alt history/fantasy. Did you know that there were dragons at the Battle of Trafalgar? Because she makes a persuasive case ;) The history seems quite well-researched and the rest of it is very imaginative. Set during the Napoleonic wars.

I liked Jennifer Donnelly's The Tea Rose (late Victorian) and her YA historical, A Northern Light (early 20th century).

Somewhere between historical fiction and romance, there's Paullina Simons' The Bronze Horseman and its sequel, Tatiana and Alexander (WWII).
 

Tonichelle

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This is probably my favorite genre! Of course Kenneth Follett's novels top my list.

Mine too, though honestly haven't read much since high school... :no: too much text in college and then I just have other things I'm reading (like actual history books, I'm a nerd! LOL)

What got me hooked on Historical Fiction was a youth novel "Rifles for Watie" I've even read it as an adult even though I think I read it for the first time in third grade. It's about a young kid (too young legally) who joins the Yankee cause in the Civil War. Which was the most interesting part of history for me growing up (still is I suppose).
 

dorispulaski

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Both great! The Masterpiece Theatre series with Derek Jacoby as Claudius was great too :love:
 

skatedreamer

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Mine too, though honestly haven't read much since high school... :no: too much text in college and then I just have other things I'm reading (like actual history books, I'm a nerd! LOL)

What got me hooked on Historical Fiction was a youth novel "Rifles for Watie" I've even read it as an adult even though I think I read it for the first time in third grade. It's about a young kid (too young legally) who joins the Yankee cause in the Civil War. Which was the most interesting part of history for me growing up (still is I suppose).

Wow, I haven't thought about Rifles for Watie in years. I loved it too, although my grade school favorite was Johnny Tremain.

I don't read too much historical fiction for some reason, but really liked Tracy Chevalier's Girl With a Pearl Earring.

Edit/Afterthought: Paul Scott's Raj Quartet (The Jewel in the Crown, The Day of the Scorpion, The Towers of Silence and A Division of the Spoils). It didn't occur to me to mention them earlier, probably b/c the setting is relatively recent history -- India toward the end of WWII. Beautiful writing, compelling characters & worthwhile perspectives on the British Raj. The books were adapted for a superb mini-series that was later shown on PBS. Both the books & the TV series are great!
 
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noskates

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I've always had a fascination with the Civil War - probably since I read Gone With The Wind in the 4th grade (yes I was too young - have read it several times since then) Anyway, the Shaara trilogy was recommended to me and I recommend it. The books are titled Killer Angels (about the battle of Gettysburg, written by Michael Shaara and a Pulitzer Prize winner) Gods and Generals and Last Full Measure (the last 2 written by Jeff Shaara.) Jeff is Michael's son and continues to write Civil War books as well as other war books. They are fiction but are based on fact and both Shaaras did an amazing amount of research to get all the facts correct. It was such a sad war, pitting brothers against each other, friends, family, and many of the generals from both sides fought together in the Spanish-American war. Anyway, they're very well-written.
 

BlackPack

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Both great! The Masterpiece Theatre series with Derek Jacoby as Claudius was great too :love:

For today's standards, viewers may find it hard to adjust to the cramped BBC studio sets of I, Claudius. But for me, it was the greatest drama I've ever seen.
 

LRK

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For today's standards, viewers may find it hard to adjust to the cramped BBC studio sets of I, Claudius. But for me, it was the greatest drama I've ever seen.

The acting was amazing and carry one away from the sets - the best idea is to view it as filmed theatre, really.
 

SoundtracksOnIce

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I love WWII fiction (not battlefield stuff but almost everything else) and some of my best favorites are:
- The Women Of Valor trilogy by Elyse Larson
- Songbird Under A German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and Chasing Mona Lisa - all by Tricia Goyer
- A Day To Remember series by Linda Chaikin. Three are set in WWII, one in the Great Depression, and one "contemporary" (1990s) dealing with WWII aftermath
- The Narrow Door At Colditz by Robert L Wise

There's also a really good WWI book called "The Crimson Cipher" by Susan Page Davis about code breakers.

Some other really good authors I like are Tracie Peterson, Judith Miller, the late Jane Peart, and Julie Klassen. Julie writes either Victorian or Regency (I can't remember which) and the others do a variety of time periods. My favorites are Judith's "Home to Amana" and "Daughters of Amana" trilogies about a fascinating German Christian communal society in the late 1900s.

And two other really good ones by Linda Chaikin: "Midwife of St. Petersburg" (set in the 1917 revolution) and "Tomorrow's Treasure" (Victorian)

Oh and how can I forget "The Heirs of Anton" series by Susan May Warren and another author. They're four generations in a Russian/Russian-American family but the series is written in reverse order. First you read the daughter's story, then her mother, grandmother, and lastly great-grandmother. They are SO AWESOME! (Warning - you might need Kleenex)
 
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