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Old 12-06-2009, 07:18 AM
Status: "Uncomfortably numb" (set 2 days ago)
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
64,770 posts, read 61,064,513 times
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Does anyone else out there read medieval historical fiction?

Specifically, I love the work of Sharon K. Penman. I came across Here Be Dragons purely by accident, and I've now read most of her books.

Also wondering if anyone else here ever read The Heaven Tree by Edith Pargeter. It is probably my favorite book of all time. It was written back in the early 60's, apparently as a trilogy but it is now combined into one book. I could not put it down, and neither could anyone else I lent it to.

Edith Pargeter later became more well-known for her Brother Cadfael mystery series, which she wrote under the pen name of Ellis Peters.
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Old 12-07-2009, 11:02 AM
 
Location: Colorado
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I'm a huge Penman fan and have read everything she's written in that genre (altho I've avoided her mediaeval mysteries so far). Have you read The Sunne in Splendour yet? It was my first and my favourite altho I'm now reading a repudiation of Penman's theories in a non-fiction book by Alison Weir (The Princes in the Tower). The Plantagenet trilogy is also very good.

Not familiar with Edith Pargeter's historical fiction altho I have read her Brother Cadfael books - go figure.
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Old 12-07-2009, 11:27 AM
 
Location: Atlanta, GA
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That's funny! I just mentioned Penman on the previous Philipa Gregory thread. Thanks for the Pargeter recommendation. I'm always looking for new historical fiction reads.
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:46 PM
Status: "Uncomfortably numb" (set 2 days ago)
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chilaili View Post
I'm a huge Penman fan and have read everything she's written in that genre (altho I've avoided her mediaeval mysteries so far). Have you read The Sunne in Splendour yet? It was my first and my favourite altho I'm now reading a repudiation of Penman's theories in a non-fiction book by Alison Weir (The Princes in the Tower). The Plantagenet trilogy is also very good.

Not familiar with Edith Pargeter's historical fiction altho I have read her Brother Cadfael books - go figure.
The Sunne in Splendour was the second one I read. The first was Here Be Dragons. An acquaintance worked in a bookstore and had a boxful of romance novels, which I hate. She asked if I wanted any books and to be polite, I looked in the box. Something about Dragons caught my eye and I read the jacket and realized it wasn't a romance novel. I then happened to mention the book to a Brit coworker, who lent me The Sunne in Splendour, and then I went to the library and found the rest of the trilogy that started with Here Be Dragons. I also got my daughter addicted--as a matter of fact, she is supposed to bring me Time and Chance next time I see her. Haven't yet read that or The Devil's Brood.

Oh I am so excited that someone else reads these!

You will like The Heaven Tree, trust me.
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:56 PM
Status: "Uncomfortably numb" (set 2 days ago)
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
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Forgot to add--I would be interested in the Princes in the Tower and will look for that. That's the thing with writing historical fiction--the author has to take the unknowns and what-ifs and fill in the story with her imagination.

One example (this is not a spoiler) is that Llewellyn and Joanne appear in The Heaven Tree (she is called Joan, however--I guess another English interpretation of the Norman Jeanne.) In Here Be Dragons, when Joanne's lover is going to the gallows, he gallantly says his affair with her was worth it. In The Heaven Tree, he says he wishes she worth dying for, but she wasn't.
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Old 12-09-2009, 09:17 AM
 
Location: Sugar Grove, IL
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timeline by michael crichton. it has an element of historical medieval fiction and present day science fiction.
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Old 12-09-2009, 10:46 AM
 
Location: Texas
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Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet

The Name of the Rose by Unberto Eco

Both are very good.
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Old 12-09-2009, 05:28 PM
 
Location: Lower Hudson Valley, NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ketabcha View Post
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet

The Name of the Rose by Unberto Eco

Both are very good.

Pillars of the Earth was mind-blowingly wonderful. And to think that I would not have read it if my book club hadn't chosen it (I was the only one who was able to finish it!). I wish the follow up had been as good.

The Name of the Rose is on my to-read list- looking forward to it.
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Old 12-10-2009, 03:28 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
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"Credo" by Melvyn Bragg ( lower middle ages /Anglo Saxon)
"The name of the Rose" by Umberto Ecco
"Azincourt", "The Archer's Tale", "Vagabond", "Heretic" by Bernard Cornwell
"Company of Liars" by Kate Maitland


Lighter medieval fiction ( murder mysteries) :


"The Hugh Corbett mysteries" series by P.C Doherty
" The sorrowful mysteries of Brother Athelstan" series by P. C Doherty
"Sister Fidelma " series ( Irish Dark Ages) by Peter Tremayne
"Sir Balwin" series by Michael Jecks
"Crowner Royal" series by Berbard Knight
"Matthew Bartholomew" series by Susanna Gregory
"Edward Marston" series by Edward Marston
"Falconer mysteries" series by Ian Morson
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Old 12-10-2009, 03:37 AM
 
Location: in the southwest
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Have read several of the titles listed in this thread.

Three of my tippy-top favorites:

The Daughter of Time (by Josephine Tey, about Richard III)
This is a groundbreaking novel which took Richard III's infamous legend and dissected it in the style of a private investigator.

The World Is Not Enough
When it comes to medieval historical fiction, I've never read a better book. France in the 12th century. This is not the high nobility, this family saga centers on a small castle in a southern region of France. Alis marries her baron Ansiau, and their lives play out colorfully and realistically. Gritty authenticity is paired with human desires and petty intrigues. There is some pageantry, but plenty of flea bites...there is tenderness, but we also witness horrid, base behaviors. The Crusades are presented as they might have been, and religion, superstition, and convenience all interplay with each other.

Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy is another work which gives the reader a You Are There feeling. This collection follows Merlin from childhood through middle age.
There is magic and mystery, but Stewart tells the story of King Arthur in a natural, fluid manner. Characters have dimension, day-to-day life is presented, and settings are easily seen in the mind's eye. We ride a pony with Merlin up into the hills as a child. We eat breakfast with Merlin in his cave, grimly brave a rough sea voyage, learn to pick the right herbs, or engineer Stonehenge. Stewart's research is impeccable. Some readers prefer Jack Whyte's realistic rendition of the Arthur story, but I prefer Stewart's warmth and humor.

I also very much admire Mary Renault's books about Alexander the Great, her research glows, Alexander's humanity shines--but that is an earlier time.
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