U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Covid-19 Information Page
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > History
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 12-20-2012, 06:20 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
48,571 posts, read 20,499,755 times
Reputation: 20971

Advertisements

I have become a big fan of historical novels in the last dozen or so years, before that I seldom paid them much attention. Now I'm constantly on the lookout for good authors and decided to launch this thread to learn what others have read and liked.

Read, Liked and Endorse:
1) C. S. Forester...the entire Horatio Hornblower series.
2) Bernard Cornwell....the entire Sharp series, and I think everything else as well. I look forward to new Cornwell books more than any other of these authors.
3) George Macdonald Fraser...the entire Flashman series...great stuff, excellent history and very funny at times.
4) Ken Follett....The Pillars of the Earth and its sequel, The Fall of Giants and its sequel (Pillars was much better I thought)
5) Steven Saylor..the Roma sub Rosa series....Saylor has created a fictional Roman detective, called "Gordiamus The Finder" and writes mystery stories set in Rome in the last century BCE. I've read all of his books save the one I'm reading now, and one more to go after that. Saylor is a fanatic for getting the details right. Highly educational, the mysteries themselves are actually no more interesting than an average Columbo episode.


Okay, But Not In Same League As The Above:
1) Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen's current series on the Revolutionary War. Their best work was their first, the alternative history series on the Civil War. They have abandoned alternative history in favor of historical novels. Everything is pretty good...pretty good writing, pretty good history, pretty entertaining....but never great.

Read But Didn't Really Like...
1) A couple of the Patrick O'Brian Jack Aubrey books. I enjoyed the Master and Commander film, but when I tired the books I found the writing to be of a highly stylized sort which didn't return enough for the effort. I wasn't enjoying the experience.
2) A couple of James Michener books....I kept finding historical mistakes, very sloppy research, plus Michener is a plodding, cliche recycling machine as a writer.


And oh...I'm of course aware of the classics, no need to remind me that Tolstoy and Dumas wrote historical fiction
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 12-21-2012, 04:25 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
9,547 posts, read 14,988,828 times
Reputation: 12548
Check out Sharon Kay Penman and Helen Hollick. I would steer clear of Hollick's fantasy series about pirates as that's a different sub-genre. But her two books on Emma of Normandy and Harold Godwinson are very well done - and surprisingly, her series on King Arthur is NOT fantasy but a very realistic take on the legend so you might like that as well.

I haven't read it yet but Manda Scott's Boudica series is on my to-read list and might appeal to you as well.

Oh and check out this website: Literature-Map - The tourist map of literature - you pop in the name of an author and it will give you a map of similar authors (the closer the name to the original name, the more similar).
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-21-2012, 08:18 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
48,571 posts, read 20,499,755 times
Reputation: 20971
PA2UK....


My thanks for the link......but what is the name O.J. Simpson doing floating around in there with the other historical fiction writers?

Is "If I Had Killed Nicole" viewed as historical fiction?
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-21-2012, 10:27 AM
 
Location: Orange County, CA
3,726 posts, read 5,575,050 times
Reputation: 4218
For those with an interest in early Roman history, I highly endorse "A Pillar of Iron", by Taylor Caldwell. Fact based fiction revolves around the life of Marcus Tullius Cicero, the great statesman, lawyer, and orator. All of the major players of the last years of the Republic are presented, including, of course, Julius Caesar.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-21-2012, 02:14 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,661 posts, read 78,379,938 times
Reputation: 36331
While most of these might not qualify as "historical fiction", they more than just took place in past settings, they additionally reflect some characteristic of their era in a way that is historically enlightening. I can't vouch for the historical accuracy of any of them.

Andrea Barrett. "The Air That We Breathe" (Life in TB sanitarium)
Geraldine Brooks, "People of the Book" (Jewish history in Europe)
Peter Carey "Parrot & Olivier in America" (France and America, late 18th century)
Thomas Cobb "Shavetail" (A cut above the average Western, Borderlands)
Debra Dean, "The Madonnas of Leningrad" (Art preservation)
Charles Frazier "Thirteen Moons" (Cherokee nation before removal)
Thomas Mullen "The Last Town on Earth" (Northwest labor strife)
Richard Rayner "The Cloud Sketcher" (development of urban architecture)
Sarah Smith, "Chasing Shakespeares" (Authorship of Shakespeare)
Abraham Verghese, "Cutting for Stone" (Ethiopian revolution)

Last edited by jtur88; 12-21-2012 at 02:27 PM..
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-21-2012, 03:37 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,661 posts, read 78,379,938 times
Reputation: 36331
To my mind, the single most essential historical fiction is Sigrid Undset's Nobel Prize winning work about 14th century Norway. Kristin Lavransdatter and Master of Hestiviken span seven volumes and 2600 pages through a century of the Middle Ages..

They've been re-translated into English lately, and disappointingly read like modern women's romance sagas, so try to find the older editions for their purist classical style.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-21-2012, 03:37 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
48,571 posts, read 20,499,755 times
Reputation: 20971
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
Thomas Cobb "Shavetail" (A cut above the average Western, Borderlands)
Your mentioning a western reminds me that I might have added Larry McMurtry to my list.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-21-2012, 05:06 PM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
9,547 posts, read 14,988,828 times
Reputation: 12548
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
PA2UK....


My thanks for the link......but what is the name O.J. Simpson doing floating around in there with the other historical fiction writers?

Is "If I Had Killed Nicole" viewed as historical fiction?
I haven't noticed that, which name did you put in?
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-21-2012, 05:55 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
48,571 posts, read 20,499,755 times
Reputation: 20971
Quote:
Originally Posted by PA2UK View Post
I haven't noticed that, which name did you put in?
Steven Saylor
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-21-2012, 06:05 PM
 
Location: University City, Philadelphia
22,630 posts, read 13,202,715 times
Reputation: 15784
The historical novels of the recently departed Gore Vidal were wonderful in my opinion. He obviously did a lot of research and as far as fiction goes they are highly readable and entertaining.

Some of Vidal's novels have to do with American history: Burr, Empire, Lincoln, etc. Others deal with world history. One of my favorites is Creation, it is about a courtier at the height of the Persian empire who also happens to be a grandson of the Persian prophet Zoroaster named Cyrus Spitama. Spitama travels around the ancient world and manages to meet all the great religious leaders and philosophers of the 6th Century before the Common Era - Confucius, the Buddha, Lao Tzu, Socrates, Pythagoras, etc.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > History

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2021, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top