1. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    Historical Fiction

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Marcelo, Feb 25, 2010.

    Earlier today, I searched the forums for a thread about novels in the historical fiction genre. To my disappointment, I couldn't find a thread about the topic. So I decided to make one!
    Just name some good historical fiction books, so as to make a reference thread for those wanting to enter the genre, like myself.

    So, does anyone know any historical fiction books about the Saxons or Celtic tribes of Britain? Or books situated in the Renaissance?
     
  2. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    Also, anyone ever heard of the book Heresy, by S.J. Parris?
     
  3. dspiritz
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    dspiritz New Member

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    I read a book about 2 years ago called "Druids" by Morgan Llywelyn. It kept me captivated throughout the whole book. As far as I am aware its based around the time the celts were invaded by romans.
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    A really good book is The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. It's about the Battle of Gettysburg from the American Civil War. I highly recommend it.
     
  5. Evil Flamingo
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    Evil Flamingo Contributing Member Contributor

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    Tim O'brien's The Things They Carried and Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers are exceptional Vietnam War novels. That is all I can think of at the moment.
     
  6. PJ.Paradox
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    I'll second that, and also add Mercedes Lackey's series that begins with This Sceptered Isle... It is a historical fantasy/fiction that concerns King Henry the VIII's kids and Queen Elizabeth's ultimate rise to power. It's a very good read if you persist through all... hmmm I want to say 5 or 6 books, but I'd need to double check that.
     
  7. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    As an oldie (whose first degree was in Social History) I'll say that my love of history was fueled by reading the historical novels of Jean Plaidy. I think the best ones date mostly from the sixties. She was immensely prolific, but perhaps younger forumers haven't heard of her.

    Nearly all of Jean Plaidy's books are still in print, and in the UK at least, easily available in libraries. The two on the life of Lucrezia Borgia are particularly good. There's another series about the Spanish Inquisition. They are very exciting and incredibly well-researched, in fact they are considered among the best historical novels, especially for British history. So, if you like your history to be (fairly) accurate and not just a fantastic fable, check them out.

    She always said, though, that the main aim of her writing was to entertain, so don't worry that they are at all academic or dusty.

    Oh, and the information I remembered from her books got me effortlessly through many a school history exam! (Especially Tudor/Elizabethan times).
     
  8. Centurion
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    Simon Scarrow is a great historical fiction writer. He writes about two Roman Centurions in the Roman army around 40AD onwards. The first few books has a lot of fighting against British Celts in the invasion of Britain, byt they also fight pirates, brigands, Parthians and slave rebellions.

    They are well written books and depict the Roman army well.
     
  9. Sabreur
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    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've heard stellar things about Robert Low's "Oathsworn" series. They are about Norsemen during the Dark Ages. Very well-done, so I'm told.
     
  10. PJ.Paradox
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    Oh... Some how I forgot to mention Jean Auel and her Earth's Children series that begins with Clan of the Cave Bear and has not yet ended.

    I'm not entirely certain if we can say that this is strictly "Historical Fiction" since her novels deal in prehistoric life, but I will say this, unlike many of the authors out there that have dared this subject Jean Auel's novels are extremely well researched if nothing else. It takes her about 5 - 12 years to release each installment, but during that time she is traveling the world where her stories are intended to have taken place, learning everything she can about the archaeological findings in that area that relate to the neandertals and cromagnun man.

    Even if we can't introduce historical figures per sey in such novels, I believe she captures the day to day experience of prehistoric life to the best of her ability. I know that the "technological innovations" that she features are based on real tools that have been unearthed during excavations of prehistoric dwellings, etc. Auel has invented local cultures and lifestyles that fit with what science has or had proven at the time of her writing, but as I said, more so than 'true' historical fiction with written records to verify the existence of individual people, she has had far more gaps to fill with her own creativity.

    If you haven't read the books already, I strongly suggest you SKIP THE LAST BOOK until the next installment is released. It's not that the story is bad, but I practically pooped all over myself when the story stopped at the height of climax rather than upon a clearly defined resolution. It takes her a very long time to release each book so... unfortunate people llike myself who couldn't get enough of the series will likely be waiting some more years before we can find out what happens. She has said there will be at least 2 more books in the series.
     
  11. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    I love historical fiction, especially if it's set around the world wars because I'm really interested in that. I've read a few good books about King Arthur and such too. I quite like Kate Mosse because she sets half of it in France which I find interesting. Read a couple of Bernard Cornwell books too. Also, a couple of books about slavery and such. I just love historical fiction.
     
  12. Marcelo
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    I see that it's an on-going series. Could I read books 1-6 (these are the ones set during the invasion of Britain) without finishing the series or do they end as cliffhangers?
     
  13. fighter25
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    The Persian Boy- by Mary Renault..... Awesome!
     
  14. Centurion
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    You could read 1-6 and then not continue, but I would recommend reading through the entire series, as they really are good books. Number 6 could be an ending if you wanted it to be (and I think it actually was going to be the ending), but the series is still interesting even after Britain. But if you really wanted to, there would be no problem finishing at book 6.
     
  15. violet
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    violet Member

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    i've heard good things about celia rees who writes HF for YA
     
  16. Writt
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    I really enjoyed reading The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet..
     
  17. cressida_tt
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    I loved that one too.

    I would recommend anything by C.J. Sansom - brilliant recreation of the Tudor age.

    I am currently reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel which is an excellent read. It was also the 2009 Booker prize winner although I often find that those things are heavy going, I think this one is worth it if you like historical fiction.
     
  18. Cloudless
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    Simon Scarrow books are an easy page turning experience. His Cato and Macro adventures are absorbing. He educates the reader as the stories progress so you almost feel like a legionary yourself, you even get to anticipate what the characters are likely to do. Ben Kane and Mr Sidebottom are a definite second.
     
  19. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    There are probably better books on the Civil War, but Gone with the Wind is a classic and I love the descriptions of the night Atlanta fell.
     
  20. colorthemap
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    (waves)

    ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! I had one.

    Historical fiction can be hard to write and not be boring, which is important to note.
     

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