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Thread: Recommended Historical Novels?

  1. #1
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    Recommended Historical Novels?

    Hello! I love historical novels and I'm trying to find some new ones to read. Any suggestions? Thank you!
    "... I TAKE ON RESPONSIBILITY. I HIDE MYSELF FROM NO ONE. I AM ON MY PATH... I WON'T LET MY FOCUS CHANGE, TAKING OUT THE DEMONS IN MY RANGE ("The Warrior's Reminder". E.B.)"

  2. #2
    "To be deemed historical (in our sense), a novel must have been written at least fifty years after the events described, or have been written by someone who was not alive at the time of those events (who therefore approaches them only by research).

    We also consider the following styles of novel to be historical fiction for our purposes: alternate histories (e.g. Robert Harris' Fatherland), pseudo-histories (eg. Umberto Eco's Island of the Day Before), time-slip novels (e.g. Barbara Erskine's Lady of Hay), historical fantasies (eg. Bernard Cornwell's King Arthur trilogy) and multiple-time novels (e.g. Michael Cunningham's The Hours)."

    I may be off on the idea of what a historic novel is, but I really enjoyed 'Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc' by Mark Twain. I also liked 'Trinity' 'The Caine Mutiny' 'Shike' and 'Shogun'.

    "I like Joan of Arc best of all my books; and it is the best; I know it perfectly well. And besides, it furnished me seven times the pleasure afforded me by any of the others; twelve years of preparation, and two years of writing. The others need no preparation and got none." - Mark Twain
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  3. #3
    loquacious cat mrawr
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    I know lots of great Danish ones, but i have a friend who's reading .. "The highlander series"? i think that's what it's called, by Diana Gabaldon. She's crazy about them, bt personally i wasn't all that impressed. It's about the Scott's war against the english back in the days of Prince Charles.

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    Wage Slave Manfred's Avatar
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    I enjoyed the "Flashman" novels by George MacDonald Fraser, but they may not be to everyone's taste, and they're certainly not "great" literature, if that's what you're looking for.
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    Hello Manfred, as far as the 'great' literature thing, I'm keeping an open mind when asking for suggestions, so I appreciate ideas of any type. Yours seem interesting indeed

    To everybody else, thank you for your suggestions so far, please keep going!
    "... I TAKE ON RESPONSIBILITY. I HIDE MYSELF FROM NO ONE. I AM ON MY PATH... I WON'T LET MY FOCUS CHANGE, TAKING OUT THE DEMONS IN MY RANGE ("The Warrior's Reminder". E.B.)"

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    Voice of Chaos & Anarchy
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    In addition to the Flashman series, already mentioned, you might want to look at Thomas Costain's Plantagenet books, which are actually history, and the Arundel series by Kenneth Roberts are excellent. They tell of a family in Maine from the 1770's until some time in the 1820's; "Arundel" and "Rabble in Arms" deal with the American Revolution very nicely.

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    dreamer genoveva's Avatar
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    ShoutGrace, where are you quoting that definition of a historical novel?
    I recently read Isabel Allende's Daughter of Fortune (Chile to CA history esp. gold rush days) and Sandra Benitez's Bitter Grounds (El Salvador revolution). I thoroughly enjoyed both of these.
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    How about Caleb Carr? He wrote the Alienist and something else, both pretty good books.
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by genoveva
    ShoutGrace, where are you quoting that definition of a historical novel?
    Just some random website. Can't really remember which one . . . I might have done something simple like Google 'historical novel'.

    Did anybody read the Dorothy Dunnett series? That series is something of a cult classic. It's fans are quite feverous.
    As Kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame . . .


    Why disqualify the rush? I'm tabled. I'm tabled.



  10. #10
    Registered User Boris239's Avatar
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    Historical novel is very general. Are you interested in something concrete(like country or time period)?

    Here is what I enjoyed:
    Maurice Druon "Cursed Kings" - series about France in the first half of the 14th century before 100 years war.
    Leon Feihtvanger- I like a lot of his novels especially "Spanish ballad", "Success", "Judaic war"
    Raffaelo Giovagnoli "Spartacus"
    Arthur Conan Doyle "White Company"
    Victor Hugo "93rd year"

  11. #11
    If grace is an ocean... grace86's Avatar
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    I heard Caleb Carr was pretty good..and that was from someone who doesn't normally read...she wore the covers out! I borrowed the Alienist and Angel of Darkness, but I never had the chance to read them.

    Sarah Dunant recently came out with some historical Novels. They are kind of love story history novels. I read The Birth of Venus...I had recently studied Italy and the Renaissance so I thought it was wonderful. I am not sure what her new one is about: In the Company of the Courtesan.

    Good luck with your search Bastet.
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    Ataraxia bazarov's Avatar
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    Anything from Alexandre Dumas Jr., it's on authors list.
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  13. #13
    Registered User Boris239's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grace86
    I heard Caleb Carr was pretty good..and that was from someone who doesn't normally read...she wore the covers out! I borrowed the Alienist and Angel of Darkness, but I never had the chance to read them.

    Sarah Dunant recently came out with some historical Novels. They are kind of love story history novels. I read The Birth of Venus...I had recently studied Italy and the Renaissance so I thought it was wonderful. I am not sure what her new one is about: In the Company of the Courtesan.

    Good luck with your search Bastet.
    Love story historical novels? So are the novels about Angelica historical? I was always a bit skeptical about this kind of history

  14. #14
    Registered User Boris239's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bazarov
    Anything from Alexandre Dumas Jr., it's on authors list.
    Jr? I know only about "La Dame aux Camelias". You probably meant Dumas Sr

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    Thank you Grace86 Everybody's doing a great job with their suggestions. Everything sounds interesting! I think I'm gonna be reading for a loooong time!

    Boris 239, I'm not really interested in anything specific. There are two books that I enjoyed that I can remember at the top of my head: London (Edward Rutherfurd) and The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follet). The Illuminator (Brenda Rickman Vantrease) was also entertaining. Like I said before, I'm keeping an open mind to suggestions though because I wanna know different things from what I'm used to. And they don't even need to be novels about something that happened (historic non-fiction) but they can also be fiction set on a different time (like the ones I mentioned before), that is, historical fiction.

    Once again, thank you so much to everyone!
    "... I TAKE ON RESPONSIBILITY. I HIDE MYSELF FROM NO ONE. I AM ON MY PATH... I WON'T LET MY FOCUS CHANGE, TAKING OUT THE DEMONS IN MY RANGE ("The Warrior's Reminder". E.B.)"

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