Discussion Forums - Historical Fiction

Topic: 2011 HF Challenge #1 It's About Time - Discussion

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
Page:   Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: 2011 HF Challenge #1 It's About Time - Discussion
Date Posted: 11/2/2010 10:31 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
Back To Top
Date Posted: 11/28/2010 1:38 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2007
Posts: 747
Back To Top
Question- I understand that challenge 1 must be read in chronological order to get the time traveler achievement. But can we jump around to different challenges in between, or must we read challenge 1 and only challenge 1?
Date Posted: 11/28/2010 3:40 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
Back To Top

You can jump around to other challenges in between.

Date Posted: 11/29/2010 9:33 AM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2007
Posts: 747
Back To Top

Awesome.  Thanks :)

CR

Date Posted: 12/27/2010 11:30 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,755
Back To Top

blush Okay, forgive my ignorance, but as I was perusing my bookshelves trying to come up with some books for the categories, I discovered that not all books give you the exact years in which the story takes place.  Boo hiss. Don't these authors know that some of us may enjoy historical fiction, but we don't always know our history?  LOL! I have several books in various categories that I'm trying to figure out where they fit.  I did check the link for the site you gave, Christa, but sometimes they don't give a specific time period, more of a vague era type of thing.  Can someone please enlighten me without ridicule?? 

So far I have People of the Wolf and Gates of Fire as possible books for the Pre-500 BC category.  Do they both fit the time period? 

Where would a book about Helen of Troy fit in?

Books about ancient Rome or Greece - would they fit in the 500BC to 0 BC category? I am assuming so since books about Cleopatra fall into this category, and Cleo cavorted with ancient Rome icons like Julius Caesar and Marc Antony.

Biblical fiction about the Old Testament - would they fit in the same 500BC to 0 BC category?  When did people like Adam & Eve, Abraham, Moses, King Solomon, etc. live?  I've got books like Queenmaker, The Red Tent, Wisdom's Daughter and The Gilded Chamber on my shelf. 

I assume books set in Jesus' time would be in the 0 AD - 500 AD category, correct?  I'm thinking of Pilate's Wife for this one, although I also have The Skystone and Gladiatrix.

Are 0 BC and 0 AD the same year or is there a year in between them?  Does it go 0 BC, 0 and then 0 AD? 

Good gracious I feel so ignorant! TIA for any help!

Date Posted: 12/27/2010 12:31 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,709
Back To Top

Shelley, dates can be a pain!  

People of the Wolf is supposed to be prehistoric North America, I believe, so Pre-500 BC would work. 

Gates of Fire (READ IT...IT'S WONDERFUL!) is about the Battle of Thermopylae, in 480 BC (so, not Pre-500 BC)

Helen of Troy: Pre-500 BC (If you believe the Trojan War was a real war, and not just a myth...scholars place it around 1194-1184 BC)

There is no year zero.  It goes 1 BC and then 1 AD.  Wikipedia has an interesting article about our calendar (search Year 0)

Biblical stories would depend on the characters.  Adam and Eve..the very beginning.  Pre-500 BC for sure!  Moses was probably around 1200 BC, give or take.  It's fuzzy.

Jesus died around 30 AD.

I hope this helps!  If you get stuck, take a major character (Emperor, King, Queen) and do a Wiki search for their dates.  That should help!

Date Posted: 12/27/2010 2:00 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,755
Back To Top

Thank you, Vicky!  Great idea on figuring out a real historical figure from the book and looking them up on Wiki!

Date Posted: 12/29/2010 8:02 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,127
Back To Top

The other night I decided to work on this, finding a historical mystery for each time period.  I had about 6-7 time periods in about 15 minutes, but the others took me a couple of hours to figure out!  The periods between 500AD to the 1300's were the hardest, but I managed to find a mystery for each time period, and the ones I didn't already own were available through PBS.

Some of these time periods are ones for which I've never read any fiction at all, so this should be interesting, especially reading them in order.

Diane

 

Date Posted: 1/2/2011 10:27 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
Back To Top

I finished Clan of the cave Bear this morning. 

As I said I really didn't expect to like this book, blame it on my Mother because she raved about it when it came out, and I was still a brat then and didn't want to like anything that she did.  But doing the math I realized that she was the same age when it was released as I am now.

As for the book, Auel's research is evident in every pen stroke,  It is a credible telling of a time period for which we only have fossils, cave paintings and the odd bog find.   When understanding nature could only be dealt with with superstition.    As a Cromagnon Ayla's story was compelling, and at time heart wrenching. 

Orphaned by and earthquake at five she is left alone in the wilderness and wanders for days slowing dying of starvation and exposure, when attacked by a cave lion she is finally near death when the  Neanderthal  Clan finds her.  Saved by the clan's Medicine Woman and the clan's Shaman, Alya is reluctantly taken into the clan.  The story follows  as she struggled with her oh so obvious differences, and against Broud's (the chief's son and heir apparent) unrelenting hatred of her.  Is Alya lucky for the clan?  It seems so, she finds a bitchin cave for them in which to live. 

Against all tradition she learns to hunt, a task that is strictly forbidden to females, and excels in everything she tries.  In saving the life of Broud and his mate's child it is discovered that she has mastered the sling and that she has indeed been hunting.  Alya is cast out only if she survives for a month can she return.  Of course she does return which  makes Broud more determined to crush her.  He hates her so much that as they grow into adulthood the only way he can dominate her is to force her to submit to him sexually.  This is where I was thinking Auel fell flat.  In her world these people had some convoluted idea of how babies are made.  You can't tell me that even Neanderthals didn't see beasts mating and make the connection.  Anyway, Alya has Broud's child a connection no one make's but her.  As her protectors age and die it become inevitable that she must leave and find her own people.  I will give it 4 out of 5 stars.

 

Date Posted: 1/2/2011 11:15 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
Back To Top

Letty, you have made me want to re-read this book! I read it ages ago and loved it. Great review!

Date Posted: 1/2/2011 11:23 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,295
Back To Top

This whole series is great, but there is no way that I am ever going to re-read it! My DD is doing that now and I say "good for her". I'm sure my granddaughter will eventually read them too unless she gets that  (young Letty attitude) -  As I said I really didn't expect to like this book, blame it on my Mother because she raved about it when it came out, and I was still a brat then and didn't want to like anything that she did. wink

 

Date Posted: 1/2/2011 11:34 AM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
Back To Top

I've read the series twice and have been slowing swapping my copies off.

Date Posted: 1/2/2011 12:27 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
Back To Top

Thanks Valli!

Jeanne, we do grow up and realize our Moms actually know stuff! cheeky

Cathy,  I was very happy to find that my library has these,  I think they must have been the da Vinci Code of the day!  The copy I have was the 22nd printing. 1986.



Last Edited on: 1/2/11 1:42 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/3/2011 4:50 PM ET
Member Since: 2/4/2010
Posts: 89
Back To Top

I'm starting the challenge with Helen of Troy by Margaret George.

This book is written in first person and Helen is narrating the story of her life. She is a very caring, sympathetic and innocent character in this book because we are hearing the story from her side. Even though I know the end of the story, the writing is really pulling me in and I'm looking forward to reading the rest.

Date Posted: 1/3/2011 5:53 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
Back To Top

Jerelyn, my library has the newest one on order already so I went ahead and placed a hold. I'm #23, but they usually order 50+ copies of big name books so I shouldn't have to wait too long after they are in.

Date Posted: 1/3/2011 8:28 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
Back To Top

Jerelyn, it you liked Clan of the Cave Bear you will love Valley of Horses, second in the series. It was my favorite of the series :-)

The series was pretty good overall but the redundancy factor started to annoy me a little with the last two books . . .

Date Posted: 1/3/2011 8:33 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
Back To Top

That's what I have been told Shelia thanks!  smiley

Date Posted: 1/3/2011 8:36 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
Back To Top

It's been a few years, but I seem to recall Valley of the Horses as being a favorite. I think the last one is where they visit his *tribe* as being another.

Date Posted: 1/3/2011 9:24 PM ET
Member Since: 6/29/2008
Posts: 1,737
Back To Top

I'm doing this challenge first and yesterday I finished my first book for it: Ramses- Son of Light by Christian Jacq. I was a bit disappointed in it and felt the dialogue was too modern. Not a terrible read but not too great. I'm now onto Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran which I am enjoying quite a bit.

Date Posted: 1/3/2011 10:07 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,755
Back To Top

Oops, wrong thread.  Nevermind.



Last Edited on: 1/3/11 10:10 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 1/4/2011 8:49 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,877
Back To Top

CHALLENGE # 1 - It's About Time - Read a book in each of 10 specific time periods.

Pre-500 BC - The Bull from the Sea by Mary Renault, finished 1/4/2010

500 BC - 0 BC - The October Horse by Colleen McCullough

0 AD - 500 AD - Pompeii by Robert Harris

500 AD - 800 AD - Druids by Anne McCaffrey

800 AD - 1000 AD - Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross

1000's/1100's -The Conquest by Elizabeth Chadwick

1200's/1300's - The Dragon and The Jewel by Virginia Henley

1400's/1500s  - The Aviary Gate by Katie Hickman

1600's/1700'  -  The Pindar Diamond by Katie Hickman

1800's - The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell

1900 - 1960 - The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

PRE-500 BC:  The Bull from the Sea by Mary Renault.  I really enjoyed Theseus - maybe he should be nominated for a gorgeous hunk.  At least his son, Hyppolytos, should be.  I was so sorry to see Theseus' great love, Hyppolyta, die.  The tone of the book seemed to change, too, as Theseus lived his life in grief or was this my imagination.  Theseus became philosophical in the latter part of his life accepted what will be.  I liked this book a good deal.  For me it was a very good read and it went far too fast.  I was sorry to see it end.

500 BC - 0 BC:  The October Horse by Colleen McCullough:  In the first portion of the book McCullough helps us know Caesar at the height of his career as the man he might have been.  McCullough's take on the romance between Cleopatra and Caesar differs from Shakespeare's as she delves into Plutarch and other sources.  Her explanation for Octavian's actions is that he may have had asthma which is more consistent with his personality.  Caesar is later murdered by 23 conspirators and the story switches to following the assassians, Mark Antony, and Octavian's actions among others.  When Caesar's will is read his nephew, Octavian, is the key heir, to the chagrin of Mark Antony.  The resulting chaos and political upheaval nearly bankrupts Rome.  As the assassians flee, Octavian vows to bring the murderers to justice.  I found it difficult to get into this read and when I checked Amazon reviews found that others did, too, but some fans believe that this is the least well written in the series.  I have more of them to read which I look forward to tackling.  I continue to marvel at McCullough's attention to detail, historical accuracy and ability to make the Romans come alive again and again. 

0 - 500 AD:  Pompeii by Robert Harris:  Enjoyed this read - the author prefaces each chapter by a short explanation about earthquakes.   "A strong correlation has been found the magnitude between eruptions and the length of repose. Almost all very large,historic eruptions have come from volcanoes that have been dormant for centuries." - Volcanology.  One of the most fascinating parts of this read to me were these quotes that the author uses prior to each chapter. The chapter revolves around the quote as the volcano builds to its climatic eruption. Also enjoyed the description of corruption and the honesty of the engineer, Attilius, who opposes the graft. His attraction and emerging love for Corelia adds interest to the story. However, how they survive is questionable when one considers the toxic gases that the volcano emits during eruption Nevertheless, this is most interesting read and I learned so much about earthquakes.

800 AD - 1000 AD:   Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross: What an inspiring read! Little known sources in history suggest that a woman occupied the seat of St Peter and became Pope in the 9th century. Cross uses the hints from these sources to a create a woman who achieves this amazing feat. The author outlines the life of a young, curious Joan and the circumstances that led her to forego her female identity, entering a monastery disguised as a man. The decision puts her on a career path that culminates in her election as Pope. Well written by the author with great attention to historical accuracy and detail, the book includes notes at the end to document her efforts. This is very best in historical fiction resulting in a novel that leaves you believing it is absolutely true.  Today the Catholic Church treats Pope Joan as a legend created by the Protestants yet over 500 documents prove she existed. The language used in the church at that time was Latin and it would help to understand the Latin phrases. However, many of them are interrpreted for the reader. In addition, the author uses words that are not commonly used today such as basileus for king but not so often to confuse the reader just enough to make you stop and think. This book is well-researched and well written.

1800's:  The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell: A wonderful, wonderful read written by a most talented author. The story begins in 1799 in Dejima on Nagasaki Harbor where the Dutch East Indies Company has located its fartherest outpost. Jacob has been assigned to this location. His intention is to stay five years, earn his fortune and return to his sweetheart at home and marry. However, he becomes entranced by Orito Aibagawa, an intelligent woman studying to become a midwife. Orito was injured as a child when her face was splashed by hot liquid. His occupational task is to examine the accounts of the company to ensure that the company is reaping the profits it should. Unfortunately, almost everyone is corrupted and Jacob's honesty leads to many troubles, including the lengthening of his stay. An intriging story, one gains considerable insight into Japanese culture and the role of women in this era. 

 

 

 

 



Last Edited on: 3/9/11 4:36 PM ET - Total times edited: 13
Date Posted: 1/5/2011 2:49 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2009
Posts: 388
Back To Top

So, after much internal debate as to where I'd fit in Les Miserables, which I'm currently reading, I've decided to put it in the 1800's category. It's funny how those books that could fit into multiple categories are the hard ones to figure out where to put them.

 

Date Posted: 1/6/2011 11:30 AM ET
Member Since: 2/4/2010
Posts: 89
Back To Top

I finished Helen of Troy by Margaret George and loved it.

I'm now reading Cicero by Anthony Everitt. I can't seem to get into this book. There is background information about Roman history and politics. Even though this is a very interesting time in the Roman Republic, the book is like a very dry, boring text book. I think Colleen McCullough has spoiled me for reading about Roman history and no other author will compare.

Date Posted: 1/7/2011 9:02 AM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2008
Posts: 8,867
Back To Top

THANK YOU! 

I have had Clan of the Cave Bear (and Valley of the Horses) on my bookshelf for well over a decade as a book I "should" read.  But I've had such a hard time picking up classics and other "should read" books.  Usually because I don't think they live up to their press.  But the conversation here convinced me to dust off Clan of the Cave Bear and actually read it.  Wow!  I read it in two days, which is rare for me lately.  Such a great story.  Thanks for the motivation to finally move this to the BIR list!!!

Date Posted: 1/7/2011 9:12 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
Back To Top

Yay Kay!!smiley

Page: