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Topic: Historical Fiction in Exotic Locations

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Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Subject: Historical Fiction in Exotic Locations
Date Posted: 10/28/2009 11:18 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 39,737
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I really love reading historical fiction in exotic locations rather than just England, Ireland, US and Italy.  Any suggestion for good historical fiction of Australia, China, Africa,  South America etc.  I have read a lot of James Michner and James Clavell.

Alice

Date Posted: 10/28/2009 11:45 AM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2007
Posts: 482
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Alice, I enjoy pretty much all Lisa See books (set in China).  Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is excellent, and so is Peony in Love.  I'm still on the WL to read Shanghai Girls.

I haven't read much set in South America, but I have read a couple books set in Mexico.  The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea was quite good, and I have his next one, Into the Beautiful North, on my WL.

Date Posted: 10/28/2009 12:13 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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If India is of interest to you I'd recommend MM Kaye - The Far Pavilions, Shadow of the Moon as well as Trade Wind which is set in Zanzibar. There's a controversial plot twist in Trade Wind but considering the period the book was written as well as the historical setting it didn't bother me and was tastefully handled.  Kaye's also written several historical mysteries set in exotic locales but I've not yet tried them.

There's also Zemindar by Valerie Fitzgerald which deals with India's Sepoy rebellion (note, MMK's Shadow of the Moon covers the same period but from a different aspect and do complement each other).

An author by the name of Rebecca Ryamn wrote Oliva and Jai and a sequel The Veil of Illusion set in 19C India. The second book is not recommended for those who must have a picture perfect HEA. She also wrote Shalimar which is more of a mystery set in India and a bit in China and Russia.

M. Dumas Pere' wrote a lesser known book called Georges and is set on a small island off the southern coast of Africa. The name of the island escapes me. His MC is mulatto and the book deals with 19C bigotry.  There is an excellent review on Amazon that describes the book to perfection.

Date Posted: 10/28/2009 3:14 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,755
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I was going to suggest MM Kaye, but it looks like Cathy beat me to it. I read The Far Pavilions this summer and really enjoyed it.  I have some of her other books on Mt. TBR, but haven't read them yet. 

Indu Sundaresan also writes HF set in India.  I read The Twentieth Wife last winter, and have the sequel also sitting on Mt. TBR.  John Shors' Beneath a Marble Sky is also set in India.

If you want to venture to Egypt, there's Margaret George's The Memoirs of Cleopatra and Colin Falconer's When We Were Gods (also about Cleopatra).  I haven't read them yet, but Pauline Gedge also has books set in Egypt, Lady of the Reeds among them. 

 

 



Last Edited on: 10/28/09 3:24 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 10/28/2009 3:26 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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I recommend Aztec by Gary Jennings. It's a saga on a par with Michener and Clavell.

Date Posted: 10/28/2009 4:01 PM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2007
Posts: 482
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The Space Between Us is also excellent. Set in India. Not H/F but worth a read.

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 10/28/2009 4:33 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 39,737
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Thank you everyone. I have read Aztec and the Marco Polo one both good reads. Keep the suggestions coming if you have more.  Another one I read years ago is the Good Earth by Pearl Buck. I true classic.

Alice

Date Posted: 10/28/2009 7:00 PM ET
Member Since: 3/5/2008
Posts: 741
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I love reading about Australia and New Zealand. My favorite series is the Outback by Aaron Fletcher. I think there are five of them. Also The Back of Beyond by Barbara Bickmore. This was about the flying doctors in the outback of Australia (based on fact), I really enjoyed it.

Jane

Date Posted: 10/28/2009 7:04 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
Posts: 611
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Set in Australia- I've enjoyed:

Outback  by Aaron Fletcher,  The True History of the Kelly Gang  by Peter Carey, Cooper's Creek  by Alan Moorehead (nonfiction).

Set in Africa:

A Bend in the River  by V.S. Naipaul, Red Strangers  by Elspeth Huxley, The Sheltering Sky  by Paul Bowles

Set in Asia:

Burmese Days  by George Orwell,  The Painted Veil  by W. Somerset Maugham &  When Heaven and Earth Changed Places  by LeLy Hayslip (nonfiction set in Viet Nam). & The Siege of Krishnapur by J. G. Farrell

Date Posted: 10/29/2009 1:58 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
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Try A Bridge to the Sky by Margaret Ball.  You can hit several locations at once in this one!  England, France, Jerusalem, Cairo, Rome...even the wilderness of Hungary.  It was a little slow at the start, but it picks up and I was totally engaged by halfway through.

Date Posted: 10/29/2009 5:08 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Another title for the "India" group:  Passage to India, by E. M. Forster

And a trilogy about Egypt: The Cairo Trilogy, by Naguib Mahfouz.  It's comprised of Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, and Sugar Street.

Noah Gordon's The Physician starts out in medieval England, but soon enough moves on to ancient Persia, where the 'hero' beats his way in order to learn what he can of "the healing art."  (Remember, this was when people believed in demons, etc., and thought herbal remedies were "witchcraft" or "the black art".)

Date Posted: 10/29/2009 7:49 PM ET
Member Since: 3/5/2008
Posts: 741
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I forgot The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simmons.  This one would by on my top 10 best reads. Set in Russia during the seige of Leningrad WWII.

Jane

Date Posted: 10/29/2009 11:39 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 924
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I read The Family by Pa Chin for a Chinese History class (set in China during the early 20th century). It's fiction, and I thought it was very good.

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 10/30/2009 8:01 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 39,737
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Thanks everyone. I have ordered some. There are also lots of exotic locals in the historical mystery genre as well. I have lots of those too.

Alice