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Topic: Historical Fiction Recomendation

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Subject: Historical Fiction Recomendation
Date Posted: 3/19/2009 10:23 AM ET
Member Since: 2/15/2009
Posts: 4
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I'm a new member and a big historical fiction fan, but I often have trouble finding a good historical fiction book to read.  I'm looking for a recommendation or two.  An example of what I like is James Clavell's Asian Saga.  I'm not afraid of a really long book.  Are there any other authors that wrote similar types of novells?  Even if it's not similar, if it's good let me know!  Thanks.

Date Posted: 3/19/2009 11:38 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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I have not read Clavell's Asian Saga. Do you have a particular time period that interests you?

Recent historical sagas I have read that I thought were exceptional are:

War and Peace by Tolstoy (Napoleonic Wars) I recommend the Norton Critical Edition because the footnotes are excellent

Homeland by John Jakes (US Immigrant experience 1890s)

Sacajawea by Anne Waldo

I'm reading The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara right now and it is really, really good! It is not a saga but focuses on three days of the Civil War. Incredibly humanizing story.

You should check out the Historical Fiction forum also. Lots of great recs there and a Historical Fiction reading challenge :-)

Date Posted: 3/19/2009 12:55 PM ET
Member Since: 2/15/2009
Posts: 4
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Thanks for the recommendations.  I'll look into each.  I finished War and Peace for the first time about 3 months ago.  I read the old Constance Garrett translation, and found it to be a wonderfull book.

I tend to like long epic novells dealing with any timeperiod.  The more action the better.

Edit:  I looked up John Jakes and those look to be right on the money for what I'm interested in.  Thanks!

Last Edited on: 3/19/09 1:05 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/19/2009 1:48 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 2,027
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I thought The Historian was excellent.   I really felt like I was there with the author's descriptions.

Last Edited on: 3/19/09 1:48 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/19/2009 3:10 PM ET
Member Since: 5/30/2006
Posts: 146
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The Emperor series by Conn Iggulden about Julius Ceasar (He also has a series about Genghis Kahn that I will be starting soon)

Bernard Cornwell has several good series with Vikings, Civil War, Napoleonic Wars as well as two series set in the middle ages, that are great.

Another Roman Empire series is the Eagle Series by Simon Scarrow,  starts with Under the Eagle.

Date Posted: 3/19/2009 6:44 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
Posts: 1,976
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Michael B (or is it JackD), you must join us in the historical fiction forum.  Your TBR list will grow faster than you can imagine.  It's a fairly active forum and my personal favorite site on the internet.  We have a 2009 HF challenge going on and each month we have a different book to read and discuss.  You don't have to particiate if you don't want.  Another good site for HF is historicalfictiononline.com.

Date Posted: 3/19/2009 10:37 PM ET
Member Since: 2/15/2009
Posts: 4
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Thanks Donna.  It's Michael B or JackD btw, kinda complicated but either works.  I've been checking out the historical fiction forum today.  When I started this thread I didn't know there was a historical fiction section.  The challenge looks pretty interesting and fun.  I'll definately be hanging around.

There's already quite a few great suggestions on this thread.  Thanks guys!

Date Posted: 3/20/2009 2:20 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,276
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I just finished Moloka'i by Alan Brennert -- one of the best historical fiction reads for me lately. BTW. I loved Clavell's Asian books!

Date Posted: 3/20/2009 10:47 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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I thought of one more for you Michael. It is not "historical" but it is a true saga set in the late 1870's.

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. Magnificent book. I didn't want it to end.

Date Posted: 3/21/2009 12:58 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I really enjoyed The Anatomy of Deception by Lawrence Goldstone.

Date Posted: 3/21/2009 1:09 AM ET
Member Since: 3/17/2008
Posts: 1
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Just about anything by Sharon Kay Penman. Start with The Sunne in Splendour.

Date Posted: 3/21/2009 5:40 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,718
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Well if you like epic sagas there's always Michener. I don't personally like him but I know a lot of people do.

Edward Rutherford writes good epic historical sagas. If you like early historical periods, try Jack Whyte's Camulod Chronicles or Bernard Cromwell (Arthurian time period).

Date Posted: 3/23/2009 11:14 AM ET
Member Since: 2/15/2009
Posts: 4
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Wow, thanks for all the replys!  I've got a nice list here.  Appreciate it.

Date Posted: 3/24/2009 9:06 PM ET
Member Since: 7/24/2005
Posts: 147
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I love historical fiction.  The book I am reading right now is "I, Elisabeth"  It is very good.  I have read several books set in this general time frame so I am starting to really get a picture of Tudor England!   Philippa Greggary has written several pretty good historical fiction books of that era, they tend to be a little easier reading/more remance, but still good.  "constant Princess" and "The Queens Fool" are two I can think of that I read.

I also read a book called "Daughter of Troy" recently.  It was the whole Achilles/troy story but told from an entirely different point of view.  I liked it.

Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant was one of my favorite books from last year - highly recommended.  IT is set in 15th Century Florence Italy

Bernard Cornwell wrote a King Arthur trilogy starting with "The Winter King" - okay, not what you can really call HISTORICAL, but his version was much more realism then magical based.  It is one of my favorite of the Aurthur stories out there.

I have also enjoyed several historical fiction books set in the time of the Civil War.  I am not a war buff, but I think somehow that great conflict makes for a terrific backdrop.  Consider "Killer Angels" or "The Black Flower"

Last Edited on: 3/25/09 12:19 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Historical fiction recommendation
Date Posted: 3/25/2009 1:45 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2009
Posts: 2
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Try  the book Ordinary Heroes , by Scott Turow. Great WW2 story, very personal.


Last Edited on: 3/25/09 1:45 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/25/2009 10:38 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2006
Posts: 7,886
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I agree with Anne W.  Sharon Kay Penman's books are fabulous.  I am reading the last of a trilogy by her called "The Reckoning".  Her books are about English Kings and Wales in the 13th Century.  Fabulous writing.

Also, Michael Shaara's "Killer Angels" is wonderful.  He is no longer alive but his son, Jeff Shaara, has written several books along the line of his dad's and they are equally as good.  Early American history.

Last Edited on: 3/25/09 10:38 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/26/2009 12:07 PM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
Posts: 13,991
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I love this genre, but have a hard time finding things are not mostly "romance", seems like. 

One author I just discovered is David Ball. He writes about the Mediterranean area, inclduing northern Africa, Greece and its islands, , Italy and Turkey, in ancient times; maybe around the time of the Crusades. He's great, very readable, without being either too sappy or too scholarly.

Date Posted: 4/17/2009 10:48 PM ET
Member Since: 3/29/2009
Posts: 1
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I almost exclusivly read fantasy but one author has managed to pull me away. Gary Jennings , Aztec, Spangle( about a circus troop during US civil war times). Raptor (Haveing to do with german tribes and romans). and also Journeyer( about Marco Polo's travels) all very good books in my opinion.

Date Posted: 4/18/2009 6:52 AM ET
Member Since: 7/24/2005
Posts: 147
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There are plenty of historical fictions novels that aren't romances (although there is definately that genre too!).  I just finished a book called "Pompeii" that was good - story set around the man in charge of the aqueducts so he knew something was up before the mountain blew its top.

Other great Roman era historical fiction books are "Emperium" (I didn't spell that right, but I can track it down if anybody is interested) and "I, Claudious" by Robert Graves. 

Another great one is "Pillars of the Earth"

and then there is "Sarum: The Novel of England" which was one of those sweeping epic type books about Stonehenge and Salisbury area by following a couple of families over generations.  I liked it alot and I can see that amazon readers gave it 4.5 stars!



I read alot of historical fiction, so I can go on and on....