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Topic: Landmark historical novels

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Subject: Landmark historical novels
Date Posted: 12/17/2009 2:15 PM ET
Member Since: 12/22/2008
Posts: 533
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The Scarlet Lion: "One of the landmark historical novels of the last 10 years." - Richard Lee, Historical Novel Society

Does anyone know of other books Mr. Lee considers "landmark historical novels?"

Perhaps this info can be found on the HNS website, but I'm not a member (membership dues are currently not in my budget).

Thanks to anyone who can share this information.

Date Posted: 12/17/2009 3:39 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2006
Posts: 13
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Hi there!  Another forum member alerted me to your post.  The article with Richard Lee's landmark historical novels appeared in the August 2007 issue of the Historical Novels Review (our 10th anniversary issue).  The ten books he named are, in no particular order:

Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White
Iain Pears's An Instance of the Fingerpost
Sarah Waters's Fingersmith
Jude Morgan's Passion
Steven Pressfield's Gates of Fire
Louis de Bernieres's Birds Without Wings
Elizabeth Chadwick's The Scarlet Lion
Conn Iggulden's Wolf of the Plains
Tracy Chevalier's Girl with a Pearl Earring
Anita Diamant's The Red Tent

Hope this helps!  (I'm the book review editor for the magazine; Richard Lee is the publisher and founder of HNS)

Date Posted: 12/18/2009 8:00 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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>>Conn Iggulden's Wolf of the Plains<<

Just so you all know ('cause I didn't), this is the same book as Ghengis: Birth of an Empire. I bought both thinking they were different. LOL!

Date Posted: 12/18/2009 9:09 AM ET
Member Since: 12/22/2008
Posts: 533
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A huge "Thanks" to whomever contacted Sarah concerning my question!!

Sarah, Thank you sooooo much for providing this list.  For some time I've been very curious about it and am pleased to have the information.  Thanks, again, for your time.

Genie, thanks for clarifying my confusion about the Iggulden's titles.

More thanks and a great weekend to all, Valerie 

Date Posted: 12/18/2009 9:46 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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I've read every book on that list. Does that mean I am now a "landmark" too? Or, someone who should get out more?

The HNS website is one of the very few that I check regularly for new content. It is a fantastic resource for anyone who adores H/F and History.

Here is a link in case any of our newer posters haven't found this site yet - http://www.historicalnovelsociety.org/

Thanks for the list, Sarah!

Date Posted: 12/18/2009 1:33 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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**takes bow**

That was me. Sarah is a regular poster over at historicalfictiononline.com and I dropped her a note. Glad she could help. I'm not a member either but I do subscribe to their email newsletter on reviews. Sarah's blog is also a good one to put in your reader as she'll post about upcoming HF novels. Fills up my purchase request list at the library pretty good.

Date Posted: 12/18/2009 3:19 PM ET
Member Since: 12/22/2008
Posts: 533
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Cathy, thank you for being so helpful in asking for Sarah's assistance.  What an interesting list; a few are already on my TBR.  Subscribing to the newsletter sounds like a must.

Date Posted: 12/18/2009 3:24 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2006
Posts: 13
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Thanks, folks, and glad to help!  Thanks to Cathy for mentioning my blog too  :)  I just fixed my .sig to add a link to it -- at least I think I have.

I've read six out of the ten that Richard mentioned.  I struggled with Gates of Fire (one of these years I'll give it a try again) but thoroughly enjoyed the Pears, Waters, Morgan, Chevalier, and Diamant.

Date Posted: 12/18/2009 3:57 PM ET
Member Since: 12/22/2008
Posts: 533
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Sarah, I'm on my way to visit your blog!

Date Posted: 12/23/2009 7:05 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
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Since that list is now over two years old, I wonder if Mr. Lee would make any adjustments based on books that have come out since then.  I'd also be interested in the reasons why he chose those books.  I might make it my own personal mini-challenge to read all of those books this year.  I haven't read any of them, but two are on my TBR.

Date Posted: 12/23/2009 7:38 PM ET
Member Since: 12/22/2008
Posts: 533
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Christa, I, too, have wondered what he might change, considering books that have since been published.

That's an interesting idea to make the list a personal mini-challenge.  Hmmmm........ 

Date Posted: 12/23/2009 8:04 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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I read 3 of them - An Instance of the Fingerpost, The Scarlet Lion and Wolf of the Plains. All 3 are wonderful with Fingerpost being one of my favorite all-time reads.

I started, but didn't finish, Fingersmith. Others (I think Mimi) liked it a lot.

Date Posted: 12/24/2009 4:17 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2009
Posts: 337
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Thanks for the list:  and for the links to the blog and website:  My TBR list just got bigger.....

Date Posted: 12/25/2009 5:31 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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Of them, I've read:

Sarah Waters's Fingersmith
Louis de Bernieres's Birds Without Wings
Tracy Chevalier's Girl with a Pearl Earring
Anita Diamant's The Red Tent

And, Genie's right, I liked Fingersmith, but not nearly as much as I liked Birds Without Wings. That one was fantastic, I love de Berniere's writing.