Historical novels that aren't utter drivel?

Anything with a vague historical bent

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Christabel
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Postby Christabel » Tue Apr 15, 2008 4:52 pm

Oh, and Rosemary Sutcliff's "Knight's Fee" - always makes me cry, though!



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IDEEDEE
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Postby IDEEDEE » Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:40 pm

Some great suggestions up there folks...

I go for ancient to medieval to military m'self... Unfortunately most of my "best of all time" ones seem to be hard to get your mits on these days.. :cry:

Don't think these have been mentioned already..: If you like Romans and can track down any Wallace Breem ("Eagle in the snow", "The Legate's Daughter" it's well worth while. Alfred Duggan or George Shipway, if you can find them, always please (Shipway's "Imperial Governor" is a killer - an all-time fave of mine, even after thirty plus years)

Quirky "ancient" ones that I liked: "The King David Report" by Stefan Heym, Claud Cockburn's "Jericho Road", Kenneth Benton's "Death on the Appian Way", "Men went to Cattraeth", "Bridge of Sand" & "Not for all the gold in Ireland", by John James..

More mainstream...:Robert Graves "Claudius" books of course, most Steven Saylor (but not his "Rome" epic), James Clavell, David Wisheart and Mary Renault - and Thomas Holt's historical novels are great fun (I loved "A song for Nero"). :lol:

Finally, for culture shock, :shock: freaky bloodletting, general nastiness and totally unpronouncable names "Aztec" by Gary Jennings... (Still not sure how I feel about that one)



ben
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vote flashman

Postby ben » Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:58 pm

I second the Flashman series, immense fun!

Ben



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steve stanley
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Postby steve stanley » Wed Apr 23, 2008 1:51 pm

'Eagle in the Snow' was re-published a couple of years ago....re-read it for the first time in 20 years...still good!
Steve


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John Waller
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Postby John Waller » Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:11 pm

The Matthew Hervey series by Allan Mallinson - more action than the most excellent Patrick O'Brian, less nonsense that Sharpe.

The Hornblower series.

Death to the French - you can't beat that for a title.

Flashman series.


Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.

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arianwen
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Postby arianwen » Wed Apr 23, 2008 5:49 pm

I second the Shardlake series - theyre bringing out a fourth book soon too

Not sure how accurate it is bu I like Phillipa Gregory stuff mostly the tudor stuff but Wise Woman is good too



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Postby busy mole » Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:10 pm

The Sally Lockhart books by Philip Pullman - yes they're for older children but a great read set in Victorian times, suitable for the bath!

Anything by Mary Stewart!

Daphne du Maurier?

I'm trying to finish Martin Chuzzlewit at the moment, it's been hard work, but the indictment of mid 19th century America was interesting!

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Postby Mad Mab » Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:55 pm

busy mole wrote:The Sally Lockhart books by Philip Pullman - yes they're for older children but a great read set in Victorian times, suitable for the bath!

Anything by Mary Stewart!

Daphne du Maurier?

I'm trying to finish Martin Chuzzlewit at the moment, it's been hard work, but the indictment of mid 19th century America was interesting!

Helen.


I remember reading the sally lochart books when I was 10 and I still enjoy them now (along with The Dark is Rising Sequence and The Black Cauldron.) Good childrens books are good forever.


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Eggles
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Postby Eggles » Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:38 am

O'Brien - Big yes
Mallinson - early ones yes, I find the later ones are becoming less good

Try Iain Pears - An instance of the Fingerpost or The Dream of Scipio. Both rather complex, told from multiple points of view but good meaty and solid.



Matt_D
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Postby Matt_D » Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:10 pm

Any of Coleen McCullough's "Rome" series, just so in depth and obviously did lots of research.



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Postby Shadowcat » Mon May 19, 2008 11:27 am

As you are planning the Bath Ball, add Georgette Heyer to your list. Her research is good, especially on the Regency clothes (whole chunks taken from "Ackermann's Repository", the "Good Housekeeping" or "Vogue" of its era. The Georgian stuff is a bit less well researched, IMHOP, with too much gold lace and purple velvet for my liking, but the Napoleonic War books are good.

(I have a book specifically on the Waterloo Ball, with names, and pictures of some extant clothing I could send with the other bits I have for you? PM me if you're interested.)

Suzi



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Attilla the Bun
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Postby Attilla the Bun » Mon May 19, 2008 1:28 pm

I like detective fiction and historical fiction, so historical detective fiction ticks all the boxes.
I love the Owen Archer mysteries by Candace Robb - better than Cadfael!
Falco is excellent, but I also really like Simon Scarrow's Cato books.
And Peter Tremayne's Sister Fidelma books are particularly intriguing because of the setting, in 7th century Ireland. There's loads of them too, keep you going for ages!

I have quite a few of these and some from everyone else's lists, (all the Patrick O'Brians, for example) if you want to borrow any.


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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Tue May 20, 2008 3:00 pm

Mallory is quite good as is that Chaucer fellow.


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Hon_Kitty
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Postby Hon_Kitty » Tue May 20, 2008 3:32 pm

Pamela Belle's English Civil War fiction - "The Moon in the Water", "The Chains of Fate", and then into Restoration London with "Alethea".

Georgette Heyer seconded - particularly some of the fluffier ones ("The Masqueraders" being my favourite)

Likewise Mary Gentle "1610: A Sundial in a Grave" which has an, erm, interesting plot twist.

Kit, passionately in love with Francis Lymond since 1992 :shock:


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PaulMurphy
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Postby PaulMurphy » Tue May 20, 2008 3:49 pm

Hon_Kitty wrote:Kit, passionately in love with Francis Lymond since 1992 :shock:


All the good girls love a bad man...and most of the bad girls too...

...but it's Francis Crawford of Lymond, as you should know :wink:


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Joanna Spencer
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Postby Joanna Spencer » Thu May 29, 2008 7:56 pm

how about Katherine by Anya Seton? Well researched story of the mistress of John of Gaunt who became his third wife eventually and the ancestress of the Tudors. Wonderful descriptions of medieval life and is meant to be fairly accurate



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Joanna Spencer
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Postby Joanna Spencer » Thu May 29, 2008 7:58 pm

oh and Eagle of the Ninth is the best ever!



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Postby auldMotherBegg » Sat Jun 14, 2008 3:24 am

'Doomsday Book', by Connie Willis, another 'time-travel' one, (spot my interest in that concept :roll: ) and is a good one related to the 14th century, with lots of great details about the plague.

Also, the R.F. Delderfield series is good, beginning with 'Their's was the Kingdom', a series of books about the Swann family, starting in the late 18th/early 19th century (can't remember which now) and moving forward through time to the mid-20th century. All very good, and there are about 10 of them, ensuring a long satisfying read over time.

8)



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Attilla the Bun
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Postby Attilla the Bun » Sat Jun 14, 2008 3:59 pm

and in the same vein, Hugh Walpole's quartet of books about a family starting with "Rogue Herris". WOnderfully bleak in places


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Aelfcyn
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Postby Aelfcyn » Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:04 pm

I grew up on Rosemary Sutcliffe, think my fave was Frontier Wolf ( must buy myself a copy actually ). Actually, they should have made that into a film instead of that King Arthur drivel.....

Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskel is really good, it was the first book of its era where the heroine was a total b*tch, I mean, there is not one good word to say for her !

And although they're not based on history but rather on Celtic myths and legends, the Deverry series by Katherine Kerr are a good read.

I'm a big fan of Elizabeth Chadwick too - the Greatest KNight and Daughters of the Grail are two of the best IMO. Funny thing - the Bloke reads them all as soon as I've finished, and he's moaned about every single one, yet he still reads them !



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Stephen Dobson / Rab
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Postby Stephen Dobson / Rab » Wed Jul 02, 2008 8:13 pm

Just picked up a dozen Cadfael books for 20p each from the church fete, never read any of them before, but am already on book 3! Great fun, and I'm rather fond of the good monk's theology; very gentle :)



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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Thu Jul 31, 2008 5:45 pm

I've just finished "Fear In The Forest" which is part of the Crowner John series by Bernard Knight. It was an easy enough read but I'm not going to rush out for another.


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craig1459
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Postby craig1459 » Thu Jul 31, 2008 7:06 pm

steve stanley wrote:
auldMotherBegg wrote:I also like Diana Gabaldon, and her Jacobite series... the 'time travel' bit may come under the heading of "utter drivel", but I loved them!

Hate to admit it,but so do I!.......despite a few irritating errors(riding wearing plaids...grumble...whinge)
Steve
Sara likes them - I call them multi-period Goodnight Sweetheart but there you go lol

I really enjoyed Harlequin by Bernard Cornwell (set in the HYW up to Crecy) alas the follow-ups are tripe


die Behmen hinder iren bafosen ... stunden vest wie die mauren

Marcus Woodhouse
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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Fri Aug 01, 2008 8:31 am

I can't stand Bernard Cornwall. Every character seems to be Sharpe in a different uniform (and as I can't stand that charatcer he's on a loss to start with). Add to that the man's rather obviuos hatred of Christianity and pomposity (I met him about six or seven years back) and there is no reason for me to like him at all. Or his books.


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Yorkshire Lass
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Postby Yorkshire Lass » Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:10 pm

Fidelis Morgan's Lady Ashby De La Zouch series is great fun if you are after something lighter with good historical accuracy. Great cast of fictional and historical characters having what can only be described as romps through London and Paris. Keep an eye out for a truly hilarious scene with Daniel Defoe hiding beneath a bed!

http://www.fidelismorgan.com

And David Liss has already been mentioned, but I second that. Comspiracy of Paper is a great book, and the sequel A Spectacle of Corruption doesn't dissapoint. Also liked The Coffee Trader, which takes the family from the previous two books back to Amsterdam in the 17thC and gives us a close up of the Jewish community there, and the reasons for its growth.



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ibattles
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the last english king - Julian Rathbone

Postby ibattles » Sat Nov 22, 2008 3:53 pm

Really enjoyed that one - 1066 and all that from the perspective of one of Harolds Housecarls. Probably remains to this day my favourite work of historic fiction.

He also did an excellent one about the wars of the roses I forget the title!

And of course the Shardlake series, as well as Bernard Cornwell specifically the Viking sagas which are superb, particularly his less than complimentary examination of Alfred the Great!

John
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steve stanley
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Re: the last english king - Julian Rathbone

Postby steve stanley » Sat Nov 22, 2008 7:59 pm

ibattles wrote:He also did an excellent one about the wars of the roses I forget the title!



Kings of Albion.......And I quite agree about Shardlake...
Steve


"Give me a tent and a kettle

Snowshoes and axe and gun

Send me up in Grand River

Steering by star and sun".

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X
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Postby X » Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:08 pm

Susanna Gregory, Simon Scarrow, C.S. Forester (never really got on with Patrick O'Brien), Georgette Heyer, C.J. Sansom, Ellis Peters, Candace Robb, Lindsey Davis (latest one came out a few weeks ago, reading it at the moment), James McGee, Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe books for uncomplicated military fiction, and his 'Gallows Thief' for something a bit different.

To these, I would add:

Dudley Pope: naval fiction, good stuff, but Forester is better.

R.S. Downie: two books about a Roman army doctor, so far.

Ariana Franklin: set in the reign of Henry II, about a forensic pathologist. Three books, and I had number three on order to get it at the soonest possible moment after it was released.

Dorothy L. Sayers: twentieth century is now historical fiction.

Gillian Linscott: mostly out of print; set in the years before WWI.

Elizabeth Eyre: almost certainly out of print, set in renaissance Italy, and very funny.

Donna Woolfolk Cross's 'Pope Joan' - not detective fiction! Fictionalised book about the woman pope.

Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose.

Laura Joh Rowland, for those with an interest in sixteenth century Japan.

Robert Harris' 'Fatherland'. Read it in one sitting. Alternative history, which is not generally my thing, but for this I make an exception.

C.S. Harris: detective fiction set in the Regency period.

Reay Tannahill's 'the Seventh Son' was quite good.



Decision Most Deadly
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A New Historical Novel

Postby Decision Most Deadly » Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:33 am

Hi Sally

I read about your quest for historical novels that are not drivel!

Can I suggest my first novel - you can read an extract at

http://www.decisionmostdeadly.com

Decision Most Deadly is set in London, 1641, during the build up to the English Civil War, a time of intense unrest, plots and political intrigue. It was a crucial period of history.

I'd love any feedback, so please feel free to get in touch or use the guestbook.

Kind Regards
Mark Turnbull



Marcus Woodhouse
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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:09 pm

Sorry X but any story about "Pope Joan" is fiction anyway as its a legend that has its roots in anti catholic nastiness.


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