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Historical Fiction/Adventure recommendations (no self promotion please)


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Showing 1-25 of 34 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 15, 2012 10:15:23 AM PDT
Hello,

I am just finishing up Colleen McCoullough's Rome series (loved everything about it except for keeping track of the names) and I am looking for new historical fiction. I love long books with some adventure. I have listed some of my recent favorites below, all of which I recommend. I have also listed authors that I already know about. Please help me set up my summer reading list!

Please, no self promotion...

The Physician - best book I have read all year
James Clavell
Clan of the Cave Bear series
Wilbur Smith
Ken Follet
Herman Wouk
The Shopkeeper
The Sun also Rises
Taiko

Thanks,

Steve

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 25, 2012 2:26:35 PM PDT
Scott Oden says:
You should try David Ball's Ironfire: An Epic Novel of Love and War or, if you loved the Rome series, how about Steven Saylor's Roman Blood: A Novel of Ancient Rome (Novels of Ancient Rome)?

Best,

Scott

Posted on Mar 25, 2012 4:15:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 25, 2012 4:23:06 PM PDT
The "House of Niccolo" series by Dorothy Dunnett, starting with "Niccolo Rising"
Lindsey Davis's Falco series, starting with "Silver Pigs"
Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series, starting with "Outlander"
George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" starting with "Game of Thrones"

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 25, 2012 4:18:05 PM PDT
Great thanks, I have not read any of these...

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 25, 2012 4:21:07 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 25, 2012 4:25:50 PM PDT
I just added "Outlander" and "Song of Ice and Fire". "Game of Thrones" first season on HBO is excellent, available on demand; Second Season starts April 1.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 25, 2012 4:28:07 PM PDT
And a couple more.

Posted on Mar 26, 2012 7:48:23 AM PDT
Elise says:
I second Scott Oden's mention of Ironfire by David Ball. It is the best book I've read about the 1565 Siege of Malta. Great, enjoyable read. (I've read it three times, myself).

Stephen, if you are still interested in additional Rome HF, you might want to try some of Allan Massie's books. His "Antony" gives you a different take on Marcus Antonius and his plight. Since you are finishing up McCullough's Rome series, you might want to start with Antony, then move on to Augustus, then Tiberius. Only if you are not sick of Rome, that is!

If you are sick of Rome, try Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. This is about Thomas Cromwell and King Henry VIII. I devoured it -- it is that great of a read. I will warn you, however, that this seems to be the type of book that folks either love or hate. Nothing in between. It is written in present tense and can be a bit difficult to follow at first as far as who said what, but once you fall in with the rhythm, the tense is not really an issue. The second book of the trilogy is due out in May, so this may be an opportune read.

Posted on Mar 26, 2012 7:55:39 AM PDT
Thank you, I am definitely not sick of Rome and I will check those out. I am not big on Henry VIII books as I am not big on royalty, but thank you...

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2012 4:50:30 PM PDT
I was not a big Outlander fan, but I loved the Game of Thrones series, I read them all and loved them. If you like that, have you read the name of the wind? Loved it.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2012 5:27:25 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 26, 2012 5:42:54 PM PDT
Selene says:
Scott is no doubt being modest (not to mention actually taking notice of forum rules about self-promotion :), but his own Men of Bronze (set in ancient Egypt) and Memnon (set around the time of Alexander the Great's Persian campaigns) are also excellent historical adventures.

An oldie but goodie, Harold Lamb wrote some very good HF back in the pulp fiction era, and a lot of it has been reissued recently. Try something like Swords from the West as a starter.

Sam Barone's series set in ancient Mesopotamia, beginning with Dawn of Empire

I second Scott's recommendation of Steven Saylor's "Gordianus the Finder" series - hist-myst set in ancient Rome during the Late Republican era. Just recently re-read these and they're even better than I remembered- not something I can say about some other re-reads of old favourites, unfortunately!
Steven Saylor's Bookshop is also a good place to find more inspiration for novels set in the ancient world
http://www.stevensaylor.com/StevensBookshop.html

Christian Cameron's Tyrant series also set around and after Alexander's Persian campaigns - this guy is a great storyteller.

Giles Kristian's "Raven " series beginning with Blood Eye -Vikings- are also cracking reads.

Have you tried any of Joe Abercrombie's "First Law" series, starting with The Blade Itself? if you like your fantasy gritty and with plenty of black humour and action these are terrific.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 27, 2012 6:16:00 AM PDT
Elise says:
Selene wrote: "Scott is no doubt being modest (not to mention actually taking notice of forum rules about self-promotion :), but his own Men of Bronze (set in ancient Egypt) and Memnon (set around the time of Alexander the Great's Persian campaigns) are also excellent historical adventures."

Whoops, I missed that! Scott, a huge thank you for being a part of the forum as a reader. I've read (and enjoyed) Men of Bronze.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 27, 2012 6:22:41 AM PDT
Scott Oden says:
Thanks, Selene and Elise! I must second the call for Harold Lamb! An excellent writer whose work holds up very well over time. Also, you might want to give Robert E. Howard's historical tales a try: Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures. I've also recently read David Gemmell's Lord of the Silver Bow (Troy Trilogy, Book 1) and can recommend it without reservation. If you're on an ancient Greek kick, too, you cannot miss the work of Mary Renault, especially The Praise Singer.

Posted on Mar 27, 2012 6:23:49 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Mar 27, 2012 6:26:02 AM PDT]

Posted on Mar 27, 2012 8:40:55 AM PDT
Thomas B. Costain's THE BLACK ROSE and DARKNESS AND THE DAWN are fine old classics. Also, you might enjoy Rafael Sabatini's books (e.g, CAPTAIN BLOOD, THE SEA HAWK).

Posted on Mar 29, 2012 9:34:28 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 4, 2012 9:10:35 AM PDT
Happyone says:
Bernard Cornwell's various series

Sharpe - about an officer in Wellington's army is Spain
Saxon Cronicles - Set in the Era of Alfred the Great (late 800's Britain)
Grail Quest Triolgy - Set in the 100 yrs war

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 3, 2012 11:49:45 AM PDT
Ironfire was the perfect recommendation for me, right up their with the Physician. Thank you very much. It is exactly what I like, young people who go on adventures and are exposed to lives they never should have been, with lots of history and some interaction with key historical figures from that time period. It is right in my wheelhouse, thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 3, 2012 12:59:51 PM PDT
Scott Oden says:
Glad you liked it, Stephen!

Posted on Apr 3, 2012 8:16:11 PM PDT
To these already excellent selection I will add a few more.
James Mcgee's Bow Street runner and spy during Napoleanic wars HF/adventure series Ratcatcher
C.C. Humphrey has several adventure historical series or books French Executioner, Jack Absolute and Vlad: The Last Confession.
Conn Iggulden's Genghis and Kublai Khan series Genghis: Birth of an Empire: A Novel, he also has a series on Rome and Julius Caesar Emperor: The Gates of Rome: A Novel of Julius Caesar.
If you've read Eiji Yoshikawa's Taiko, have you also read Musashi, which comes as either one large book or as a series of five, or The Heike Story: A Modern Translation of the Classic Tale of Love and War (Tuttle Classics)?
You may also like Takashi Matsuoka's two book series Cloud of Sparrows and Autumn Bridge.

Posted on Apr 4, 2012 5:31:24 AM PDT
Ooo, the Genghis and Kublai Khan series sounds interesting. I've not heard of those before. Thanks Dawn.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2012 8:06:23 AM PDT
Skyler Swift says:
I would also like to enthusiastically add The Gilboa Iris by Zahava D. Englard. It's a can't put down book and one instantly becomes involved with the characters. Loads of history involving Israel and the Middle East and current events dealing with global terror all intertwined in a wonderful romance - adventure novel.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2012 8:58:33 AM PDT
Mari says:
Without any doubt, I highly recommend The Gilboa Iris! A new novel by Zahava D. Englard. It is a story that travels from Israel to the US to Germany in a fast paced romantic adventure against a backdrop of global terror and international intrigue. From page one the reader is completely drawn into this epic tale, and Englard paints a fascinating word picture with a style that is elegant and at the same time an easy read. You will not be disappointed. Upon finishing The Gilboa Iris, I found myself thirsting for more to read from this outstanding author!

Posted on Apr 4, 2012 10:30:53 AM PDT
jes1564 says:
In the 1970s I fell in love with Graham Shelby's novels. I don't know if they are still in print, but if you can get hold of any they will be worth the reading. Especially:
The Knights of Dark Renown
The Kings of Vain Intent
The Villain of the Piece
The Devil is Loose
The Wolf at the Door

All of these are novels set in the medieval period, the first two concentrating on the Holy Land and the crusades, 'Villain' is set in King Stephen's reign, and the last two are about Richard the Lionheart and his brother John.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2012 11:21:57 AM PDT
Misfit says:
I have Knights of Dark Renown on the pile somewhere. That was one of several medieval novels Elizabeth Chadwick mentioned on her blog as being among her favorites. A good enough rec for me.

Posted on Apr 4, 2012 1:01:48 PM PDT
Hi Beverly and Misfit, as you see I've started to dip back into the discussions (fingers crossed).

Beverly, my husband, Ron, has read the first 3 books in Iggulden's series, on Genghis, and I've read only the first one but they are very captivating. There are some cruel and graphic scenes, mostly battle, but that's how these people lived.

I will have to try and find Shelby's work, especially Dark Renown after what Misfit said.

Posted on Apr 5, 2012 11:31:21 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 5, 2012 11:34:33 AM PDT]
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Discussion in:  Historical Fiction forum
Participants:  18
Total posts:  34
Initial post:  Mar 15, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 17, 2012

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