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Please help!!! Best Epic Historical Fiction You've EVER read!!!


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Showing 1-25 of 533 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 14, 2009 10:56:44 AM PDT
T. Weatherby says:
Ok ... I love a great epic story that gets you caught up in the lives of the characters and the depth of the story line. I love a good romantic historical fiction ... length does not scare me ... the longer the better. Any suggestions?!? Looking for summer read before I leave on vacation.

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 11:37:50 AM PDT
M. Brill says:
The Religion by Tim Willocks

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 11:40:26 AM PDT
billmelater says:
For totally creating an engrossing, lively, romantic realm of characters and settings...I recommend Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these characters!

For sweet, interesting romance and family...Lynn Kurland's series of novels about the de Piaget and MacLeod families. I always love when a new addition to the series comes out!

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 11:44:50 AM PDT
Phillip Roth: The Plot Against America
Robert Earl Warren: All the King's Men
Harriet Beecher Stowe: Uncle Tom's Cabin

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2009 11:48:14 AM PDT
billmelater says:
Michael, you are SO right about "Plot Against America". It was a truly amazing book, and one that I recommend frequently. But sorry, I couldn't get through "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and neither could my avid reader daughter.

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 12:52:40 PM PDT
Southern gal says:
If you like a long read (460-ish pages?) that goes by too quickly, try Shades of Gray: A Novel of the Civil War in Virginia by Jessica James. It is the old-fashioned type of historical romance, not at all like the romance genre of today. I saw that it actually passed Gone with the Wind on amazon in June.

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 2:46:15 PM PDT
Elise says:
If you like romantic historical fiction, try the british Elizabeth Chadwick. If you like heavy historical fiction, try these:

The Traitor's Wife by Susan Higginbotham
Ironfire by David Ball
Jerusalem by Cecelia Holland
The Sunne in Splendor by Sharon Kay Penman

Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series -- it starts with the First Man in Rome and escalates from there into an additional six volumes which could double as door-stoppers. I finished the entire series a few months ago and cannot wait to begin reading it again.

I always enjoy picking out vacation reading. Good luck!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2009 3:01:16 PM PDT
Misfit says:
The Far Pavilions and Shadow of the Moon MM Kaye
Olivia and Jai Rebecca Ryman
The Proud Breed Celeste de Blasis
Zemindar Valerie Fitzgerald
Cashelmara and Penmarric Susan Howatch
Paint the Wind Cathy Cash Spellman (more towards romance with this one)
Calico Palace Gwen Bristow
The Count of Monte Cristow Alexandre Dumas
The Musketeer series Alexandre Dumas

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2009 3:28:00 PM PDT
GBC says:
I would highly recommend the Master of Rome series by Colleen Mcullagh.
Six hefty tomes detailing the lives and loves of Classical Rome's most well known characters, and some not so well known ones as well.
They are packed with historical fact and incredible detail about late Roman Republic society and its interaction with other peoples and states of that time.
My fav characters from the series would be Sulla, followed by Marius, and then Caesar, but you'll have to read it to discover more!

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 5:21:24 PM PDT
Shaker Days/Don Terbush
Pillars of the Earth/Ken Follett
World Without End/Ken Follett

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2009 7:36:57 PM PDT
T. Weatherby says:
Thanks! I have read the "Outlander" series and loved it! A suggestion for you is "The Wilderness" series by Sara Donatti ... very similar to Gabaldon's work.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2009 7:38:38 PM PDT
T. Weatherby says:
I have been tracking that one and plan on looking for it at our local used book store tomorrow ... if I can't find it I'm sure I will get it off Amazon. Thanks!

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 9:10:26 PM PDT
well, i just finished The Mists of Avalon (870ish pages) by Marion Zimmer Bradley, essentially the Arthurian tales told from the perspective of the female characters, for the 5th time in 20 odd years. i love this book!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2009 10:18:26 PM PDT
billmelater says:
Pillars of the Earth was very good, but I thought that World Without End could have used a good editor!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2009 10:20:02 PM PDT
billmelater says:
Thanks for the recommendation of "The Wilderness" series. I'll be sure to check it out. I love forums like this for folks who like to read. So many books, so little time. This helps us sort the wheat from the chaff!

Posted on Jul 15, 2009 5:05:43 AM PDT
Rachel says:
In no particular order:
Susan Kay - Legacy (Elizabeth I). It's being reprinted, which is awesome - it was out of print for a number of years. Rosalind Miles' "I Elizabeth" is not quite as good, but I still enjoyed it.
Donna Gillespie - The Light Bearer (Imperial Rome)
Brian Wainwright - Within the Fetterlock (14th-early 15th cent. England)

I also second the recommendations for Sunne in Splendour (actually, anything by SKP is a must - definitely look into her Welsh trilogy and the series that starts with When Christ and his Saints Slept) and Susan Higginbotham's The Traitor's Wife.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2009 5:05:48 AM PDT
T. Weatherby says:
Yes, I agree! I love to get recommendations ... if anyone has not read anything by Penelope Williamson you should give her earlier works a try ... The Outsider, Heart of the West, Passions of Emma also Jennifer Donnelly (think that is how you spell it) The Tea Rose and The Winter Rose. Oh, and another one Francine Rivers Mark of the Lion Series.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2009 6:40:29 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 16, 2009 4:05:08 AM PDT
Hi T. Weatherby - not long but great, 1960s books by Mary Renault. Absolute best are The King Must Die and The Bull From The Sea, a re-telling of the Theseus and the Minotaur legend. Brilliant. Also The Last Of the Wine about the Sparta/Athens war, and a series about Alexander The Great. You'll find them here on Amazon.

Have you read James Michener? Hawaii, The Source, Centennial, lots more? Nice and long and full of interest.

Er - self-promotion coming up - my The Pirate And The Puritan, only 350 pages, suggest you have a look at the reviews. Good strong plot, they tell me, and believable characters.

Among Colleen McCullough's other works, Morgan's Run is good and long and never boring.

Happy holiday reading!

Monya (aka Mary)
also Blueprint For Love, contemporary, good beach read they tell me!

Posted on Jul 15, 2009 7:13:26 AM PDT
I'm glad someone finally mentioned Michener. Hawaii is my favorite but Space was incredible. Jean Auel's "Clan of the Cavebear" series is good though the 2nd and 3rd books needed a good editor.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2009 7:25:38 AM PDT
Lonesome Dove; Little Big Man; Exodus; Winds of War

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2009 7:49:13 AM PDT
billmelater says:
I LOVED Lonesome Dove! In my opinion, though, the first 70 pages were hard to get through...a little too much description of tumbleweeds! But it was well worth slogging through to get to the story. Gosh, I think I should immediately put it on my "to read again" list!!!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2009 8:26:19 AM PDT
Susan E. Day says:
I agree completely re: The Mists of Avalon. I read it about once a year. Trinity by Leon Uris is in the same category for me. Also, don't forget James Clavell . . . everything is a good read.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2009 8:30:57 AM PDT
Escaping says:
Have you tried the Diana Gabaldon Outlander Series. There are 5 books out and the 6th coming out in September. Scottish Higlanders. All are on audio books by Dina Porter.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2009 8:40:56 AM PDT
billmelater says:
Great series, as I mentioned above. But actually there are six books and the seventh comes out in September. Yes, I've preordered on Amazon!

Posted on Jul 15, 2009 8:56:25 AM PDT
If length is truly no object, try Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles (the first one is The Game of Thrones)--they're beyond gripping. Adventure, romance, fabulous wealth of detail . . . and the kind of plotting that has you tearing your hair out at one in the morning. Not light reading, but very rewarding.
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Discussion in:  Historical Fiction forum
Participants:  310
Total posts:  533
Initial post:  Jul 14, 2009
Latest post:  Jan 29, 2014

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