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Historical Fiction set in Asia -- recommendations?

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Showing 26-50 of 59 posts in this discussion
Posted on Mar 15, 2012 10:18:01 AM PDT
Musashi by Yoshikawa. It is a great epic story of a samurai warrior. It is one of if not the most popular historical fictions in Japan and it has translated well...

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 16, 2012 7:49:52 AM PDT
Leona says:
Marco -- try Miss Gone-overseas. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. It's a first person narrative by a Japanese woman during WWII, and it's set on a Pacific island. She is so down to earth and admirable. And the style is like an old-fashioned pillow book.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 16, 2012 12:22:06 PM PDT
Look at Yang Shen, at Amazon or B&N

Posted on Mar 23, 2012 7:45:45 AM PDT
"Miss Saigon" and "The King and I" golden classics that you might appreciate. Just don't get caught with "The King and I" in Thailand--it's illegal there.

Leonardo Noto

Posted on Mar 30, 2012 3:14:07 PM PDT
Just added The Garden of Evening Mists to my TBR pile, on the recommendation of a trusted book blogger. Will let y'all know what I think once I get to it!

Posted on Apr 1, 2012 4:09:08 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 1, 2012 4:14:17 PM PDT
M.T.S says:
Three Kingdoms (Chinese Classics in 4 volumes box set) Three Kingdoms is considered a classic in East Asia. If you search the title in IMDB, there are many who made this novel into a movie and tv series.

Posted on Apr 1, 2012 5:23:09 PM PDT
Brenda Novak says:
I just finished A SAMURAI'S GARDEN. It's not historical in the sense that it's set in the 15th century (it's set in the 1930's) but I found it to be an amazing book. Very memorable.

Posted on Apr 2, 2012 5:39:02 PM PDT
I'll second the recommendation for Van Guliks Judge Dee series. Based on a real person they give you a wonderful flavor and taste of old China. I.J. Parker's Sugarwara Akitada series set in 11th century Japan is amazing and deserves wider readership and I'm excited to check out her Hollow Reed series. Other authors to consider are:
Takahashi Matsuoka has two books (wish he had more) set when Japan was opening its ports to the west.
Laura Joh Rowland's popular Sano Ichiro series set in 17th c. Japan
Gail Tsukiyama writes many books set around WWII in China and Japan.
Shan Sa personal favorite of hers, so far, The Girl Who Played Go
Anchee Min Empress Orchid, Red Azalea
Eiji Yoshikawa Japanese masterpiece on Japan's greatest swordsman Miyamoto Musashi is available as one large book or as a 5 book series
Indu Sundaresan set in India during the Mughal empire, 16th - 17th centuries

Posted on Apr 4, 2012 5:33:03 AM PDT
Thomas B. Costain's THE BLACK ROSE is also very good. It follows the adventures of a young Englishman from the time of Edward III on his journey to far-off Cathay.

Posted on Apr 19, 2012 9:51:57 AM PDT
Ann Allen says:
The The Jewel in the Crown (The Raj Quartet, Book 1) series is set in India during World War II.

(I'd forgotten about The Far Pavillions. It's been a long time since I read it, but I remember how much I liked it.Glad to see it posted here.)

Posted on Jun 2, 2012 6:25:30 PM PDT
K. Ratner says:
For HF set in Asia i got hooked on Mystic Dancer / F. G. Rist. I never knew this story. Had me crying at the end.

Posted on Jun 3, 2012 7:34:45 PM PDT
Marco says:
I'm really enjoying the posts and suggestions, Thanks everyone. The Witch Hunter's Amulet, set in 16th cenrury Goa, Portuguese India, is also getting good reviews. Witch Hunter's Amulet

Posted on Jun 3, 2012 8:30:27 PM PDT
Wayward Son

Try this novel!

Posted on Jun 4, 2012 8:06:37 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 5, 2012 12:20:04 PM PDT
I'm probably starting to sound like a broken record with my Harold Lamb recommendations, but I really wish his works would regain popularity. He was writing about Asia and other exotic locales long before it was cool or trendy to do so. He mostly wrote short stories, which have been collected into several volumes available here on Amazon (Swords from the West, Swords from the East, Swords from the Desert, Swords from the Sea, etc). The 4 volumes about Khlit the Cossack are masterpieces as well. He also wrote "The Three Palladins", about Genghis Khan. These are short stories, written in the adventure magazine style, but with a freshness that holds up well today. They are very unconventional for their time, and the history and research are flawless. I strongly recommend everything he wrote!

Posted on Jun 5, 2012 1:46:34 AM PDT
Country Girl says:
Recently read Angela Davis-Gardner's interesting novel "Butterfly's Child" which continues the story from the Puccini opera. Also remember enjoying James Michener's "Caravans" about Afghanistan and almost any of Pearl S. Buck's books (she won the Nobel Prize in literature for "The Good Earth", one of her works about China), although you have to recall that these books were written many years ago. "Shanghai Girls" by Lisa See and most of Amy Tan's books (for example "The Joy Luck Club" and "The Bonesetter's Daughter") are also excellent reads set wholly or partially in Asia.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 5, 2012 3:11:58 AM PDT
Warren Blake says:
Asia is my part of the World, with a grown-up half Vietnamese, half Kiwi family, and hundreds of relevant books on my shelves.
I see that you have been, and will be, well served with recommendations for modern depictions, but if you are interested in contemporary (as opposed to modern) works, you might try:
"The Portuges Asia" by Faria y Sousa, transl by Capt John Stevens, 1695..."The Historie of the Difcoverie and Conqeft of India by the Portingalls" in facsimile, a trifle difficult to follow, but fascinating detail.
"A Voyage to New Holland" William Dampier, Explorer and Buccaneer, whose sensibilities in the 1690's are surpringly modern.
"Memoirs of William Hickey" a rollicking adventurer in India, China and London in the 1780's...with a 1960's view of morality'
"The Travels" 1300, by the eponymous MARCO Polo, in English in Penguin Classics....perhaps you can read the original??
"In the Nicobar Islands" George Whitehead, 1924. Classic colonial interest in an extremely isolated and small tribe.
I hesitate to promote my own work, but after 47 years adventuring in Asia (mostly SE Asia), may I suggest "A Long Way from Home", an epic novel set in the days (1840-50's) of Sir James Brooke, White Rajah of Sarawak, in Borneo, an extraordinary man who ruled, largely through the force of his personality and his instinctive understanding of and admiration for his head-hunting subjects, in a wilderness the size of France. I am presently struggling with the formatting (especially that of contemporary, 1850, etchings) to publish as an e-book on Amazon...should be available in June.
Even more hesitantly, you may wish to look at my first hand account of adventures as a foolhardy civilian youth in Vietnam during seven years of the American War in "End of an Era; Saigon before the Fall".....available as an Amazon e-book.
Warren Blake.

Posted on Jun 5, 2012 1:43:58 PM PDT
Two books by J.G. Farell, two parts of his Empire Trilogy:

The Siege of Krishnapur (New York Review Books Classics)

The Singapore Grip (New York Review Books Classics)

Both are excellent. The first is set in India during an uprising against the British. The second is set in Singapore just before the start of WWII.

(The third, Troubles, is set in Ireland in the 1920.)

Posted on Jun 5, 2012 6:51:31 PM PDT
Nancy Lee says:
The Martyred (Penguin Classics) - Korea
Lost Names: Scenes from a Korean Boyhood, 40th Anniversary Edition, With a New Preface - Korea
Daughter of the Bamboo Forest - China & Taiwan

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 5, 2012 11:29:35 PM PDT
Obion1884 says:
First time to come across this thread. Am in complete agreement on Pearl Buck. Reading just one book, The Good Earth provides a basic understanding of Chinese culture. It may exist but I am not aware of any reasonably recent historical novel that does the same thing for any culture.

Posted on Jun 6, 2012 10:47:52 AM PDT
Beverly says:
A Passage to India by E M Forster; Shogun by James Clavell.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 13, 2012 10:50:33 AM PDT
I. J. Parker says:
Thanks, Dawn & Ron. Eiji Yoshikawa has also written TAIKO and TALE OF THE HEIKE.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 13, 2012 6:58:25 PM PDT
I.J., Your Welcome! We have Yoshikawa'a other books on our wishlist and wish Taiko was available in something other than hardback.
Have you or anyone read any of Yasushi Inoue's works? We are quite curious about his book on Chinggis (Genghis) Khan.

I can now officially recommend I.J. Parker's Hollow Reed series. I've recently read book one Dream of a Spring Night (Hollow Reed series) and totally got swept into Toshiko's world. I will be doing a review and already have book two in the TBR pile.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2012 7:56:51 PM PDT
Linda Thorpe says:
Checkout Without Redemption, (India) and Desperate Crossing, (Russia) by Thomas Thorpe. Excellent, historically accurate thrillers set in the 1830's.
Available on Amazon.

Posted on Jun 16, 2012 1:31:14 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 16, 2012 1:40:15 PM PDT]

Posted on Jun 17, 2012 9:03:02 AM PDT
Hi I love this thread!I must recommend Wild Swans:Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang. It is the story of 3 generations starting before Mao and through the revolution. You will never forget it once you see it from the inside!
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Discussion in:  Historical Fiction forum
Participants:  42
Total posts:  59
Initial post:  Dec 12, 2011
Latest post:  Jun 19, 2012

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