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Any good historical fiction recommendations?

Historical Fiction

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May 24, 2012, 4:43pm Top

I am new to this, so you will have to forgive me. I am a big fan of King Henry VIII and his court. I was wondering if any of you could recommend any good historical fictions books? They don't have to be about King Henry VIII, but hopefully someone as interesting would be nice. Some of my favorite authors include Philippa Gregory, Karen Harper, Diane Haegar.

May 24, 2012, 5:14pm Top

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. I hear the sequel, which just came out, Bring up the Bodies is also very good. The first covers the rise of Thomas Cromwell in Henry's court with his arrangement of the divorce from Katherine and marriage to Anne Boleyn. The second covers the fall and execution of Anne Boleyn.

May 24, 2012, 6:21pm Top

Thank you so much! I am already looking into it. I can't believe I never thought about Thomas Cromwell, he was definitely an interesting character! Thanks again!!

May 24, 2012, 7:00pm Top

I love Hilary Mantel's books. They have a bit more literary feel than some historical fiction.

This isn't the era you requested, but Sharon Kay Penman writes great English, Welsh, etc. historical fiction that you might enjoy.

May 24, 2012, 7:17pm Top

You might want to check out the Crispin Guest series ("medieval noir" ) by Jeri Westerson. Her main character, Crispin Guest, is a "disgraced knight" turned "tracker" (i.e. detective). I read the first in the series Veil of Lies a few years ago and liked it. The author doesn't live far from where I live and she came and spoke to our local book club soon after the book was published. She's very knowledgeable about that time period.

May 24, 2012, 7:42pm Top

I definitely agree about Hilary Mantel's books.

I also very much liked Scarlet City, by Hella Haasse, about the Borgias.

May 24, 2012, 7:54pm Top

Thank you all! I am looking forward to peeking in the past with your book suggestions! I love all kinds of books, literary ones included so thanks for those too.

May 24, 2012, 8:11pm Top

If you like mysteries you could do a LOT worse than C.J. Sansom's Shardlake series, it's set during Henry's reign and tangentially involves him and his court. Start with Dissolution. They're great.

May 24, 2012, 9:22pm Top

I love a good mystery too, thanks! I have heard that that series is great before. I will definitely check it out.

Edited: May 25, 2012, 6:06pm Top

I absolutely love the historical fiction novels of David Liss. He provides a wonderful and realistic look at 18th century London, A Conspiracy of Paper, 18th century America, The Whiskey Rebels, and 17th century Amsterdam, The Coffee Trader. I especially love his Benjamin Weaver novels. I recommend any of his books.

I'm also a big fan of Deanna Raybourn. Her Victorian-era "Silent in the ..." series are a lot of fun to read.

One more suggestion: S.J. Parris (aka Stephanie Merritt). Her three Giordano Bruno books are excellent and provide a fascinating look at Oxford University in the 16th century.

I love reading both historical fiction and non-fiction and have tagged them all in my library. Take a look there, if you'd like, for more books!

May 25, 2012, 6:42pm Top

I agree with TheFlamingo - David Liss is a tremendous story-teller although I wasn't tempted at all by his latest book.

May 25, 2012, 7:18pm Top

>11 Bookmarque:,
I really liked his latest, but SO different than his other stuff.

May 25, 2012, 10:01pm Top

Edward Rutherfurd's historical fiction are quite good, and long, and cover very long time periods. Henry VIII's time period would likely appear in his Sarum (my favorite), London, and The Forest. However, I don't recall how much of Henry VIII's reign is actually covered in these. Quite wonderful works, though, which start with pre-history and end near the present time.


May 25, 2012, 11:07pm Top

I second the recommendations for Sharon Kay Penman and Deanna Raybourn. Penman writes thick, intricate stories and Raybourn writes fun mysteries.

Anya Seton's Katherine is absolutely one of my favorites.

May 26, 2012, 12:07am Top

You might try The Gladiators by Arthur Koestler or Pompeii by Robert Harris if Roman times interest you.

May 26, 2012, 7:39am Top

Thank you all so much for the recommendations. I have looked into all of the books mentioned, and they all look very interesting.

May 26, 2012, 1:41pm Top

>16 Harpli:
So, go spend a bunch of money at the bookstore, and then quit your job so you'll have time to read them all.


May 26, 2012, 5:14pm Top

Looks like that is what I may have to do!!

May 26, 2012, 10:38pm Top

Check out P.F. Chisholm's mystery stories featuring Sir Robert Carey (a real courtier who was Queen Elizabeth's nephew). They are extremely entertaining and humorous, while remaining down to earth about the nitty-gritty aspects of life in the sixteenth century. P.F. Chisholm also writes excellent historical novels under the name Patricia Finney.

May 27, 2012, 11:29am Top

Thanks for the recommendation. I think I have a couple of her books on my wish list...which I can't figure out how to get to!!

May 28, 2012, 8:08pm Top

Jean Plaidy has written her share.
Margaret Campbell Barnes and Margaret Irwin have written Tudor related novels.

May 28, 2012, 11:36pm Top

"A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith. Pre-World War I slice-of-life story of a young girl growing up in poverty. Wonderful characterizations and fascinating detail of life at that time in that locale. This is a book that should be read leisurely and savored.

May 29, 2012, 11:23am Top

To HaroldTitus: I absolutely loved A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

To everyone else: I didn't realized it when I wrote it, but my coming of age novel, 1964: Chasing A Dream is classified as historical fiction. I guess when I knew for sure was when Stephen King's latest novel set in the 60s was classified under that genre.
Anyway, if anyone is interested in a series (the Dream Series) this is book one, followed by Facing Reality. There will be three more books in the series.
You can find book one at http://www.librarything.com/work/12491022/details/84889498

May 30, 2012, 11:10am Top

Thanks all! I will be checking into all of them eventually. Thank you deniro for the above link. It appears that they don't like the authors I am used to reading, so I am excited to look into the books that they are recommending. I am open to all kinds of historical fiction. Thanks again!

May 30, 2012, 4:03pm Top

Do you know about the Historical Novel Society. They list the latest in historical fiction and its trends online and their magazine. It's a great place to get ideas about the latest reads.

May 31, 2012, 4:18pm Top

Thank you so much!! I did not know about it and really appreciate the information. I will be looking into it right now!!

Jun 2, 2012, 10:35pm Top

Some other historical fictions that I really liked were Cold Mountain, Sherman's March by Cynthia Bass, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer.

Jun 2, 2012, 10:49pm Top

You've all listed some great recommendation here. I have just popped in to post up my review of another great Tudor read - Virgin and the Crab. Loved it!

Jun 3, 2012, 2:30pm Top

Though technically historical romance, Susan Wiggs has written The Tudor Rose series. They are fun books, historically accurate, and take place in Tudor and Elizabethan times.

Jun 8, 2012, 10:45pm Top

Check out the Stop You're Killing Me web site. One of the many things they do is collect information on mysteries and where they take place as well as when. It is certainly worth looking at.


Jun 9, 2012, 12:46pm Top

Journey of the North Star by Douglas J. Penick gives a feel for life during the reign of the Yong Le Emperor during the Ming Dynasty as told by a fictional Korean eunuch. Learned and informative as all good historical fiction should be.

Life and Death in Shanghai is another great read in this genre.


Jun 13, 2012, 9:13pm Top

The poldark series by Winston Graham starting with Ross Poldark is fantastic reading. (And the tv series is wonderful)

Jun 14, 2012, 10:51pm Top

Alian.hird, I totally agree.

Edited: Jul 3, 2012, 7:13pm Top

Just finished a wonderful Australian historical novel, The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman.

Jul 19, 2012, 2:44pm Top

Cathedral of the Sea (Spanish novel) translated. Medieval setting - Site: Barcelona politics, inquisition, society, building of the cathedral. International Best Seller.

Jul 19, 2012, 2:55pm Top

Diana Gabledon's 7 volume adventure beginning with "Outlander". Unfortunately it's usually shelved with "Romance" books, but don't be fooled. This is not one of those trashy "potboilers" although a little too much sex in my opinion it's well done. Starts with a woman in Scotland looking into local witches group who is pulled through standing stones back into the 18th century. What follows is a galloping adventure story through Scotland, France, the british colonies. Wars, political intrigues, past lives tangled with the present. Lucky you! You don't have to wait for each one to come out. Just go ahead and buy the first 3-4. You're gonna get hooked

Jul 19, 2012, 3:21pm Top

ugh. Outlander to me was exactly that: a bosom grasping trashy potboiler. So I guess it's all in what you like.

Jul 20, 2012, 1:13am Top

Add me to the list who love Wolf Hall. Checked it out from the library but am now looking for a good used copy from our local resellers. From my experience, anything by Edward Rutherford is an excellent choice. His Princes of Ireland is wonderful.

If Princes of Ireland gets your interest shifting to the Emerald Isle, Morgan Llewelyn has written some truly wonderful books about late 19th century and 20th century Ireland. 1916 had me in tears.

Dec 31, 2012, 11:51pm Top

Try the Brother Cadfael novels.

Edited: Jan 1, 2013, 1:21am Top

Anything by Jude Morgan, but I particularly like his novels based on literary figures. I just read and reviewed The Secret Life of William Shakespeare, which was, despite the chessy and inappropriate title, really good. He has also written about the Romantic poets (Passion) and the Brontes (Emily and Charlotte, published in the UK as Taste of Sorrow).

Jan 2, 2013, 4:37am Top

I have to agree with post #32, Pillars of the Earth is one of my all time favourites. And post #38, Cathedral by the Sea was also excellent!

Edited: Jan 2, 2013, 8:31pm Top

I like everything I have read from Sir Walter Scott. It is good to make sure there is a glossary along with his novels, but it has always been worth the effort. Right now I am reading Quentin Durwood and enjoying the book.

Feb 3, 2013, 5:20pm Top

Atlantic City Nazi (Kindle $0.99)

Edited: Feb 3, 2013, 9:00pm Top

>45 morryb:
I agree (but it's "Quentin Durward", not "Clinton Durwood").


Feb 4, 2013, 1:43am Top

If you are into historical mysteries I highly recommend two authors CJ Sansom with Dissolution being the book to start with. Also read Peter Tremayne (an alias to Peter B. Ellis) and his series on Ancient Ireland in his Sister Fidelma Mystery series starting with Absolution by murder which I have yet to read.

Both authors are excellent

Feb 4, 2013, 6:44pm Top

I was amazed to see a Sister Fidelma Fan site on the web.

Edited: Feb 6, 2013, 7:54pm Top

I've greatly enjoyed the Outlander series and can't wait for #8 to come out.

Edited: Mar 13, 2013, 6:06pm Top

Looking for something (other than the Three Musketeers) that features George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham. Any ideas?

Mar 13, 2013, 6:37pm Top

51> Well, he's an important character in Earthly Joys by Philippa Gregory--but although I liked reading about the John Travescants, some very unrealistic liberties taken with the depiction of Buckingham rather put me off the book. I'm not a huge Gregory fan, in any case.

Not sure I recall him as a character in anything else I've read.

Edited: Mar 14, 2013, 5:55am Top

52> Thank you! Alas, the only thing I know that has even a remote connection to Philippa Gregory is a spork of a movie that has some connection to one of her books, so I think I'll pass...

Mar 14, 2013, 10:32am Top

Could anyone give me some tips on historical novels set in Canada, especially Quebec - mOntreal?

Edited: Mar 14, 2013, 4:07pm Top

Voyageurs by Margaret Elphinstone is set mainly in in Canada along the U.S border.

Mar 14, 2013, 6:44pm Top

54 > Here are several, but be advised that I have not read any of these. So I can't say anything about quality.

Black Robe by Brian Moore - 17th century Quebec
The Heart Specialist by Claire Holden Rothman - late 19th century, early 20th century Quebec
Sister to the Wolf by Maxine Trottier - 17th century Quebec
Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather - 17th century Quebec
This Widowed Land by Kathleen O'Neal Gear - 17th century Quebec

Mar 31, 2013, 12:43pm Top

I second Edward Rutherfurd. I've read a few of his and they're always very well written.

Apr 1, 2013, 4:27pm Top

I'll add Charlton Daines to my recommendations. Just started reading Jack Dawkins today and really enjoying it.

Apr 4, 2013, 12:34pm Top

Rec me please!

Looking for something set in the Three Musketeers (beginning of the 17th century) era, but from an English/Spanish/non-French pov.

(not Alatriste, that timeline is a bit too disjunct for me to like)

Apr 5, 2013, 8:51pm Top

No mention of Charles Kingsley?

Apr 17, 2013, 10:56am Top

#58, I've also read Jack Dawkins and would highly recommend it for those who enjoy Dickensian London.

Edited: May 6, 2013, 7:40am Top

>54 Coessens:

The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald is a very well written novel set in early 1960s Ontario. It is ostensibly a story about a horrendous crime, set within the confined environment of a small and quiet Royal Canadian Air Force base, although given the time of its setting, at the height of the Cold War, it takes on a much wider impression of a world in flux.

I read it last year after some good recommendations. I've not read anything else by MacDonald but I was very impressed.

ETA - Although not set in Quebec, the wife/mother of the main family at the heart of the drama is from an Acadien background and there are numerous references to this throughout the novel, as well as various smatterings of her Acadien-French.

May 7, 2013, 11:18am Top

> 63....early 1960's is considered historical :)...I was entering Junior High then...what does that make me!!!!??? Don't feel like Methuselah yet :)

May 7, 2013, 2:22pm Top

Sorry Lynxear - didn't mean to suggest anyone was Methuselah!

But the Cuban Missile Crisis, for example, was (modern) history right?

May 7, 2013, 7:20pm Top

yeah...I suppose....I was suddenly facing my age and did not like it :)

May 8, 2013, 12:02am Top

#54 - Quebec - what period of history are you looking for?

I hear the Bride of New France is supposed to be a decent read--it's set in the 17th century. I also hear the already mentioned The Heart Specialist is very good and was nominated for the Giller Prize. The Tin Flute, by Gabrielle Roy is a Canlit classic, and other stuff I've read by her was very good. Other noted novels are Two Solitudes, by Hugh MacLennan; Shadows on the Rock, by Willa Cather; St Urbain's Horseman, Mordecai Richler (and other stuff by him); The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant, Michel Tremblay . . . that's all I can think of right now. I haven't read these, so I can't personally vouch for them.

My favourite novel set in Montreal is Lullabies for Little Criminals, but I don't think you'd call it historical fiction (set in the 80s??)

Edited: May 18, 2013, 10:47am Top

If you do not like the blood and the gore that usually accompanies Bernard Cornwell Sharpe's character and want to read a book about the English Army that goes beyond its subject then Allan Mallinson Matthew Hervey serie narrates more context sensitive stories and are very well researched. Less action packed and more interested in the political context behind military interventions, they treat lesser known theaters such as Burma and the Bay of Bengal.

May 8, 2013, 9:03am Top

>68 Artymedon: There are not many who dislike Sharpe's character especially when combined with his Irish comrade Harris...I see by the reviews in LT he gets marks for research but loses marks for making his characters "likeable"...but seeing the Napoleonic wars from a dragoon's point of view would be interesting so I will look for a book by Mallinson to try out.

May 8, 2013, 4:34pm Top

@69 That does sound interesting! Do the books have a lot of flashbacks and go back into Napoleonic times a lot? I've only read Galloping at Everything, so a 'novel' version would be great!

May 8, 2013, 5:33pm Top

Shadows on the Rock is not bad. Not much happens, so you have to read it for the place, time period, and the high quality of Cather's prose.

I read one of Bernard Cornwell's novels, The Last King. I wasn't impressed. Pretty dull stuff.

Edited: May 8, 2013, 6:24pm Top

For a really intricate yet intense read of a more literary nature one should try Porius by John Cowper Powys. It's set in Wales nearly immediately after the Romans lost control of Britain in the 4th or 5th century. It's pretty thick.

Someone previously mentioned Sir Walter Scott. His stories are excellent and while not specifically about historical events, such events do play a tangential role in most of them. He is excellent at painting a picture of life as it was lived by various strata of society in the time he sets his work. Much of it is set around the various attempts to return the Stuarts to the throne of the United Kingdom. A glossary would be helpful, at least for his novels set in Scotland, after a reading a few you ken muckle more tha' lang syne.

Edited: May 8, 2013, 9:20pm Top

70 Is Mr. Ian Fletcher's historical fiction or is it a history book? May be you should review it. I did not know this author. I am also most impressed with Bernard Cornwell's work but it is often with the help of LT that you find different viewpoints of this time period.

May 8, 2013, 11:56pm Top

> 71 I would tend to agree with you on Cornwell's newer stuff...I don't have the same appreciation for those books than I do for the Sharpe series or the Grail series or Azincourt. You must read them in order to understand the Sharpe series properly as there are flashbacks and his Dick Sharpe character develops as the novel's progress. Read Sharpe's Tiger which is the first of the series...and try to tell me you were bored in the reading...I'll bet you finish the book in 2-3 days at most!

May 9, 2013, 12:09am Top

> 70 If you are referring to Bernard Cornwell...take my advice that I gave above and read Sharpe's Tiger or The Archer's Tale (first of the Grail series) or a standalone book Azincourt

If you have never read any of these novels...you will be hooked into reading about 20 odd books just in these series alone....then you can advance to the Starbuck series he wrote about the American Civil war and read a few more.

Having said that, I don't like some of his work on ancient Britain leading to the Arthur legend, The Fort was historically accurate but BORING and a disappointment.

May 9, 2013, 10:23am Top

I like some of Bernard Cornwell's work, particularly his trilogy about King Arthur that starts with The Winter King.

If you like ancient history, check out Robert Harris' Pompeii. The entire novel is set over just two days: the day before Mt. Vesuvius erupted and the day of the disaster. It is told much like a mystery novel. The main character is an engineer sent out by Rome to investigate why the aqueduct at Pompeii has stopped working. While he is conducting his investigation you learn quite a bit about daily life in ancient Roman times. His descripton of what happens during the volcano is fascinating.

Edited: May 16, 2013, 1:14pm Top

There's a new star on the historical fiction firmament and his name is Robert Wilton; check out his two novels Traitor's Field, set during the English Civil War, and Treason's Tide, previously published as The Emperor's Gold, set during the Napoleonic Wars. Both novels are very well written and utterly engrossing, the characters entirely believable; both use a mix of authentic documents from the period and fiction to transport the reader to a different time. This is intelligent historical fiction at its best.

Jun 30, 2013, 2:09pm Top

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Jun 30, 2013, 9:03pm Top

> 78 Evatopia

This is NOT the place to promote books that your publishing house represents...this is a place for readers to make their comments. You have no library of books this message of yours is simply blatant advertising of your products and as such is contrary to the rules of LibraryThing

Jul 14, 2013, 6:58am Top

I recently completed and very much enjoyed The Liars' Gospel by Naomi Alderman. It is set in 1st century Judea and follows the lives of four important contemporaries of Jesus of Nazareth. My review is here for those who may be interested: http://www.librarything.com/work/12959799/reviews/91082658 .

Edited: Jul 28, 2013, 8:07pm Top

I just finished Child of Vengeance by David Kirk. It was a very good book about samurai Japan. A book with intrigue, violence, cultural components and coming of age. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Jul 28, 2013, 7:56pm Top

Surprised no-one has mentioned Colleen McCullough's First Man in Rome series. I have read every one at least a dozen times and it inspired my interest in Republican Rome as distinct from Imperial Rome. Surpassingly brilliant, the only (minor) annoyance being McCullough's painfully obvious infatuation with Julius Caesar and portraying him as Rome's No. 1 hunk.

Edited: Jul 28, 2013, 9:55pm Top

Transatlantic by Colum McCann is the best novel I've read all year. While a very small part of it takes part in the 21st century, most of it definitely fits the genre of historical fiction. Wonderfully drawn characters and stunning writing. I can't recommend it highly enough--and I'm a pretty tough critic.

Aug 20, 2013, 4:29pm Top

I just noticed the first two books by Maurice Druon, original French title "Les rois maudits", have been translated (again?) in English. Anyone read them, comments?

Aug 20, 2013, 4:36pm Top

check out Conn Iggulden

Aug 21, 2013, 8:28pm Top

84 I recently read The Iron King first of the Accursed Kings series. It was not bad, and the events were sensational, especially since it is very fact based, but I found it a less than compelling as a story read, mainly because it read like lightly fictionalized history and it really doesn't have a protagonist or viewpoint character that you identify with as a reader. Touchstone not working.....

Aug 22, 2013, 12:16am Top

Here be Dragons by Penman was just awful! The author wrote a rambling historical journey with no focus and no depth. The writing was poor! The dialogue was completely unbelievable unless you think using the word Mayhap and the phrase "for certes" makes you feel like you are transported to another place and time. The first 350 pages were kind of background to a story about The Welsh Prince'es wife Joanna. The character development was poor. This book stank on ice. penman is not a real author, my 13 year old could have done a better job writing a coherent story. DONT READ!

Aug 22, 2013, 2:29am Top

#87, I agree, Here be Dragons is not Penman's best, but try reading When Christ and His Saints Slept, which is the first of Penman's Plantagenet trilogy, it is an excellent read

Edited: Aug 22, 2013, 3:57am Top

#87 From the reviews and a rating of almost 4.5 stars you appear to be in a significant minority on this book. My experience is that books rated so strongly on LT are worth reading...I think if I run across it I will at least thumb the pages a bit to see if I like his style.

Oct 8, 2013, 5:44pm Top

Been reading Scott's Waverley novels. They are all, so far, historical novels in that they take place in time removed from Scott by anywhere from about 80 years to 800 years. Pretty interesting so far, especially the religious wars of the seventeenth century. Among other things they constitute an argument by Scott that religion should not be a part of governance.

Oct 10, 2013, 11:25pm Top

Nobody has mentioned Dorothy Dunnett. Her Francis Crawford series - beginning with The Game of Kings - is set in the mid-16th Century, and her Nicolo series in the previous century. She was a noted artist and it shows in her powers of description. Clearly she has done a lot of research, but she doesn't stuff it down the reader's throat like Ken Follett. The plot structure is always basically whodunnit. (She wrote a series of very clever murder mysteries under her maiden name Dorothy Halliday).

The other writer I unhesitatingly recommend is Patrick O'Brien. His Aubrey/Maturin books may sound off-putting to people with no interest in nautical adventures, but they are among the finest historical novels ever written.

Oct 11, 2013, 12:00am Top

#91, yes, I love Dorothy Dunnett, although I havent seen anything new by her in years.

I dont like Patrick O'Brian as much as some other nautical authors such as Alexander Kent, I think he tries too hard to be literary.

Oct 11, 2013, 6:29am Top

#92 I love Dorothy Dunnett, although I havent seen anything new by her in years.

That might be because she died in 2001.

Oct 11, 2013, 9:38am Top

#91 Dorothy Dunnett books are wonderful! Thanks to recommendations from this group, I just finished King Hereafter, a novel about King MacBeth. Can't wait to start reading The Game of Kings

Oct 14, 2013, 8:34pm Top

#93 Thanks, that would probably explain it, although there seem to be a few writers around who have been deceased for a while but their estate is still pushing out new books.

Oct 14, 2013, 11:22pm Top

I don't think anyone could compare to Dorothy Dunnett...it would be pretty hard for a ghost writer to pick up and continue anything she had started but not finished.

Oct 15, 2013, 6:58pm Top

Well, I've heard of literary executors approving someone finishing off a book based on the deceased's unfinished draft, but I'm struggling with the idea of them franchising a series to a ghost writer when everyone knows the original author is dead. I suppose it would be possible with writers of third-rate genre fiction whose fans don't actually care who wrote it so long as it's another instalment of the further interminable adventures of The Purple People Eater.

Oct 15, 2013, 8:58pm Top

#97 Seems to happen a lot in SF, there are quite a few pseudo-Asimovs and Clarkes floating around, also consider the enormous number of pseudo-Ian Flemings pumping out Bond books, as you said genre fiction mainly prey to this phenomenon.

Oct 16, 2013, 6:40am Top

#97 And speaking of third-rate genre fiction, the estate of Virgina Andrews (Flowers in the Attic and interminable incest-gothic clones) has churned out far more books that were ghost-written in her name since Andrews' death than she ever wrote in her lifetime. I guess you just can't keep a 'good' hack down.

Oct 16, 2013, 10:05pm Top

Speaking as a long-time SF fan, I confess I've never heard of anybody masquerading as Isaac Asimov, with or without the permission of his estate. Do tell me more, I can't find any "new" Asimovs but I might be looking in the wrong place, didn't check for short stories. I'd be interested to read them.

Ah, Virginia Andrews, I've heard of her. One wonders how many of the originals she actually wrote in the first place. It's like the great master painters of the Renaissance. They used to have workshops full of underlings churning out pictures and then they'd come along, add a few finishing touches and sign what we would call a "school of" work. Mind you, they were still alive at the time.

Oct 16, 2013, 10:49pm Top

#100. they're not "masquerading" as Asimov, but they're certainly writing books based on his stories and the universes he created, and they wouldnt be able to do it legally without the permission of his estate. Try Mickey Reichert, Gregory Benford (who also does Arthur C. Clarke), David Brin and Greg Bear.

Edited: Oct 17, 2013, 10:29am Top

>100 dajashby: They don't masquerade as the man himself but in huge letters on the cover you might see "Isaac Asimov"...usually it is a robotic book and they adhere to the basic "Three Laws of Robotics".

there is a whole series of these "Robot City books" that are not written by Asimov but the authors are licensed to write them and he usually writes a foreword in the books.


You can see how misleading the covers are from this example Isaac Asimov's Robot City: Suspicion the actual author is Mike McQuay but is your eye drawn to that if you are not vigilant...I don't think so

here is another "authorized by the estate" book that borrows from Asimov's body of work Foundation's Fear a second Foundation series.

Roger MacBride Allen I suppose is also a licensed author selling a book using Asimov's name in at least this novel Inferno

So there are many authors attaching themselves to Asimov's fame.

Edited: Oct 20, 2013, 7:53pm Top

I'll be honest, I've never come across the Mike McQuay or Greg Benford books. They don't actually sound worth reading. Apart from that sort of unashamed attempt at continuation I see now what drmaf is getting at generally. It's like all those fantasy books that manage to get "Tolkien" somewhere on the cover.

However, I can't see anything wrong with authors invoking the Laws of Robotics, which may have been invented by Asimov but are part of the canon, though these days it's more likely to be androids. There is a wonderful Swedish TV series called here "Real Humans", for example.

Oct 24, 2013, 11:58am Top

To come back too the Dorothy Dunnet books. Anyone interested in her work, should also have a look at E. Morrison who wrote two companion volumes.

Oct 27, 2013, 11:17pm Top

Started reading An officer and a spy by Robert Harris. I've always been interested in the Dreyfus story, and I am quite keen to see how Harris handles it.

Edited: Oct 28, 2013, 9:34am Top

> 104
I found those two books very useful. Just yesterday I saw the anouncement for a new companion:

Also, for the Dunnett-fans, an interview: http://www.dorothydunnett.co.uk/blog/interviews/dunnett-video-interview.php

Edited: Nov 3, 2013, 5:59pm Top

Just finished An Officer and a Spy. and cant recommend it highly enough. Its is superb, probably Harris' best. Just a great read, whether or not you know or care about Dreyfus. Must-read.

Nov 3, 2013, 6:57pm Top

>107 drmaf:.

Good to know! I look forward to reading it.

Nov 3, 2013, 10:47pm Top

Some of these have been mentioned earlier, but here is the reading list for the Seminar in Historical Fiction that I am teaching next semester:

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
Restoration by Rose Tremain
Regeneration by Pat Barker
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Small Island by Andrea Levy

The connecting factor is that they are all set in the mainly UK. There are two Booker winners and two short listed titles in the bunch, and one Orange Prize winner.

Nov 3, 2013, 11:34pm Top

The reading list is really impressive, though I haven't read Small Island. I've never thought of Atonement as a historical novel, but I suppose it probably is in the same way as Alias Grace.

Your students may have some trouble with the syntax of Bring Up the Bodies. A lot of readers had trouble with working out who "he" was in Wolf Hall, but there were definite attempts to make it easier with the second book.

Nov 4, 2013, 8:52am Top

110> Thanks--I hope my students enjoy the books.

That's exactly why I chose Bring Up the Bodies over Wolf Hall--although I only recall having the issue once when reading the book myself. Personally, I found the repeated "he, Cromwell" more bothersome.

I agree with you that Atonement pushes the definition a bit, but it's so beautifully evocative of a particular time and place and way of life that I think it will work.

Jan 7, 2014, 11:43am Top

Margaret Peterson Haddix is amazing when it comes to His. Fiction. I would try out some of her more "adult-like" books.

Jan 7, 2014, 12:24pm Top

Over the holiday, I read The Signature of All Things, which was quite wonderful and made my top five books of the year list.

Jan 7, 2014, 5:17pm Top

It's been a bit since I've read it, but The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner was brilliant!

Jan 10, 2014, 12:39am Top

Deborah Harkness is a scholar of Elizabethan history and her second book in the All Souls Trilogy Shadow of Night sees her protagonist Diana time travel to 16th century Europe blending the supernatural with the who's who of the time.

Jan 10, 2014, 2:50pm Top

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I just joined Library thing. I'm an author of nonfiction books on art and architecture,which is what actually spurred me to write my first historical fiction eBook, The Eagle and the Swan, set in 6th-century Constantinople. It's about Empress Theodora, a sensational woman (in more ways than one) who rose from the gutter (a circus exotic dancer & prostitute) to a position of power in the late Roman Empire. I found out about her when I was writing on the Hagia Sophia basilica in Istanbul (built by her husband Emperor Justinian) and the beautiful mosaic of her in San Vitale church in Ravenna, a masterpiece of Byzantine art. She'd been slandered by the official court historian of the era and I wanted to give her a voice. You can see a free excerpt at the amazon kindle store or the book website: http://www.theeagleandtheswan.com.
Question for readers: Soon on the website we'll be beta testing an enhanced eBook edition (viewable for free to the Readers Club) with lots of digital extras to make the context visible: maps, timelines, glossary, character profiles with images galore, all sorts of background info. Is this something readers would like as an under-layer to a novel?

Jan 13, 2014, 5:48pm Top

Isn't it brilliant? I rate it one of the 10 best novels I've ever read.

Jan 13, 2014, 5:49pm Top

Sorry, forgot to put #113.

Jan 13, 2014, 5:50pm Top

Just started reading Burial Rites. hope it lightens up a bit, real downer so far.

Mar 21, 2014, 3:21am Top

Recently finished Wolves of Rome by Christopher Lee Buckner. Awesome book about the invasion of Italy by Hannibal. The touchstone isn't bringing it up.

Apr 7, 2015, 12:27pm Top

Hello everyone!

New to this and I'm not exactly sure how this works but I thought I'd post up a book that I recently read and really enjoyed. It's about George Monck, a general in the Civil War, (I'd never heard about him before) - but the book was great and I can well recommend reading it!


It's essentially got all the great ingredients of non-fiction but weaved into a fictional narrative - it's genuinely really great. Hope you enjoy it too!

Richard Simpson

Nov 30, 2015, 7:51am Top

I very much enjoyed an relatively new eBook called Jalendu which is primarily historical fiction set in India late in the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar. If you know anything about Mughal history, it brings to life the events which led up to Prince Salim (later the Emperor Jahangir) requesting Maharaja Vir Singh Deo of Orchha to murder Abul Fazl, Akbar's vizier as he returned to Agra from the Deccan.

There are however two other aspects to this book which may limit its appeal. Firstly, it contains a significant gay erotic subplot, though it is quite well balanced and integrated into the historical story.

Secondly, there is a philosophical/psychological/spiritual(?) arc to the book. It is actually this aspect that I think had the greatest impact on me. That philosophy is revealed in a series of conversations between the main character Jali and his guru Ananda, but then it is illustrated by the different personalities and the development of the relationship between Jali and the other main character, Prince Adinath.

This was not a short book, but I felt compelled to read it again immediately and I am still not satisfied. There is something unresolved that I cannot identify.


Dec 1, 2015, 12:48am Top

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I am excited that I have just published my lighthearted, historical fiction novel, Wrapped Up in Lies on Kindle for 99 cents. I am offering to enter those who write a review of it on Amazon and Library Thing in a drawing to WIN a $25 AMAZON CARD. The drawing will be held on January 1st.

Here's the book blurb:

"Emma Fortune, a modern 1920’s woman, never expected when she decided to travel to Petra, Transjordania (modern-day Jordan), to find lost treasure; that she would spend so much of her time precariously perched atop an ornery camel. Especially one that can actually aim when he spits! She also didn’t bargain on then being whisked away by the Egyptian Museum’s Department of Antiquities to become a key player in an elaborate marketing ploy to lure wealthy tourists to Egypt’s ancient sites. Emma is often in de-NILE-l as she combats ancient mummy curses, annoyingly flirtatious coworkers, and too many hairy situations to count! She isn’t on this journey alone, though sometimes she wishes she were- enter Dash Darling, Egyptologist, who is eager to get his hands on a chest… any kind of chest; Amira, Emma’s elegant right-hand lady; Ali, a recent college art grad; Alistair, a BBC journalist, and Khalid, Emma’s mysterious Transjordanian guide. This team knows that they have to succeed or else risk being “wrapped up in lies” of their own making!"

You can get it here: http://www.amazon.com/Wrapped-Up-Lies-Adventures-Fortune-ebook/dp/B018A49ZFS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1448948563&sr=8-1&keywords=wrapped+up+in+lies

As a new author, I appreciate your support!

Thank you!
Jess :)

Feb 24, 2016, 9:06pm Top

#92 That would probably be because he *is* literary i.e. he can actually write a serious novel set in the period of the Napoleonic Wars

Aug 29, 2016, 6:22pm Top

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Hello, I am a new author. My name is Roger Raffee. I just spent the last seventeen months writing and editing my own book. I'm trying to figure out the best way to get my book in front of you, without being a pest. Any advice would be appreciated.
The title is Devil Out Of Texas. For now, it's only on Amazon as an ebook. It's partly true, partly fiction. My grandfather sat me down and told me the tale of his father, my great-grandfather, back when I was fourteen years old, in the summer of 1973. My great-grandfather, according to my grandfather, was the first Jewish Texas Ranger.
I think it's a great book. I hope, if you get a chance to read it, that you'll think so too.

Aug 30, 2016, 11:01am Top

No one seems to have mentioned The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George.

Edited: Nov 6, 2018, 8:51am Top

Mary Renault's novels of Ancient Greece: The King Must Die, Bull From the Sea, (the myth of Theseus); The Praise Singer, The Last of the Wine, The Mask of Apollo, (Periclean Athens);
Fire From Heaven, The Persian Boy, Funeral Games (Alexander the Great}
Michael Shaara's novel about Gettysburg, The Killer Angels .
Len Deighton's novel about a WWII bombing raid on Germany,Bomber.
Patrick O'Brien: Twenty novels about the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars; the first one is Master and Commander.

Edited: Nov 6, 2018, 9:32am Top

I've enjoyed the series by Jason Goodwin about Ottoman detective Yashim, particularly since I didn't know much about Istanbul. So far, I've gotten through The Janissary Tree and The Snake Stone. Yashim is a eunuch and as such has free access to the harem, where those ladies know much more than you might expect. Highly recommended.

Group: Historical Fiction

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