Historical Fiction Recommendations
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I am a brand new member to this website and I hope to find it a great resource for discovery of great books. I love reading fantasy, especially grimdark fantasy such as the work of Joe Abercrombie or Glenn Cook. In general I tend to lean towards the titles that are dark, gritty, and (surprise) have as little magic as possible. Also, I highly value strong character development, but I strongly dislike philosophical monologues. I was wondering if anyone is willing to recommend a historical fiction that would get me introduced to the genre and at least loosely, fit the criteria. The setting I am looking for is middle ages and before (except ancient Rome).
Thanks in advance.
I am not sure you will find a historical fiction novel "with a little magic" unless it is part of historical theme. Perhaps there are books from the middle ages that deal with witch burnings but usually the magic was not real and the people were burned because they were insane or just odd.
There was one book though not particularly gritty did have some supernatural flavour to it and that is The Physician
This is a story of a orphaned boy in 11th century England who apprentices to a traveling Barber who finds out the boy can determine the state of someone's health by holding their hands. This is important as if the barber gave the person, who is deathly ill, some of his "medicine" and the person died soon after... well then they could be blamed for the death.
the book follows the boy who decides to be a proper physician but to do so he must travel to Persia which is the seat of all true medical knowledge.
I heartily recommend the book. It is very detailed about life in England/Europe/Persia in the 11th century
The grim and (mostly) Medieval novels of Karen Maitland might appeal to you. They are real historical novels, with dark undertones of the supernatural, but without veering into fantasy.
Thanks for the recommendations!
I guess, I have misspoken a little bit. What I meant is that I want to get into historical fiction because I've grown tired of wizards, magic and other fantasy cliche.
How about Ellis Peters? Her Brother Cadfael books are all essentially murder mysteries, and there is absolutely no supernatural content. Cadfael gets to the solution by observation and deduction.
Burial Rites won't suit, it's set in the nineteenth century.
Ariana Franklin's series, Mistress of the Art of Death is set in 1200s, England, and murder mystery. There are only 4 bookshops in the series.
You might want to try Doomsday book about an Oxford student who travels back to the 14th century and gets caught in the plague epidemic.
then I stand by my recommendation ... there is no magic involved... the young boy has a gift that is useful in his trade.
Thank you all for suggestions. It will definitely fill my reading time for foreseeable future.
>12 ScoLgo: It is brilliant, but long and involved. I was unable to get it read until after I had seen the movie. That gave me a skeleton plot to hang all the details onto.
BTW if you loved Physician, I just discovered that there is a movie adaptation of it on Netflix! Really well done, if a bit long.
>15 cindydavid4: I saw just part of the movie and gave it up as it was not at all like the book.
Oh, sorry - its been a while since i read it, and it felt like it was a good adaptation. My bad....
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