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Historical Fiction

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Jul 31, 2009, 11:33pm Top

Hi all,
I am a huge fan of The Bronze Horseman trilogy by Paullina Simons.
While I know this isn't really classed as historical fiction, I am very interested in stories set in Russia, and wonder if anybody can recommend anything to me.

Edited: Aug 1, 2009, 6:22am Top

I don't see why this is not historical fiction. It may only have been written a few decades after the event, but in any case it fulfills my definition of HF. I have the first one but have not yet read it.

If you mean HF set in Russia written by non-Russian writers, no outstanding examples spring to mind, though Edward Rutherfurd's Russka gives a good overview of the whole of Russian history. To narrow it down to 20th century Russian history, I would recommend Boris Pasternak's Doktor Zhivago (1917 revolution and civil war), Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate (WWII), and Anatoly Rybakov's trilogy, Children of the Arbat, Fear and Dust and Ashes which deal respectively with the early 1930s, the purges of the late 1930s and WWII.

Touchstones not loading properly - a couple of them are wrong.

Aug 1, 2009, 7:55am Top

I second the recommendation for Russka.

Aug 2, 2009, 5:22pm Top

Sashenka by Simon Sebag Montefiore might be the kind of book your looking for, set during the Russian Revolution.

City of Thieves by David Benioff and The Siege by Helen Dunmore are set during the Siege of Leningrad in WWII, like The Bronze Horseman, and could probably be of interest to you.

Zugzwang by Ronan Bennett is a thriller set in St. Petersburg during a great chess tournament.

The Fandorin novels of Boris Akunin, starting with The Winter Queen, are crime mysteries set in Moscow in the 1870's, 80's and 90's, and are extremely popular in Russia, having sold more than 20 million copies. They are also delightful.

And then, of course, you could always look to the great Russian novelists: Tolstoy, Turgenyev, Dostoyevsky and Gogol, to mention a few.

Also, for a novel set in Stalin's Russia, you could try Mikhail Bulgakov's masterpiece The Master and Margarita.

Aug 2, 2009, 9:33pm Top

And, of course, there's Child 44, a recent and very popular crime story set in 1930's Russia. It was even long-listed for the Booker Prize, so one assumes it's rather good. It's on my self, and my TBR list, calling to me every day. I just need to finish Persian Fire first. :)

Jan 13, 2010, 8:03am Top

lovely boook

Jan 13, 2010, 10:39am Top

Battle of Stalingrad -- War of the Rats by David L. Robbins is a great read.

Jan 13, 2010, 11:29am Top

What about Robert Alexander's books The Kitchen Boy, Rasputin's Daugher and The Last Romanov? I enjoyed them all as well as The Bronze Horseman which you referenced in your initial email.

Jan 18, 2010, 6:09pm Top

Wow, I've never even heard of The Bronze Horseman trilogy! I've only heard of (and read) Aleksandr Pushkin's poem The Bronze Horseman.

Jan 19, 2010, 2:22am Top

Second suggestion for City of Thieves.

Also, Martin Amis has House of Meetings that touches on the Gulag and has a compelling story that is also heartbreaking.

I really like Martin Cruz Smiths Arkady Renko series, notably Stalin's Ghost. He also has Gorky Park and Wolves Eat Dogs.

In my TBR pile I have Night of Stone that may be good.

And the unabridged Gulag Archipelago is supposed to be a cornerstone of Russian history.

Edited: Jan 27, 2010, 5:31pm Top

A Countess Below Stairs - A bit juvenile, but a good book if you're in the mood for a cute story with a Victorian feel to it. Set in 1900's Russia and England.

Angel on the Square - I read this book over and over as a teenager. Even though it is classified as young adult, I would recommend this to anyone! A great story about the Russian Revolution that tells the tale from many different sides.

Innocent Soldier - In 1818 Russia, during the Napoleonic Wars, a boy is forced to become a soldier.

Rasputin's Daughter - About the daughter of Rasputin.

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - A gripping classic about a Russian in a prison camp during WWII.

The Cherry Orchard - A famous Russian play.

Doctor Zhivago - One of my favorite stories ever.

Jan 31, 2010, 10:30am Top

> The Cherry Orchard - A famous Russian play.

Isn't that like calling Hamlet a famous English play?

Mar 10, 2010, 7:57pm Top

Jori-- I have read ALL four of the "Angel on the Square" series. I own three of them. The first three are really good and the fourth is alright.

Edited: Mar 10, 2010, 11:53pm Top

Mar 11, 2010, 7:51am Top

Generations of Winter by Vasily Aksyonov

Mar 15, 2010, 6:56pm Top

You could try "The Betrayal" by Helen Dunmore. It is a follow up to The Seige that was mentioned by someone else.

Mar 16, 2010, 2:46pm Top

The Stalin Epigram is good. It's about the end of the poet Osip Mandelstam's life.

Mar 16, 2010, 6:59pm Top

also really enjoyed The Seige by Helen Dunmore but would like to add The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean also set in WWII Russia.

Mar 16, 2010, 7:03pm Top

#16 when did The Betrayal by Helen Dunmore come out? would love to read it and have not found it.

Mar 16, 2010, 7:03pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Mar 17, 2010, 11:42am Top

>19 bettyjo:
I don't think Betrayal is out yet. From what I found, it's due out in April in the UK and June in Canada. (Some LTers have read it through the Early Reviewer program.)

Mar 17, 2010, 8:35pm Top

#16 - Sorry, I should have made that clear. Betrayal was an Early Reviewer book but if I remember correctly, it was being released in April. It should be available very soon. I thought it was a really interesting look at life in Russia during that time period.

May 22, 2010, 1:39pm Top

I too am very interested in historical fiction of Russia. The only one I have and know of I is Rutherford's Russka, a fantastic tome. Otherwise, consider Michener's Poland, which while it is not about Russia, is of close culture and a very entertaining book.

Edited: May 22, 2010, 4:14pm Top

I do not know if you read french and neither do I know if it is translated. I read Sous le ciel de Novgorod from Regina Deforges. It is about Anna, the daughter of a "prince" of Kiev (the Dutch word is "grootvorst", and I cannot translate that). The beginning of the book is in Novgorod, as is the end. In between you read of her voyage to France and her very unhappy marriage with the King of France. I liked the book.
Furthermore there is a terrific good English book, A gentle axe : a St Petersburg mystery, written by R.N. Morris. It has an ingenious plot and "feels" "like real Russia". Year: 1866
And Boris Akoenin is indeed a good writer. The trouble is that there are a lot of people in his books. I remember that one time I made a list of all the persons in the book. That worked.
Nice to see a lot of titles I do not know: I will see if my library has them.
About Martin Cruz Smith: are his books historic fiction??

Edited: May 22, 2010, 5:54pm Top

Men on White Horses by Anette Motley. Is about the rise of Catherine the Great. It has a few bodice ripping scenes but otherwise is quite thorough in describing imperial Russia... I loved it as a teen and was a precurser to all those Phillippa Gregory books.

Russka by Edward Rutherford. Russka was my first Rutherford book I read and my favourite.

The House of Special Purpose by Joyne Boyne. I read this just last month. The house of special purpose is the house last Romanovs were sent to live before they were executed. Despite the significance of the title the book is actually soft and not gruesome or anything. Pleasant to read.

Jun 16, 2010, 12:03pm Top

I am really keen on reading Russka. What about
Nicholas and Alexandra and the movie that was made of it? I know it's not fiction so maybe it doesn't count.

Jun 16, 2010, 4:03pm Top

#26 - Nicholas and Alexandra is very readable non-fiction. As is Robert Massie's Peter the Great.

Aug 9, 2011, 7:30pm Top

The True Memoirs of Little K by Adrienne Sharp.

Group: Historical Fiction

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