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Cecelia Holland

Author of Floating Worlds

51+ Works 3,069 Members 103 Reviews 12 Favorited

About the Author

Born in Henderson, Nevada, Cecelia Holland was educated at Pennsylvania State University and Connecticut College, where she received her B.A. degree. She has served as a visiting professor of English at Connecticut College since 1979. Holland's historical novels have received broad critical show more acclaim. According to one critic, she "proves that there can be more to historical thrillers than swordplay and seduction." (Time) Among her novels is City of God (1979), which is set in Rome during the period of the Borgia family. Told from the point of view of Nicolas, a secretary to the Florentine ambassador to Rome, this novel brings to life the period of the Renaissance, including the political intrigue that characterized Rome at the time. Other works include Until the Sun Falls (1969), a story of the ancient Mongols and their empire, The Firedrake (1966), her first published novel, Great Maria (1974), The Bear Flag (1990), and Pacific Street (1991). Holland is very adept at capturing the period she writes about, including the clothing, furnishings, and customs of the time. One critic has noted that Holland "is never guilty of the fatuity which plagues most historical fiction: she never nudges the reader into agreeing that folks way back then were really just like you and me, only they bathed less often." (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Literary Lights


Works by Cecelia Holland

Floating Worlds (1975) 415 copies
Jerusalem (1996) 236 copies
Great Maria (1974) 220 copies
Pillar of the Sky (1985) 218 copies
The Soul Thief (2002) 143 copies
The Belt of Gold (1984) 107 copies
Valley of the Kings (1977) 105 copies
The Earl (1971) 105 copies
The Secret Eleanor (2010) 100 copies
The Lords of Vaumartin (1988) 99 copies
Until the Sun Falls (1968) 98 copies
City of God (1979) 80 copies
The Angel and the Sword (2000) 79 copies
The Firedrake (1965) 78 copies
The Death of Attila (1973) 72 copies
The Kings in Winter (1966) 72 copies
Dragon Heart (2015) 66 copies
The Sea Beggars (1982) 64 copies
The King's Witch (2011) 63 copies
The Witches' Kitchen (2004) 55 copies
Two Ravens (1977) 51 copies
Railroad Schemes (1997) 49 copies
Varanger (2008) 47 copies
The Bear Flag (1990) 45 copies
The High City (2009) 41 copies
The Serpent Dreamer (2005) 40 copies
Kings of the North (2010) 36 copies
Blood on the Tracks (2011) 32 copies
Rakossy (1967) 29 copies
Lily Nevada (1999) 24 copies
Lincoln's Little Girl (2012) 19 copies
The King's Road (1970) 18 copies
Pacific Street (1992) 15 copies
Ghost on the Steppe (1969) 13 copies
Vigilante Wars (2012) 7 copies
Heart of the World (2020) 4 copies
Home Ground (1981) 3 copies
Dragon's Deep {novelette} (2009) 2 copies
Nora's Song 2 copies
The King of Norway (2010) 2 copies
The Death of Trotsky (2015) 2 copies
Jamestown: First Contact (2013) 2 copies
Demon Lover 2 copies
Nevada Rails 1 copy

Associated Works

Dangerous Women (2013) — Contributor — 1,130 copies
What If? 2: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been (2001) — Contributor — 1,029 copies
Warriors (2010) — Contributor — 646 copies
The Book of Swords (2017) — Contributor — 270 copies
Dangerous Women 1 (2014) — Contributor — 170 copies
Onward, Drake! (2015) — Contributor — 39 copies
Songs of Love Lost and Found (2012) — Contributor — 21 copies
MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History — Summer 1991 (1991) — Author "The Old Woman's Gun" — 16 copies
MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History — Autumn 1992 (1992) — Author "Firebrands of the Franks" — 16 copies
MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History — Autumn 2008 (2008) — Author "Heraclius Brings Persia to Its Knees" — 12 copies
MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History — Winter 1999 (1998) — Author "Tours: Medieval Battle Reconsidered" — 10 copies
MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History — Spring 2000 (2000) — Co-Author "Hapless Voyage of H-3" — 10 copies
MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History — Summer 2003 (2003) — Author "Bulwark of Spanish Florida" — 10 copies
MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History — Autumn 2001 (2001) — Author "The Last Viking" — 8 copies
MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History — Autumn 2010 (2010) — Author "Jihad by the Sea" — 1 copy


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Common Knowledge



I've never opened a Cecelia Holland book that I could put down easily. This one is no different. Fast paced, intricate plot, interesting characters. And she writes beautifully Recommended
musicmanfh | 1 other review | May 3, 2024 |
Huba.Library | 8 other reviews | Aug 3, 2022 |
Great novel about the overturning of the established order by a charismatic outsider. Set in the Stone/Copper/Bronze Age in southern England near the site of Stonehenge; technology travels slowly when it has to go by foot. The central character is Moloquin, who we first meet as a boy and an outcast, and who becomes a son, a slave, an avenger, a saviour, a husband, and a tyrant. The book is from Holland's middle period, so it covers decades and has many characters, all striving and struggling, frequently against each other. The village has scientists, engineers, both civil and military, and historians, in its own prehistoric way.

Moloquin upends the established order of things in part by the modification of existing technology; he introduces a larger, more efficient mill for grain, and turns the grinding of grain into a technology controlled by him and depended on by those who grow the food. He deliberately breaks the old mill stone and throws it into the river in the most symbolic action in the whole book. He creates a workers' village near Stonehenge, just as the Pharoahs in Egypt created a workers' village near the valley of the kings.
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themulhern | 2 other reviews | Jan 10, 2022 |
I found Valley of the Kings by Cecelia Holland to be a rather odd combination of two stories. Originally published in 1977 under a pseudonym the novel is divided into two distinct parts. The first part, and in my opinion, the better part is the story of Howard Carter, the Englishman who discovered King Tut’s tomb in 1922. The second half of the book travels back in time to ancient Egypt under the rule of Tut.

I was fascinated to read about Howard Carter, his relationship with Lord Carnavron, and the devious way he had to circumvent the British bureaucrats and officials in order to dig where he wanted. Many of the archaeologists of that time were much more interested in treasure hunting than in learning the history and culture of ancient Egypt and although Carter was rather stiff and self-righteous, he was definitely not in it for the treasure. When the story abruptly changed and jumped back in time, I was disappointed as I wanted to learn more about Carter and how the tomb was excavated. The second story takes us back in time and is set during King Tut’s reign. I found this overdone and rather silly and in the end I was left wishing the author had simply written about Howard Carter.

Cecelia Holland is the author of many very good historical novels, unfortunately this isn’t one of them.
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DeltaQueen50 | 3 other reviews | Jun 20, 2021 |



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