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Author Topic: I'm looking for a similar author...
West Coast Tiger
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posted 30 September 2005 08:25 AM      Profile for West Coast Tiger     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hello Babblers,

I am a true Dan Brown fan... I've read all his books in his small collection except for Digital Fortress. (Working on that next) I've tried to locate similar authors, but I'm having a tough time of it. Just wondering if anyone can suggest another author of similar style, and perhaps a few titles from such an author.

What I like...
I love a good mystery and I don't care what period it's set in. I like the use of REAL organizations in the stories I read, facts, and true life events added in. (I want to learn something factual as I read, if at all possible)

There ought to be political elements in it... ('cause I love politics!) I'm open to factual stories/biographies, but I'm really aiming for a fictional story wrapped neatly around lots of factual details. (I need a little escape from reality without abandoning reality entirely) A tall order, I know.

Does this sound like an author/story you know?

Thanks in advance!!


From: I never was and never will be a Conservative | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
Southlander
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posted 30 September 2005 08:29 AM      Profile for Southlander     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Are you an Aussie cos the west coast tigers are in the rugby league final for the first time in ages, the clubs are working class, formed in 1908. Go the west coast tigers
From: New Zealand | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
West Coast Tiger
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posted 30 September 2005 09:08 AM      Profile for West Coast Tiger     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Nope. I'm not even a fan of rugby. BTW: what's rugby?! Just joshing ya.

I'm just a humble girl from the west coast of Canada. But I'm nicknamed "The Tiger" here in Asia. Don't ask.


From: I never was and never will be a Conservative | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 30 September 2005 09:22 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
WCT, I wish I had read Dan Brown so that I could be sure of the tone you're looking for, but alas, I have not.

Just off the top of my head, though, I think right away of Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus novels, set in Edinburgh and often riffing off one or another British social or political problem. He is a superb writer (also a very witty talker), and for sure you will learn a lot about Edinburgh from his books, which have a strong sense of place. (The funny thing is, though: Edinburgh is actually quite a small city, but when you read Rankin, you'd think it was as huge and varied as New York City or LA.)

And a bit of free association: Rankin's neighbour Alexander McCall Smith has become renowned for his series of novels about Precious Ramotswe, leading female private detective in Botswana and founder of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Smith also writes about Edinburgh -- his lady detective there is called Isabel Dalhousie.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
West Coast Tiger
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posted 30 September 2005 09:52 AM      Profile for West Coast Tiger     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
skdadl,

That sounds like a good series to check out. Much appreciated!

An aside: You really ought to check out Dan Brown. DaVinci Code rocks, but I have also really enjoyed Deception Point. And I think Angels and Demons is a wild ride.

The author really makes your mind think. His riddles, puzzles and symbology within the novels are an added bonus to his very well-written stories. I know Tom Hanks is set to star in DaVinci Code, the movie. I can't wait for that!

Although some argue the 'facts' within his novels, I really can't help but feel this author has created a whole new genre of novel for our times. I know for the most part that when I read something nowadays, I really want to learn a few new things too. (and not just vocab)

So... you should check out his novels if you get the chance. I would bet you won't be disappointed.

Cheers!


From: I never was and never will be a Conservative | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 30 September 2005 10:10 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh! Dan Brown is that Dan Brown.

Ummmm, WCT ... from all I've heard ... Ok: I'm sure it's fun, but it sounds so fantastical to me.

Someone you might enjoy, though, who does serious philosophy while writing historical romances, is Umberto Eco, although even as I say that, I have to tell you that Eco is hardly a page-turner. He is heavy.

Aha! I have it. Look up the novels of Dorothy Dunnett. She is famous for two historical series, as you will see there, the House of Niccolo especially, but I fell in love with another novel of hers, King Hereafter, which is a novelization of the life of the real Macbeth. Her history is incredibly good, and she is a serious page-turner of a writer.


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ronb
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posted 30 September 2005 10:46 AM      Profile for ronb     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
From what I can glean, Dan Brown stole virtually everything in his book from Holy Blood, Holy Grail which purports to be journalsim, but is really journalism in the "we made most of this up" Erich Von Daniken mold. Highly entertaining, nevertheless, with secret meetings with ancient societies and dirty work afoot. It's one of a series by the same authours who also maintain that the shroud of turin is really an image of the last Templar Master and that Templars/Masons discovered the New World and on and on...
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Bacchus
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posted 30 September 2005 11:38 AM      Profile for Bacchus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Try the Historian which recently came out. Its the same as Da vinci but with a female protagonist and centres on Vlad Tepes( aka dracula) as the historical figure
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beibhnn
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posted 30 September 2005 11:57 AM      Profile for beibhnn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Try Gail Bowen's books. Set in Saskatchewan, they focus on a poli sci prof single mum as the protagonist. The first couple of books involve a lot of NDP references (perhaps because Ms. Bowen's husband was a staffer for many years in the party) and later books deal with other facets of politics, including my very favourite of the books which deals with the politics in the women's studies faculty. Hee hee! They are some of the most reading fun I've ever had and I felt I knew most of the characters in the books.

Do not watch the television adaptations of the books though. They will make you sad and want to forget that they are in any way connected to the books.

Edited to add: Also try the Sister Fidelma series about a nun in Ireland who is also a dalaigh (sort of the equivalent of a fact finding sheriff). The historical references are interesting, as are the gaelic lessons at the beginning of most of the books.

[ 30 September 2005: Message edited by: beibhnn ]


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obscurantist
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posted 30 September 2005 01:16 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, the best historical / political / philosophical novel I've read recently is The Dream of Scipio, by Iain Pears. It's not a mystery, though Pears used to write historical mysteries. And it doesn't have the same sort of grand-historical-conspiracy element of Brown or Eco. But I was captivated by it. I describe it briefly on the "What are you reading now" thread.
From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
belva
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posted 30 September 2005 02:32 PM      Profile for belva     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There is a lovely series of historical mysteries set in the early 15th century England, written by Margaret Frazer. The detective character is a Benedictine nun, Sister Frevisse, a niece of Chaucer. Good history--well researched; wonderful mysteries.
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Contrarian
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posted 30 September 2005 03:00 PM      Profile for Contrarian     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Two of my favourite writers of historical mysteries are Ellis Peters and Lindsey Davis. Both are excellent writers, who know their period and have done their research; and both have main characters who are very appealling, with a sense of humour.

Peters has Brother Cadfael, a welsh-born monk and former Crusader, at Shrewsbury Abbey in the 1100's, when Stephen and Maud were fighting over who would rule England. The war comes into most of the books, often propelling the action; also sometimes Welsh politics and church politics. BBC, I think, filmed the stories with Derek Jacobi as Cadfael, and the ones I saw were well done and followed the books quite closely. Peters also wrote historical non-mystery novels under her real name, Edith Pargeter.

Davis has Marcus Didius Falco, a freelance informer [something like a private eye] in Rome with Vespasian as emperor. So he works sometimes in Rome for local people, and sometimes goes on missions for Vespasian to far-flung parts of the Empire: Britain, Palmyra, north Africa, etc., along with Helena and various members of his extremely extended family. Davis often describes the economy of these places, the silver mines in Britain, the olive oil industry in Spain, the ceramics industry in Gaul and Germany [hey, someone had to supply the Roman army with plates and cups].

[ 30 September 2005: Message edited by: Contrarian ]


From: pretty far west | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 30 September 2005 03:19 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ooh, I know I should read Davis, and I really love Peters, was immersed in the Brother Cadfaels for a while and loved them so.

Much as I worship Derek Jacobi as an actor, though, I was disappointed in the TV series of the Cadfael books. They're ok; they're not bad; but they aren't the books. Maybe because they don't have maps. I love the Peters books that come with maps.

Jacobi rose to North American fame (in the midst of a distinguished stage career in Britain) in one of the greatest series, I, Claudius, from Robert Graves's two great novels. I could watch that series forever and ever. Sian Phillips as Livia -- even better than Sian Phillips as "Anne," wife of Smiley in the Le Carre series.

Here is the I, Claudius homepage.


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Rambler
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posted 30 September 2005 03:44 PM      Profile for Rambler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Read some James Clavell.
He has wrtten a series of novels set in Asia including Shogun, Tai-Pan, and Gai-jin. Which are the ones I have read so far. 6 books in all, but they stand independently of each other. They all include some factual events and history as background along with a fictional story. Like DaVinci Code its hard to distinguish what is real and what is fiction at times. Clavell takes real history and fills in the details with fiction. They are pretty big books at around 1000 pages each, but no filler. I have a hard time putting them down once I start to read em.

Shogun is about feudal Japan and its first contacts with western culture. It has tonnes of insights into how Japanese people lived at the time as well as the political intrigues between the ruling Daiymos.

Tai-Pan is all about the British colonization of Hong-Kong and their trade relationship with China during the tea trade. The fore story is about two trading houses battling it out for sumpremacy. Lots of mystery and nefarious dealings.

Gai-Jin is about Japan after Commodore Perry forced it to open up to the world. It is about the various factions in Japan that are struggling for influence in the year 1862.


From: Alberta | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
Contrarian
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posted 30 September 2005 04:36 PM      Profile for Contrarian     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:
...Maybe because they don't have maps. I love the Peters books that come with maps.
Yes, maps always make it better; pictures, too. There is a beautiful looking picture book by Peters and someone else about the countryside where she set her books, called Strongholds and Sanctuaries.

Lindsey Davis has maps. And here on her website there is an interactive map showing where each book takes place. She also lists the characters at the front, with much wry humour in the descriptions.

[ 30 September 2005: Message edited by: Contrarian ]


From: pretty far west | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Left J.A.B.
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posted 30 September 2005 04:43 PM      Profile for Left J.A.B.     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ditto on Davis

And I would try Clive Cussler. Funny with some suspense and has a simular sense of taking a possible reality and making it seem real in the context of the book.

And please remember the Da Vinci Code is/was and will always be a work of fiction. It's a fun yarn and poses a few interesting what if's, but it's no more factual than Decption Point, nor even as well written

[ 30 September 2005: Message edited by: Left J.A.B. ]


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ronb
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posted 30 September 2005 05:25 PM      Profile for ronb     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Sian Philips was married to Peter O'Toole. It's almost too much to contemplate.
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obscurantist
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posted 30 September 2005 07:13 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Here's what I said about Pears on the "What're you reading now" thread:

quote:
Just finished reading Iain Pears' The Dream of Scipio. Took a month, but well worth taking the time.

A rare book that manages to interweave a complex discussion of philosophy, moral action, and historical agency with a compelling story, in this case three stories, all set in the same part of France, one during the gradual collapse of the Roman Empire in the West during the 500s, one during the Black Plague in the 1400s, and one leading up to and following the German invasion of France in 1940.

Also impressive in not being overly didactic about topics that another writer might derive a heavy moral from; Pears makes the case for each side of a particular historical / moral argument (e.g., would it have been better for the Romans in Gaul to fight a doomed battle against the "barbarian" tribes and the Christian Church, or for them to collaborate with the Christians and the barbarians in order to save some of Roman culture?), and leaves it for the reader to decide, if she or he can.

If you have a bit of time for reading, I highly recommend this one.

On a related note, did anyone else read Russell Smith's "Virtual Culture" article in the Thursday Globe? It might be worthy of a thread of its own, and I only have access to a print version of it, but it was about historical novels. To quote briefly,

[start Russell Smith quote:]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I used to trust my taste: I used to think that if I wasn't enjoying a book, then it was the book's fault.
I no longer think so. Here's why: Good art is not always easy or accessible.

...

I was forced, in university, to read lots of initially impenetrable books, books that I never would have finished had I not been forced to.... I now list several of them as my favourite books.

...

Now I no longer have to read long or difficult or very alien books if I don't want to, and so, like most people, I simply don't.

...

I must constantly struggle between that which is merely my taste and that which is my informed literary judgement. ...instinct tells me that they are not the same thing.

...

...and I think of myself as someone who is interested, even fascinated, even obsessed, with history... so, ... what is wrong with me?

...

I often have the feeling, in reading historical novels, that their authors are indignant about something. ... There's nothing wrong with that in itself. But their books can feel like harangues when narrators recite undigested chunks of the author's research. ... I wonder why they didn't just write an essay. [end Russell Smith quote]



From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
West Coast Tiger
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posted 01 October 2005 01:12 AM      Profile for West Coast Tiger     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks for the tips, Babblers! Much appreciated. I've written out a list and I'll be heading to the bookstore this weekend. Thank you so much for taking the time to help point me in the right direction!

Cheers!


From: I never was and never will be a Conservative | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged

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