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Author Topic: Historical Fiction
aneka
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posted 20 February 2008 05:54 PM      Profile for aneka     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I work at the Calgary Public Library and someone came in yesterday asking for good historical fiction titles. Does anyone have any recommendations?
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Bacchus
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posted 20 February 2008 05:56 PM      Profile for Bacchus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Any particular genre?
Roman-Lindsay Davis or Simon Scarrow
Medieval-Ellis Peters, Joan Wolf, PC Doherty
Regency-Bernard Cornwell, CS Forester, AllanMalinson, Alexander Kent
Victorian-George Macdonald Fraser

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Michelle
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posted 20 February 2008 05:58 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hi aneka, welcome to babble!

I suppose there's the everlasting Anne of Green Gables, although that might not really count as "historical fiction" since it's not modern people writing about historical times. Although, Rilla of Ingleside is an interesting read since it's set in WWI with all sorts of historical references to events of the war.

I'm not really up on a lot of historical fiction otherwise. Are they talking the bodice-ripper historical romance type books?


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remind
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posted 20 February 2008 06:08 PM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Sarum, The Pillars of the Earth, any book in the People of the Earth series.
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Yibpl
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posted 20 February 2008 07:03 PM      Profile for Yibpl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I Claudius by Robert Graves

Guns of the South by Harry Turtledove


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Michelle
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posted 20 February 2008 07:07 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Would the Clan of the Cave Bear series count? I guess that's more like prehistorical fiction! Anyhow, I found that series to be a fun read, although I didn't make it through the 4th book.
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Cueball
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posted 20 February 2008 07:12 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I Claudius is a classic, though questionable in the portrait of Lydia as the generic "evil-witch queen." Though Graves brings it off he comes close to the edge there.

When people mention "historical fiction" they usually mean in the classical period. Its an ill-defined term, really.

A really great title that is almost impossible to get anywhere is The Case of Comrade Tulayev by Victor Serge: NYRB.


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unionist
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posted 20 February 2008 07:21 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Cueball:
I Claudius is a classic, though questionable in the portrait of Lydia as the generic "evil-witch queen." Though Graves brings it off he comes close to the edge there.

Gosh darn, "I Claudius" is a masterpiece, as is "Claudius the God". So is the multi-part BBC series of that name of the 1980s (I believe) with Derek Jacoby and Patrick Stewart etc.

Hey, I don't mean to flame, but it's Livia, not Lydia!


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unionist
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posted 20 February 2008 07:23 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by aneka:
I work at the Calgary Public Library and someone came in yesterday asking for good historical fiction titles. Does anyone have any recommendations?

How about the Holy Bible?


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Cueball
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posted 20 February 2008 07:24 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by unionist:

Gosh darn, "I Claudius" is a masterpiece, as is "Claudius the God". So is the multi-part BBC series of that name of the 1980s (I believe) with Derek Jacoby and Patrick Stewart etc.

Hey, I don't mean to flame, but it's Livia, not Lydia!



Right exactly, but don't you think the whole "evil whitch queen" is a little pastiche, in a sexists sense?


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unionist
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posted 20 February 2008 08:55 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yeah, maybe, but she comes across as radiantly moral next to Caligula and Nero, no? And certainly smarter than all of them. But honestly, how many non-sexist books can you name from the 1930s or earlier anyway?
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Cueball
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posted 20 February 2008 09:30 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I get your point but there is no harm in pointing it out. Yes, but Nero and Caligula are her pets, see... every "Evil Witch Queen" has familiars.
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Malcolm
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posted 21 February 2008 09:04 PM      Profile for Malcolm   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Any of Nigel Tranter's historical novels about Scotland.

Sister Fidelma mysteries by Peter Tremaine. (Tremain is the pseudonym of an Irish scholar named Peter Berresford Ellis. He created the nom de plume when he was asked to write a review of the historical fiction of Ellis Peters - which was the pseudonym of Edith Parteger.)

Ellis Peters also wrote some non-mystery historical fiction under her real name.


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mayakovsky
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posted 22 February 2008 06:12 PM      Profile for mayakovsky     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Edward Rutherfurd, Russka is one of my favourites. And Dobbins' series on Churchill.
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clandestiny
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posted 22 February 2008 07:54 PM      Profile for clandestiny     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
anything by Gore Vidal ('Lincoln' and 'Burr' are wonderful- the banality of some great men ie Washington, Andy Jackson etc astonishing) Also, Vidal's less then patriot/scoundrel view on America's actual fighting prowess is a tonic in these times!...but a real standout is Sterling Hayden's 'Voyage, a novel of 1896'...surely some of the strongest seagoing storytelling ever! 'Burmese Days' by George Orwell (his protagonist is anti racist, a progressive among casual hardbitten racists/imperialists, esp. the 'Valentine' character!)
Berton's 'Last Spike' isn't really fiction, but Pierre tells a good story (the unspoken destruction of the FN haunts the book)

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Ken Burch
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posted 23 February 2008 04:18 PM      Profile for Ken Burch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A couple pertaining to Ireland and the independence struggle:

"A Star Called Henry" by Roddy Doyle, which looks at the 1912-1920 period through the eyes of a fictional youth who becomes a republican gunman.

"Rebels" by Peter Da Rosa, which is a fictionalized telling of the events leading to the Easter Rising of 1916, told from the points of view of several of the most important characters in the story, including the revolutionary socialist and Citizens' Army leader James Connolly, and Roger Casement, the former British diplomat who was executed for attempting to bring in arms for the rebels.


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duncan cameron
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posted 23 February 2008 05:50 PM      Profile for duncan cameron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Does anyone read Thomas Costain anymore? His historical novels were a staple of my childhood. And for the ancient world we read the novels of W.G. Hardy the CCF professor of classics at the University of Alberta (also the hockey coach, Western teams play for the Hardy cup).
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margrace
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posted 23 February 2008 06:19 PM      Profile for margrace        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I just finished reading "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Phillippa Gregory and is based on Henry the 8th,he of all the wives. It has been made into a movie. There is a second book to this also about Anne of Cleves and poor little Catherine Howard.

Another set of books I am enjoying are by Anne Perry, about victorian England. They are mystery stories but one learns a lot about the social history of the times.

Yes I read all of Costains books and one of my favourite authors was Taylor Caldwell also historical social histories.

Her Book the Balance Wheel and the Rilla book by Mongomery certainly give different views of the first world war.


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Bacchus
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posted 23 February 2008 06:30 PM      Profile for Bacchus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Another set of books I am enjoying are by Anne Perry, about victorian England. They are mystery stories but one learns a lot about the social history of the times.

Well if shes going to write about murderers at least shes obeying the dictim "write what you know"


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aneka
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posted 25 February 2008 05:14 PM      Profile for aneka     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks for the suggestions! My customer was about 16, and just kind of looking for something decent to read, so all of these titles would work (I'm a little iffy on the Holy Bible - but you never know).
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oldgoat
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posted 25 February 2008 05:24 PM      Profile for oldgoat     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'll second remind's suggestion of The Pillars of the Earth. Ken Follett also just published a sequel the title of which escapes me just now, but is probably about 2 seconds away by google.

Historical fiction, hmmm, any of Brian Mulroney's biographies?


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Polly Brandybuck
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posted 25 February 2008 06:02 PM      Profile for Polly Brandybuck     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by unionist:

How about the Holy Bible?


Needs a good editing to make it readable.


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GOD
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posted 25 February 2008 06:11 PM      Profile for GOD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
No kidding, eh? I had a hard time just getting by the first chapter. I have a bit of an interest in different people's creation myths, which can be such sublime recepticles of wisdom and how they define themselves.

That one's kinda lame though. Most are unaware that much was lost over the centuries, and a lot more at the Council of Nicea.

Now Book of Revelations; that's downright surreal!


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Bacchus
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posted 25 February 2008 10:14 PM      Profile for Bacchus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I have a huge 2 volume set of the Apocrypha which make interesting reading. All the stuff in peoples bibles that didnt make the Nicean cut
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Michelle
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posted 26 February 2008 01:21 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by oldgoat:
Historical fiction, hmmm, any of Brian Mulroney's biographies?

Biographies or autobiographies? I wouldn't assume that his unauthorized biography by Stevie Cameron, for instance, is fiction.


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