Historical novels that aren't utter drivel?

Anything with a vague historical bent

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Andy T
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Postby Andy T » Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:17 am

Many already listed that I've enjoyed like the Sansom series, also Manfredi eg Troy and The Tower-impressive, and slightly older there's 7 Men of Gascony, The Gun and The Black Arrow-old fashioned adventure yarns, all well written. Gullivers Travels is well worth a re-read.


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Postby GOK » Mon Jul 20, 2009 6:22 pm

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. The follow-up (World Without End) isn't bad either, although I do feel he takes even more liberties with attaching modern thinking onto period characters. Thumpingly good reads though!

London by Edward Rutherfurd. I really like his books but be warned - don't read them back-to-back because he has a tendency to recycle some character types and family names, which I found a tad annoying.

Clan of the Cave Bear series by Jean M Auel. I read these years ago and loved them but I don't know if I'd find them a bit dated now. I say this because the last book seemed to me to be very repetitive.

Sharon Penman; Falls the Shadow, The Reckoning, Here be Dragons, The Sunne in Splendour, When Christ and his Saints Slept. Years ago, I was really struck by them but I don't know if I'd still feel the same way now; there's a lot of conjecture and romanticising. I didn't like The Queen's Man at all, and I gave up less than halfway through Time & Chance, which I admit has put me off reading anything else she's done since. :?

My friend Sandra's ( http://www.sandraworth.com/ ) novels aren't bad either!



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Postby Sir_John_Thomas » Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:50 pm

Some of my favourite authors and books, in no particular order.

Alexander Kent's Bolitho series. love naval stuff :-) "ON THE UPROLL!"

Cornwell, read them all, and the most enjoyable series was the Hookton books, although I did enjoy azincourt. and I rather liked Gallows thief.

The Eagle series with Macro and Cato, cracking good read



and lots lots more
(I'll just nip and have a look on me book shelves)


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Postby auldMotherBegg » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:30 pm

I am ripping through the Poldark series right now (on Book 9), great stuff, and I even find myself thinking in 18th century Cornish every now and then... :lol: :roll:



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Postby Man from Coventry » Wed Sep 09, 2009 6:22 pm

Some of my favourites

The White Boar, Marian Palmer - Richard III seen through the eyes of a fictitious cousin of Francis Lovell. Generally fairly sympathetic to Richard.

One is One, Barbara Leonie Picard - set in the reign of Edward II a boys journey to find himself , chidrens book & deserved Carnegie prize winner.

The Gun, C.S Forester - Set in the Napoleonic wars, follows the fortunes of an 18pdr siege gun in the peninsular war.

Shogun & Tai-pan, James Clavell - Set in early 1600's Japan and 1840's Hong Kong respectively, both utterly convincing.

When the Lion Feeds - Wilbur Smith - His first and one of his best books, Zulu Wars, Johannesburg Gold Rush and aftermath.

The Gauntlet, Ronald Welch - Childrens book. Set in 13th Century Wales a schoolboy is transported back to 13th Century wales. Also any of the Carey series by the same author.



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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:27 am

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Re: Historical novels that aren't utter drivel?

Postby Hon_Kitty » Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:29 pm

Just bumping this one cos I have just discovered the Wilderness series by Sara Donati and I'm really enjoying them.

Late 18th and early 19th century Frontier type stuff (any more info will give the plot away,.....)
First one is the sequel to "Last of the Mohicans" and has almost inspired me to watch Daniel Day Lewis with most of his clothes off all over again 8-) at least that's what I'm telling Dan.....



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Re: Historical novels that aren't utter drivel?

Postby steve stanley » Wed Mar 10, 2010 6:13 pm

Hon_Kitty wrote:Just bumping this one cos I have just discovered the Wilderness series by Sara Donati and I'm really enjoying them.

Late 18th and early 19th century Frontier type stuff (any more info will give the plot away,.....)
First one is the sequel to "Last of the Mohicans" and has almost inspired me to watch Daniel Day Lewis with most of his clothes off all over again 8-) at least that's what I'm telling Dan.....



But is there lots of violence with correct weapons..? If so,I may be tempted..............The Wiki entry sounds ok..And I do like the Gabaldon series........
Steve


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Re: Historical novels that aren't utter drivel?

Postby Miss Costello » Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:02 pm

Karen Larsdatter wrote:I've heard that the Kristin Lavransdatter series (by Sigrid Undset) is good, but I haven't actually read it myself.


I can agree with that, read them some years ago, excellent.



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Re: Historical novels that aren't utter drivel?

Postby Byrthwold » Thu Mar 11, 2010 8:42 am

I have only read a few but the ones i liked were :
Homer the illiad
Rob low the oathsworn books
c.s. forrester hornblower and the hotspur
the canterbury tales
i have also read the viking series by tim severin but couldn't really bring myself to care about the main charector


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Re: Historical novels that aren't utter drivel?

Postby Hon_Kitty » Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:17 am

Steve, you might well enjoy them then, there is quite a bit of violence (well they are out in the middle of the backwoods and mmmphmmm mmmmphmmmm that was me being stifled from giving away the plot!!) but there's also quite a bit of "intrigue".

I loved the Gabaldon ones but thought she was started to become slightly obsessed with Jamie Fraser's, uh, russet body hair from every angle (if you get me...)
I'm not by any stretch of the imagination a puritan but I thought there was maybe a bit too much sex in the Gabaldon books - it does seem to be on every flat surface and at every opportunity by the last couple of books :wtf: The same degree of obsession with horizontal jogging is not evident in the Wilderness books. Having said that, there's not *quite* the same degree of detailed research as there is in Gabaldon's (and some would say they are the better for it, being about half the size!)

I recently finished the last one and immediately went back and started again at the beginning, that's how much I enjoyed 'em.



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Grania
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Re: Historical novels that aren't utter drivel?

Postby Grania » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:47 pm

I confess, due to seriously limited internet time I haven't read all of this thread so forgive me if these have already been suggested :)

I'd have thought someone's probably suggested Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin novels, 20 of 'em starting with 'Master and Commander' (Nelson's Navy, for want of better description. Bit technical in places, but pretty good)

Also I seriously advocate the Sister Fidelma Mysteries. They're set in Ireland in the 7th Century, and although they are murder mysteries and that was never my thing, I adore them. Better still, they're written by a chap who is an expert on the period and the Brehon Laws (native Irish law of the time) - he's written some acedemic texts as well (have one here with my from my uni library), so I'm inclined to think they're pretty good in terms of the history.

:)


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Re: Historical novels that aren't utter drivel?

Postby Gail Horn » Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:15 pm

I've just finished one by Margaret Frazer, 'The Sempster'sTale', featuring her 15th century detective nun, Dame Frevisse. I don't know what the rest of the series is like as I've only got the one book, but I enjoyed this one - it was based in Lonodon during Jack Cade's rebellion. I'm going to try some more if I can persuade LordAndMaster that he'd love to get one or two for me for Mothering Sunday...


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Re: Historical novels that aren't utter drivel?

Postby ambeggar » Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:42 pm

May I suggest a look at Diana Norman's books, especially her early ones - Fitzempress's Law and its sequel, and particularly The Morning Gift. Her Irish pirate queen books are enjoyed by my mother and so are her Renaissance and Georgian books which I have not gotten into.
I endorse the Ronald Welch choice; his male characters all tend to be a little clean cut and fine swordsmen to be true, but there is nothing better than the duel from The Galleon. Unhappily, his books are all sought after and brutally expensive.
Connie Willis's Doomsday Book is very very good, but read it in your full health and strength as it is a terrifying meditation on helplessness. She has recently started a series set in the same Universe dealing with World War 2.
"Full health and strength" puts me in mind of Leon Garfield; again, mostly Georgian childrens' books starting with Smith and going on through Adelaide Harris to the Victorians in House of Cards and December Rose.
Philip Reeve has published one historical, Here Lies Arthur. Again a childrens' book but very clever. We are in a golden age for childrens' books, so don't avoid them just because they are for the kids.


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Re: Historical novels that aren't utter drivel?

Postby steve stanley » Sat Apr 03, 2010 4:51 am

Still have one Ronald Welch..'Mohawk Valley'(surprise...)...Think I read all the others in the late '60's!
Equally hard to get is John Sanders 'Nicholas Pym' series...1650's derring-do with one of Cromwell's agents...written in the '60's & owing a LOT to 007...but quite good.
Steve


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Re: Historical novels that aren't utter drivel?

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:47 pm

The White Queen isn't utter drivel, not exactly brilliant either.


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Re: Historical novels that aren't utter drivel?

Postby Sasha » Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:28 pm

The Retreat by Patrick Rambaud about Napoleon's retreat from Moscow. Picked this up on a whim in the library.

He's not scared to leave out the big battles and doesn't feel the need to tie off all the loose ends.


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Re: Historical novels that aren't utter drivel?

Postby matlot » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:56 pm

Michael jecks does a series of medieval mystery books set in devon there not brilliant but deffinately readable


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Re: Historical novels that aren't utter drivel?

Postby British » Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:21 pm

Whilst reading fact, in the shape of Ian Mortimer, I really am enjoying the last in the series of CJ Sansom's Matthew Shardlake stories. The first, Dissolution, was good. But the others have been fantastic. He truly draws you in. You can almost smell the scene!

Conquest, a book by Stewart Binns about Hereward the Wake. That is an incredibly good read, too



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Re: Historical novels that aren't utter drivel?

Postby Glorfindle » Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:07 pm

Not sure how accurate these are but I recommend the conqueror series by conn iddulden, really easy reading! I just tend to go into the libary and pick a random book from a random shelf, read what its about unless it's a series, in which case I try to find the first book, and just take them home, found some absolute gems that way, found some that are utter drivel too mind you, but it keeps it exciting!


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