Addicted to historical fiction, but need some recommendations!

(46 Posts)
KingRollo Tue 14-May-13 21:00:50

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Ubermumsy Wed 15-May-13 13:09:47

C J Sansom, if you like whodunnits. Or the Bernard Cornwell ones (Sharpe, and the Heretic/Harlequin trilogy) if you don't mind a war-related theme.

And of course the Brother Cadfael mysteries by Ellis Peters, though they're not exactly challenging!

For non-fiction, I really rate Terry Jones (Barbarians and Medieval Lives are two good ones).

I didn't like Owl Killers at all; made me feel deeply unsettled.

Tidypidy Wed 15-May-13 13:13:17

Try CJ Sansom's Shardlake series. They follow the reign of Henry VIII so a bit later in history but they are very atmospheric and gripping. Each one has about 700 pages so they last a long time too! I've read all five in last 12 weeks whilst breastfeeding dc3!

MorvahRising Wed 15-May-13 14:47:44

SirBoobALot I absolutely agree about Jean Plaidy; I read them to death as a child and teenager and I still love them. They also taught me an enormous amount of history just by osmosis!

iseenodust I also avoid Ken Follett, although my sister loves his books.

About to check out Dorothy Dunnett! Looks great.

KingRollo Wed 15-May-13 15:55:02

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mimbleandlittlemy Thu 16-May-13 12:43:36

I think the Ken Follett books are pretty enjoyable - the first one particularly. Second one feels too much like a replay of the first but worth a go.

Is it true that C J Sansom has said the next one will be the last because of his health?

Polyethyl Thu 16-May-13 12:47:44

Mary Renault wrote superb fiction set in ancient Greece.
And nothing beats the Flashman books for an incredible romp through Victorian history.

Absolutely yes to Dorothy Dunnett. And you can't beat Georgette Heyer for something lighter.

KingRollo Fri 17-May-13 07:27:43

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CoteDAzur Fri 17-May-13 10:24:37

You have to read This Thing Of Darkness.

Laquila Fri 17-May-13 11:15:12

KingRollo I'm so pleased you started this thread - I have loads of recommendations here to look forward to!

Mimble I was very disappointed with A Place Of Greater Safety - I only got about a third of the way through. It's still on my Kindle and I look at it wistfully every now and again but can't muster up enough excitement to try it again. Have you read Fludd and if so what did you think to that? (I haven't yet)

I enjoy the Shardlake ones but preferred Winter In Madrid, also by CJ Sansom, although it's set much more recently (not sure what constitutes "historical" for you in this context!)

Ooooooh also: The Glass of Time and The Meaning of Night, by Michael Cox - LOVED those books! (one's a sequel to the other but can't remember which way round)

KingRollo Fri 17-May-13 20:28:05

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juneybean Fri 17-May-13 23:34:29

I enjoyed The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell earlier this year

Dunlurking Tue 21-May-13 08:39:49

Great to hear of other authors to try on here, thanks.

To Philippa Gregory fans - it is worth trying Elizabeth Fremantle's debut novel about Katherine Parr, just out. Not as good as Philippa Gregory as she writes now, but possibly better than some of her early books. It's only just out in hardback so I got mine from the library. You get that Henry VIII's wives fix from it anyway!

Bearandcub Tue 21-May-13 08:53:58

Hangman's Daughter Trilogy
Company of Liars
Swarming of Bees

There's a great book about The Black Death but cannot find it to give you a title similarly something re The Witchfinder General.

Not much help there.... I'll get my coat.

KingRollo Tue 21-May-13 18:34:21

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lemonpuff Tue 21-May-13 19:25:12

how about Diana Galbordon, Sara Donati (not available on Kindle, I live in hope) and Cynthia Harod-Eagles, i currently working my way through these again.

Ruffello Wed 22-May-13 07:21:36

Not particularly the period you're interested in, but I enjoyed The Last English King by Julian Rathbone and As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann.

Bearandcub Wed 22-May-13 16:25:15

grin King Rollo

mimbleandlittlemy Wed 22-May-13 16:54:36

I'd forgotten both The Last English King and This Thing of Darkness - this is a great thread for remembering good books.

LaQueen Thu 23-May-13 18:15:24

I've just re-discovered Norah Lofts, and I think she isn brilliant.

She writes mainly about 18th/19th century England (and usually in Suffolk) - but I just love how she writes.

many of her books have a slight hint of the supernatural about them, and the period detail is excellent.

And, you HAVE to read anything by Rosemary Hawley Jarman - IMO the best historical novelist ever, bar none - and I have read a lot of historical stuff.

We Speak No Treason - makes me ache every time I read it. It is so beautiful and poignant. Her prose is better than most poetry I've ever read.

LaQueen Thu 23-May-13 18:17:15

And, yes I also vote for Mary Renault. I have everything she ever wrote, and I re-read her constantly. Achingly beautiful.

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