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Historical fiction fans - step this way please......

(57 Posts)
fatowl Thu 20-Apr-17 08:26:56

I'm big fan of historical fiction - I like fairly accurate and gritty compared to bosom heaving and damsels in distress.
I like fictionalised historical events too if well researched and written.

I'm a big fan of Bernard Cornwell and Ken Follet, Phillippa Gregory as well (but she can be a bit hit and miss)
Never got on particularly well with Sharon Penman though - but might give her another go.
Apart from the above I have particularly enjoyed "Katherine" by Anya Seton and the Forest Lord Series about Robin Hood.
I really enjoyed Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd, but his later books were very meh.

Any others I might enjoy? I know there will be some great ones out there I don't know about.

There seems to be tons and tons written about the Wars of the Roses and the Tudors (of varying quality), but not a huge amount about other medieval kings - eg Henry V (But did really enjoy Bernard Cornwell's Azincourt- written from the point of view of one of his archers)

CheerfulMuddler Thu 20-Apr-17 12:51:29

Patrick O'Brian?

TheLittleFoxes Thu 20-Apr-17 12:52:51

Ellis Peters.
Rory Clements.
Elizabeth Freemantle.

ready4summer Thu 20-Apr-17 13:01:45

I love Karen Maitland books for accurate, gritty medieval fiction.

MitzyLeFrouf Thu 20-Apr-17 13:12:25

CJ Sansom? I'm obsessed with Shardlake.

MitzyLeFrouf Thu 20-Apr-17 13:14:19

There are several CJ Sansom wannabes who have similar pen names (SJ someone or other) and similar cover art. But they're so crap in comparison.

Artus Thu 20-Apr-17 13:16:18

Dorothy Dunnet -Tudor or 15th century Europe

SixtiesChildOfWildBlueSkies Thu 20-Apr-17 13:18:09

I have just read the 'Scarlet Lion' written by Elizabeth Chadwick, the 3rd in a trilogy of William Marshal, and set at the time of the death of King Richard and the taking of the throne by his brother Prince John. Not a heaved bosom in sight but still quite human and factual.

As for Sharon Penman, I loved her works of 'The Sunne In Splendour', 'Here Be Dragons' , 'Falls The shadow' and 'The Reckoning'. So real!

So when I found her 'Queens Man' series I thought I was in for another good read. But even though I read all of them, I found them just a bit too twee/heroic and lacking bite. Such a shame.

fatowl Thu 20-Apr-17 13:18:46

My late dad used to love Patrick O'Brien, and was still listening to them on Audible even when he was very ill and stopped reading.

Yes, love Shardlake - have read the first three.

Looking at Elizabeth Freeemantle now - The Girl in the Glass Tower is only £1.99 on Kindle grin - might give that a go, thanks for the recommendation

LadyPeterWimsey Thu 20-Apr-17 13:19:33

Dorothy Dunnett is amazing - if you enjoy a challenge.

NightWanderer Thu 20-Apr-17 13:20:55

I loved Wolf Hall and Bringing Up The Bodies. I used to love the Cadfael series too.

I'm currently reading The True History of the Ned Kelly Gang. Its really good.

MitzyLeFrouf Thu 20-Apr-17 13:25:16

Sarah Dunant is another writer I like. There is the odd heaving bosom in some of her books but it's not gratuitous heaving.

fatowl Thu 20-Apr-17 13:36:40

You see, Sharon Penman I have tried with, and I feel I SHOULD love her books but I don't, can't put my finger really on why.
I've read Sunne in Spendour, and it was OK.
I was really looking forward to reading Here Be Dragons. I am from North Wales, love all the history around Llewelyn, walk the dogs around the locations they were talking about. It started well, and felt it just tailed off.......and I lost interest in it.
I've read the King's Man as well (according to my Goodreads list) , but can't remember it.

toboldlygo Thu 20-Apr-17 16:22:15

Manda Scott for a well-researched fictional account of the life of Boudica, I was hooked and still regularly re-read these, it's made a bit of a Roman Britain nerd of me. She also has another Roman series under the name M.C. Scott.

SplitInfinitive Thu 20-Apr-17 19:00:48

The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor is set in the year of the Great Fire of London. I enjoyed it, thought it was a good story.

For novels of the Wars of the Roses, you could try the series written by Conn Iggulden.

I loved the Shardlake novels by C J Sansom, and also the Giordano Bruno series by S J Parris, which are set a little later in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

PhyllisWig Fri 21-Apr-17 21:30:19

Have you tried the Henry II series from Sharon Penman? I adore the Welsh ones and the Sunne in Splendour and also liked these one (although Henry has been my historical crush for some years which helps).

My dad loves Susanna Gregory as well as the Shardlakes. I like Iain Pears (an instance past the fingerpost).

NoLotteryWinYet Fri 21-Apr-17 21:35:42

Shona Maclean and the Alexander Seaton - 1620s Scotland - the author has a PhD in history and it has enthralling detail.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Fri 21-Apr-17 21:40:00

You would probably love Norah Lofts if you like gritty. She wrote a huge range of periods but her late medieval stuff is exceptional - try The Town House.

Paffle Fri 21-Apr-17 21:55:34

phylls I loved an instance at the fingerpost. I just read it again. Do you recommend any of his other books?

FreeButtonBee Fri 21-Apr-17 22:00:21

paffle fingerpost is thebbestbofbhis but I also enjoyed a dream of scipio too. The more recent stuff is not as good.

If you want mad crazy reformation Europe fiction then Q by Luther Blissert is excellent though truly bonkers

SenecaFalls Fri 21-Apr-17 22:00:54

Restoration by Rose Tremain. Read the book and then see the film.

NomNomNominativeDeterminism Fri 21-Apr-17 23:48:12

Black William by Robert Neill - Jacobite plots in the North. Not especially gritty but not damsels in distress either. And Jacobites! In the North!

Doowappydoo Fri 21-Apr-17 23:52:22

Lindsey Davis' Marcus Didius Falco series. I find them entertaining and I think her research is good.

HarrietVane99 Sat 22-Apr-17 00:06:34

Ellis Peters wrote medieval historical fiction under her real name, Edith Pargeter. I don't know if it's currently available, but I remember enjoying it.

lucydogz Sun 23-Apr-17 22:06:26

YY to Norah Lofts. THE historical novelist IMO. I've also just read, and loved, the 'Ends of the Earth' trilogy by William Golding, about an 18th journey to Australia by sailing ship. Wonderful.
Also anything by Mary Renault, especially The Bull from the Sea and The King Must Die

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