Historical Fiction - Who else reads it and what are your favourite titles? - Wargaming Forum and Wargamer Forums
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-20-12, 08:58 AM Thread Starter
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Default Historical Fiction - Who else reads it and what are your favourite titles?

Hey all,

I just finished writing a review of Bernard Cornwell's fantastic Azincourt, and was wondering if anybody else on here is a fan of Historical Fiction, and what novels have you read from this genre. And if you have read any, are they any good? What's your favourite?

I've read the following Historical Fiction Novels:

Under the Eagle by Simon Scarrow - the first in a series of Roman novels. Scarrow is an awesome author, almost as good as Bernard Cornwell, who is in my view, the king of Historical Fiction. I'm currently reading the second novel in the series, The Eagle's Conquest - and am enjoying it as much as I did Under the Eagle.

Sharpe's Tiger by Bernard Cornwell - I think, if any of you will have heard of any military historical fiction, it will be the Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell. I've recently taken the plunge into reading the novels set in the Napoleonic War period and am finding them to be fantastic. Cornwell's probably my favourite author when it comes to writing battle scenes, even though I've read a lot of Warhammer 40k novels. Cornwell outclasses even Abnett in my opinion, and I can't wait to get back to reading more of his novels.

Spartacus: The Gladiator by Ben Kane - first in a Duology of novels telling the tale of Spartacus the Gladiator. Of course, this is a Roman era-novel, and I found this to be really enjoyable. Dark, gritty - Kane is, although perhaps not as good as Scarrow and Cornwell, still a pretty good author and I will be reading Rebellion (Book #2) when it's released.

I've also picked up the first two novels in Conn Iggulden's Julius Caesar series, and will start them when I go abroad to France later this week. I'm really looking forward to them and have heard high praise for Conn Iggulden's novels. The Assassin's Creed tie-in novels also count as historical fiction to a certain extent, although they're not as good as the aforementioned novels and frankly - the Games are far better.

Basically, I created this thread so that those of you who have read Historical Fiction or are thinking of picking up Historical Fiction can have a place to discuss it.
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-20-12, 10:40 AM
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Flashman, the supreme historical fiction series. A series of twelve books, sadly since the author has been dead since 2008 that is all there will ever be, about a military officer in the Victorian-age who is famous, heroic, chivalrous and brave... in his public face. He's actually a cad, a liar, a cheat, a layabout and a monstrous coward. And yet despite constantly landing himself in the worst situations, usually due to being caught with a woman he shouldn't be with, he always manages to come out the hero despite always looking to jump ship at the earliest chance.

One truly great thing about Flashman is that the author is honest about his faults. In the first book Flashman rapes a woman, albeit under the implied threat of death if he doesn't, and describes the aftermath as such. "That was the first time I ever raped a woman, it has its pluses but on the whole I prefer willing women." Flashman is not a hero, there's no question of that, he might be responsible for some heroic things but only through selfishness and pure dumb luck. He'll betray friends, cheat on his wife constantly, gamble and drink, beat servants with glee and steal credit for whatever he can. Yet Flashman is still likeable for being the smart one, most of the time, and because he's just so damn funny. Flashman himself claims he has three real talents; horsemanship, foreign languages and fornication, the second of which he usually learns from the third.

Any who've read Ciaphas Cain will have an understanding of what Flashman is like, as Cain was partially inspired by ol' Harry Paget Flashman. Flashman is what Cain believes himself to be.

What is truly sad is that since the author is dead some of Flashman's greatest adventures will never be known, like how he fought on both sides in the American Civil War.


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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-20-12, 04:20 PM
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Sharpe, obviously.

Also started a relatively new series by Michael Arnold called "The Civil War Chronicles". The first book - Traitors Blood - was pretty good, and I have the second one ready to go as soon as I finish off The Primarchs.

Other than that, I confess not so any good titles would be appreciated


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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-20-12, 06:54 PM Thread Starter
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It depends on what sort of time period you're interested in. I'm going to say you should check out anything by Bernard Cornwell, as he's awesome. He has a new novel called 1356 that's hitting shelves in September and looks set to be pretty cool. Although I don't know much about that period of history I'll be picking it up, because, well - it's Bernard Cornwell.



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Go with God and Fight Like the Devil. A fascinating hero and the pursuit of a sword with mythical power - this is the remarkable new novel by Britain’s master storyteller, which culminates at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356.

Thomas of Hookton, a veteran of Crecy and many other battles, is the leader of a mercenary company of bowmen and men-at-arms who ravage the countryside east of Gascony.

Edward, Prince of Wales, later to be known as the Black Prince, is assembling an army to fight the French once more but before Thomas can join, he must fulfil an urgent task.

La Malice, a sword of mythical power guaranteeing victory to its owner, is thought to be concealed somewhere near Poitiers. With signs that a battle between the English and the French is looming others are seeking the treasure too, and some – French, Scots and even English – are pursuing their private agendas against Thomas.

But all – Thomas of Hookton, his enemies and friends and the fate of La Malice – become swept up in the extraordinary confrontation that follows, as the large French army faces the heavily outnumbered English in battle.
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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-20-12, 07:33 PM
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And I of course would recommend Flashman if your interested in the Pre-WW1 era. Flashman features some of England's most famous battles and wars like the First Anglo-Afghan War, The Charge of the Light Brigade, The Battle of Little Bighorn, The Crimean War and The Indian Mutiny, among others. And of course the series alludes to many other famous things that Flashman has done that we'll sadly never see now.


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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-20-12, 07:42 PM
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I don't read historical fiction that much, but if you like Ancient ages, I can certainly recommend 2 writers: Colleen McCullough with her Master of Rome series (it covers period from Gaius Marus and Lucius Cornelius Sulla, then Julius Caesar and ends with second triumvirate and death of Mark Anthony), and Steven Presfield with his Gates Of Fire (Thermopyllae battle), Tides of War(Peleponesian war), and Alexander books.

Also worth reading is McCullough' Song of Troy (It's her version of Illiyad but without any mythical elements).
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-21-12, 12:55 AM
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Ive read Bernard Cornwells first Sharpe novel long ago, but lately read all of his Saxon novels which i think are great.

Conn Igguldens Emperor series i read years ago which too i can recommend. He has written other series too, which i havent read.

Eagle in the Snow by Wallace Beem. Arguably THE BEST novel of Roman times and ive read many of them. This i fully recommend.

James Clavell's Shogun. I read this first time when i was about 11 and ive read it several times since. Must be over 10 years since i last read this.

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. Loved it, very good novel and liked very much the mini-series too.

Sven Hassel's WW2 novels are quite good also. Not read all of them but enjoyed what i read. Best fiction of WW2, although some say its real.
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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-21-12, 01:17 AM
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Another big fan of Sharpe right here. I'm going chronologically through the series and am going to start Rifles when school starts back up. I've also got Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian. I've heard good things about that one as well.

Finished: Too Much Love Will Kill You (working title), an original fiction novel. Working on: Second draft of Too Much Love, and the first draft of A Winter's Tale (working title).
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-21-12, 01:43 AM
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Historical fiction isn't my preferred genre, but there's some good stuff out there.

I can't overstate the greatness of Neal Stephenson

Cryptonomicon is a great book for anyone who's even a little geeky and remotely into WW2, and the massive epic prequil the Baroque Cycle is probably the best 3000 page swashbuckling adventure ever written about the birth of international trade, mechanical computing and the advent of calculus.

Also it features a syphilitic vagabond/pirate/counterfeit Janissary/sultan/professional mosquito feeder. His name is Jack Shaftoe and he is awesome.

If you're into steampunk and/or alternate history fiction, check out the Difference Engine written by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling.

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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-21-12, 10:49 AM
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Nobody but me reads Flashman?! That makes me sad.


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