Kindle Forum banner

Favorite historical fiction?

3037 Views 52 Replies 34 Participants Last post by  originsean
Something put me in the mind of Stephen Pressfield's GATES OF FIRE today, so I thought I'd see what historical fiction the rest of you enjoy.

Pressfield is best known for THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE, because of the movie, but I prefer GATES OF FIRE.  It's a retelling of the battle of Thermopylae, in which a force of 5,000 Greeks held out for three days against 100,000 Persians, told through the life of a young man who becomes a servant to the Spartans.

It's a remarkable achievement, keeping you desperately flipping the pages despite the fact that the outcome is well known.

Another book I liked was the novel WAR OF THE RATS, which retold the sniper war in Stalingrad during WWII.  Also a great read.

1 - 20 of 53 Posts
Side question:  How far back in history does a book need to be to be considered Historical Fiction?  Or is there different criteria?
I think the most agreed upon number is 50 years ago but just as a rough, unofficial guideline - technically, it can be any time in the past. Different people have different ideas of where to draw the line. Personally, for my blog, I roughly follow the 50 year guide - I tend to draw the line after the Civil Right Movement in the US whereas this website seems to draw it a little earlier after WWII:
The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, by Robert Anton Wilson
A sort of prequel to the Illuminatus Trilogy (some of my favorite bookes ever), perfect if you like your history with a strong dash of WTF.
The Baroque Cycle, by Neal Stephenson
Rip-roaring adventures in books big enough to kill a badger with. Manages to make stories of ancient inventions read like good sci-fi.
The Marcus Didius Falco Mysteries, by Lindsey Davis
Good detective stories, good history.
johnnylemuria said:
I'm reading the first one at the moment - it's not bad but kind of slow paced. I thought Still Life With Murder was better. (I don't normally read historical mysteries so they were both freebies I picked up).
While Angles Dance, aftermath of civil war, James - Younger gang...
I did enjoy Stephenson's Baroque Cycle even though I kept expecting it to break out into a Steampunk novel ..... :)
johnnylemuria said:
The Marcus Didius Falco Mysteries, by Lindsey Davis
I can't remember the series name now, but I remember enjoying one of the Roman mysteries by Steven Saylor.

For people who like Scottish historical fiction, of course, there is Nigel Tranter. His novel Hope Endures is available on Kindle. Unfortunately what most people consider his best work, The Bruce Trilogy, is not. Frankly, character development was not one of Mr. Tranter's strengths but he was amazing good at showing the political and social development of the times he wrote about.
Wow, I don't think I can pick a favorite., not that one. Possibly that one... Will have to revisit this thread when I make up my mind. :p
I see that the Horation Hornblower novels (Napoleonic wars) are finally being made available for Kindle, so I'll add those to the list. There are about a dozen of them, starting with...

See less See more
How about the original historical fiction novel - IVANHOE! -

Still a great read, in my opinion.
The Other Boleyn Girl. I could not stop reading it. I also enjoy historical fiction written by Jane Kirkpatrick.
I've always preferred Robert E. Howard's historical adventures over his more popular fantasy stuff like Conan and Solomon Kane.
Hard to pick just one favorite...I love those sweeping historical epics by James Michener and Edward Rutherfurd. 

Have to agree with TWErvin too - Lonesome Dove is terrific read.
My favorite historical fiction book, and one of my overall favorite books period, is Tracy Chevalier's Falling Angels.
It's been years since I last read them, but I love Mary Renault's ancient Greek books, including The Mask of Apollo, Fire from Heaven, The Praise Singer, Funeral Games.

I'm also a a huge fan of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey–Maturin series.

1 - 20 of 53 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.