Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Worst HF you've ever read

For discussions of historical fiction. Threads that do not relate to historical fiction should be started in the Chat forum or elsewhere on the forum, depending on the topic.
User avatar
Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 2440
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Post by Margaret » Tue December 30th, 2008, 5:57 am

Isn't the main character a Spartan? A female Spartan warrior. No matter how convoluted the author's attempt at justifying the premise this alone made it go back on the shelf.
Yes, a female Spartan warrior and former priestess of a Spartan religious-military sect the author made up for purposes of the novel (to his credit, he does admit it's completely imaginary in his author's note). This is why she takes to the life of a gladiatrix so readily (despite the humiliation of being a slave), because she's already been trained from childhood for a life of single combat. There's a lot of nonsense about how Spartans don't approve of slavery - apparently the Helots didn't qualify as slaves because they were called Helots rather than slaves. One of the annoying things about this novel is the way the author tosses in unlikely attitudes on the spur of the moment and then twists himself into a pretzel justifying them - when he does justify them. He's constantly mentioning how unusually tall this Spartan woman is, although he also mentions she was deprived of food while she was growing up, part of the Spartan toughening process. In one of her early gladiatorial combats, she's matched against a "typical" Celtic woman from Gaul, who is "short and solidly built." Never mind that all the classical Roman writers were in awe of the height of Celtic women.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

User avatar
EC2
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3661
Joined: August 2008
Location: Nottingham UK
Contact:

Post by EC2 » Tue December 30th, 2008, 9:38 am

[quote=""Margaret""] One of the annoying things about this novel is the way the author tosses in unlikely attitudes on the spur of the moment and then twists himself into a pretzel justifying them - when he does justify them. [/quote]

Oh ROTFLOLMAO Margaret, what a wonderful turn of phrase!
Carla thought it wasn't too bad. (sorry, outing you Carla, but I remember your review!)
http://www.carlanayland.org/reviews/gladiatrix.htm
From your review it sounds as if the target audience will be young males who read the likes of Nutz and FHM.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

User avatar
Volgadon
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 654
Joined: September 2008
Location: Israel
Contact:

Post by Volgadon » Tue December 30th, 2008, 11:19 am

Even those rags probably have more redeeming features than Gladiatrix by the sound of it.

User avatar
Alaric
Avid Reader
Posts: 428
Joined: September 2008
Location: Adelaide, Australia.
Contact:

Post by Alaric » Tue December 30th, 2008, 12:42 pm

[quote=""EC2""]From your review it sounds as if the target audience will be young males who read the likes of Nutz and FHM.[/quote]

More like fans of 300 :p (which I liked as a movie anyway).

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 9581
Joined: August 2008
Location: Seattle, WA

Post by Misfit » Tue December 30th, 2008, 2:07 pm

the sexual violence in Pillars of the Earth is sparse and if not tame, at least well-written by comparison (and I'm no huge fan of Follett's prose style, which I find competent but certainly not literary)
And just like Pillars, the greater public at large (at least on Amazon US and UK) seem to love it. I think I recall that being on Amazon's Vine offerings this month and thankfully wasn't interested.

Carla
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 965
Joined: August 2008
Contact:

Post by Carla » Tue December 30th, 2008, 3:30 pm

[quote=""EC2""]Carla thought it wasn't too bad. (sorry, outing you Carla, but I remember your review!)
http://www.carlanayland.org/reviews/gladiatrix.htm
From your review it sounds as if the target audience will be young males who read the likes of Nutz and FHM.[/quote]

I think I said I thought it would appeal to fans of Simon Scarrow and Bernard Cornwell, didn't I? I think I'd stand by that. Fast plot, lots of brutal cinematic action scenes. I also quite liked the central character's utter tactlessness and (misguided) conviction of her own superiority; I found it quite amusing to watch her congratulating herself on her own astuteness while the other characters were running rings round her.
PATHS OF EXILE - love, war, honour and betrayal in Anglo-Saxon Northumbria
Editor's Choice, Historical Novels Review, August 2009
Now available as e-book on Amazon Kindleand in Kindle, Epub (Nook, Sony Reader), Palm and other formats on Smashwords
Website: http://www.carlanayland.org
Blog: http://carlanayland.blogspot.com

User avatar
Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 2440
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Post by Margaret » Wed December 31st, 2008, 6:17 am

twists himself into a pretzel
Can't take credit for that one, EC - it's used fairly often here in the U.S. Maybe pretzels are an American invention?
I also quite liked the central character's utter tactlessness and (misguided) conviction of her own superiority; I found it quite amusing to watch her congratulating herself on her own astuteness while the other characters were running rings round her.
LOL, Carla.

Just got a long, furious message from Whitfield via Facebook about the short review I posted at LibraryThing, accusing me of attacking him personally instead of limiting myself to discussing the work. Of course, since I don't know him personally and all I have to go on is the work, that's something of a pretzel-twister in itself. I can understand why he'd be upset, but I genuinely did find his novel repugnant. It's only one person's opinion, but it is mine.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

User avatar
SonjaMarie
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 5688
Joined: August 2008
Location: Vashon, WA
Contact:

Post by SonjaMarie » Wed December 31st, 2008, 6:22 am

Wiki says Pretzels are either a Italian or German creation. I know I've read that the shape is related to monks arms crossing the chest.

SM
The Lady Jane Grey Internet Museum
My Booksfree Queue

Original Join Date: Mar 2006
Previous Amount of Posts: 2,517
Books Read In 2014: 109 - June: 17 (May: 17)
Full List Here: http://www.historicalfictiononline.com/ ... p?p=114965

User avatar
Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 2440
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Post by Margaret » Wed December 31st, 2008, 6:36 am

The word pretzel has a German sound, now that I think of it. In any case, Americans really took the pretzel idea and ran with it.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

User avatar
SonjaMarie
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 5688
Joined: August 2008
Location: Vashon, WA
Contact:

Post by SonjaMarie » Wed December 31st, 2008, 6:39 am

You know I actually had a dream last night that Mr. Whitfield rejoined the forum and saw what has been written about his book and was not happy. Guess it came true for you in a way!

SM
The Lady Jane Grey Internet Museum
My Booksfree Queue

Original Join Date: Mar 2006
Previous Amount of Posts: 2,517
Books Read In 2014: 109 - June: 17 (May: 17)
Full List Here: http://www.historicalfictiononline.com/ ... p?p=114965

Post Reply

Return to “General Discussion”