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Medieval Sicily

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

Postby Margaret » Sat September 27th, 2008, 5:49 pm

I know exactly what you mean now, Keny. A lot of the popular modern historical fiction does indeed suffer from the problems you describe. The worst offenders often seem to be the most likely to make the bestseller lists, because they tend to appeal more to general readers who aren't as familiar with historical fiction.

But there's a lot of good stuff being written. I mentioned some favorites in another thread yesterday - Maria McCann's As Meat Loves Salt is a stand-out, set during the English Civil War (see my review at http://www.HistoricalNovels.info/As-Meat-Loves-Salt.html). I think you would also like Bernard Cornwell's novels. I haven't read a great many of them, but The Winter King was a grubby, gritty take on the King Arthur legends drawn from authentic research into post-Roman Britain. Cornwell's Saxon series is also highly authentic - for some reason I read the 2nd novel in this series (The Pale Horseman) without reading the first, but Annis reviewed The Last Kingdom (the first in the series) for my Historical Novels website (see www.HistoricalNovels.info/Last-Kingdom). Cornwell's Sharpe series has a lot of fans, too, but I haven't read any of these yet. Another novel I read this year that I really, really liked is Linda Proud's A Tabernacle for the Sun, which I also reviewed at my website (see http://www.HistoricalNovels.info/Tabernacle.html). This last is hard to find in the U.S., but can be ordered directly from the publisher in Oxford, England.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings and over 650 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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Kveto from Prague
Compulsive Reader
Location: Prague, Bohemia

arthur

Postby Kveto from Prague » Sun September 28th, 2008, 10:36 am

"Margaret" wrote:I know exactly what you mean now, Keny. A lot of the popular modern historical fiction does indeed suffer from the problems you describe. The worst offenders often seem to be the most likely to make the bestseller lists, because they tend to appeal more to general readers who aren't as familiar with historical fiction.

But there's a lot of good stuff being written. I mentioned some favorites in another thread yesterday - Maria McCann's As Meat Loves Salt is a stand-out, set during the English Civil War (see my review at http://www.HistoricalNovels.info/As-Meat-Loves-Salt.html). I think you would also like Bernard Cornwell's novels. I haven't read a great many of them, but The Winter King was a grubby, gritty take on the King Arthur legends drawn from authentic research into post-Roman Britain. Cornwell's Saxon series is also highly authentic - for some reason I read the 2nd novel in this series (The Pale Horseman) without reading the first, but Annis reviewed The Last Kingdom (the first in the series) for my Historical Novels website (see www.HistoricalNovels.info/Last-Kingdom). Cornwell's Sharpe series has a lot of fans, too, but I haven't read any of these yet. Another novel I read this year that I really, really liked is Linda Proud's A Tabernacle for the Sun, which I also reviewed at my website (see http://www.HistoricalNovels.info/Tabernacle.html). This last is hard to find in the U.S., but can be ordered directly from the publisher in Oxford, England.


thanks for the recommendations. I'll see about tabernacle for the sun, i usually have to order books from the UK anyway as the selection of English language books here is limited to best sellers. Im pretty keen on anything from Italian history, i used to live in rome.

ive always considered cornwells series as something id like, but im under a self imposed ban not to read anything Authur related for awhile. I think the Authur angles have been done to death in literature and cinema and personally im sick of it all. there are so many other more interesting (and actual) personages in history, i dont know why writers continue to go back to that same source (same for robin hood, in my opinion). i think id like em, and im sure one day ill try them.

sorry if it sounds like im complaining, i just think history is so rich and full of colourful characters and eras thats its a pity to concentrate on so few.

anyway, you gave me an idea for a new thread.

good reading to you

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Ariadne
Bibliophile
Location: At the foothills of Mt. Level

Postby Ariadne » Sun September 28th, 2008, 4:43 pm

Back on the old HF board, I'd posted about a novel set in medieval Palermo that I'd bought recently but couldn't find and could remember very little about... I was starting to think I'd imagined it. But while going through my shelves this morning I found it at last! It's The Garden of Persephone: A Novel of 12th-Century Sicily by Cesar J. Rotondi, and it came out in 1982 by St. Martin's Press. It's about a young Englishman who becomes the special envoy of King Roger II, traveling on perilous diplomatic missions to help Roger consolidate a kingdom made up of all southern Italy.

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

Postby Margaret » Sun September 28th, 2008, 6:04 pm

Thanks, Ariadne! I've just ordered a copy, and will add a listing at http://www.HistoricalNovels.info.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings and over 650 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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Kveto from Prague
Compulsive Reader
Location: Prague, Bohemia

Postby Kveto from Prague » Sun September 28th, 2008, 6:34 pm

"Ariadne" wrote:Back on the old HF board, I'd posted about a novel set in medieval Palermo that I'd bought recently but couldn't find and could remember very little about... I was starting to think I'd imagined it. But while going through my shelves this morning I found it at last! It's The Garden of Persephone: A Novel of 12th-Century Sicily by Cesar J. Rotondi, and it came out in 1982 by St. Martin's Press. It's about a young Englishman who becomes the special envoy of King Roger II, traveling on perilous diplomatic missions to help Roger consolidate a kingdom made up of all southern Italy.


Thanks from me as well. Im always interested in Sicilian Normans. ill see if i can find it cheap.

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

Postby Margaret » Sun September 28th, 2008, 8:48 pm

I've just discovered, also, that Frank Yerby's 1952 novel The Saracen Blade is set in medieval Sicily, and Frederick II is an important character.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings and over 650 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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Kveto from Prague
Compulsive Reader
Location: Prague, Bohemia

Postby Kveto from Prague » Thu October 9th, 2008, 7:08 pm

"Margaret" wrote:I've just discovered, also, that Frank Yerby's 1952 novel The Saracen Blade is set in medieval Sicily, and Frederick II is an important character.



thanks. i hadnt heard of Yerby, but what i read about him sounds interesting.

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Richard
Reader
Location: Albany, NY
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Arab invasion 829?

Postby Richard » Tue February 24th, 2009, 2:01 pm

Not that I've managed to sell my first book yet... but the second, working title "Saint Mark's Lion", covers the first thrusts of the emergent Venice. They ally with the Byzantines in an attempt to kick the Saracens out of Sicily in 829. (really happened... yes, the year after they get the body!)

The invasion, by the way, starts out with a very juicy story. The drungaros (Admiral) Euphemios, the Byzantine governor, is deposed by a rival on the pretext of a sexual indiscretion. (some say he forced a nun to marry him... others say there was a boy involved.) But Euphemios defects to the Muslims... WITH HIS FLEET... and invites the Aghlabid Caliphate to come and garrison the island. Fighting and sieges follow, Euphemios dies of plague IIRC and it takes the Muslims about 70 years to completely conquer Sicily.

So... does anybody have a good source for the original Arab invasions? There is a lot of writing about the later periods (there are some advantages to being conquered by a literate people) but I haven't found anything really good as reference for 820-830. Thanks!
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Volgadon
Compulsive Reader
Location: Israel
Contact:

Postby Volgadon » Tue February 24th, 2009, 3:53 pm

I think we might have some books that discuss the invasion of Sicily a little bit.

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Tue February 24th, 2009, 6:11 pm

You might find something if you trawl through the Islam section of the Medieval Sourcebook, Richard
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/sbook1d.html

There are also a lot of links to further information about Islamic invasions tthroughout history here ( scroll down to the bottom of the page):
http://www.crf-usa.org/bill-of-rights-in-action/bria-20-1-b.html


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