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looking for novels from obscure periods

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Ash
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Post by Ash » Sat October 4th, 2008, 3:18 pm

[quote=""1lila1""]Stupid question: Are the crusades really considered obscure? Seems there are tons of novels set during the Crusades and in Outremer/The Holy Lank.[/quote]

I think it depends on the focus of the book. If its written through the eyes of the Western knights, then yeah, those are a dime a dozen. The ones Im interested in is how the people in the area responded. Those tend to be rarer I think. One of my favs is Judith Tarrs Queen of Swords, for example.

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Sat October 4th, 2008, 5:37 pm

[quote=""Ash""]I think it depends on the focus of the book. If its written through the eyes of the Western knights, then yeah, those are a dime a dozen. The ones Im interested in is how the people in the area responded. Those tend to be rarer I think. One of my favs is Judith Tarrs Queen of Swords, for example.[/quote]

I'm with you on that one Ash, I'd rate Queen of Swords highly too.
As another forum member suggested, the Graham Shelby novels are good - Knights of Dark Renown and Kings of Vain intent. I wasn't so struck on The Edge of the Blade - felt Shelby slightly lost the plot. There's The Book of Saladin by Tariq Ali; that's slow moving but well written.
There are also the books by Robyn Young starting with Brethren - crusade/Templar romp. I DNF the first one but they might be someone else's cup of tea.
Last edited by EC2 on Sat October 4th, 2008, 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: forgot to mention something.
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

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Margaret
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Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
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Post by Margaret » Sun October 5th, 2008, 12:17 am

The Crusades lasted for around 2 centuries, so within that time some particular periods have been explored better than others. I just posted the new Crusades subpage to the Medieval section of my website, which lists over 80 novels. A good number are about the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathars in France, which is not usually what people think of in connection with the Crusades. There are quite a few about the First Crusade, and just under 20, I think, about the Crusades in the twelfth century in which Richard the Lionheart was involved. I've undoubtedly missed a few, especially by 19th century writers. There's also a 25-book (so far) mystery series by Michael Jecks about a couple of Templar Knights who solve mysteries back home in Devonshire after they return from crusading - I haven't read any of these, but I put them in the Crusades category because the synopses put so much emphasis on their past as Crusaders.

There were some unsuccessful wars against the Moors in Spain (the epic poem Song of Roland is about one of these) which preceded the war to capture Jerusalem that became known as the First Crusade. Some scholars think the exposure of French knights to Moorish culture during this period may have inspired the first troubadours. So far, I haven't come across any novels about these early wars against the Moors, though it seems like Roland would have inspired a few, and the birth of the troubadour phenomenon would make a great subject for a novel.
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

annis
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Post by annis » Sun October 5th, 2008, 4:17 am

It is surprising isn't it? As we discovered earlier, there don't seem to be that many novels around about Charlemagne and his famous commander, Roland.

There is an old novel by Frank Yerby, called "An Odor of Sanctity"
which is set in early medieval Moorish Spain, and features the mix and clash of cultures- Moors, Goths and Jews.
Last edited by annis on Sun October 5th, 2008, 4:20 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Kveto from Prague
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roland

Post by Kveto from Prague » Sun October 5th, 2008, 7:58 am

[quote=""annis""]It is surprising isn't it? As we discovered earlier, there don't seem to be that many novels around about Charlemagne and his famous commander, Roland.

There is an old novel by Frank Yerby, called "An Odor of Sanctity"
which is set in early medieval Moorish Spain, and features the mix and clash of cultures- Moors, Goths and Jews.[/quote]


terrible, isnt it? i find the paladins of charlemagne far more interesting than tired old authur and his done to death camelot. in my opinion.

but not only the brilliant song of roland, but "orlando Innamorato" (roland in love) by Boriado and "orlando furioso" (roland mad) by Aristo are also fantastic historical fantasy. these two italian masters created a much more fallable hero than any character from Morte d Arthur, in my opinion. a hero who fosakes his duty due in an insane love, and cant fathom the idea that any woman would reject him. you can find good English translations in Bulfinchs age of Chivalry. these are epics just witing to be re-written as historical fantasy.

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sweetpotatoboy
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Post by sweetpotatoboy » Sun October 5th, 2008, 6:19 pm

[quote=""EC2""]As another forum member suggested, the Graham Shelby novels are good - Knights of Dark Renown and Kings of Vain intent. I wasn't so struck on The Edge of the Blade - felt Shelby slightly lost the plot. [/quote]

The only Graham Shelby I've read, or tried to read, was The Wolf At The Door. I can't remember how far I got but I remember being bored to tears and uninterested in any of the characters. Maybe I was just in the wrong mood.

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Sun October 5th, 2008, 6:43 pm

[quote=""sweetpotatoboy""]The only Graham Shelby I've read, or tried to read, was The Wolf At The Door. I can't remember how far I got but I remember being bored to tears and uninterested in any of the characters. Maybe I was just in the wrong mood.[/quote]

The Wolf at the Door is not Shelby at his best, Sweetpotatoboy. I seem to recall I began reading that one and DNF. The Knights of Dark Renown is the one to go for if you're going to read one of his
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

annis
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Post by annis » Sun October 5th, 2008, 6:54 pm

I consider "Knights of Dark Renown" and "Kings of Vain Intent" to be Graham Shelby's best work, though I believe that he received a bit of flak here and there for his portrayal of Conrad Monferrat as über -villain in KOVI.
In 'Edge of the Blade" I have the feeling that he was feeling a bit playful, and going for a "Boy's Own" style adventure.

annis
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Post by annis » Sun October 5th, 2008, 7:08 pm

Keny, maybe there is historical fiction in French about Charlemagne and his paladins which we don't have access to?

And speaking of historical fiction from other languages, I recently came across this nineteenth century book written by a German author which might appeal to you ( it has been translated into English, luckily)
"The Struggle for Rome" by Felix Dahn.
It's set in the sixth century AD, when the Roman Empire had crumbled into dust and is about the struggle for Rome, and for Italy, between the Eastern Roman Empire of Byzantium, ruled by Justinian, and the Gothic warrior tribes who had captured Italy under their legendary king Theodoric.

Ash
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Post by Ash » Sun October 5th, 2008, 7:22 pm

I've long been fascinated by Moorish Spain, someday want to see Al hambra, and would love some HF about that time and place. Any ideas? (after that, no - I have read more than enough of the expulsion of the Muslims and Jews, and the Inquisition to never want to read about that time again)

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