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June 2012 Feature of the Month: Historical Thrillers

A monthly discussion on varying themes guided by our members. (Book of the Month discussions through December 2011 can be found in this section too.)
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Madeleine
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Currently reading: "Fear on the Phantom Special" by Edward Marston
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Post by Madeleine » Fri June 8th, 2012, 10:41 am

I don't think Rebecca's a historical thriller either, possible a period psychological drama?

I also have several Victoria Thompson books on mount tbr.
Currently reading: "Fear on the Phantom Special" by Edward Marston.

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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
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
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Post by Margaret » Fri June 8th, 2012, 8:58 pm

I believe The Solitary House is entitled Tom All Alone's in the UK.
Yes, it is.

I really enjoyed the one Shardlake mystery I read - Dissolution (see review). I also enjoyed the first Burren mystery (see review), though I wouldn't call it a thriller. I guess that begs the question: What is a thriller? Any mystery that includes potential physical jeopardy to the main character, or is something more required? I'm not sure I know the answer; it's one of those "I know it when I see it" things that not everyone necessarily knows/sees the same way!

Another mystery series I really liked that would probably qualify as thrillers (lots of mayhem!) is the Giardano Bruno series by S.J. Parris. Heresy is the first (see review), and Prophecy the second (see review), and there is a third just out, Sacrilege, which I haven't read.

David Liss has written several thrillers set in the 17th and 18th centuries (London and Amsterdam) revolving around investment schemes and financial shenigans during the early development of what we would now call the stock market: A Conspiracy of Paper (2000), The Coffee Trader (2003), A Spectacle of Corruption (2004), and The Devil's Company (2009). Although I read the first two, it was before I started my website, so it doesn't have reviews. His novel The Whiskey Rebels also involves financial speculation, but in the early years of the U.S. (see review).
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

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Mythica
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Post by Mythica » Fri June 8th, 2012, 9:56 pm

[quote=""Margaret""]Yes, it is.

I really enjoyed the one Shardlake mystery I read - Dissolution (see review). I also enjoyed the first Burren mystery (see review), though I wouldn't call it a thriller. I guess that begs the question: What is a thriller? Any mystery that includes potential physical jeopardy to the main character, or is something more required? I'm not sure I know the answer; it's one of those "I know it when I see it" things that not everyone necessarily knows/sees the same way![/quote]

I've always thought thrillers were action-packed... like an action/adventure novel. Fast-paced, lots of heart-pounding moments, etc. It doesn't necessarily have to be a mystery but it helps. To me, thrillers are mostly about the plot and excitement of "what's going to happen next?!"

But mysteries can also be more slow-paced and not necessarily "thrillers" - these tend to be more about the characters and setting, with a final climax as the only fast-paced action moment. Sometimes these are considered "cozies".

One of my favorite mystery series is PB Ryan's Gilded Age series but it's more of a cozy than thriller. I just love the characters - normally, I'm not big on romance but I have a mini-crush on William Hewitt.
Last edited by Mythica on Fri June 8th, 2012, 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Vanessa
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Currently reading: The Farm at the Edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favourite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Post by Vanessa » Sat June 9th, 2012, 12:01 pm

Perhaps the theme should have been entitled Historical Thrillers and Mysteries.

It is a strange one as to what thrillers encompass. I would say they are usually fast paced action novels, whereas mysteries are a little more gentle. Sometimes 'crime novels' is used to describe them, too. There are also 'thriller chillers' which I suppose must be a book which has a frightening aspect.

I have S J Parris' books on my TBR pile but haven't read any yet! Glad to hear you enjoy them, Margaret.
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

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Vanessa
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Currently reading: The Farm at the Edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favourite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Post by Vanessa » Sat June 9th, 2012, 12:05 pm

Here are some others I have on my TBR pile -

Matthew Bartholomew mysteries by Susanna Gregory
Christopher Redmayne series by Edward Marston
Inspector Robert Colbeck railway mysteries by Edward Marston
Jim Stringer series by Andrew Martin
John Shakespeare series by Rory Clements
Clarenceux Trilogy by James Forrester
Mistress of the Art of Death series by Ariana Franklin
Elizabeth I mysteries by Karen Harper
Templar Knight series by Maureen Ash
The Medieval Murderers by Various
Merrily Watkins series by Phil Rickman
Maisie Dobbs Mysteries by Jacqueline Winspeare
Lady Jane Grey series by Deanna Raybourn
Dido Kent series by Anna Dean
Crowther & Westerman series by Imogen Robertson


Anyone read any of these? What did you think?
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

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fljustice
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Post by fljustice » Sat June 9th, 2012, 4:32 pm

I read the first book in The Mistress of the Art of Death series by Ariana Franklin and enjoyed it. Kind of CSI in the Middle Ages with as Aspie woman forensic doctor. I found the mystery part the least compelling (spotted/predicted all the plot twists), but the history and characters were interesting. Others on Goodreads have read more in the series and say they get better. We have a thread here on HFO:

http://www.historicalfictiononline.com/ ... d.php?t=66
Faith L. Justice, Author Website
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Vanessa
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Currently reading: The Farm at the Edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favourite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Post by Vanessa » Mon June 18th, 2012, 9:21 am

Here are some stand alone thrillers which I have read or have on my TBR pile:



The Secrets of the Lazarus Club by Tony Pollard
The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld
The Death Instinct by Jed Rubenfeld
The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl
The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl
The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl
An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears
Stone's Fall by Iain Pears
Kept, A Victorian Mystery by D J Taylor

Derby Day by D J Taylor
An American Boy by Andrew Taylor
Bleeding Heart Square by Andrew Taylor
The Anatomy of Ghosts by Andrew Taylor
Mr Timothy by Louis Bayard
Pale Blue Eye by Louis Bayard
The Black Tower by Louis Bayard
School of Night by Louis Bayard
The Devil's Acre by Matthew Plampin
The Street Philosopher by Matthew Plampin

Bold = have read



I'm sure I have many more but it will do for starters! How about everyone else?
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

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Brenna
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Post by Brenna » Mon June 18th, 2012, 3:07 pm

[quote=""Vanessa""]Here are some others I have on my TBR pile -


Mistress of the Art of Death series by Ariana Franklin

Anyone read any of these? What did you think?[/quote]

I read that one and was not overly impressed. Too lyrical for my tastes. I would have put Barbara Erskine's The Lady of Hay in more of a mystery/thriller category than this one only because it is more action packed. Like others, I'm a bit confused on what is classifed as a thriller.
Brenna

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Vanessa
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Posts: 4230
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: The Farm at the Edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favourite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Post by Vanessa » Mon June 18th, 2012, 5:11 pm

I've never thought of Barbara Erskine's books as being thrillers but maybe they are, as there's quite a bit of action and mystery in them. I think some books are quite difficult to pin-point with regards to genre.
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

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Margaret
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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 June 19th, 2012, 7:47 am

I think some books are quite difficult to pin-point with regards to genre.
That's for sure! And often, the ones that are hardest to pinpoint are the most interesting to read.
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

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