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Need a read!

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Ash
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 2475
Joined: August 2008
Location: Arizona, USA

Need a read!

Post by Ash » Sun November 4th, 2012, 6:04 pm

Hey fellow HF lovers, I am in a quandry. I have been spoiled by the likes of Sharon Penman and Eliz Chadwick, and just finished Hilary Mantel's amazingly wonderful sequel to her classic Wolf Hall. So now, nothing I read is good enough. I have picked up and put down several books over the last month but except for a few travel narratives, nothing is clicking. I need a really new good read, by someone who can write like the above authors (men or women). It doesn't have to be long. I prefer ancient through middle ages time period, anywhere in the world (well, maybe not in the US). Any suggestions?

Carla
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Post by Carla » Sun November 4th, 2012, 6:25 pm

You've probably already read these, but anyway, these are some of my all-time favourites:

Sword At Sunset, by Rosemary Sutcliff. (One of the best, maybe the best, retelling of the King Arthur story. Beautifully written)

The Candlemas Road, by George MacDonald Fraser. (Novella set in northern England in the 1580s, about the Border Reivers. Beautifully written, really brings the strange Border culture to life. Also very short, so it won't take you long to read).

Legacy, by Susan Kay. (Best account of Elizabeth I in fiction that I've come across. Very long, about 650 pages, so if you like it, it will keep you going for a while)

Song of Troy, by Colleen McCullough. (The Trojan War, with chapters told by different narrators. It has the same wry humour and vivid characterisation as her Masters of Rome series. Quite short).

Queen of the Lightning, by Kathleen Herbert. (Set in early-mid seventh century Britain in Cumbria and Northumbria. This is a bit obscure (so there's a chance you haven't already read it) and out of print, although there are second-hand copies around. It's a particular favourite of mine; though I should add the caveat that it's one of the few novels set in my main time period so I may be biased).

Hawk Quest, by Robert Lyndon. (This is recently published, so again there's a chance that you haven't already read it. I thought it was fabulous. There's a thread on it elsewhere on the forum. Set in 1072, spans most of Europe from Greenland to Turkey. It's very long (600+ pages) and consistently gripping.)
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

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Antoine Vanner
Reader
Posts: 70
Joined: October 2012
Location: South-East England

Post by Antoine Vanner » Sun November 4th, 2012, 8:19 pm

Try "Destiny of Fire" by Zoe Oldenbourg - one of the best historical novels ever written!

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3562
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Mon November 5th, 2012, 7:31 pm

I'm in the same spot. Except I've already read most of the recommendations (can second Hawk Quest, but my copy came from the UK and it wasn't cheap.) I prefer books available on kindle, and I'm not in a mood for ancient (pre-300 AD) or anything more modern than 18th century.

Romances are too formulaic for me, and most mysteries as well.

Suggestions?

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Brenna
Bibliophile
Posts: 1358
Joined: June 2010
Location: Delaware

Post by Brenna » Mon November 5th, 2012, 8:01 pm

[quote=""Carla""]You've probably already read these, but anyway, these are some of my all-time favourites:

Legacy, by Susan Kay. (Best account of Elizabeth I in fiction that I've come across. Very long, about 650 pages, so if you like it, it will keep you going for a while)

[/quote]

I can second Legacy-amazing book! A series that I've just started that I really enjoyed was by Manda Scott about Boudica. There are four books in the series starting with Dreaming the Eagle. I can highly recommend it.

I've also enjoyed Elizabeth Loupas books (The Second Duchess and the Flower Reader) as well as anything by Kate Morton.

Two King Arthur series I enjoyed were by Helen Hollick and Jack Whyte. Whyte's Camulod series is just absolutely amazing but there are like 9 books in the series so it does take awhile to get through. Hollick also writes a series about a pirate which is really good.

Another book that I also enjoyed and is quite hefty is Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor

If you like books on Rome, Kate Quinn writes some good stories although not quite in the same category as SKP or EC.

Joan Wolf wrote a triology that I read which was recommended to me on here: The Edge of Light and Born of the Sun. The first in the series was about Arthur as I was unable to get it from my library but from what I've heard, it's really good.

A stand alone novel is Watermark by Vanitha Sankaran
Brenna

Ash
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 2475
Joined: August 2008
Location: Arizona, USA

Post by Ash » Tue November 6th, 2012, 3:09 am

Oh I loved Legacy - one of those books recommended here that I've passed on to several other people.

Thanks for the recommendations. Keep them coming!

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Mythica
Bibliophile
Posts: 1095
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Preferred HF: European and American (mostly pre-20th century)
Location: Colorado
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Post by Mythica » Tue November 6th, 2012, 11:17 am

You may have read these already but:

Helen Hollick - "Forever Queen" is one of my all time favs.

Margaret George - her stuff is kind of hit and miss for me, I either love it or hate it but most of them I love. "Elizabeth I" was excellent.

Christy English - her writing style is more poetic so may not appeal to everyone but I found "To Be Queen" very enjoyable.

Bernard Cornwell? I know his stuff is more war-based but I surprisingly really enjoyed The Last Kingdom.

Carla
Compulsive Reader
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Post by Carla » Tue November 6th, 2012, 12:07 pm

Cannot imagine how I managed to forget this one from my first list:

King Hereafter, by Dorothy Dunnett. Story of the historical Macbeth and his wife Groa, set in 11th century Scotland and Orkney, with a strong Norse flavour (reflecting the area at the time - North Scotland is is full of Norse place names).

And the Lymond Chronicles and House of Niccolo Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett. If you take a liking to these (and haven't already read them), the two series between them will keep you going for quite a while.
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

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Lisa
Bibliophile
Posts: 1153
Joined: August 2012
Favourite HF book: Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
Preferred HF: Any time period/location. Timeslip, usually prefer female POV. Also love Gothic melodrama.
Location: Northeast Scotland

Post by Lisa » Tue November 6th, 2012, 12:12 pm

Margaret George - her stuff is kind of hit and miss for me, I either love it or hate it but most of them I love. "Elizabeth I" was excellent.
Yeah I was wondering whether to suggest Margaret George as well - I haven't read Elizabeth I yet, but what I have read has also been hit-and-miss. I haven't come across anyone yet who has bested Sharon Penman or Elizabeth Chadwick in my opinion!

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wendy
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Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
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Post by wendy » Wed November 7th, 2012, 12:34 am

[quote=""MLE""]I'm in the same spot. Except I've already read most of the recommendations (can second Hawk Quest, but my copy came from the UK and it wasn't cheap.) I prefer books available on kindle, and I'm not in a mood for ancient (pre-300 AD) or anything more modern than 18th century.

Romances are too formulaic for me, and most mysteries as well.

Suggestions?[/quote]

I'm currently reading Mary Sharratt's new book ILLUMINATIONS - a novel about Hildegard of Bingen. About half way through and really enjoying it.
Would this interest you?
Wendy K. Perriman
Fire on Dark Water (Penguin, 2011)
http://www.wendyperriman.com
http://www.FireOnDarkWater.com

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