Non-Roman Empire Historical Fiction

biodroid

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Why do the mainstream writers all write about ancient Rome and their wars? Just look at Conn Iggulden, Simon Scarrow etc. Can't authors write about the French revolution or the American Civil war or the Vikings (not incl. Cornwell) or the Mayans or Russians or whatever. It gets tedious reading about Romans all the time.
 

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

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You just need to take a look - you'll find there's lots to choose from! There are several Ancient Egypt series, such as Paul Doherty's. There's one set in Victorian times revolving around Egyptologists. The Sharpe books are again set in the Napoleonic wars. Steven Pressfield's Gates Of Fire, something of a classic of epic historical fiction, is about the battle of Thermopylae.

So, yes, there are stories about other historical periods. But Rome obviously has a lasting appeal and fascination for both readers and writers! (as someone in a Buchan short story I once read says about the enduring Roman impact on its former colonies, 'Rome does not die, she merely sleeps')
 

chopper

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plus, if you're bored of the fiction, there's always a good selection of narrative histories to look at. Tom Holland "does" Rome, but also covers Athens/Sparta and, in his most recent book, Europe circa the First Millennium. makes ASOIAF look like a kindergarten spat.
 

TheEndIsNigh

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Try the Falco series by Lindsey Davis - Currently being narrated on on Radio 7.

I've found it excellent; not a battle scene anywhere to be seen.

I assume it is fairly well researched because it reveals interesting facts that would be ridiculous to try and assert if they were no true. Plus I'm aware of a few being true in any case.

It's a detective (informer) and sometimes a travel guide around the Empire in Vespasian's time.


Amazon.com: MARCUS DIDIUS FALCO, Roman mysteries by Lindsey Davis IN ORDER
 

paranoid marvin

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I think it's SO much more interesting though when he emphasis is away from the fighting . Novels like I Claudius which concentrate more on the relationships between famous historical figures are much more fascinating to read about
 

Connavar

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Conn Iggulden is very good military historical but i enjoyed his Rome books most for his take on famous historical characters. I wish he wrote about Ancient times again.

I think Ancient Greece historical fiction needs more authors,books like Pressfield/Gates of Fire.

I wish there were a great napoleon times historical book that wasnt about the Napoleon himself. Just write about regular story set in those times.

Like C.S Forrester did for Naval historical ficiton.

Not that i didnt enjoy Simon Scarrow Napoleon/Wellington series. I just wish for more famous HF that isnt about historical famous people.
 

nj1

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Why do the mainstream writers all write about ancient Rome and their wars? Just look at Conn Iggulden, Simon Scarrow etc. Can't authors write about the French revolution or the American Civil war or the Vikings (not incl. Cornwell) or the Mayans or Russians or whatever. It gets tedious reading about Romans all the time.

I'll also recommend Scarrow's Generals (napoleon/wellington) series, I'll also recommend Scott Odens 2 books, Men of Bronze (egypt) and his other book (can't remember name, little help Conavar?) about Greece vs Persia.
Bernard Cornwell apparently does some good books on the American civil war (Copperhead being one of them)

For Viking tales, I'd recommend Robert Low's Oathsworn series (4 books so far) and Giles Kristians Raven series (second book just released).

I'm currently reading Vlad by CC Humphrey's, its about the man not the myth and gives a nice little view of the time.
Humphrey's also writes the Jack Absolute series which is supposedly quite good but I have tried them yet.

A coarker of a book is Tim Willocks' The Religon, a story about the defence of Malta by the Knoights of ST John from the might of the Ottoman Empire (a bit gruesome with lots of gore)

Another Waterloo book thats recommended to me is FOUR DAYS IN JUNE by Iain Gale, it's in my to be read pile and will post my thoughts on completion.

As Chopper states, Tom Holland does so good stuff, his novel on Persia being excellent and his Alezander book is also good stuff.

As to why writes cover the Roman empire so much? I would say that its probably because they were so successfull, everyone knows about the Romans so theres a ready built market. Also there alot of data about Rome, they kept alot of records, so research is readiliy available.
 
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Riselka

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*snippet*

A coarker of a book is Tim Willocks' The Religon, a story about the defence of Malta by the Knoights of ST John from the might of the Ottoman Empire (a bit gruesome with lots of gore)

I will attest to both the "coarker" and "gruesome" remarks. The book is one of the best reads I've ever had. I just hope it doesn't take Willocks seven years to write the sequel, like it took him to write this one.
 

svalbard

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I would include Sharon Penman's medieval novels as well researched and excellent reads. There is plenty of good historical fiction that is just not about Rome out there. Dorothy Dunnet's books are also great reads.
 

Connavar

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Lets hope those books are those historical romance i hear about.

Medieval times is interesting period to read about in HF.
 

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

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Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael mysteries come to mind.

Baroness Orczy's Scarlet Pimpernel stories set against the aftermath of the French Revolution are still worth reading - good rollicking adventure although their politics are essentially the unintelligent version of Burke's.

A lot of the old Greek or Roman histories themselves make for very good, entertaining reading as history writing in its nascent stages was a lot more indiscriminate and often vacillates between anecdote and panegyric.
 

Clansman

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Conn Iggulden is very good military historical but i enjoyed his Rome books most for his take on famous historical characters. I wish he wrote about Ancient times again.

I think Ancient Greece historical fiction needs more authors,books like Pressfield/Gates of Fire.

I wish there were a great napoleon times historical book that wasnt about the Napoleon himself. Just write about regular story set in those times.

Like C.S Forrester did for Naval historical ficiton.

Not that i didnt enjoy Simon Scarrow Napoleon/Wellington series. I just wish for more famous HF that isnt about historical famous people.

A glaring omission on this page is Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin books (also in film with Russel Crowe as Jack Aubrey in Master and Commander: Far Side of the World, which was a blend of several of the books (even the title(s)). Set in the Napoleonic era, it has an excellent take on the intelligence war, through Stephen Maturin. Quite historically accurate. Also, in one book (The Yellow Admiral) you get the best description of the Enclosure movement of the early 19th century (when landowners were trying to "enclose" the "commons", land that was usable by everyone, then lost to their use once enclosed). Other historical issues also crop up in other books, but that one stood out. Nice to see things like that worked into the plot so seemlessly.

And as for Rome? Love those stories. Bring 'em on, as long as they are good.
 

Vladd67

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Might I suggest The Flashman books by George MacDonald Fraser, a wonderful look at the world during the Victorian period. Though I haven't read any yet I have heard good things about the books of C J Sansom set in Tudor London.
 

Clansman

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Then there's Ken Follett's historical fiction, set during the 12th century, Pillars of the Earth. There is also a sequel, World Without End. Here is the link to the thread:

http://www.sffchronicles.co.uk/forum/41553-pillars-of-the-earth.html

Quite a good snapshot of life in medieval England.

You could also look at Stephen R. Lawhead's King Raven trilogy, which looks at roughly the same time period (just before Pillars, actually).
 

Connavar

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Really i dont have to mention Patrick O'Brian when i already mentioned C.S Forrester.

Its a bit redundant.

I will of course read O'Brian in the near future.

Clansman you know other medevil books like those ? I did buy The first book in Raven series but the writing wasnt strong enough.
 

Pyan

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A change from the Romans, going back to Ancient Greece: Mary Renault wrote a duology on Theseus, treating the mythical hero as a historical character in The King must Die and The Bull from the Sea - absolute classics.

She also wrote a cycle on Alexander the Great, equally good:
  • Fire from Heaven
  • The Persian Boy
  • The Praise Singer
  • Funeral Games
 

Pyan

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What is Mary Renault's style like?

Strong on description, and IMHO, evocative of the early days when all you needed was a sharp spear, a couple of hunting dogs and a chiton...you can feel the heat of the Greek sun.
 
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