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Pauline Gedge - Ancient Egyptian Historical Fiction

Brian G Turner

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So, MWagner posted this in the Ancient Egyptian SF thread:

For historical fiction, I can highly recommend the Lord of the Two Lands series by Pauline Gedge. Over three books, it covers the revolts against the Hyksos pharaohs, told from the POV of a noble Egyptian family of ancient lineage. Gedge has been penning fiction set in ancient Egypt for almost 40 years, and knows her business. She crafts compelling stories without sacrificing verisimilitude.
I've looked her up on Amazon and immediately added a few of her books to my wish list - The Eagle and the Raven already came up in a discussion on favourite book covers, and her SF novel Stargate intrigues me.

However, she's primarily defined herself as a writer of Ancient Egyptian Historical Fiction, with two trilogies - Lords of the Two Lands and The King's Man, plus various standalone novels set at different times, not least Child of the Morning, about Hatshesput, the one pharaoh queen that we know about who ruled above all in her own name - despite that her statues have her wearing a traditional pharaonic beard.

According to Wikipedia, she's sold over 6 million novel worldwide - however, not only does Amazon UK not list any of her work as eBooks, but searches of her name bring up only a partial book list - there are two different author pages.

Anyway, her writing looks crisp and detailed, so I plan to chase up some of her books shortly. In the meantime, if anyone would like to share opinions on her work, please feel free to do so in this thread - but spoiler tags would be appreciated, where required. :)
 

svalbard

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I highly recommend The Eagle and The Raven. Actually I would put it in a must read category for anyone interested in high quality historical fiction.
 

MWagner

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I highly recommend The Eagle and The Raven. Actually I would put it in a must read category for anyone interested in high quality historical fiction.
I read The Eagle and The Raven way back in high school and loved it. I remember the characterizations of Caradoc and his family, and of Boudicca, being quite moving. Then I didn't pick up another Gedge novel until I started reading the Lords of the Two Lands series a few years ago. She's one of those writers who have sold a lot of books all over the world for a long time, but who are rarely talked about.
 

svalbard

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That is what I found with her writing, her ability to bring characters to life and make the reader really feel for them.
 

MWagner

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That is what I found with her writing, her ability to bring characters to life and make the reader really feel for them.
And unlike a many authors of historical fiction, she doesn't resort to anachronistically modern attitudes and values to do so. She finds the humanity in ancient Celts, Romans, and Egyptians, rather than depicting them as modern people in exotic costume.
 

svalbard

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I concur. Few authors of HF manage that trick. Bernard Cornwell is one. An author called Ray Bryant managed it in a wonderful book called Warriors of the Dragon Gold set in the twilight years of Anglo-Saxon England. Worth a look if you like good HF.
 

Brian G Turner

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I picked up Pauline Gedge's Stargate on the cheap, but I'm struggling to get into it. The character experience is very superficial, and when something important happens, she pulls away to withhold information from the reader. The blurb describes this as a story about innocence lost, but the characters instead come across as infantile in their understanding (or lack of) about the world. Will try to push on with this, but I think I should probably have tried her historical fiction instead, and the grounds that it promises to be a little more deep and complex.
 

MWagner

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I picked up Pauline Gedge's Stargate on the cheap, but I'm struggling to get into it. The character experience is very superficial, and when something important happens, she pulls away to withhold information from the reader. The blurb describes this as a story about innocence lost, but the characters instead come across as infantile in their understanding (or lack of) about the world. Will try to push on with this, but I think I should probably have tried her historical fiction instead, and the grounds that it promises to be a little more deep and complex.
That's too bad. I'll avoid Stargate.
 

Brian G Turner

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I think it's just down to my personal preference for close character experience, which is much more common in modern genre books, but not so much in older ones.
 

svalbard

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I would still recommend The Eagle and the Raven as a must read.
 

Kerrybuchanan

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If you enjoyed The Eagle and the Raven, maybe you should read some Manda Scott, particularly the Boudica series, beginning with Dreaming the Eagle. She is a talented historical novelist who also writes crime.
 

svalbard

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I read that series a number of years ago. They were pretty good overall.
 

Kerrybuchanan

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She has a new book coming out shortly, a dual time-line novel about Joan of Arc. It's called Into the Fire.

I have to declare an interest here. We used to be friends years ago, before she started writing, when she was still working as a veterinary anaesthetist. She always said she'd write a book someday and she's certainly done well!
 

Brian G Turner

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I picked up Pauline Gedge's Stargate on the cheap, but I'm struggling to get into it.
Reading a little further, I can appreciate that she's arguably attempting something Old Testament, to a degree, in terms of tone and theme. However, I'm just not in the mood to be patient with this type of style at the moment, and why I've struggled to get into it.
 
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