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There are many classics in this broad fiction genre: the first that comes to mind are Mary Renault’s series of novels based in ancient Greece. These are a great read, by the way! The study of ancient Greece can be, at times, a rather dry and especially academic exercise, but Mary Renault puts humanity at its core and tells a great yarn, at the same time – absorbing and utilizing many historical and mythological elements into her story, including making the ancient hero Theseus the main protagonist of one of her stories. Naturally, there is a great deal of invention in her novels, there has to be because the detail is missing from history, but Renault is a highly capable historian, as well as an excellent imaginative story teller, and her imagining of ancient Greece is entirely credible – and recommended by respected classics professors as a way in to their topic.
But Mary Renault has some great company in this genre. A more contemporary author that comes to mind is Steven Pressfield, who also broke into the bestseller list for his novels on ancient Greece, but has gone on to create numerous, equally popular, books on a variety of other historic periods with a focus on conflict and war – right up to the modern day Afghan war. Other popular authors include: Patrick O’Brian and his ‘Master And Commander series; Robert Graves’ ‘I, Claudius; Umberto Eco’s The Name Of The Rose; Leo Tolstoy’s War And Peace; and the 2012 Booker Prize Winner Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel.
In fact, when you look down any bestseller list of great historical fiction novels, you’ll find very many books you thought of first as thrillers, mysteries, romances, or action adventure stories – but set years in the past.
The imagination required to create a work of fiction is something that can be applied in many directions. Imagining a contemporary environment is no different, in the research required, to imagining an historic period. But historical fiction books can bring history alive for the reader, and educate as well as entertain – and as such, they perform a particular type of service to us all. Long live the history novel!
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What would you do to save your mother from slavery?"Excellent, thrilling, full of surprises and suspense.""If you like Historical Fiction, and you like Christian Fiction, this one will be right up your alley.""I enjoyed the link of Christianity in the face of war....read more
Braxes' fighting pits draw crowds in the thousands to feast upon the sights and sounds of men meeting their end. Whilst trying to find his purpose after losing everything, Atilius is thrust into this world of death and destruction. He learns to kill and finds himself...read more
Curious how to pronounce the title?It's CAN-all-ers. It's what boatmen on the C&O Canal called themselves. Just about everyone else said, "canallers," but canawlers had an accent. They also had a challenging and dangerous job during the Civil War. Canawlers brought...read more
Part true story, part historical fiction. In 1985 two divers discover an ancient uncharted shipwreck, identified three decades later by the Smithsonian Museum as the São José de Africa, a slaver that ran aground in 1794. Then leap back in time to witness a historical...read more
Haunting and ghostly Novella from the Civil War Era based on the author's great grandfather, Pvt. Leonard B. McGrew, C.S.A. Known as an ornery and mean spirited man, L.B. McGrew was rumored to have killed a small boy for stealing food during the War Between The...read more
1794—Four hundred Mozambican slaves aboard the Portuguese slave ship São José de Africa are shipwrecked at the Cape of Good Hope at the tip of Africa. Of the two hundred who survive the tempest and catastrophe, a pair evades re-capture and re-sale the next day on the...read more
At sixteen, Anne is grown up...almost. Her gray eyes shine like evening stars, but her red hair is still as peppery as her temper. In the years since she arrived at Green Gables as a freckle-faced orphan, she has earned the love of the people of Avonlea and a...read more
"An Epic, Heartrending, Passionate Story." Stats, dates, flags, facts... Don't we see history in such trivial ways? This book is different, it takes you into the heart of what it would be like to live through the barbaric wars of the colonial era, having your life and...read more
A darkly satirical novel of love, revenge, and 1950s haute couture—now a major motion picture starring Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Liam Hemsworth, and Hugo Weaving After twenty years spent mastering the art of dressmaking at couture houses in Paris, Tilly Dunnage...read more
Looking for a smart new mystery series? If you like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books, you will love the Agora Mystery Series. When a flurry of forgeries appear in museums and among collectors, the members of the Agora, a society dedicated to the...read more
The Petrakis family lives in the small Greek seaside village of Plaka. Just off the coast is the tiny island of Spinalonga, where the nation's leper colony once was located—a place that has haunted four generations of Petrakis women. There's Eleni, ripped from her...read more
Two boys meet on a voyage that transforms their lives. Madu, a young African, is captured by the English slave-trader, Sir John Hawkins. Tom Oakley is a young sailor in charge of the slaves. At first the two boys hate each other. Madu wants freedom, Tom seeks revenge...read more
When Michelle receives a call from a Richmond historian, she sees the chance for a much-needed adventure. All she has to do is find a century-old key.Three others – a guitarist, an engineer, and a retiree – receive similar calls. Each family possesses a key to a...read more
Young English noblewoman, Anne Ayscough, lived during the turbulent times of Henry VIII, when Protestant reformist ideas clashed violently against entrenched Catholicism.Yet many, especially the wealthy, owned William Tyndale’s New Testament, including the household...read more
A USA TODAY and Amazon bestseller, author Gordon L. Rottman has finally given fans of The Hardest Ride and Ride Harder the story of Marta, the heroic mute heroine of his classic Western tales. He has also, and in a way, given Marta her own voice, in this stand-alone...read more
Marie Antoinette was a child of fourteen when her mother, the Empress of Austria, arranged for her to leave her family and her country to become the wife of the fifteen-year-old Dauphin, the future King of France. Coming of age in the most public of arenas—eager to be...read more
Lagertha was known to be one of the wives of the famous Viking, Ragnar Lodbrok. But did you know they first met each other at a brothel?And just how long did their marriage last?Plus, was Lagertha really the revered shield maiden we see her as today?'Vikings: The...read more
Ashley is a time-travel journalist who has fought to prove herself in a world that that believes her road in life was paved by her parents' fortune. After winning a prestigious award, she is selected to travel through time and interview a historical figure. Choosing...read more
For readers of Lucinda Riley, Sarah Jio, or Susan Meissner, this gripping historical debut novel tells the story of two women: one, an immigrant seamstress who disappears from San Francisco’s gritty streets in 1876, and the other, a young woman in present day who must...read more
Alice Cole spent her first seven years living in two smoky, crowded rooms in London with her family. But a new home and a better life waited in the colonies, or so her father promised—a bright dream that turned to ashes when her brothers and mother took ill and died...read more
Eighteen-year-old James Douglas can only watch, helpless, as the Scottish freedom fighter, William Wallace, is hanged, drawn, and quartered. Even under the heel of a brutal English conqueror, James's blood-drenched homeland may still have one hope for freedom, the...read more
“A Russian war story that lives and breathes from a writer at the peak of his powers.” KIRKUS REVIEWS What if a Siberian Joan of Arc had rescued the White Armies at a critical point of the Russian Civil War in 1919? MAID OF BAIKAL offers an alternative outcome to that...read more
An innocent child is born in Hitler's home for the Lebensborn. She has been genetically engineered to be a perfect specimen of Hitler's master race. But, as the Nazi's begin to lose power, the children that Hitler so masterfully created find themselves alone and...read more
It’s 1914 and the great powers of Europe are on the brink of war. In Holbeck, Leeds, the Keeton family struggles to get by on their meagre wages. The six Keeton brothers couldn’t be more different, but the outbreak of World War I puts their lives on hold and sets them...read more
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • For readers of Philippa Gregory, Paula McLain, and Daisy Goodwin comes a sweeping and powerful novel by Allison Pataki. Sisi tells the little-known story of Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary, the Princess Diana of her time, in an...read more
The New York Times bestselling author of the Tradd Street novels delivers a tale that spans two generations of sisters and secrets, set in the stunning South Carolina Lowcountry. Eleanor Murray will always remember her childhood on Edisto Island, where her late...read more
Married for twenty years to Edward Berry, Lyddie is used to the trials of being a whaler's wife in the Cape Cod village of Satucket, Massachusetts—running their house herself during her husband's long absences at sea, living with the daily uncertainty that Edward will...read more
“This is a story intimately and compassionately told against the sensuous background of everyday life in Bombay.”—Washington Post Book World “Bracingly honest.”—New York Times Book Review The author of Bombay Time, If Today Be Sweet, and The Weight of Heaven, Thrity...read more
On New Year’s Day 1925 Ivy Rose Murphy awakes to find her world changed forever. Her irresponsible Da is dead. She is grief-stricken and alone – but for the first time in her life free to please herself. After her mother deserted the family, Ivy became the sole...read more
"What a wonderful story. Beautifully written by a clear wordsmith" Charlotte Duncan"Suspense, intrigue, descriptions and emotion all makes a fantastic read, I couldn't put it down" Edinburgh"There were some very tender moments which could not fail to stir ones...read more
Two Wellington brothers, Godfrey and Bertie, find love and loss in 1895 in the small town of Charles City, Virginia. Godfrey, the older one, is married and expecting his firstborn child, but when tragedy strikes, how will he carry on? Will Malynn Selman, who comes to...read more
The Eagle and the Dragon takes the reader on an epic journey of thousands of miles by sea and land across three continents.When Senator Aulus Aemilius Galba is tapped to lead the first Roman mission to China, he anticipates an easy path to fame and fortune. Gaius...read more
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the co-author of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society comes a wise, witty, and exuberant novel, perfect for fans of Lee Smith, that illuminates the power of loyalty and forgiveness, memory and truth, and the courage it...read more
Two families are united—and torn apart—by the Civil War in these three dramatic novels by the #1 New York Times–bestselling master of the historical epic. In North and South, the first volume of John Jakes’s acclaimed and sweeping saga, a friendship is threatened by...read more
In this unforgettable chronicle of perhaps the most famous moment in American military history, James Bradley has captured the glory, the triumph, the heartbreak, and the legacy of the six men who raised the flag at Iwo Jima. Here is the true story behind the immortal...read more
“The night they came for Til, they took me too.” In the tenements of London England, 1904 is a dangerous time to be suffragettes on crusade. Shannon’s aunt Matilda “Til” Stone, gynecologist and suffragette, believes women should have the right to birth control and...read more