Tuesday, April 15, 2008

XX. "Taliesin" - Stephen Lawhead

I am on one horrific bender, it seems. Fortunately, all of you readers who have been so supportive in the past with recommendations have stayed mum throughout this historical fiction nonsense, so I have no one to blame but myself.

Taliesin. A "what if" about the early Celts and Atlantean cultures. Seemed like the potential for greatness, but it didn't touch my cold, bitter soul.

I'm exhausting my historical fiction resources and dipping too close to covers with Fabio-like renditions. Help a poor chickie out. Your recommendations desperately needed.


Lezlie said...

Hmmm. . . I'll throw some out there for you. Be easy on me! :-)

The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George

Gates of Fire by Stephen Pressfield (Ancient history, not sure how far back you're interested in going.)

Dissolution by C.J. Sansom

Child of the Morning by Pauline Gedge (Ancient Egypt)

I could come up with quite a few more if these don't do it for you.

Happy hunting!

Renee said...

Are you looking for books with lots of history (facts, events, etc.) or just books set in the past? Because I've never really liked the fact-rich ones much. I like it better when they're set in the past, but the plot is with the characters, not history.

But either way, here are some suggestions for you:

-anything by Sarah Waters

-"Fred and Edie" by Jill Dawson

-"These is My Words" by Nancy E. Turner

-"The Thirteenth Tale" by Diane Setterfield

-"An Inconvenient Wife" by Megan Chance

-"Sula" by Toni Morrison

"The Vanishing Point" by Mary Sharratt

I'm not sure if they're quite what you're looking for, but they're all I can think of at the moment. Good luck!

amcorrea said...

Things get much more interesting with Merlin, as he draws on the specifically Celtic (and much more genuinely historical) roots of the Arthurian legend...but I definitely hear you about that cover art!

You might want to give The Song of Albion a try--a fantasy trilogy Lawhead did several years after the first three volumes of the Pendragon Cycle. It also draws heavily from Welsh lore and gives a new twist to the parallel worlds thing--great stuff. (The first volume is called The Paradise War.)

But as for more "historical" fiction (depending on the definition), I've enjoyed Revolutionary Road (Richard Yates), Garner (Kirstin Allio), Cloud Atlas (David Mitchell), and A Very Long Engagement (S├ębastien Japrisot). Also, David Mitchell swears by Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White (although I have yet to read it).

Anonymous said...

I highly recommend Sandra Gulland's Josephine Bonaparte Trilogy.
1. "The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josehine B"
2. "Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe"
3. "The Last Great Dand on Earth"

Nathan said...

It's not exactly in the scope of what you are covering, but David McCullough's books are supposed to be stellar. My dad read 1776 and enjoyed it. Right now I'm watching the HBO mini-series version of John Adams and really digging it.

If you completely exhaust your resources, you might consider expanding intoto auto/biographies.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you need to move on to something different? Or write your own book about the best books to read.


Jen K said...

I second the vote for Margaret George although I preferred The Memoirs of Cleopatra.
If you were interested in a different, better retelling of the Arthur legend, Bernard Cornwell has a trilogy that's rather entertaining, the first book of which is The Winter King (and the trilogy actually gets better with each book - I especially liked Cornwell's take on Lancelot).
Colleen McCullough has a rather extensive series about the transition from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire. While the first book especially was dry at points, it had a lot of information and good character development. There were just a few long-winded letters that slowed things down.
Also, if you don't mind the hype, The Pillars of the Earth, while not a master piece, is actually a fun read. Of course, I have a soft spot for it because I first read when I was still in middle school.