Tag Archives: historical fiction
Some Penguin Classics get the royal treatment – whether they deserve it or not. By ‘royal treatment’ I of course mean not only induction into the Classics line itself, honor enough though it is for one lifetime, but the bestowal of one of Penguin’s gorgeous “Deluxe” volumes, extra-sized, deckle-edged, supremely aesthetic re-packagings that not every [...]
Our book today is the tense and yet lush Tudor novel My Enemy the Queen, which that champion quiller of historical romances, Victoria Holt, wrote in a free afternoon one day in 1978. ‘Victoria Holt’ was a pseudonym for an Englishwoman named Eleanor Hibbert, who was born in 1906, endured a brief, tedious interval learning [...]
In 2012 more than in any previous year, I found myself playing catch up at my beloved Boston Public Library, the best public library in the world. Some of you will already know of my affection for the sumptuous solidity of the McKim building – and especially for the soaring beauty of Bates Hall, under [...]
Our book today is Soldiers of ’44, a taut and tightly-focused WWII novel by Bill McGivern, who published it in 1979 to some enviable reviews (the Atlantic Monthly called it “altogether a remarkably fine book,” and the indefatigable John Barkham said it was “combat writing raised to the level of literature”). It’s the story of [...]
Our book today is the pebble that started an avalanche: Sir Walter Scott’s 1814 novel Waverley. In its ponderous, irresistible pages dealing with heroic young Edward Waverley, living through the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 (the book’s ‘subtitle’ was ’tis sixty years since’), Scott did what so many great male creators have done throughout human history: [...]
Our book today is Marilyn Durham’s massive 1982 novel Flambard’s Confession, which takes the form of a one long deathbed confession by Ranulph Flambard, who’d been a nominal priest and legendarily rapacious revenue agent for the wave of invading Normans to take over England in the 11th Century, William the Conqueror and his sons. The [...]
Eight more tasty historical novels to satisfy your appetite!
Mary Renault’s terrific novel about Alexander the Great – and the teenage boy who warmed his bed at night.
A luminous historical novel about a headstrong young woman who wants to write a book.
Our book today is Michael Shaara’s 1974 masterpiece The Killer Angels, the best American Civil War novel ever written (and it beats out a very, very crowded field, with honorable mention going to Stephen Becker’s When This War Is Over). This is by far the best thing Shaara ever wrote, the rest of his prose [...]