Historical fiction with epic battles

Discussion in 'General Fiction' started by Zsinj, Aug 13, 2005.

  1. Severn

    Severn boss of several cats...

    Jun 13, 2005
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    I just read an excerpt of Waltari and I'm definitely ordering The Egyptian - the language had me hooked on the first line. Thanks!
  2. Mock

    Mock N/A

    Nov 29, 2005
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    I ought to add Angels in Iron, by Nicholas C. Prata, published by ARX (small company). Very intense and realistic—albeit heroic—action, as this novel about the 1565 siege of Malta is JAMMED WITH BATTLES. Very gripping, both suspenseful and emotional, as the few remaining Knights Hospitaller are pitted against the Turkish horde in a desperate hold-the-fort battle.
  3. theDood

    theDood Prose Before Hos

    Mar 3, 2007
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    If you want some historical fiction in Ancient Babylon, the only thing that I have ever found in this setting is The Young Captives, by Erasmus W. Jones published in 1907. It's on project gutenberg.

    Its a shame that there hasn't been more historical fiction set in Ancient Persia and Arabia, because I find it to be some great history.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2007
  4. suciul

    suciul Read interesting books

    Dec 24, 2005
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    Gore Vidal's Creation is the story of Cyrus Spitama, grandson of Zoroaster though half-greek by his mother, childhood friend and companion of great king Xerxes of Thermopyle fame, ambassador of the Persian empire to Athens, India, China...
  5. theDood

    theDood Prose Before Hos

    Mar 3, 2007
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    Yes, I'm aware of Creation, I was just trying to there isn't enough of it.
  6. Raule

    Raule Registered User

    Jul 14, 2006
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    Suciul mentioned Waltari's The Egyptian above. The protagonist of that novel also travels to Mesopotamia (can't remember which city-state) and witnesses the King for a Day ritual. There's a trip to Crete, too, if that interests you.

    Has anyone read GJ Whyte Melville's Sarchedon, which I think explores the legend of the Assyrian queen Semiramis? Probably out of print and hard to find, but might be of interest to you.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2007
  7. Leiali

    Leiali Registered User

    Oct 7, 2003
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    Better than Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles which also describes the siege in Malta..Is that possible?!
  8. FYaTO

    FYaTO New Member

    Aug 7, 2007
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    does this happen to anyone else? You start reading a book and then something happens and you set it down for a long time, and want to go back and read it but don't k ow how to start.

    I started reading Shogun last summer and got a couple hundred pages in, but then school started and i never had time for it. now i want to finish it, but i feel like the task is too daunting. the book is long, im already 200 pages in but i dont remember much of it. should i reread the 200 pages? i think id get bored. should i try and start from a couple hundred pages in... ugh
  9. FicusFan

    FicusFan Anitaverse Refugee

    Nov 17, 2002
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    I have some suggestions, but not sure if they will meet you battle requirements or not. Its not an element that I look for in my books. Most of mine are historical fiction that have some battles or personal/political conflicts, or historical mysteries. I have left out those that seem too much centered around romance, characters, and quests.

    Some are older and may be out of print. Some of the older ones may not be politically correct, and may offend with their outdated ideas about other cultures. Reader Beware.

    I have included some books that have fantasy elements, if the book seems to be heavily historical.

    The books listed are mostly those that have gone into paper, so if there is a book in hardcover in a series, I won't have it yet, and so haven't listed it. Other series are not finished, a few have been stopped, and some I am still searching for (out of print).


    Warlord and Fire in Heaven by Malcom Bosse
    Deception by Eleanor Cooney
    Mandarin and Dynasty by Robert Elegant
    A Floating Life, The Adventures of Li Po by Simon Elegant
    The Republic of Win by Mo Yan

    By Sean Russell (Fantasy, could be Japanese or Chinese)
    The Initiate Brother
    Gatherer of Clouds


    The rest of the Asian Saga by Clavell
    King Rat
    Noble House

    Genpei by Kara Dalkey

    Tales of the Otori series by Lian Hearn
    Across the Nightingale Floor
    Grass For His Pillow
    Brilliance of the Moon
    The Harsh Cry of the Heron

    Sugawara Akitada Mysteries by I.J. Parker
    Rashomon Gate (#2)
    The Hell Screen (#4)
    The Dragon Scroll (#1)
    Black Arrow (#3)

    Sano Ichiro Mystery series by Laura Joh Rowland
    The Way of the Traitor
    The Concubine's Tattoo
    The Samurai's Wife
    Black Lotus
    The Pillow Book of Lady Wisteria
    The Dragon King's Palace
    The Perfumed Sleeve
    Assassin's Touch

    The Tale of Genji by Shikibu Murasaki
    Taiko by Eiji Yoshikawa
    The Tale of Murasaki by Liza Dalby
    Tokaido By Lucia St. Clair Robson

    Shogun series by Dov Silverman
    The Fall of the Shogun

    Native Americans:

    Kotoya the Witch Woman of Wuuyoq'a Kiihu by Jean Akens
    The Forest and The Fort by Hervey Allen
    The Light in the Forest by Conrad Richter


    Inca series by A.B. Daniel (translated from French, Pseudonym)
    The Puma's Shadow
    The Gold of Cuzco
    The Light of Machu Picchu

    The Incas by Peter Daniels


    Feathered Serpent by Colin Falconer

    Aztec Series by Garry Jennings
    Aztec Autumn
    Aztec Blood
    * Some is him, some his wife and agent after his death
    Aztec Rage * Not by GJ

    Aztec Mystery series by Simon Levack
    Demon of the Air
    Shadow of the Lords
    Aztec: City of Spies
    *Still only available in the UK


    Red Poppies by A. Alai (medieval)

    By Eliot Pattison (Modern Day - but might as well be historical)
    The Skull Mantra
    Water Touching Stone
    Bone Mountain
    Beautiful Ghosts


    People of the Silence Kathleen O'Neal Gear

    Anasazi Mysteries by Kathleen O' Neal Gear
    The Visitant
    The Summoning God
    Bone Walker

    By Pressley Kent (Self or Vanity Published)
    Running Fox
    Anasazi Autumn


    Blood & Jade, a Mayan Saga by Sally Kohonoski (Self-Published)

    Sky Knife mystery series by Marella Sands
    Sky Knife
    Serpent & Storm

    Xibalba Gate by Rob Swigart


    The 300 Spartans by John Burke
    A Victor of Salamis by William Stearns Davis

    Alexander the Great mystery series by Paul (P.C.) Doherty
    The House of Death
    The Godless Man
    The Gates of Hell

    Macedonian Series by David Gemmell
    Dark Prince
    Lion of Macedon

    by Tom Holt (not Humorous)
    Alexander at the World's End
    The Walled Orchard

    Alexander series by Valerio Massimo Manfredi
    Alexander: Child of a Dream
    Alexander: The Sands of Ammon
    Alexander: The Ends of The Earth

    Ancient Greeks by Steven Pressfield
    Gates of Fire
    Tides of War
    Last of the Amazons
    The Virtues of War
    The Afghan Campaign

    Alexander Series by Mary Renault
    Fire From Heaven
    The Persian Boy
    Funeral Games

    Stand Alone books by Mary Renault
    The Praise Singer
    The Last of the Wine
    The Mask of Apollo

    Theseus Myth series by Mary Renault
    The King Must Die
    The Bull From the Sea

    Murder in Tarsis by John Maddox Roberts
    Queen of the Amazons by Judith Tarr

    Sea Trader series by Harry Turtledove
    Over The Wine Dark Sea
    The Gryphon's Skull
    The Sacred Land

    Latro's Story by Gene Wolfe
    Soldier of the Mist
    Soldier of Arete


    Troy: Lord of the Silver Bow by David Gemmell
    Homer's Daughter by Robert Graves
    The Song of Troy by Colleen McCullough


    The Ten Thousandby Michael Curtis Ford
    Memnon by Scott Oden
    Creation by Gore Vidal


    A Friend of Caesar by William Stearns Davis

    Falco mystery series by Lindsey Davis

    Silver Pigs
    Shadows in Bronze
    Venus in Copper
    The Iron Hand of Mars
    Poseidon's Gold
    Last Act in Palmyra
    Time to Depart
    A Dying Light in Cordoba
    Three Hands in the Fountain
    Two for the Lions
    One Virgin Too Many
    Ode to A Banker
    A Body in the Bathouse
    Jupiter Myth
    The Accusers
    Scandal Takes A Holiday
    See Delphi and Die

    Gods and Legions by Michael Curtis Ford
    I, Claudius and Claudius the God, by Robert Graves
    Pompeii and Imperium By Robert Harris
    A Song for Nero by Tom Holt (not Humorous)

    Emperor series by Conn Iggulden (very inaccurate Historically)
    Emperor: The Gates of Rome
    Emperor: The Death of Kings
    Emperor: The Field of Swords
    Emperor: The Gods of War

    The Tribune by Patrick Larkin
    The Last Legion by Valerio Massimo Manfredi

    The Masters of Rome series by Colleen McCullough
    The First Man in Rome
    The Grass Crown
    Fortune's Favorites
    Caesar's Women
    The October Horse

    SPQR series by John Robert Maddox
    The Catiline Conspiracy
    The Sacrilege
    The Temple of the Muses
    Nobody Loves a Centurion
    The Tribune's Curse
    The River God's Vengeance
    The Princess and the Pirates
    A Point of Law

    Roman Sub Rosa mystery series by Steven Saylor
    Roman Blood
    Arms of Nemesis
    Catilina's Riddle
    The Venus Throw
    A Murder on the Appian Way
    Last Seen in Massilia
    A Mist of Prophecies
    The Judgment of Caesar

    Eagle series by Simon Scarrow
    Under the Eagle
    The Eagle's Conquest
    When the Eagle Hunts
    The Eagle and the Wolves

    Household Gods by Judith Tarr and Harry Turtledove
    Julian by Gore Vidal

    Roman Britannia:

    Hadrian's Wall by William Dietrich
    Warrior Queen by Alan Gold

    Boudica Quartet by Manda Scott
    Dreaming the Eagle
    Dreaming the Bull
    Dreaming the Hound
    Dreaming the Serpent Spear

    The Eagle and the Raven by Pauline Gedge


    Pride of Carthage by David Anthony Durham
    Carthage by Ross Leckie
    The Sword of Hannibal by Terry McCarthy

    Carthage VS Rome series by John Maddox Roberts
    Hannibal's Children
    The Seven Hills

    Egyptian / Persian:

    Men of Bronze by Scott Oden


    The Hatshepsut Mystery series by Paul (P.C.) Doherty
    The Mask of Ra
    The Horus Killing
    The Anubis Slayings
    The Slayers of Seth
    The Assassins of Isis

    Ankenhaten/Tut Trilogy by Paul (P.C.) Doherty
    An Evil Spirit Out of The West
    The Season of the Hyaena
    The Year of the Cobra

    A God Against the Gods / Return to Thebes by Allen Drury
    When We Were Gods by Colin Falconer

    Semerket the Egyptian Mystery series by Brad Geagley
    Year of the Hyenas
    Day of the False King
    (Set in Babylon)

    Multiple books and Series by Pauline Gedge

    The Hippopotamus Marsh
    The Oasis
    The Horus Road
    The Twelfth Transforming
    Child of the Morning
    House of Dreams
    Lady of the Reeds
    House of Illusions

    Huy the Scribe Mystery Series by Anton Gill
    City of the Horizon
    City of Dreams
    City of the Dead

    Lieutenant Bak Mystery series by Lauren Haney
    Flesh of the God
    The Right Hand of Amon
    A Face Turned Backward
    A Vile Justice
    A Curse of Silence
    A Place of Darkness
    A Cruel Deceit
    A Path of Shadows

    Various books and series by Christian Jacq (translated)
    The Tutankhamun Affair
    For the Love of Philae
    The Empire of Darkness
    The War of the Crowns
    The Flaming Sword
    The Son of Light
    The Eternal Temple
    The Battle of Kadesh
    The Lady of Abu Simbel
    Under the Western Acacia
    Nefer the Silent
    The Wise Woman
    Paneb the Ardent
    The Place of Truth

    Ancient Egyptian series by Naguib Mahfouz
    Khufu's Wisdom
    Akhenaten: Dweller in Truth
    Thebes at War

    Lord Meren Mystery series by Lynda Robinson
    Murder in the Place of Anubis
    Murder at the God's Gate
    Murder at the Feast of Rejoicing
    Eater of Souls
    Drinker of Blood
    Slayer of Gods

    Ancient/Modern series by Wilbur Smith
    The Seventh Scroll
    River God

    Ptolemies Quartet by Duncan Sprott
    The House of the Eagle

    Egyptian books by Judith Tarr
    Lord of the Two Lands
    Pillar of Fire
    Throne of Isis
    King and Goddess

    Hyksos Saga by Judith Tarr
    White Mare's Daughter
    Lady of Horses
    Daughter of Lir
    The Shepherd Kings

    The Egyptian by Mika Waltari


    The Last King (Mithridates) by Michael Curtis Ford


    Gilgamesh by Stephan Grundy
    I, The Sun by Janet Morris
    Between the Rivers by Harry Turtledove

    Indus Valley/ Mohanderjo:

    Winter on the Plain of Ghosts by Eileen Kernaghan

    Blood of the Goddess series by Kara Dalkey


    Samarkand by Amin Maalouf


    The Journeyer by Garry Jennings (Marco Polo's wanderings)
    The Silk Road by Jeanne Larsen
    The Road of Silk by Barbara DysonWilliams

    Java/Spice Islands:

    Silver Nutmeg by Norah Lofts


    The House of Niccolo by Dorothy Dunnett
    Niccolo Rising
    The Spring of the Ram
    Race of Scorpions
    Scales of Gold
    The Unicorn Hunt
    To Lie with Lions
    Caprice and Rondo

    The Walking Drum by Louis L'Amour
    Byzantium and Patrick by Stephen Lawhead
    Agent of Byzantium by Harry Turtledove *
    Justinian by H.N Turteltaub *

    * Same Person

    Catherine Levandeur Mysteries by Sharan Newman
    Death Comes as Epiphany
    The Devil's Door
    The Wandering Arm
    Strong as Death
    Cursed in Blood
    The Difficult Saint
    To Wear the White Cloak
    The Witch in the Well

    The Hound and the Falcon by Judith Tarr

    Western Roman Empire: Ravenna mysteries by Albert Noyer
    The Secundus Papyrus
    The Cybelene Conspiracy
    The Saint's Day Deaths


    By Edith Pargeter
    A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury
    The Brothers of Gwynedd Quartet

    Various books and series by Sharon Kay Penman

    When Christ and His Saints Slept
    Time and Chance
    The Queen's Man
    Cruel as the Grave
    Dragon's Lair
    Prince of Darkness
    The Sunne in Splendour
    Here Be Dragons
    Falls the Shadow
    The Reckoning

    King Richard Series by Judith Tarr
    Pride of Kings
    Devil's Bargain
    House of War

    The Conqueror by Georgette Heyer
    (William The Conqueror)

    William the Conqueror series by Judith Tarr
    Rite of Conquest
    King's Blood

    Norman Mystery by Joan Wolf
    No Dark Place
    The Poisoned Serpent

    The Domesday Mysteries by Edward Marston
    The Wolves of Savernake
    The Ravens of Blackwater

    Stonehenge by Bernard Cornwell


    The Sword Attila by Michael Curtis Ford
    Attila's Treasure by Stephan Grundy


    Raptor by Garry Jennings


    The Thrall's Tale by Judith Lindbergh
    Gunnar's Daughter by Sigrid Undset
    Thunder God by Paul Watkins
    The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell


    Various books and series by Llywelyn Morgan
    The Greener Shore
    Lion of Ireland
    Pride of Lions
    The Horse Goddess
    Red Branch
    Finn MacCool
    The Last Prince of Ireland
    Brian Boru
    The Wind from Hastings
    The Isles of the Blest

    Druid King by Norman Spinrad
    The Etruscan by Mika Waltari

    Sister Fidelma Mysteries by Peter Tremayne

    Absolution by Murder
    Act of Mercy
    Our Lady of Darkness
  10. theDood

    theDood Prose Before Hos

    Mar 3, 2007
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    :eek: WOWZA! Thats a great list, man.
  11. Severn

    Severn boss of several cats...

    Jun 13, 2005
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    That's a fantastic, thorough list Ficus....cheers for that. :D
  12. FicusFan

    FicusFan Anitaverse Refugee

    Nov 17, 2002
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    I just realized I missed a couple of series. Don't know if they fit or not because they are more SFF than historical, but they have battles.

    They are about Roman Legions that have ended up in space in other alien cultures, or aliens coming to earth during their time, and changing things, or about rips in time.

    A lot of the books about alternate reality/history are a mixture of history and SFF. Turtledove, Drake, Flint and Stirling write most of it.

    Eric Flint and the Belisarius series
    An Oblique Approach
    In The Heart of Darkness
    Destiny's Shield
    Fortune's Stroke
    The Tide of Victory
    The Dance of Time

    Harry Turtledove's Videssos Cycle
    The Misplaced Legion
    An Emperor for the Legion
    The Legion of Videssos
    Swords of the Legion

    Jerry Pournelle's Janissaries series
    Janissaries: Clan and Crown

    He may also have a series about lost legions, but I never picked up any.

    S.M. Stirling's Lost Nantucket series
    Island in the Sea of Time
    Against the Tide of Years
    On the Oceans of Eternity

    Degenerates into one big battle and has some scenes set in Babylon

    He has another series about what happened to the world left behind after Nantucket was ripped out.

    Eric Flint's 1630 series
    1634: The Galileo Affair
    Grantville Gazette

    Mike Moscoe's Lost Millennium series
    First Dawn
    Second Fire
    Lost Days

    Travels back to pre-history

    Steven Barnes' African World series
    Lion's Blood
    Zulu Heart

    If Africa became the dominant power in history rather than Europe.

    I'll stop now. Promise.
  13. theDood

    theDood Prose Before Hos

    Mar 3, 2007
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    Please...don't stop.
  14. SLASH

    SLASH Registered User

    Oct 26, 2009
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    Are the Ethan Gage books by William Dietrich any good ?

    Thanx in advance
    Last edited: May 1, 2010
  15. AllegraBeloved

    AllegraBeloved Registered User

    May 8, 2009
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    try 1610; sundial in a grave by mary gentle. it revolves around the time of the French revolution etc. there are battles, but not a lot of epic ones.
  16. Nikolas

    Nikolas New Member

    Jan 29, 2012
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    Gates of Fire is an incredible book. The Afghan Campaign and a few of the others were also very solid, although after reading Gates of Fire, it's difficult and probably unfair to compare anything to it.

    Roma by Steven Saylor was fun to read. I particularly liked the chapters dealing with the opening games at the coliseum. This recommendation comes with the warning that the book is heavy on sexual content, and all kinds of it. It's history, but if it's going to freak you out, take a pass, 'cause the book spends a lot of time on every kind of sex imaginable.

    Also, David Gemmell's Troy series was a hell of a lot of fun. He's written other historical fiction, and I should probably get to those sooner rather than later. It's not so much realistic as it is inspired by the legends and songs, so the stories are heavily romanticized. But that's kinda cool, since it makes everything feel more epic...and comparatively light reading after a Pressfield book that goes into all the gory details of battle, complete with descriptions of "terror piss." lol...
  17. DDCOrange

    DDCOrange Registered User

    Jun 26, 2011
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    Great thread, I have read quite a lot of these. Someone mentioned Bernard Cornwell earlier. He wrote the Sharpe series set during the Napoleanic Wars in Portugal, Spain, France and ultimately Waterloo about a common British soldier who is made an officer (which almost never happened!) due to a act of extreme heroism and relates his many adventures through about ten novels. Lot's of battles, secret missions while Sharpe beds as many women as James Bond!
    For a more sober look at the Napoleanic Wars from the other side of the battle lines, try R.F Delderfield's Seven Men of Gascony about a small band of French skirmishers through several campaigns, battles and ultimately Waterloo as one comrade after another falls by the wayside in the gamble of battle.
    For a really different look at warfare check out the book Traveller by Richard Adams which looks at the American Civil War through the eyes of Robert E Lee's beloved horse!
  18. CarlAlves

    CarlAlves Carl Alves

    Jul 25, 2010
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    I think Bernard Cromwell does a really good job with his battle scenes.
    Carl Alves
  19. almwilso

    almwilso New Member

    May 1, 2012
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    If you are interested in real history of Macchu Picchu then read about Sumeria,Atlantis
  20. EllenS

    EllenS Registered User

    Dec 1, 2009
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    I haven't read any for twenty years or so, but the novels of Thomas Costain were favourites of mine years ag. George R.R. Martin mentions him as one of his favourites as well, if that's any indication of the quality of his novels. Try The Darkness and the Dawn- set to the backdrop of Atilla the Hun's conquests. It's fairly easy to find good used copies of his books.