Ancient & Medieval Historical Fiction discussion

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Looking For a Book About.. > Historical fiction set in Mesopotamia?

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message 1: by Eli (new)

Eli Adelholm (Dragonsworn) (eliadelholm) Personally I am quite fascinated by this ancient civilization, but I know of no historical novels set in this time and place. I thought that some of you might, though? I would be glad of any suggestions or recommendations you could make.


message 2: by Laura (new)

Laura Gill | 24 comments The Assyrian is a great romp through 7th century B.C. Assyria. The sequel, The Blood Star, is quite a bit harder to find.


message 3: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited May 08, 2012 01:41PM) (new)


message 4: by Eli (new)

Eli Adelholm (Dragonsworn) (eliadelholm) I have looked into your suggestions and added those that seemed promising to my to read list. So I have something to start with now. Thank you!


message 5: by Erin (new)

Erin van Moer (erinvanmoer) | 21 comments this made me interested too. =P do novels about alexander the great or the books by mary renault count?


message 6: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 16615 comments Good question. I guess historical fiction books that cover Alexander the Great's march into Mesopotamia would fit the description.
Mary Renault though, I haven't read enough of. Are some set in Mesopotamia?


message 7: by Tracey (new)

Tracey (Stewartry) This is my first post here - sorry to skip the formalities. :)

I recently won an advance copy of Marcin Wrona's Golden Feathers Falling, which is the second in his series of three historical fantasy novels inspired by Mesopotamia under Persian rule. The fantasy element is not overpowering, if you're not of that persuasion: no spells being chucked about or anything - the gods are real, and take an active interest. The writing is phenomenal, to the extent that I've bought everything else of his I could get my hands on.

The other two books are Pale Queen's Courtyard (first to come out) and When on High (third), though they can be read in any order.


message 8: by Eli (new)

Eli Adelholm (Dragonsworn) (eliadelholm) Tracey wrote: "This is my first post here - sorry to skip the formalities. :)

I recently won an advance copy of Marcin Wrona's Golden Feathers Falling, which is the second in his series of three historical fant..."


This sounds like it has all the qualities I like in a book. I'm definitely going to look it up. Thank you for the recommendation. And welcome to the group :)


message 9: by Tracey (new)

Tracey (Stewartry) Thank you!


message 10: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited May 09, 2012 02:09PM) (new)

Terri | 16615 comments Tracey wrote: "This is my first post here - sorry to skip the formalities. :)
..."


Lol. That's alright. You can skip the formalities. You are forgiven.
I join Eli (hypervorean) in welcoming you to the group. :-) Welcome and enjoy, Tracey.


message 11: by Crystal (new)

Crystal Bryan | 304 comments If you like modern takes on ancient legends Stephan GrundyGilgamesh is a pretty good re-telling in modern prose.


message 12: by Crystal (new)

Crystal Bryan | 304 comments Ok, I didn't expect them to be all mushed together! LOL


message 13: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 16615 comments LOL! Looks like you aren't ready for your training wheels to come off. ;)


message 14: by Crystal (new)

Crystal Bryan | 304 comments Oddly, I had to go thru several pages to get to it, it seems to be far more common in German! Yes, please leave my training wheels on, I'll fall right over! LOL


message 15: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 16615 comments hehe. :D

When you search a book, if it doesn't come up straight away then in the book search bar put the book name and the author's surname. I find this helps with the results sometimes.

eg..Gilgamesh Grundy


message 16: by Crystal (new)

Crystal Bryan | 304 comments There were plenty of editions of the right book, just all German. Was interesting, plus I saw some of his books I'm now interested in, I think I've read his Rhiengold, but there's more to look into. Intrigued!

Thanks for the tip though, Gilgamesh isn't exactly virgin literary territory.


message 17: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited May 15, 2012 08:46PM) (new)

Terri | 16615 comments No I imagine it isn't. Lol.


message 18: by Crystal (new)

Crystal Bryan | 304 comments Wonder if Gilgamesh should be in the Historical Fantasy thread. Mythology is the basis for most modern fantasy.


message 19: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 16615 comments Oh, maybe it should be. I shall leave that in your hands. :)
When they are books I have not read I don't know what is in them and I don't know to banish them to the Historical Fantasy thread. I have to rely on members interpretations of the content. :)


message 20: by Crystal (new)

Crystal Bryan | 304 comments Mesopotamians did consider Gilgamesh to be historical. History far enough back in the mist of time becomes myth after being retold and exagerated. So I guess a simple re-telling, such as the book I mentioned above, would fit both categories. Others I've read set in the Mythic time period are most definately Historical Fantasy. Interesting, sometimes some good research, but Gods wander about doing things on the Earth. It's a fine line, some fall on both sides if you go early enough. IMHO.


message 21: by Erin (new)

Erin van Moer (erinvanmoer) | 21 comments Crystal wrote: "Mesopotamians did consider Gilgamesh to be historical. History far enough back in the mist of time becomes myth after being retold and exagerated. So I guess a simple re-telling, such as the book..."

I was thinking of the same thing!!!

Maybe modern readers are very biased about ancient "mythology" who knows if they are not really fantasy??? They might really be historical, right?


message 22: by Libbie Hawker (new)

Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside) (lmironside) Great thread...I'm excited to read the Marcel Wrona books. I love Maia (though it's not based on Mesopotamia) and this series seems like it has a similar feel, with its politics and pseudo-historical basis.


message 23: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 16615 comments Let us know what you make of thoseMarcin Wrona books, Lavender, when you get to them. :)


message 24: by Margaret (new)

Margaret (MargyW) | 1867 comments Laura wrote: "The Assyrian is a great romp through 7th century B.C. Assyria. The sequel, The Blood Star, is quite a bit harder to find."

Both are available on Kindle if they can't be found any other way.


message 25: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 16615 comments Nice tip, Margaret! :)


message 26: by Vincent (new)

Vincent Stoessel (vinny2020) | 8 comments added to my to-read! They sound great
Tracey wrote: "This is my first post here - sorry to skip the formalities. :)

I recently won an advance copy of Marcin Wrona's Golden Feathers Falling, which is the second in his series of three historical fant..."



message 27: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (BrendaClough) Robert Silverberg wrote GILGAMESH THE KING, which is as historical a novel as you're going to get about Gilgamesh. Some magic and stuff, but he obviously did a lot of historical research.


message 28: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Jan 19, 2013 02:32PM) (new)

Terri | 16615 comments Hi guys,
We try to keep the threads straight historical fiction. However, we do have a thread specifically for historical fantasy and one for myth and mythology.
Regards,
Terri
Historical fantasy thread
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/7...

Mythology thread
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/9...


message 29: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Veritas I second the Mary Renault suggestion. "The Persian Boy" begins in the court of Darius III.


message 30: by Antoine (last edited Jan 28, 2013 04:16AM) (new)

Antoine Vanner | 21 comments Catherine wrote: "I second the Mary Renault suggestion. "The Persian Boy" begins in the court of Darius III."

Not strictly Mesopatamia and later in period, but Gore Vidal's "Creation" is of interest in relation to Xerses etc. Be warned - it's quite hard going and very dense. (to be honest, I found the same about almost all of Vidal's fiction).


message 31: by Gentian (new)

Gentian | 41 comments Has anyone read The Three Brothers of Ur? I have read some info on it and it looks quite promising but not sure if it is worth the read.

Re the segue on Vidal Burr by Gore Vidal is thoroughly enjoyable and not at all dense. I have not read Creation and will look out for it.


message 32: by M.R. (new)

M.R. K. | 8 comments I'm not sure if anyone has already mentioned the 3 book series by Sam Barone "Dawn of Empire - Eskkar Saga" . I've read about 100 pages of the first book, and I've enjoyed the time period (ancient Mesopotamia) and well developed characters so far, so I do recommend checking it out. I'm very interested to find out what you all think of this author's historical fiction books.


message 33: by Dawn, A mari usque ad mare (new)

Dawn (CaveatLector) | 4575 comments Dawn Of Empire (Eskkar Saga #1) by Sam Barone Dawn Of Empire by Sam Barone has not been mentioned in this thread yet.

Welcome to the group Ron. In future if you could add the book and/or author links?? Instructions here if needed: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/8...
Thanks! :)


message 34: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Jan 31, 2013 03:20PM) (new)

Terri | 16615 comments I was under the impression the Eskkar Saga by Barone is Fantasy?


message 35: by Dawn, A mari usque ad mare (new)

Dawn (CaveatLector) | 4575 comments I thought it might be but I couldn't find any descriptions that really mentioned it. Lots mentioning how they spend a lot of time in the bedroom and that it is an unrealistic view of 3000BC but nothing about fantasy. I'm wondering whether it includes some "spiritual" aspects that make it fantasy for some?


message 36: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 16615 comments I was under the impression that the first one in the Saga is fairly borderline. Alternate history in some ways, but only on the cusp of fantasy. it was the rest of the saga that became full blown fantasy I thought..shall have to look again.


message 37: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 16615 comments The author had himself as 'female' on his profile for the longest time. I always thougth Sam Barone was a female...because of that error.
I discovered today he/she was a he.
I asked GR to amend it and it is fixed now.


message 38: by Betty (last edited Jan 31, 2013 11:29PM) (new)

Betty (Betty30554) | 89 comments Crystal wrote: "Wonder if Gilgamesh should be in the Historical Fantasy thread. Mythology is the basis for most modern fantasy."

Gilgamesh might be considered historical in its' impacts on later Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions, since those traditions have shaped the history of the western world. Example: Noah and the flood.

Have added these books to my TBR list.


message 39: by M.R. (new)

M.R. K. | 8 comments Terri wrote: "I was under the impression the Eskkar Saga by Barone is Fantasy?"It appears to be strait HF novel, I've read about a third of the novel so far and have not run into any fantasy references. However, I must admit the writing is much to be desired and is not even remotely in the same league as David Gemmell and others. However, as a history nerd, I'm enjoying the "first" city foundations of civilization (if you can call it that) in Mesopotamia.


message 40: by M.R. (new)

M.R. K. | 8 comments Dawn wrote: "I thought it might be but I couldn't find any descriptions that really mentioned it. Lots mentioning how they spend a lot of time in the bedroom and that it is an unrealistic view of 3000BC but not..." There are certainly some historical errors, and other inaccuracies, but overall the descriptions of the "barbarians" and the fighting methods and weapons appear to be in line with archeological records. However the repetitions and style of high-school level writing etc. are major drawbacks. I may abandon reading if the next half does not get any better. There are a great deal of bedroom activity, and attempts at romantic interludes but they are of sophomoric variety and not that thrilling.


message 41: by M.R. (new)

M.R. K. | 8 comments Dawn wrote: "Dawn Of Empire (Eskkar Saga #1) by Sam Barone Dawn Of Empire by Sam Barone has not been mentioned in this thread yet.

Welcome to the group Ron. In future if you could add the book and/or author links?? Instr..."


Thank you Dawn. I'm so glad I found this web-site, and so many book readers/lovers. It is truly a treat!!


message 42: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 16615 comments Interesting,
Thanks for the feedback, M.R. I have long wondered what that book would be like.
I had a look around yesterday and I think the reason I see that series shelved in Goodreads as Fantasy is because it appears to be Speculative Fiction (historical invention).
Some reviewers question it as historical fiction and regard it more as speculative. Perhaps this is why you are coming across many historical errors and inaccuracies? Because for the most part the world Barone has built is invented?


message 43: by M.R. (new)

M.R. K. | 8 comments You have a very good point, and thanks again for clarifying the speculative fiction. I'm always learning new things when discussing historical fiction.


message 44: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 16615 comments Hi M.R,
I too have learned so much about the genre since I have been on Goodreads. :)


message 45: by J.D. (new)

J.D. (Thunderhorse) | 9 comments I am a GR author, and am beginning to work in my brain about a book I am really excited about!! I want to write about Nimrod--the Biblical Nimrod who built the city of Babylon before the flood. (After the flood I suppose others built on top of the remains and continued with the same name.) I don't have any historical information regarding that, except from the Bible. However, there is not much mentioned about Nimrod, except that he "was a mighty hunter before the Lord." Since this is in the hunter gatherer and farming era, he is not hunting prey for food. I have read that he was hunting PEOPLE--people to build his city, men for the labor, women and children to farm and feed everyone. Also, the older children would have looked after the younger ones and done the chores inside their "homes", etc. For years I have researched the Bible Lands through archeology, ancient writings and commentaries of scholars. I am really, really excited about this opportunity. Nimrod is an ancestor of Cain, who killed his brother Abel, not very far down the line, like the great-grandson, I think. Since he is from the line of Cain, he is of the more unsavory crowd which lends itself to many great sideroads. If anyone has any input as to if you think it would be a readable work, please comment! Thanks everyone!


message 46: by [deleted user] (new)

I wish you much luck with your project, J.D. That place and time...the Babylonians & Assyrians & Mesopotamia in general, has always fascinated me. I've always wished there was more good historical fiction from that era & setting. Good luck!


message 47: by Linda (last edited May 11, 2013 09:01AM) (new)

Linda (ladylawyer8650) | 1384 comments Holy Bible: King James Version is an excellent history book, especially the Old Testament. I have read very little of the Koran, but it is a valuable book of history also. In third grade my public school teacher read a chapter of the Bible, out loud, everyday to my class. The entire class was eager for Bible time. That was in the day when our school did not accept federal money and before The Great Society legislation was passed.

Yes, I think such a book would be a readable work, especially those sideroads. The story of Hagar and Ishmael is a result of Sarah and Abraham trying to 'help' God create the Jewish nation. As long as the book is not preachy, the book would be good. If you want to proselitize through your book, I would not read it. Therefore, (promise I am nearly through giving you, an author, how- to information) make certain that readers are informed about your genre.


message 48: by J.D. (last edited May 14, 2013 10:09AM) (new)

J.D. (Thunderhorse) | 9 comments Crystal wrote: "Wonder if Gilgamesh should be in the Historical Fantasy thread. Mythology is the basis for most modern fantasy."

I have read "The Epic of Gilgamesh" online, actually I printed it out, and it's quite long. It was translated into English, and let me tell you that there is no romantic, w/some p-rn-!, ancient rogue warriors, goddess mythology, story of the search of the place of "The Great Deluge" where 8 people were saved in a ship...etc. that is any more explicit today! It is enchanting! I highly reccomend it, for it is the earliest clay tablet story ever found! It can be googled. I rather think it belongs in mythology, at least the original version.


message 49: by J.D. (last edited May 14, 2013 10:10AM) (new)

J.D. (Thunderhorse) | 9 comments Linda wrote: "Holy Bible: King James Version is an excellent history book, especially the Old Testament. I have read very little of the Koran, but it is a valuable book of history also. In third grade my publi..."

Thanks for the input from both posts! Absolutely I will not proselytize! That is not even in the idea, since Nimrod was not a Godly man. He presumably stole the first slaves and probably committed other atrocities. I will have his story being one of cruelty, starvation, filth, waring, building, making, etc. with the most basic of ancient tools. But, here is an awsome sideroad: I have read "The Book of Enoch" online; he tells of the Niphilim (fallen angels)marrying daughters of man, and creating giants and monsters. They are who defiled God's beautiful Creation so that He sent Noah's Flood. I think I can write a "Bestseller!!!" What do you think? "The Book of Enoch" can also be googled. Although, there are several editions, I chose one that was just the English translation without any commentary. I wanted to decide for myself what I thought about it.


message 50: by Linda (new)

Linda (ladylawyer8650) | 1384 comments Did Nimrod have no good qualities?lol I encourage you to write the book. Sounds like you know what and how you want to write.


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