Ancient & Medieval Historical Fiction discussion

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Looking For a Book About.. > Anything Medieval Western Europe (NO ENGLAND)

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message 1: by Sanne (new)

Sanne (sanneennas) | 79 comments yes the (no England) is the catch. I can't seem to find any book that doesn't have an English perspective in it. English history just doesn't appeal to me, and the English perspectives in novels spreading over the continent are starting to get on my nerves. I'd love to read some good hf set in medieval France or Germany. I'm already familiar with the work of Maurice Druon, but I can't seem to find any other authors / books who have work available in English.

If you give me any suggestions on hf about the Burgundian lands that would be SO awesome. I must be looking in all the wrong places, but I can't seem to find any books set during the times of the Valois dukes of Burgundy. :(

Other periods / events I'm interested in are the 100 Years War (French or Burgundian perspective, not English), and Charlemagne. There should be something about the Carolingian Empire out there, right? It's some great stuff! Though really, if you find a book set in another medieval setting in non-English Western Europe, which you can recommend, please share!

On another note: any member fluent in German familiar with Krieg der Sänger? What did you think? I've been wanting to read it ever since it came out, but my German isn't good enough to struggle through an entire book. I want it translated already!


message 2: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19496 comments Oh, I was just about to log off when I spotted your cry for help.
I have some for you, but I will have to drop in later on and post them.
For now, may I recommend,
In a Dark Wood Wandering A Novel of the Middle Ages by Hella S. Haasse
In a Dark Wood Wandering: A Novel of the Middle Ages


message 3: by Sanne (new)

Sanne (sanneennas) | 79 comments Hi Terri, thanks! I should have mentioned I already read that book (And absolutely loved it!). Haasse is one of my favorite writers. I'll be looking forward to your other recommendations.


message 4: by Darcy (new)

Darcy (drokka) | 2675 comments I noted on another thread just today that I wish there was some good Carolingian (I'd even go for Merovingian) hf. So, I'm interested in your quest Sanne


message 5: by Gui (new)

Gui | 7 comments Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones
Cathedral of the Sea

Goodreads recommended this to me when I read The Pillars of the Earth. I haven't read it yet but it looks good.


message 6: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Iciek | 539 comments Have you tried any of Sigrid Undsett's Kristin Lavransdatter and the sequels? Definitely not English, but also not Burgundy. But it is definitely medieval.


message 7: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19496 comments Eileen beat me to it. I was going to recommend Kristin Lavransdatter to you. I have been curious about it for a long time. I think it is too much love story and feminine focused for me, but it won't be for others.


message 8: by Darcy (new)

Darcy (drokka) | 2675 comments I have that on my pile and planned on reading late summer, early autumn. I have the trilogy in one volume, so may only read the first story this year though


message 9: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19496 comments It is quite the doorstopper. Kristin Lavransdatter alone is a big one. :) Good luck!


message 10: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 1505 comments I'm a big admirer of the Sigrid Undsets. She followed up with The Master of Hestviken, which is less known, and isn't as well-constructed I'd have to agree. Still Sigrid Undset though. She won a Nobel Prize for the two of them. Mind, I haven't read her for years.


message 11: by Darcy (new)

Darcy (drokka) | 2675 comments The Kristin Lavransdatter is the entire trilogy. The first instalment is The Wreath.


message 12: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19496 comments Darcy wrote: "The Kristin Lavransdatter is the entire trilogy. The first instalment is The Wreath."

Actually I just remembered that after I posted. :) That is why I have that one on my tbr, becasue it is the trilogy in one. :)


message 13: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 1505 comments I've just read that my old translation by Charles Archer and J.S. Scott -- this one Kristin Lavransdatter -- "excised passages" that were a bit experimental. So thanks to this discussion, I have to get the new translation (Tiina Nunnally) and read those thousand pages again...

Not a bad thing. I remember a masterpiece, let's see what I think now.


message 14: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19496 comments This is borderline out of the area that Sanne is looking for. It is one that I have wanted to try for a long time too. Henryk Sienkiewicz's

The Teutonic Knights by Henryk Sienkiewicz
The Teutonic Knights

Also known as..

Krzyżacy by Henryk Sienkiewicz Krzyżacy

The Knights of the Cross or Krzyzacy by Henryk Sienkiewicz
The Knights of the Cross or Krzyzacy


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

Terri | 19496 comments Bryn wrote: "I've just read that my old translation by Charles Archer and J.S. Scott -- this one Kristin Lavransdatter -- "excised passages" that were a bit experimental. So thanks to this discussion, I have to..."

Inspiration comes in many packages. :)


message 16: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Jun 10, 2013 06:17PM) (new)

Terri | 19496 comments Also, another off the top of my head. More along the French theme.

Mercenaries (The Conquest Trilogy #1) by Jack Ludlow Conquest (The Conquest Trilogy #3) by Jack Ludlow Warriors (The Conquest Trilogy #2) by Jack Ludlow

I have not read the second two yet (plan to) and they oviously go to England. Still the Normans point of view though.
The first however, is all Western Europe.

And still on the Normans:
Hawk Quest by Robert Lyndon
Hawk Quest


message 17: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Jun 10, 2013 06:21PM) (new)

Terri | 19496 comments Sorry..posting as they come to mind...
The House of Niccolo Series, which starts with
Niccolò Rising (The House of Niccolò, #1) by Dorothy Dunnett
Niccolò Rising


message 18: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19496 comments I saw Jane just mention this one in the Egyptian thread (not an Egyptian book, it was a reply about an author)

The Dark Angel by Mika Waltari
The Dark Angel


message 19: by Jane (last edited Jun 10, 2013 07:24PM) (new)

Jane | 3454 comments I read fairly recently and loved The Heaven Tree Trilogy by Edith Pargeter

Setting is England, France, and Wales.


message 20: by Sanne (new)

Sanne (sanneennas) | 79 comments Thank you all for the recommendations! I'll have a look at all the books later, though Sigrid Undset sounds like I'm going to like her work. It seems like she she managed to write a book about women which isn't necessarily only for women.

Also the Niccolo series sound very good! Is it too much to hope for that the great dukes of the West (Philip and Charles of burgundy) will make an appearance?

I'm off to the library!


message 21: by Sanne (new)

Sanne (sanneennas) | 79 comments Darcy, have you looked at Women in the Wall or The Days of His Grace: A Novel? Both are set during Charlemagne's reign, though I have no idea whether they're any good. Days of his Grace has won literary prizes, though.

It's really strange that there's so little Carolingian or Merovingian hf.


message 22: by happy (last edited Jun 11, 2013 06:18AM) (new)

happy (happyone) | 2645 comments If you don't mind mysteries - Sharan Newman's Catherine LeVendeur's series is pretty good. It is set in 12th century France with Heloise and Abelard as well as St Bernard of Clairvoux as supporting/reoccuring characters

http://www.goodreads.com/series/49376...


message 23: by Sara (last edited Jun 11, 2013 08:52AM) (new)

Sara | 82 comments Have you ever tried Juliette Benzoni? I've only read the Marie series, set in the XVII century, and I quite liked it. The English characters are presented as foreign to the proper ways of society and everything.

I've also looked at bits of her Les Chevaliers series (I don't know the English title, I'm afraid), set in the XII century, and it didn't strike me as being as good as Marie, though to be fair I haven't read it through.

Benzoni also has a rather long Catherine series set in the Hundred Years War, though I've never read it.


message 24: by Anne (new)

Anne (spartandax) | 797 comments How about Oliver Potzsch? He wroteThe Hangman's Daughter, and 3 others which all take place in 17th century Germany.


message 25: by Darcy (new)

Darcy (drokka) | 2675 comments Gui wrote: "Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones
Cathedral of the Sea

Goodreads recommended this to me when I read The Pillars of the Earth. I haven't read it yet but it looks good."


I saw this one at the bookshop and would have bought it if it hadn't looked like it had already seen a whole life. I don't mind buying used books, but when I'm paying new book prices, I'm more picky about the condition.

What caught me about it is that I rarely see English books about Spain. I've read loads about Spanish people in other parts, or the Inquisition's impact on Europe and abroad, but I can't think of any book I've read set in Spain. So thank you for pointing it out Gui.


message 26: by Vicki (new)

Vicki Cline | 72 comments happy wrote: "If you don't mind mysteries - Sharan Newman's Catherine LeVendeur's series is pretty good. It is set in 12th century France with Heloise and Abelard as well as St Bernard of Clairvoux as supportin..."

I can second this recommendation. I really liked this series.


message 27: by Darcy (new)

Darcy (drokka) | 2675 comments happy wrote: "If you don't mind mysteries - Sharan Newman's Catherine LeVendeur's series is pretty good. It is set in 12th century France with Heloise and Abelard as well as St Bernard of Clairvoux as supportin..."

Oh happy, I missed this earlier. I'm adding the first to my TBR. Vicki thanks for the seconding :)


message 28: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Jun 11, 2013 03:59PM) (new)

Terri | 19496 comments Sara wrote: "Have you ever tried Juliette Benzoni? I've only read the Marie series, set in the XVII century, and I quite liked it. The English characters are presented as foreign to the proper ways of society a..."

I had not heard if her, but man doesn't that Catherine series have some 'groovy man' covers. The only thing missing is the shag pile carpet. :-)


message 29: by Anne (last edited Jun 12, 2013 10:55AM) (new)

Anne (spartandax) | 797 comments I can also recommend Michael Phillips 4 book series "Secret of the Rose." It is christian based, but a terrific read which takes place in Prussia and Germany before, during and after WWII.Michael Phillips


message 30: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19496 comments Sanne,
I am sure we are all dying to hear how your trip to the library went! Did you find anything? :-)


message 31: by Sanne (new)

Sanne (sanneennas) | 79 comments hi Terri! Different than expected :)
The library didn't have the books I wanted. They aren't translated in Dutch, and they don't have a large collection of English language books. So off to the bookstore I went. Couldn't find anything there either. But I was surprised to find Insurrection. I read the prologue in the store and I was hooked! So against all odds I'm reading hf fiction about the English, though Scottish perspective so it's all good :)

I'll probably drop some hints to my family for the books I want, because my birthday is coming up.


message 32: by happy (last edited Jun 13, 2013 01:52AM) (new)

happy (happyone) | 2645 comments Darcy wrote: "happy wrote: "If you don't mind mysteries - Sharan Newman's Catherine LeVendeur's series is pretty good. It is set in 12th century France with Heloise and Abelard as well as St Bernard of Clairvou..."

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did - I wish she would continue the series - no new additions to the series since 2004 or so.


message 33: by Sara (last edited Jun 13, 2013 04:11AM) (new)

Sara | 82 comments Terri wrote: " but man doesn't that Catherine series have some 'groovy man' covers. The only thing missing is the shag pile carpet."

O_O How interesting.

I would never have picked anything by her if the books in Portugal sported those covers. The Portuguese covers are more in line with this one:

Il suffit d'un amour, tome 1 (Catherine, #1) by Juliette Benzoni

The Marie covers, for example, are quite lovely, IMHO:
Marie, a Duquesa das Intrigas (Marie, #1) by Juliette Benzoni Marie, a Duquesa das Paixões (Marie #2) by Juliette Benzoni


message 34: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19496 comments Sanne wrote: "hi Terri! Different than expected :)
The library didn't have the books I wanted. They aren't translated in Dutch, and they don't have a large collection of English language books. So off to the boo..."


Well, I for one am delighted that you discovered Insurrection! The more the merrier. :)
Now you can join me in the group read. I am having a wonderful time with that book.

Better luck around Birthday time with the ones you are looking for though. That family of yours had better come through. Keep us posted.


message 35: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19496 comments Sara wrote: "Terri wrote: " but man doesn't that Catherine series have some 'groovy man' covers. The only thing missing is the shag pile carpet."

O_O How interesting.

I would never have picked anything by her..."


Those covers are much improved on those funky 70's covers I saw. lol.


message 36: by Beorn (new)

Beorn (bsceadugenga) The only ones that come to mind for me are two titles/series I've not read yet.
Namely:
Inquisition by Alfredo Colitto
Set around, who'd have thought it, the time of the Spanish Inquisition, though from the best of my knowledge it's about a man trying to unravel a mystery despite the Inquisition not a book about the Inqusition itself.

And,
The Twelve Children of Paris (Tannhauser Trilogy, #2) by Tim Willocks
Part of Tim Willocks' series following the actions of Matthias Tannhauser as he fights battles in 16th century Paris and participation in the Siege Of Malta.


message 37: by Darcy (new)

Darcy (drokka) | 2675 comments Paul wrote: "The only ones that come to mind for me are two titles/series I've not read yet.
Namely:
Inquisition by Alfredo Colitto
Set around, who'd have thought it, the time of the Spanish Inquisition, thou..."


Inquisition was selected as a group read last year, and you are sort of correct. The inquisition does play a quietly significant part of the book, as it's constant threat is critical when the protagonist is required to make difficult decisions.


message 38: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Jun 25, 2013 07:38PM) (new)

Terri | 19496 comments Sanne,
While going through this authors repetoire of hist fic and adding them to our era folders today, I found this one and I thought of you. It fulfils your request for non Britain themed Hist Fic.

The Lords Of Vaumartin by Cecelia Holland
The Lords Of Vaumartin

All this authors books seem to be old and hard to get, so i don't know if you will have luck tracking it down (if interested). She has quite a few that go with the title of your request and I have popped some of them in the right era folders today.
The ones I mentioned in the Viking thread may interest you too.


message 39: by Sanne (new)

Sanne (sanneennas) | 79 comments Thanks for the suggestion Terri! Looks promising.
Hhaha, just about all hf is hard to get for me. My local bookstore seems to think that the hf section is complete with three copies of Pillars of the Earth. So I'll just have to look around in secondhand bookstores and the internet :)


message 40: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 1505 comments Terri wrote: "...All this authors books seem to be old and hard to get..."

I was going to mention, I've heard that Cecelia Holland has been self-publishing her backlist. Whether in ebook only, or whether she's putting out her own paperbooks too I'm not clear. But she has a few ebooks of her older work at cheaper, self-published prices.


message 41: by Sanne (new)

Sanne (sanneennas) | 79 comments Bryn wrote: "Terri wrote: "...All this authors books seem to be old and hard to get..."

I was going to mention, I've heard that Cecelia Holland has been self-publishing her backlist. Whether in ebook only, or ..."


Thanks for the tip Bryn! I just found her website (http://www.thefiredrake.com/) and it's pretty easy to see where I can get the novels, either as ebook or paperback. There's also some short stories she put up online, if anyone is interested :)


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

Terri | 19496 comments Oh that's good. She has a few books that look well regarded.


message 43: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19496 comments This is not out yet. (Due out August 1, 2013) It is set in France. contains no Britain.

The Ill-Made Knight by Christian Cameron The Ill-Made Knight


message 44: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 1505 comments Homage to T.H. White? Seems unlikely. Is the Ill-Made Knight a phrase outside of T.H. White? Chevalier Mal Fet?

(It's Lancelot's book in The Once and Future King and my sacred text).


message 45: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19496 comments Hmm. I wonder if the title is a coincidence, or he chose it from White...


message 46: by Kirk (new)

Kirk Sanne wrote: "Thank you all for the recommendations! I'll have a look at all the books later, though Sigrid Undset sounds like I'm going to like her work. It seems like she she managed to write a book about wome..."

I can second all the recommendations for Undset and Dorothy Dunnett, who in addition to the Niccolo series also write the Lymond series. This series, starting with The Game of Kings, has some of the action in Scotland, but ranges all over Europe as far as Russia.

And for something medieval try The Name of the Rose.


message 47: by C.P. (new)

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 564 comments Just please don't take Dunnett's description of 16th-century Russia as accurate. Her The Ringed Castle is actually my favorite of the six Lymond books, but she gets it right only about 10% of the time. (To be fair, historians' views of the place have changed a lot since she wrote that book. She is not so much wrong as hopelessly out-of-date.)

She does much better with England, Scotland, and France. Her Ottoman book, Pawn in Frankincense, is also fun, but again I would not read it for the history—just the story, which is great.


message 48: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19496 comments That Ottoman one sounds good. Can it be read as a stand alone?


message 49: by C.P. (new)

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 564 comments Yes. I actually read them out of order: 5, 6, 4 (which is the Ottoman one), then the first three, none of which appealed to me as much as the latter three.

You'll find references to things you don’t know the history of, especially in regard to Sir Graham Mallett and his sister. But you can usually get a pretty good idea of what has happened, even if you don't know the details.


message 50: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19496 comments That's good news. I have added it to the old tbr. :-)
Thanks!


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