Ancient & Medieval Historical Fiction discussion

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message 1: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (caveatlector) | 5208 comments Has anyone read any fiction that includes the Medici family?
I've become quite interested in this family and I thought they would be great fiction instead of just reading non-fiction.


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

Terri | 19503 comments That's a no from me..:)..I haven't read anything on the Medici family. I know some have been mentioned to me so shall have a think.


message 3: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Nov 05, 2011 11:42PM) (new)

Terri | 19503 comments I had a perve in a GR friends bookshelves for you. I remembered having a conversation with her about the Medici a while back. Here's a couple..fiction (with a couple non fiction thrown in for good measure).
Fiction:
The Devil's Queen and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici
The Devil's Queen A Novel of Catherine de Medici by Jeanne Kalogridis
The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner

Non fiction
Medici Women, The Medici and Magnifico
Medici Women Portraits of Power, Love, and Betrayal in the Court of Duke Cosimo I by Gabrielle Langdon The Medici by Paul Strathern Magnifico The Brilliant Life and Violent Times of Lorenzo de' Medici by Miles J. Unger


message 4: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (caveatlector) | 5208 comments Thanks, I'll check them out.


message 5: by CB (new)

CB Edwards | 17 comments I have The House of Medici by Christopher Hibbert (non-fiction) but haven't read it. Should move it to TBR.
The House of Medici Its Rise and Fall by Christopher Hibbert


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

Terri | 19503 comments Looks good, CB.
The GR reviews seem very mixed on it though don't they?


message 7: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (caveatlector) | 5208 comments I found The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant and though it's not specifically about the Medici, it's in the right era.
It looks like it may be interesting but as with most of the books about this time in Italian history they seem to be more romance than historical.
Added it to my to-read list anyway.


message 8: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments Dawn wrote: "as with most of the books about this time in Italian history they seem to be more romance than historical.."

You are so right. I am sure they are well researched and well written, but a lot these days are catering to women who like to read love stories with their history.
Not historical romance, more like historical fiction with love story plots.


message 9: by Dawn (last edited Nov 10, 2011 10:26PM) (new)

Dawn (caveatlector) | 5208 comments I've ordered the three fiction books in this discussion and I'm gonna see if it's too much or it's just a nice small sub-plot.
This group is dreadful for adding to my to-reads, I think I've gone a little crazy, I have three books out from the library, ten waiting for pick up and four more ordered. If I call in sick all next week I might finish them on time, oh, and I also have a couple exams next weekend to study for.
I might have bit off more than I can read! :)


message 10: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments I hate to frighten you, but your tbr is only going to get worse. :)
Until recently I had a 'no more than 100 books on my tbr rule'. I have stuck to this rule for nearly 3 years on Goodreads.
I think my tbr explosion has coincided with joining this group.


message 11: by Ireney (new)

Ireney Berezniak Terri wrote: "I hate to frighten you, but your tbr is only going to get worse. :)
Until recently I had a 'no more than 100 books on my tbr rule'. I have stuck to this rule for nearly 3 years on Goodreads.
I th..."


Hah hah ... true that ... every time I jump on Goodreads, my TBR seems to expand by a few titles. While before I struggled to find something worthwhile to read, now I struggle to deal with making the next selection from the bounty of titles at my disposal. It's a curse, really >8P

ib.


message 12: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (caveatlector) | 5208 comments Thank God it's one of those curses you can live with. :)
I just checked and my tbr list is now at 578 and I still can't stop myself from going to the bookstore and getting something that's not on the list 'cause it's looks so good!
I hope I live a long time, I'm gonna need three years of retirement to get through my list! :D


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

Terri | 19503 comments Dawn wrote: "my tbr list is now at 578 .."

Crikey. That is rather large.


message 14: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (caveatlector) | 5208 comments It's my obsession with used book stores, I own about 400+ of the books on the list. It's like having my own library, which is how some of my friends view it as well.


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

Terri | 19503 comments Oh, yeah, I gots me one of those too. :)
I started adding my bookcases to GR last year and gave up. I have many hundreds of books unread. Some I have bought new or near new, but many, as with your bookshelves, that came from a past obsession with 2nd hand book stores and thrift shops.

I rarely get into 2nd bookstores or thrift shops anymore as I live a long way out of town these days.


message 16: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (caveatlector) | 5208 comments I added my bookshelves to Living Social a couple years ago and when I switched to GR I just had to import them.
I used to live farther out of town but that just meant that I'd buy a dozen at a time instead of a couple. Ha, who am I kidding I still buy a dozen at a time. I just do it more often. :)


message 17: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments LOL. :)


message 18: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (caveatlector) | 5208 comments Read The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner The Confessions of Catherine de Medici over the weekend. It wasn't quite what I was looking for though it was good to read something about the Tudor era without the Tudors. This is definitely about French history not Italian history, so while interesting not actually the country I wanted to read about even though it's the family I was looking for. :) But now I know.
The book runs from about 1528 to 1589 and follows the life of Catherine in the French court. It portrays her in a fairly sympathetic light as a mother protecting her children and their throne, I personally think she was more ruthless but the book is worth the read if you're looking for something at this time in history.


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

Terri | 19503 comments That is a shame that it didn't turn out to be set in Italy after all. That particular book looked the most promising of them all.


message 20: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Jan 21, 2012 04:59PM) (new)

Terri | 19503 comments Dawn,
I see in your updates that you are biting into The Devil's Queen A Novel of Catherine de Medici by Jeanne Kalogridis
The Devil's Queen: A Novel of Catherine de Medici

Interested to see what you think of it. I haven't read it. The cover always puts me off because while an eye catching cover, it is clearly marketed at women and books marketed at women always put me off.


message 21: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (caveatlector) | 5208 comments I'm on page 148 and so far you are right to be put off by the cover. The cover seems to pretty much indicate the type of book it is, not quite a historical romance but close enough to be annoying.
But apparently these are the only type of fiction books with the family I'm looking for and Catherine is the most notorious of the family. I might switch to looking for books on the Borgias, at least they should be set in Italy and not France.


message 22: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments Oh, that is a real bummer. I thought perhaps this one might prove my cover theory wrong.


message 23: by Aparajita (last edited Jan 30, 2012 03:30PM) (new)

Aparajita | 3 comments I've read the first of Jean Plaidy's trilogy on Catherine de Medici. There are three books, The Italian Woman, Madame Serpent,http://theroygirlsread.wordpress.com/... and Queen Jezebel. Plaidy presents her as a naive young girl who gradually transforms into a bitter, scheming and manipulative woman due to the rejections and humiliations of her marriage. As for the other Medicis,I have this book called The Artist , the philosopher and the Warrior by Paul Strathern
This is the review
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/...Catherine de Medici 1-3: Madame Serpent/The Italian Woman/Queen JezebelThe Artist, the Philosopher, and the Warrior: Three Renaissance LivesCatherine de Medici 1-3: Madame Serpent/The Italian Woman/Queen Jezebel


message 24: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments Hi Aparajita,
No Goodreads links for those books? I am guessing you are posting from a tablet or kindle? Would you like me to find those links for you? :)


message 25: by Aparajita (last edited Jan 30, 2012 03:13PM) (new)

Aparajita | 3 comments Hi Terri,
I just joined Goodreads a week back, so didn't realise I was supposed to post those, guess I liked the thread and just jumped into it :(...Is it ok if I do it in a couple of days?
I am posting from a good old desktop ;) ,though I might post from my phone off and on.

PS...I have used the add book/author option on top of the post.. is this the way it's done?
I love this forum btw, we don't get much variety in historical fiction in India, but fortunately we do get some really good authors in the bookstores in my city, so I manage:)


message 26: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments Hi Aparajita,
That's no prob. :)
Usually when people don't post links I think it is because they are new and don't realise how to use the add book/author feature at the top of the post yet. But now that I have a tablet I am realising how hard and annoying it is to post links on it! lol

I can do it for you...but then if you do it, then it lures you back to the group, even if it is only to post links. :) hehe


message 27: by Aparajita (new)

Aparajita | 3 comments Thanks, I've already done it:). Stupid of me to not have realised it before.


message 28: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments For some reason they aren't working.


message 29: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (caveatlector) | 5208 comments I finished the third of the fiction books I was trying, The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant The Birth of Venus, and unfortunately for me but maybe good for someone else, it has far to much romance. Some interesting parts about dyeing cloth and painting frescos and a fair bit about Florence after the death of Lorenzo Medici in 1494.
Time to switch to non-fiction. I think I'll start with Christopher Hibbert's The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici.


message 30: by Carol (new)

Carol (ladygyn) | 304 comments Two books to try: duchess of Milan by Michael Ennis Duchess of Milanand Bravo For The Bride which is part of a series from the medici era in Italy


message 31: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments I see Bravo for the Bride is book 3 in a series.
Bravo for the Bride (Italian Renaissance Whodunit , #3) by Elizabeth Eyre

Do you recommend book 1 and 2, Carol? Or do you think number 3 is the best as a stand alone read.


message 32: by Carol (new)

Carol (ladygyn) | 304 comments Read them all each could stand alone but they are better read in order


message 33: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments Gotcha. :)
Reason I ask is that there are some trilogies or series' where the first book or books are completely different to the rest. And every now and then someone will tell me 'read number three, the first two are awful and you don't need to read them anyway'.


message 34: by Carol (new)

Carol (ladygyn) | 304 comments No prob


message 35: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (caveatlector) | 5208 comments CB wrote: "I have The House of Medici by Christopher Hibbert (non-fiction) but haven't read it. Should move it to TBR.
The House of Medici Its Rise and Fall by Christopher Hibbert"


I finally got this book out of the library and I'm planning on reading it this month.


message 36: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (caveatlector) | 5208 comments Look at that, I didn't come back here and say whether I liked the last book or not. :)
Which I did, thought it was great. It's not too dense for those who don't usually read non-fiction but if someone already knows a fair bit about the Medici's this would probably not be in depth enough.

Still haven't found fiction on this family that doesn't revolve around the women in the family. :)


message 37: by Darcy (new)

Darcy (drokka) | 2675 comments I wonder if any fictions about the reformation would help. The family did produce four Popes, Leo X being the most famous (I think) and he was completely opposed to the idea of the Reformation (might have something to do with job security or summat).


message 38: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (caveatlector) | 5208 comments That's a good idea, look for the popes. The other idea I had was to look for books on Florence seeing as they were so much apart of the city itself.


message 39: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Lax | 20 comments Dawn,

I sympathize with your quest: there is a topic somewhere in this group where we kick around books on the Near East based on a post I wrote like yours at the start of this thread.

I am a huge Medici fan following a history class in College on Renaissance Italy. From my recollection, there was the early period before Cosimo De Medici, followed by Cosimo's rise after being exiled in a political struggle. After that we discussed Florence under the Medici dukes (Cosimo was more of a political boss). As others have pointed out the women get a lot of attention in fiction. I have not heard of any novels focused on Cosimo and the early ascendance of the Medici in Florence (though I would love one). There is this nonfiction book that I have never read but might be what you are looking for:

April Blood: Florence and the Plot Against the Medici


message 40: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (caveatlector) | 5208 comments Thanks Joshua, that does look like a pretty good book.

I have to buy a few books when I have the money and I think I'll add this one to the list. :)

I went to Italy last year and my interest for Italian history stems from that. The Medici's and Borgia's are just a starting point but I think non-fiction is the way to go for me. All the historical fiction is far to romance based for what I'm looking for.
Have you tried reading any of Christopher Hibbert's books? I want to find his book Florence.

P.S. At least my thread hasn't been hijacked like we did to yours on the Near East. :)


message 41: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Lax | 20 comments I liked the hijacking. My father is actually reading the Hibbert right now. I also have this one which I have not read yet:

Florence and the Medici by John Rigby Hale

I know that there are several major families in the Italian city states. There was the Duke of Urbino whose name I think was Federico of Montefeltro. There were also the Sforzas who were the Dukes of Milan. I believe both families were mercenaries who became rulers.

I think this book, the Decameron, was written during the Medici period:

The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio

There is also this book which is about how to function in the latter Renaissance period when Italy was reverting to a more Court based society:

The Book of the Courtier by Baldassare Castiglione

I also have this but have not read it:

Florentine History by Niccolò Machiavelli


message 42: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (caveatlector) | 5208 comments The Sforzas would be very interesting. The switch from mercenary to nobility would be very interesting to read about, I think they were linked with the Borgias power grab......

Medici Money Banking, Metaphysics, and Art in Fifteenth-Century Florence by Tim Parks looks good as well. The whole basis for their empire and art is what they are so well known for.

Machiavelli's looks good too, I really liked The Prince.


message 43: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Lax | 20 comments You can try this, and it appears to be free in e-format.


message 45: by Carol (new)

Carol (ladygyn) | 304 comments Try Duchess of Milan. It is about the medicos and the Sforzas. A little chick lit but not bad.


message 46: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (caveatlector) | 5208 comments It's tempting Carol....... :)


message 47: by Carol (new)

Carol (ladygyn) | 304 comments It actually is a pretty good read. I was intrigued by this Sforzas character.


message 48: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (caveatlector) | 5208 comments I've read a couple article about the Medici's recently.

One about
The last Medici may not have died of syphilis after all http://www.nature.com/news/the-last-m...
and another
Famed Warrior Medici Died From Gangrene http://news.discovery.com/history/arc...

I like how much we can find out just from a set of bones these days.


message 49: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments I did not even know a Medici was supposed to have died of Syphilis. I really don't know much about the Medici. :)


message 50: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (caveatlector) | 5208 comments I don't know much about these ones either, not as famous.


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