Cascoly Books - Historical Fiction
Ancient Greece & Rome
Medieval & Renaissance
What McCullough does for Rome, Sharon Kay Penman does for medieval England.
King Hereafter - Dunnett's unique retelling of the Macbeth story
The Flanders Panel - Arturo Perez-Reverte 1990 – An appetizing but ultimately unsatisfying murder mystery. Julia is an art restorer who finds clues to a 500 year old murder in a little known painting. When she tries to investigate, a modern day murderer appears to have an interest in her activities. The book revolves around the game of chess that is portrayed in the painting and plays out on multiple levels. Good concept, and it works for the first half of the book, but then the plot seems to run out of steam and it meanders thru the second half before coming to its conclusion. If you’re interested in Renaissance painting, art restoration or chess puzzles, I’d recommend this book, but otherwise there are better contenders in the genre.
My Name is Red – Orhan Pamuk - intrigue and murder in the Ottoman Empire under Suleiman the Magnificent.
Neal Stephenson known more for excellent cyberpunk SciFi, he's also written great historical fiction -- intelligent, complex and captivating-
18th - 19th Century
American Revolution, Napoleon & Civil War
The Aubrey series by Patrick O'Brian is easily the best nautical series ever written -- far superior to Hornblower, Bolitho and the others. Use these links to find all the others -- read them in order, or out of sequence, each is a gem.
The Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell gives a landsman's view of the Napoleonic war (along with battle of Trafalgar which can stand with the best of O'Brian). These books trace the adventures of light infantrymanRichard Sharpe in India, Portugal, Spain and France - 1790-1820. Excellently researched, and full of vivid descriptions and surprising twists.
Susan Sontag - The Volcano Lover (Horatio Nelson)
Interplay of biology, physics, philosophy and politics. Going beyond the
usual banal comparisons, the author presents the period between the world wars
as a political and human investigation into uncertainty, quantum mechanics and
relativity. Following 2 young people, a British boy and a German girl, the
book proceeds in a series of backlooking narratives that take place in the
major cockpits of the 20th century - from Berlin in the 20's to Russia and
Spain in the 30's; politics plays a strong part, with Fascism and Communism
playing for dominance across the continent. Through all this the characters
try to find a way to create a meaningful life. Significant characters whose
views permeate the book include the Lamarckian scientists Kammerer and Lysenko,
Wittgenstein, Heideigger, Einstein, and many others. Never does the book bog
down in didactic presentation, while still presenting a clear understanding of
the major intellectual trends of the 20th century. Many other books have used
this period as a background, but in this case, it's an essential element to
Another book along these lines is the Calcutta Chromosome
Neal Stephenson -Cryptonomicon - known more for excellent cyberpunk scifi, he's also written great historical fiction -- intelligent, complex and captivating- WWII submarine thriller with modern day techno-adventure Nazi subs, filled with gold, unbreakable codes, and enough paranoia and conspiracy to keep you reading and wishing the book was even longer!
India during and after the partition.
Check our Travel pages which also cover world history
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