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Archive for the ‘historical fiction’ Category

n316012Pirate Latitudes” reminds you more of “Eaters of the Dead” or “Timeline” (minus the time travel aspect) than Michael Crichton’s more famous books like Jurassic Park, Prey. And, like many historical novels starring pirates, it is a bit cheesy in pieces.

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The Man With the Iron Heart One thing historical fiction (and sometimes, fiction) can do pretty well is to show the present in an entirely different light, thereby changing our perspective. “The Man with the Iron Heart ” by Harry Turtledove does it pretty well, mirroring some major events in our time.

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Kingmaking Cover The title ‘Once and Future King’ is not lightly given, and there are very few kings (or queens) in history of the world who have so permeated into the psyche of a nation.

But in Helen Hollick’s “The Kingmaking ” (first of her Pendragon’s Banner trilogy), the story of Arthur is separated from its mythical aspects of magic and chivalry.

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Clash of Legends

Killing Rommel When I first started reading about WW II outside of history syllabus, the first hero who emerged was Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. Later, Commando comics introduced me to the other side: The legendary Long Range Desert Group (LRDG). “Killing Rommel” by Steven Pressfield is the story of the wars between these two groups.

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It is a rare Spanish author who does not get me down with the heavy tragic tones of his novel. And it is a rarer one still who does not make me want to finish the novel in one sitting, despite the fact that I am going to feel sad while reading it. “The Shadow of the Wind” (Original: La Sombra del Viento) by Carlo Ruiz Zafón did not disappoint me on either count.

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Churchill\'s Triumph While the war started by Hitler was knocking on his doors, the three most powerful men in the world met at Yalta from 4th February to 11th February 1945, to discuss the future of the post-war Europe, and the world. The third novel in the Churchill’s War series by Michael Dobbs, Churchill’s Triumph: A Novel of Betrayal is the story of those 8 days which plotted the course of many years to come.

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Ruled Britannia coverThe defeat of Spanish Armada is one of the major turning points in the history of Europe, indeed the world. But what would have happened if the Armada would have reached the shores of Britain?

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Never SurrenderHistory is written by winners, and winners are glorified (often deified) by the history. Yet, when you take away the layers of glory and awe surrounding the historical figures we have idolized, we find that the men under it all are, after all… human.

The historical fiction Never Surrender by Michael Dobbs does just that to the great orator, writer and the greatest Briton of all times, Sir Winston Churchill.

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The Last LegionIt’s been ages since I heard of the movie “The Last Legion”, and the history buff in me was fascinated by the screenshots (And the fact that the movie stars Aishwarya Rai in the role of the fighter Livia, or that she stars in the movie with Ben Kingsley had nothing to with it). But after that, there was no news of the movie for a long time and I started to think that I would never see the movie. So it was but natural that when I came across the book, I grabbed it at once.

And I did not regret the choice even once. The book was my introduction to the great historical fiction writer, Valerio Massimo Manfredi. But more than that, “The Last Legion” is the story of legends.

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Proclaimed by the Oracles as The Son of Zeus and Amun Ra. A descendant of Heracles and Achilles. A disciple of Aristotle. The son of an ambitious man, who brought the Greeks together under his leadership. Conqueror of perhaps the greatest empire in the Hellenistic age (which is second only to British Empire in 19th century). A man whose name still lives from Alexandria in Egypt to Alexandria-the-Farthest in Tajikistan. An ambitious and invincible military general, who was idolized by his Companions and followers even in his life. (Not to mention one of the few men who wore “skirts” and yet were masculine.)

Yet after all this, when you read the “Alexander Trilogy” by Valerio Massimo Manfredi, you get the sense of how Alexander the Great was all this, yet a strangely lonely and headstrong young man in his ambition.

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