I've long been a lover of historical fiction. Here are just a sampling of my favorites over the years.
These two novels, read when I was 15 or 16, began a life-long fascination with ancient Roman history, especially the late republican and early imperial eras. They tell the life story of Claudius, grandson of the first emperor of Rome, Augustus, from his humiliating beginnings to his unexpected elevation.
The 70s BBC adaptation is still a personal favorite. Count the stars! See Patrick Stewart with a full head of hair!
Historians be damned, these engrossing novels with much-maligned Thomas Cromwell as their protagonist are a real pleasure. I ate up the recent magnificent Masterpiece Theater adaptation , especially Mark Rylance's marvelous portrayal of Cromwell. Here's the truth: Rylance's Cromwell was a major inspiration for the protagonist of my own novel Aching God .
I've read Jenning's beast of a novel six or seven times, enthralled by the vivid and intimate portrayal of a cruel and amazing culture at its apex, then its destruction by an equally cruel, though more familiar culture.
Like all other Americans families in the 70s, we watched two miniseries: Roots and Shogun. I read Clavell's 1200 page novel the latter was based on at age 16 or 17 and have returned to it half a dozen times since then. It embodies both the immersion in a new culture and intrigue that's a part of all good historical fiction. Clavell's other novels set in the Far East are all enjoyable, but nothing holds a candle to this one.