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recommend ancient greek or persian fiction (ala Ben Kane, Conn Iggulden,

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Showing 1-14 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 Feb 2012 16:34:13 GMT
Hangerhead says:

I've been reading a lot of Ben Kane, Conn Iggulden, SJA Tunney fiction (amongst others), as well as books by Tom Holland, Stephen Pressfield and Boris Johnson.
Whilst I am not yet 'Rome'd out, I wonder if there are similar fictional works araound Sparta, Greece and/or Persia.

I've got/read similarly themed books by;
Paul Kearney - Macht Trilogy for instance,
Valerio Massimo Manfredi - Spartan,
Michael Pritsos - Hoplite: Torch of Prometheus
Mary Renault - Persian Boy
Scott Oden novels - Memnon as an example

Added to which i have re-read David Gemmell's Lion of Macedon & Dark prince novels about 5 times.

Any recommendations for me please? preferably available on kindle so I can check out a sample chapter first.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Feb 2012 20:30:36 GMT
Last edited by the author on 23 Feb 2012 21:01:22 GMT
LEP says:
Read the rest of Mary Renault's books e.g. The King must Die, The Bull from the Sea and all the others.

I'll have a look and think re. others.

Posted on 23 Feb 2012 20:37:48 GMT
A.J. Armitt says:
David Gemmell's 'Troy' series is a must

Troy: Lord of the Silver Bow (Trojan War Trilogy): 1
Troy: Shield of Thunder (Trojan War Trilogy): 2
Troy: Fall of Kings (Trojan War Trilogy): 3

Quite possibly one of the best series of books I have ever read.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Feb 2012 21:00:58 GMT
Last edited by the author on 24 Feb 2012 16:39:11 GMT
LEP says:

The Dancer from Atlantis - Poul Anderson (Sci fi)
The Firebrand - Marian Zimmer Bradley
The Sand Reckoner - Gillian Bradshaw
Achilles - Elizabeth Cook
A Victor of Salamis - William Stearns Davis
An Elephant for Aristotle
The Bronze God of Rhodes
The Arrows of Hercules
The Dragon of Ishtar Gate
The Golden Wing (not sure of last word - can't read my own writing, Doh!)
All the above are by L. Sprague de Camp
The Ten Thousand - Michael Cutis Ford
The Wreckage of Agathon - John Gardner
The Golden Fleece - Robert Graves
The Plot to Save Socretes - Paul Levison (time travel)
Spartan - Valerio Massimo Manfredi
The Isle of Stone - Nicholas Nicastro
Gates of Fire - Steven Pressfield (excellant reviews)
The Last of the Wine
The King Must Die
The Bull from the Sea
The Mask of Apollo
The Praise Singer
Fire from Heaven
The Persian Boy
Funeral Games
All above by Mary Renault

I read all Mary Renault's books years ago and enjoyed them very much. I haven't read the rest of those above, I think that I may look some of them up and have a read.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Feb 2012 21:14:59 GMT
Last edited by the author on 23 Feb 2012 21:29:00 GMT
LEP says:
Alamut - Vladimir Bartol
Book of Talon trilogy - James Boschert
The Lion of Cairo - Scott Oden (Egypt)

Posted on 23 Feb 2012 21:19:14 GMT
Lexi says:
I'd second Mary Renault with enthusiasm. A great and thoroughly enjoyable author. And what about Gary Corby, The Pericles Commission, detective fiction in ancient Greece?


In reply to an earlier post on 23 Feb 2012 21:26:27 GMT
If you're after fiction set in Ancient Greece, then you need to read Gates Of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae by Steven Pressfield. Don't bother with any of his other books, because, in my opinion, they are terrible; but Gates of Fire is brilliant.

Scott Oden, mentioned above (Men of Bronze, Memnon, The Lion Of Cairo) has a new book coming out at some point, too, called "Serpent of Hellas". I don't know the publication date, unfortunately.

(By the way, I should point out that Oden's "Lion of Cairo" is not set in Ancient Persia, but medieval Egypt, in the years prior to the Third Crusade in the 12th century. Also, strictly speaking, it isn't a straight historical novel, more a historical fantasy. Still worth reading, though!)

I second the recommendations for Mary Renault wholeheartedly!

Also worth checking out The Song Of Troy by Colleen McCullough. Not as good as her "Masters of Rome" series, but of the highest quality, nonetheless.

Has anyone recommended Tom Holt? Try: Alexander at World's End, The Walled Orchard, Olympiad.

Posted on 23 Feb 2012 21:55:19 GMT
Christian Cameron has done a shed load of Greek books. I'd go for 'Killer of Men' and 'God of War'.

Posted on 23 Feb 2012 22:04:44 GMT
Hangerhead says:
Thanks all for your suggestions...please keep them coming.

AI Harrison - good call - already read and enjoyed...
M Pailing: I've read the Pressfield books (all of them and as you say, none as good as Gates of Fire...The book about the Amazonians being so bad, it must have been from a different Pressfield!)
As I mentioned, already read all Scott Oden's and I will look forward to Serpent...

Lexi - ok - I'll see about that although Kindle Edition is £13...

Lep - I've added Alamut to wishlist although the Taon books are more about crusaders/templars aren't they?
As for the Wiki list - yes I saw that earlier but didn't want to type in each book to get an overall review for them to see if they were any good :)

AJ - Got all of David Gemmell's books, I forgot to mention the Troy ones (a bit remiss) but once I thought of the Lion of Macedon, I forgot about the others.

Posted on 23 Feb 2012 22:21:48 GMT
Oh, yeah, I'd forgotten about Last Of The Amazons. Hm, it was a bit of a stinker; although, to be honest, I thought it was better than Tides Of War, which was so confused and messed up that one really didn't know what was supposed to be going on.

With regard to Gemmell, I'm not sure I'd go as far as saying that the Troy books are, as A.J. Armitt says: "Quite possibly one of the best series of books I have ever read". However, I did think they were good (and the third one didn't suffer from being completed by Gemmell's widow). I thought "Lion of Macedon" was good, but I *HATED* "Dark Prince" with a passion. I thought it was terrible. Still, each to his own! :-)

I'f you're interested in continuing with some Roman stuff, as well, have you tried Harry Sidebottom, yet? Warrior of Rome Part One: Fire in the East and three follow-ups so far (I think number five in the series is in the process of being published).


Posted on 23 Feb 2012 23:24:36 GMT
Ramsay Wood says:
Ancient Persian (yet originally Indian derived) literature includes the classic Mirror for Princes *Lights of Canopus* (also know as the *Anvar i-Suhaili*)Kalila and Dimna: Fables of Conflict and Intrigue, Vol. 2: Fables from the Panchatantra, Jatakas, Bidpai, Kalilah and Dimnah and Lights of Canopus. This second volume in my modern English trilogy was published in Dec 2011 by Medina. The first was reprinted by Saqi in 2008 Kalila and Dimna: Fables of Friendship and Betrayal. Don't expect Aesop: these are longer, grittier interlinked tales of the humanimal within an over-arching "frame story" of a king listening to a storyteller talking about the use and abuse of power.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Feb 2012 12:48:34 GMT
Last edited by the author on 24 Feb 2012 12:49:04 GMT
LEP says:
Have you read:
King of Ithaca - Glyn Ififfe
Killer of Men (Long War 1) - Christian Cameron

They came up on my Amazon Recommendations along with Memnon. Both have good reviews.

Posted on 24 Feb 2012 13:19:07 GMT
Hangerhead says:
LEP - already read the Long War books by C Cameron.

I'd read a couple of reviews of the Glyn Ififfe - looked a little poorly researched and 'simple'.

Posted on 27 Feb 2012 21:20:31 GMT
Although not set in ancient Greece but the ancient Roman empire 1st Century AD You might enjoy the "Falco" series by Lyndsey Davies.
Marcus Didius Falco is an ex-roman legionaire working as a private informer (roughly the equivalent of a private detective) he just wants to get on with his family life but keeps getting dispatched on tricky jobs all over the empire by the Emperor Vespasian.
The books are great fun an easy read but packed with historically accurate detail of everyday life in Rome.
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  8
Total posts:  14
Initial post:  23 Feb 2012
Latest post:  27 Feb 2012

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