Well, I'm not overly familiar with the category, and am looking for some reading recommendations. To give an idea of the flavor I like, I've read:

IJ Parker's books - enjoyed very much.
Paul Doherty - enjoyed so-so.
Brother Cadfael books - enjoyed so-so.
Arturo Pereze-Reverte - enjoy very much.
Also, I've been working on O'Brien's books - I'm 14 in now - and enjoy them alot.

I do not enjoy historical fiction that "stars" a real person.


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Read the Falco series by Lindsay Davis. Ancient Rome in the 2nd Century (?)
Falco is the consummate smart-ass detective.
Two that I've taught recently: Mosley's Easy Rawlins books (you've probably already read them) do a great job of capturing mid-20th century black L.A. And Umberto Eco's crazy standalone "The Name of the Rose" is brilliant, aggravating, boring, funny and ultimately well worth the 500+ page investment.
I read and enjoyed Name of the Rose a few years back - took some work but was worth it. I've also read a couple of Easy Rawlins (and Socrates Fortlow). Funny, they are "historical" but I don't consider Easy hisotrical fiction. I should adjust my thinking.
O'Brien is, in my view, the very best of the lot. You might also like Forester's naval Hornblower series. And I like Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series (Indian and Napoleonic wars with the British army). Cornwell also has an 18th century mystery that's good.
And then of course there's Robert Van Gulik and his Judge Dee.
Lindsey Davis is pretty good in a lighter Roman vein.
Can't say I take to the others.
Some people like Liss.
Oh, Eco has a lot of atmosphere, but frankly it was a slog. Not at all sure about brilliance.
I.J. I agree with you on Eco's 'The Name of the Rose." I thought reading the back side of sandpaper would have been more interesting. You had to be a Catholic scholar to get at all the hints and innuendos in that tome.

But the Judge Dee novels were excellent.

As are the Hornblower novels.
See what good taste I have? :)
You had to be a Catholic scholar to get at all the hints and innuendos in that tome.

Exactly. Helps to know something about semiotics, too.
My medieval thriller RELICS (Thomas Nelson) was re-released this past May; it was a Doubleday Book Club selection. A suspicious cathedral fire. A stolen treasure. A terrorist plot to kill the king of France. Intrigue. Betrayal. Romance. Another day in the 13th Century.

John Desjarlais

(for a synopsis and for reviews, see www.johndesjarlais.com)
Sounds good, John.
Some of my favorites:

Troy Soos - Mickey Rawlings baseball mysteries from early 1900s (disclaimer: These do include some actual ballplayers from the era.)

Stuart Kaminsky - Toby Peters WWII-era series (disclaimer: Every book features a new, real-life client.)

Stephen Saylor - Gordianus the Finder series from ancient Rome

Kate Sedley - Roger Chapman series from medieval England

Caleb Carr - The Alienist

Loren Estleman
Estleman is hardboiled and probably good. I don't go for the rest for one reason or another.


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