In these days I’m utterly enjoying Mantel’s Wolf Hall, a novel based on the life of Thomas Cromwell, which is one of the best historical novels I’ve read in a long, long time. The point is, I’m generally disappointed; as it often happens, otherwise good books in terms of plots fail in their historical accuracy or even plausibility. Not the case with Hilary Mantel, but she’s the exception, not the rule. I’ve decided to compile a list of my all-time favourites in this difficult genre.
So, I’ve decided to compile a list of my all-time favourites in this difficult genre. Here they are, not in a particular order.
- The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
- The Accursed Kings by Maurice Dubron
- Q by Wu-Ming
- The Abyss (original title: L’Ouvre au Noir) by Marguerite Yourcenar
- The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
- Romola by George Eliot
- Taipan by James Clavell
- The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni
- The History of the Wandering Jew by Jean d’Ormesson
- The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell
I’d also add The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson except for the fact that is actually alternate history, and not a historical novel tout-court. Said that, it’s a great book, by any standard.
In the following weeks, I’m going to talk about these novels in more details, since all of them have some quite interesting facts that add to the exquisite quality of their narrative.