Monday, April 2, 2018


Below is a current list of my top favorite historical novels: 


1. "North and South" (1982) by John Jakes - This is the first of a trilogy about two wealthy American families - the Hazards of Pennsylvania and the Mains of South Carolina - during the mid-19th century. This superb novel is set during the two decades before the U.S. Civil War.

2. "Flashman and the Redskins" (1982) by George MacDonald Fraser - This excellent novel from the Flashman series picks up where the 1971 novel, "Flash For Freedom" left off . . . with British Army officer Harry Flashman stuck in New Orleans in 1849. He eventually joins a wagon train bound for the California gold fields. The story concludes 27 years later, on the Little Bighorn battlefield.

3. "The Wheel of Fortune" (1984) by Susan Howatch - This excellent saga tells the story of a wealthy Anglo-Welsh family named the Goodwins between 1913 and the early 1970s. 
Filled with family feuds, traumas, insanity, murder and romance; I regard this as the best of Howatch's family sagas.

4. "Love and War" (1984) by John Jakes - The saga of the Hazards and the Mains continues in this story about their experiences during the U.S. Civil War. I regard this as one of the best Civil War novels I have ever read, despite being underappreciated by some critics.

5. "Shadow of the Moon" (1956; 1979) by M.M. Kaye - Set against the backdrop of mid-19th century India and the Sepoy Rebellion, this novel tells the story of a young Anglo-Spanish woman named Winter de Ballesteros and her love for British Army officer, Alex Randall.

6. "Voodoo Dreams" (1993) by Jewell Parker-Rhodes - The novel is a fictional account of the famous Voodoo priestess, Marie Laveau, in early 19th century New Orleans. Despite a slow start, the novel unveiled a very engrossing tale.

7. "Flashman and the Dragon" (1985) by George MacDonald Fraser - This entry in the Flashman series is an account of Harry Flashman's experiences during the Taiping Rebellion and the March to Pekin in 1860 China. A personal favorite of mine.

8. "Centennial" (1974) by James Michner - A superb, multi-generational saga about the history of a small northern Colorado town, between the 1790s and the 1970s. I regard this superb novel as one of Michner's best.

9. "The Bastard" (1974) by John Jakes - The first novel in Jakes' Kent Family Chronicles series, this story is about Philip "Charbanneau" Kent, the illegitimate offspring of a French actress and a British nobleman during the years leading to the American Revolution. A personal favorite of mine.

10. "Flashman in the Great Game" (1975) by George MacDonald - This fifth entry in the Flashman series follows Harry Flashman's harrowing adventures during the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857-58. Another one of Fraser's best, which features plenty of drama, action and some pretty funny moments. A must read.

11. "The Killer Angels" (1974) by Michael Shaara - This Pulitzer Prize winning novel about the Gettysburg Campaign is considered one of the finest Civil War novels ever written. And I heartily agree.

12. "Lonesome Dove" (1985) by Larry McMurty - This Pulitzer Prize winning novel tells the story about two former Texas Ranges who lead a cattle drive on a perilous journey from South Texas to Montana in the late 1870s.

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