This week on guest blog Wednesdays we have Australian author, Anna Patricio who shares with us her favourite historical novels.
I was introduced to historical fiction by an acquaintance who recommended to me Wilbur Smith’s Ancient Egyptian novel ‘River God.’ Since then, I have been an aficionado of the genre. Although I still try to keep myself open to all sorts of books, historical fiction will always tke precedence for me, especially if they are set in the ancient world – Egypt, Greece, Rome, Israel, etc.
These are some of my favourite historical novels so far:
RIVER GOD by Wilbur Smith – As I mentioned, this was my foray into historical fiction. It’s been over 10 years since I first read it, and I still love it. As a matter of fact, shortly before my trip to the Middle East, I reread it. I loved everything this novel had to offer: the sumptuous descriptions that brought Ancient Egypt to life, the character development – the way the Ancient Egyptians were depicted as real people rather than the larger-than-life figures they are usually portrayed as, and the
gripping storyline. The novel was so full of scandal and intrigue, I could not wait to see what would happen next! The protagonist, the eunuch Taita, is both egotistical and funny. The villain Lord Intef is one sick, twisted character.
WARLOCK by Wilbur Smith – This is the sequel to ‘River God.’ I did hear that there was another sequel entitled ‘The Seventh Scroll’ but I wasn’t very keen on it since it didn’t continue with the original Ancient Egyptian cast, plus I am not really into the Indiana Jones-type of stories. When I heard that ‘Warlock’ returned to Ancient
Egypt, I immediately got it. ‘Warlock’ is just as gripping and thrilling as its predecessor. There was a bit of fantasy in it, none of which ‘River God’ had, but this wasn’t too big a problem for me since it was kept to a minimum anyway. The story was quite good, very intricately woven. At times, the violence was rather shocking, but I suppose that is how life was like during the Hyksos invasion.
MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA by Arthur Golden – OK, so this isn’t set in the ancient world, but this is a another novel I never grew tired of even after being introduced to it years ago. The protagonist’s strength is admirable. I could really feel with her as she adjusted from life in a small fishing village to the bustling city of Gion, and how she endured the many travails that came with it. In addition, her long-suffering love for the Chairman was so touching. I love the author’s writing style. I like the metaphors / allusions he uses, and how he is able to elaborate on Chiyo / Sayuri’s often ambivalent emotions. And this has been said many times before, but I’ll say it again: how could a man have possibly written this book? This novel, by the way, influenced my own novel ‘Asenath.’ And I have seen the movie version but didn’t care for it much. The book is, and always will be, better.
Anything by Pauline Gedge – So far, I have read ‘Child of the Morning,’ ‘The Twelfth Transforming’ and ‘Lord of the Two Lands.’ I had been hearing lots of good things about her novels and I was not disappointed. They are filled with vivid and beautiful descriptions, captivating plots, and characters you can actually care for – or hate. I really didn’t like Akhenaton, for instance, in ‘Twelfth Transforming.’ He was rather disgusting. But the novel as a whole – to quote my friend – was so disgusting yet so well-written. Hatshepsut in ‘Child of the Morning’ came across as a sympathetic woman. I have yet more Pauline Gedge novels in my TBR pile and I surely can’t wait to read them. I’m saving them for later because I like to save the best for last.
JOSEPH AND ASENATH by Alex G Chappell – Having written about Joseph’s little-known wife, I suppose it is no surprise that I am an enthusiast of the Joseph story. While writing my novel, I looked around for fiction on Asenath to make sure I wasn’t unintentionally writing something too similar to what had already been published. This was one of the books I came across, and the storyline sounded really intriguing (and thankfully, it was also different from my own Asenath novel). So I got it and I *loved* it. I was thrilled to see there were Ancient Egyptian phrases in the book and I LOVED the way Joseph and Asenath’s relationship was depicted. The author built it up very nicely, and it ended in a climax that literally brought me to the edge of my seat. Even though I knew what was going to happen, being more
than familiar with the Joseph story, my heart was pounding with the suspense!
There are many more good historical novels I have read. However, these ones are those which have greatly impacted me and will stay with me for the rest of my life. In short, they are classics.
(Included in the site are links on where to purchase my novel)
More about Anna:
Anna Patricio is a lover of ancient history, with a particular interest in Egypt, Israel, Greece, and Rome. She is also intrigued by the Ancient Near East, though she has not delved too much into it but hopes to one day.
She undertook formal studies in Ancient History at Macquarie University. She focused mostly on Egyptology and Jewish-Christian Studies, alongside a couple of Greco-Roman units, and one on Archaeology. Though she knew there were very limited job openings for ancient history graduates, she pursued her degree anyway as it was something she had always been passionate about.
Then, about a year after her graduation, the idea to tackle historical fiction appeared in her head, and she began happily pounding away on her laptop. ASENATH is her first novel.
Recently, she traveled to Lower Egypt (specifically Cairo and the Sinai), Israel, and Jordan. She plans to return to Egypt soon, and see more of it. In the past, she has also been to Athens and Rome.
Anna is currently working on a second novel, which still takes place in Ancient Egypt, but hundreds of years after ASENATH.
Asenath by Anna Patricio
Two Destinies…One Journey of Love
In a humble fishing village on the shores of the Nile lives Asenath, a fisherman’s daughter who has everything she could want. Until her perfect world is shattered.
When a warring jungle tribe ransacks the village and kidnaps her, separating her from her parents, she is forced to live as a slave. And she begins a journey that will culminate in the meeting of a handsome and kind steward named Joseph.
Like her, Joseph was taken away from his home, and it is in him that Asenath comes to find solace…and love. But just as they are beginning to form a bond, Joseph is betrayed by his master’s wife and thrown into prison.
Is Asenath doomed to a lifetime of losing everything and everyone she loves?