Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Top 10 characters from children's historical fiction

Julia Golding, author of the Cat Royal series of books which tell the adventures of a feisty orphan girl brought up in a theatre in Georgian London, named her top 10 characters from children's historical fiction for the Guardian.

Golding is also the author of the Companions Quartet, a fantasy series with a cast of mythical creatures.

"Coming to compile this list, all sorts of books kept begging for a place," Golding explained, "so I decided to limit myself to one per period. In the end, I chose those books and characters that crystalized something about the period for my imagination."

Here are her choices from the three oldest periods:
Prehistoric: Torak in Michelle Paver's Wolf Brother

You root for the orphan boy from the beginning because he is an outcast, trying to survive in the harsh world of a prehistoric forest. You get to sniff the scents, taste the food and feel the fear along with him.

Roman: Vesuvius in Caroline Lawrence's The Secrets of Vesuvius

Perhaps it is surprising that a volcano has made it in as a character but Vesuvius certainly dominates the second book in Lawrence's excellent Roman Mysteries series. Like all the best romantic heroes, Vesuvius is dark, brooding and destructive.

Dark Ages: Sir Gawain in Roger Lancelyn Green's King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table

I've always had a soft spot for Gawain, who ends up in such trouble with his green knight. This is still one of the best retellings of the Arthurian stories.
Click here to read about Golding's other seven choices.

Click here to learn more about Golding's own books.

--Marshal Zeringue