Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Six top historical fiction novels that are almost fantasy

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and We Are Not Good People from Pocket/Gallery. He has published over thirty short stories as well. Somers notes that sometimes that dash of uncertainty over what’s real and what may have seemed magical to those involved can elevate historical fact into near-fantastical fiction. At the B & N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog he tagged six historical fiction novels that are almost fantasy, including:
The Risen, by David Anthony Durham

Few authors embody the relationship between historical fiction and fantasy better than Durham, whose work moves effortlessly between the genres. In The Risen, Durham skates as close to fantasy as possible without crossing the line, infusing the story of Spartacus’ slave rebellion with mystical priestesses who seem able to predict future events and a real sense from the various point-of-view characters that the gods they worship are very real, and actually do communicate with them, doling out assistance—or punishment. The strong characterizations make it easy to see how, in a world without formal education and not so separated from the more primitive and less civilized age that came before, a myriad of coincidental could easily be seen as evidence of a magical world existing just under the surface.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue