I had so many great comments on my post last week that I thought I’d share what I learned and give the commentators a little plug in the process. I started out intending to list them all, but there are too many for only one post, so I’ve decided to divide them chronologically, starting with those set in antiquity, maybe adding a few more as I go.
Barbara Monajem, who writes Regency romance, suggested the Lindsey Davis novels featuring Roman detective Marcus Didius Falco. I’ve read several of these myself and find them highly entertaining. The series is set in the first century of the Roman Empire, beginning in the reign of Vespasian, 70 A.D. Falco’s smart-alecky voice and lively first-person narration put these books in the great P.I. tradition. Think Elvis Cole transported to ancient Rome.
Joe De Marco, who writes the Marco Fontana P.I. series, mentioned Rosemary Sutcliff, who wrote several different historical series for children and young adults from the 1950s on. The Chronicles of Robin Hood, an Arthurian series, and one set in Roman Britain, beginning with THE EAGLE OF THE NINTH. Because my own historical mysteries are set in ancient Rome, I’m especially intrigued by this. I was also a huge King Arthur fan when I was young, courtesy of T.H. White, so the Arthurian ones sound great, too. So many books, so little time…
Among our commentators, Rome seems to hold pride of place, but I’m sure there are other fascinating historical mysteries set elsewhere in the ancient world. One recent series that’s been high on my TBR list is that by Gary Corby, set in ancient Athens. His narrator, like Falco, sounds like a cheeky fellow. My kind of literary guide.
Rather than ask you to add to this already perilously high TBR tower, I’ll ask: What do you look for in a novel set in antiquity? What kind of voice do you like? Since the author is writing in English rather than ancient Latin or Greek, how do you think she or he should approach the story’s language and dialogue? It’s quite different from looking at fiction set in an English-speaking milieu.