Historical Fiction Stars: 2002

Lists of historical fiction titles receiving starred reviews.

Annotated lists of books receiving at least one starred review from one of four major review sources: Booklist, Kirkus, LJ and PW. The review source assigns the star.

Annotations are from Advance, the Ingram Book Magazine, unless otherwise noted.

Historical fiction is loosely defined on this page - a book set 25 years ago may qualify for inclusion.

Historical fiction is loosely defined on this page - a book set in an earlier time frame than the present may qualify for inclusion. Categories on this page include general (period setting), mystery & suspense, and also worthy of note (time slip, alternate history, generational sagas, etc.)

2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1998-99


  • Bow's Boy
    Author: Babcock, Richard
    Publisher: Scribner $ 24 ISBN: 0743227271
    star Kirkus
    In the tradition of Peace Like a River and Plainsong comes a richly textured and moving novel about friendship and heroism in small-town America in the early days of the Vietnam War.
    Updated 9.9.02
  • Shadows of Blue and Gray: The Civil War Writings of Ambrose Bierce
    Author: Bierce, Ambrose
    Publisher: Forge $ 24.95 ISBN: 0786302446
    star Kirkus
    Suggested Reading: Civil War Stars
  • Moon of Bitter Cold
    Author: Chiaventone, Frederick J.
    Publisher: Forge $ 26.95 ISBN: 0765300931
    star Kirkus
    In 1866, the war in the West, with its bloody collision of cultures, is increasing in tension and danger. As the U.S. Army builds ever more forts on the Great Plains, Red Cloud, a Lakota Sioux war leader, assembles more than 3,000 warriors to drive out the white man.
    Suggested Reading: Western Stars
  • Casanova in Bohemia
    Author: Codrescu, Andre
    Publisher: Free Press $ 25 ISBN: 0684868008
    star Kirkus star Library Journal
    Beloved NPR commentator and popular author Codrescu makes a stunning return to historical fiction, detailing the adventurous life and erotic times of the famed illuminist Giacomo Casanova. Codrescu creates a surreal portrait of the legendary Casanova, as the old adventurer plays out his final years in a dilapidated castle in Bohemia.
  • The Book of the Heathen
    Author: Edric, Robert
    Publisher: Dunne $ 24.95 ISBN: 0312288883
    star Kirkus
    Suggested Reading: Historical Fiction Stars
    Updated 9.9.02
  • Gods and Legions: A Novel of the Roman Empire
    Author: Ford, Michael Curtis
    Publisher: Dunne $ 24.95 ISBN: 0312275382
    star Library Journal
    Fresh on the heels of his successful debut, The Ten Thousand, Ford recreates the remarkable life and times of the Emperor Julian.
    Updated 9.8.02
  • The Monsters of St. Helena
    Author: Hansen, Brooks
    Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux $ 25 ISBN: 0374270198
    star Library Journal
    Brooks Hansen's new novel is the story of Napoleon Bonaparte's last exile, in 1815, on the island of St. Helena in the Atlantic, "the place on earth farthest from any other place." - Publisher Marketing.
    Updated 11.20.02
  • The Mulberry Empire
    Author: Hensher, Philip
    Publisher: Knopf $ 26 ISBN: 0375414886
    star Kirkus star Booklist
    Spanning a decade and moving between London and Calcutta, The Mulberry Empire explores the doomed 1839 mission of some 50,000 forces of the British Empire as they entered Afghanistan to overthrow a hostile amir.
    Suggested Reading:First Fiction Debuts
    Updated 9.7.02
  • When the Elephants Dance
    Author: Holthe, Tess Uriza
    Publisher: Crown $ 24.95 ISBN: 0609609521
    star Kirkus star Library Journal star PW
    Inspired, in part, by the experiences of her father, who was a boy in the Philippines during World War II, this debut novel begins during the final week of the Japanese-American battle for the islands. As they hide in a cellar from the Japanese, several Filipino civilians tell magical tales to help pass the time, fuel their courage, and teach important lessons of hope.
    Suggested Reading: World War Stars
  • A Parchment of Leaves: A Novel
    Author: House, Silas
    Publisher: Algonquin $ 23.95 ISBN: 1565123670
    star Kirkus
    When House made his debut with Clay's Quilt, it touched a nerve and became a bestseller. His second novel, set in 1917, tells the story of Vine, a beautiful Cherokee woman who marries a white man. As haunting as an old-time ballad, this book is filled with the imagery, dialect, music, and thrumming life of the Kentucky mountains.
    Updated 8.13.02
  • Enemy Women
    Author: Jiles, Paulette
    Publisher: Morrow $ 24.95 ISBN: 0066214440
    star Kirkus star PW star LJ
    The Colley family are modest farmers in the Missouri Ozarks. The Colleys try to remain neutral, a fact ignored by the Union militia who confiscate their livestock, burn their farm, and arrest their daughter on charges of "enemy collaboration." Yet as this innocent young woman soon discovers, fate can have a double edge. In unsentimental yet elegant prose, Jiles reveals the universal horrors of war and its irreparable damage, and introduces a wonderful new character in a memorable story.
    Suggested Reading: Civil War Stars
  • Piano Tuner
    Author: Mason, Daniel Philippe
    Publisher: Knopf $ 24 ISBN: 0375414657
    star Kirkus star Library Journal
    A hypnotic tale of myth, romance, and self-discovery, this extraordinary fiction debut tells the story of a British piano tuner sent deep into Burma in the 19th century, where he encounters thieves, soldiers, and an enchanting but elusive woman.
    Suggested Reading: First Fiction Debuts
    Updated 8.16.02
  • Cloud of Sparrows
    Author: Matsuoka, Takashi
    Publisher: Delacorte $ 24.95 ISBN: 0385336403
    star PW
    Set amid the violence and beauty of 19th century Japan Matsuoka takes readers beyond the epic tradition of James Clavell's Shogun and into a majestic realm of samurai and geishas, ninjas and Zen masters.
    Updated 8.13.02
  • Terrible Angel: A Novel of Michael Collins in New York
    Author: McEvoy, Dermot
    Publisher: Lyons $ 22.95 ISBN: 1585747424
    star PW
    Updated 9.7.02
  • As Above, So Below: A Novel of Peter Bruegel
    Author: Rucker, Rudy
    Publisher: Forge $ 23.95 ISBN: 0765304031
    star Booklist
    In 16 chapters, each headed by one of the artist's famous works, Rucker brings the painter's progress and his colorful world to vibrant life, doing for Bruegel what the bestselling Girl With a Pearl Earring did for Vermeer.
    Updated 12.2.02
  • The Glorious Cause
    Author: Shaara, Jeff
    Publisher: Ballantine $ 29.95 ISBN: 0345427564
    star PW
    New York Times bestselling author Shaara brilliantly portrayed the origins of the American Revolution in Rise to Rebellion--now he continues the amazing saga of how thirteen colonies became one nation.
    Updated 9.30.02
  • The Winter Queen
    Author: Stevenson, Jane
    Publisher: Houghton $ 25 ISBN: 0618149120
    star Library Journal
    Set in Holland in the 17th century, The Winter Queen is a sweeping portrait of the tumultuous history and politics of the era as well as an immensely moving account of a strange and magical love affair. At its center are two royal exiles: Elizabeth of Bohemia, the Winter Queen, and her clandestine lover, an African prince of shamanic gifts, sold into slavery and freed after years of bondage.
    Updated 10.16.02


Historical Mysteries
Soon's Historical Fiction Site
Uchronia: Alternate History

Starred Review Lists

Books that received at least one starred review from Booklist, Kirkus, LJ, and PW.

2013 Crime Fiction: Jan-June | Fiction: Jan-June | Speculative Fiction

2012 Crime Fiction: July-Dec | Fiction: July-Dec | Speculative Fiction

Hotlists@ Google Docs

Crime Fiction... 2013 | 2012 | 2011

Fiction... 2013 | 2012 | 2011

(lists of new and notable books - lists are sortable and can be downloaded)

more stars lists...

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