Historical Fiction Stars: 2004
Lists of historical fiction titles receiving starred
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.
Categories on this page include general (period setting), romance, mystery & suspense, and also worthy of note (time slip, alternate history, generational sagas, etc.)
- The Clerkenwell Tales
Author: Ackroyd, Peter
Publisher: Doubleday $ 24.95 ISBN: 0385511213 Date: 2004
This clever and colourful novel begins with "The Nun's Tale, and continues with "The Friar's Tale, "The Merchant's Tale and "The Clerk's Tale. Thus, story by story, Peter Ackroyd builds his portrait of medieval London. The people are disenchanted with the Church, with its wealth and corruption, its Pope in Rome and its Pope in Avignon. But heresy is dangerous -- almost as dangerous as rebellion. This is a novel about spies and counterspies, radicals and idealists, murderers and arsonists, sects and secret societies. It is a tale richly atmospheric and satisfying in its historical detail. - Publishers Marketing.
- The Secrets
Author: Alexander, Alma
Publisher: Harper SF $ 24.95 ISBN: 0060563419 Date: 2004
The epic story of seven women in ancient China and their loyal bond of sisterhood--jin shei.
- Ironfire: A Novel of the Knights
of Malta and the Last Battle of the Crusades
Author: Ball, David W.
Publisher: Delacorte $ 24.95 ISBN: 0385336012 Date: 2004
In the Mediterranean, 16th-century, a mighty struggle looms between the Christian kingdoms, roiled by religious strife and political intrigue, and the surging Ottoman Empire. All that stands in the sultan's way is a tiny island and its small band of defenders--the Knights of Malta.
Suggested Reading: Pirate Stars
- The Stone That the Builder Refused
Author: Bell, Madison Smartt
Publisher: Pantheon $ 29.95 ISBN: 037542282x Date: 2004
The finale in the Toussaint Louverture trilogy spans the last two years of Toussaint's life, his triumphant struggle and the compromises made for a free Haiti. Toussaint was the legendary leader of the only successful slave revolution in history.
Author: Birdsell, Sandra
Publisher: Milkweed $ 24 ISBN: 1571310436 Date: 2004
Published in Canada as The Russlander, this historical novel is set in 1917 Russia and depicts peaceful lives uprooted by revolution.
- Handsome Harry
Author: Blake, James Carlos
Publisher: Morrow $ 24.95 ISBN: 0060554789 Date: 2004
The renowned author pens his most commercial novel to date--a thrilling retelling of the John Dillinger story.
Suggested Reading: Biographical Fiction
- Shooting the Sun
Author: Byrd, Max
Publisher: Bantam $ 23.95 ISBN: 0553802089 Date: 2004
From historic novelist Byrd comes an enthralling novel of fact and fiction as eccentric genius Charles Babbage and free-spirited astronomer Selena Cott set out to use the dawning technology of 1839 to record a total solar eclipse.
- The Cloud Atlas
Author: Callahan, Liam
Publisher: Delacorte $ 22.95 ISBN: 0385336942 Date: 2004
In a richly inspired debut reminiscent of Snow Falling on Cedars and The English Patient, this stirring novel, set against a magnificent Alaskan backdrop, reveals one of the most closely guarded secrets of World War II in a tale that is both a heart-quickening mystery and a unique love story.
Suggested Reading: Fiction & Mystery Debuts | World War Stars
- A Deal With
Author: Carlyle, Liz
Publisher: Pocket $ 6.99 (paper) ISBN: 0743470036 Date: 2004
The USA Today bestselling author of The Devil You Know pens a shimmering novel about a Scottish noblewoman on the run from her past and a powerful English lord brought to his knees by desire.
Starry Banner: A Novel of the Civil War
Author: Carter, Alden R.
Publisher: Soho $ 27 ISBN: 1569473552 Date: 2004
December 1862, outside Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the 43,000 men of Gen. Rosencrans' Army of the Cumberland faced the 38,000 Confederate soldiers of Gen. Bragg's Army. In arenas dubbed "the Slaughter Pen" and "Hell's Half Acre," Blue and Gray collide.
Suggested Reading: Civil War Stars
- The Children's War
Author: Charlesworth, Monique
Publisher: Knopf $ 24.95 ISBN: 1400040094 Date: 2004
Interweaving the stories of Ilse, a half-Jewish girl, and Nicolai, a Hitler Youth, The Children's War is a gripping, unforgettable story of growing up in a world gone mad.
- The Lady
and the Unicorn
Author: Chevalier, Tracy
Publisher: Dutton $ 23.95 ISBN: 0525947671 Date: 2004
Booklist Kirkus PW
An extraordinary story exquisitely told, Chevalier's The Lady and the Unicorn weaves history and fiction into a beautiful, timeless, and intriguing literary tapestry that rivals in grace and grandeur the masterpiece that inspired it.
Suggested Reading: All Stars
- Kate Hannigan
Author: Cookson, Catherine
Publisher: Simon & Schuster $ 25 ISBN: 0743237730 Date: 2004
A sweeping historical romance about love across the social divide, this classic first novel--the one that launched the career of England's late, great Cookson--is now available in the U.S. in hardcover for the first time.
Suggested Reading: Fiction & Mystery Debuts
- Crofton's Fire
Author: Coplin, Keith
Publisher: Putnam $ 21.95 ISBN: 0399151125 Date: 2004
A highly original first novel, in which a green second lieutenant barely escapes Little Bighorn - only to find that his life's adventures have just begun.
Suggested Reading: Western Stars | Fiction & Mystery Debuts
- Sharpe's Escape
Author: Cornwell, Bernard
Publisher: HarperCollins $ 25.95 ISBN: 0060530472 Date: 2004
The newest Sharpe adventure--after New York Times bestselling Sharpe's Havoc--takes place in the fall of 1810 at the battle of Bussaco, Spain, the sack of Coimbra, Portugal, and at the Lines of Torres Vedras.
- Life Mask
Author: Donoghue, Emma
Publisher: Harcourt $ 26 ISBN: 0151009430 Date: 2004
The bestselling author of Slammerkin turns her attention to the Beau Monde of late 18th-century England, transforming the private drama of three celebrated Londoners into a robust, full-bodied portrait of a world, and lives, on the brink of revolution.
- Birth of Venus
Author: Dunant, Sarah
Publisher: Knopf $ 21.95 ISBN: 1400060737 Date: 2004
The Birth of Venus is a tour de force from one of Britain's most innovative thriller writers. It brings alive the history of Florence at its most dramatic period, telling a compulsively absorbing story of love, art, religion and power through the passionate voice of Alessandra, a remarkable heroine with the same vibrancy as her beloved city.
- The Divine Husband
Author: Goldman, Francisco
Publisher: Atlantic $ 24 ISBN: 0871139154 Date: 2004
Acclaimed and award-winning author Goldman delivers his third novel, a masterpiece love story, supported by an unforgettable cast of characters striving for love or success in the heady late 19th-century atmosphere of Guatemala City and New York.
of Max Tivoli
Author: Greer, Andrew Sean
Publisher: FSG $ 23 ISBN: 0374128715 Date: 2004
PW LJ Booklist
A beautiful and daring feat of the imagination, The Confessions of Max Tivoli reveals the world through the eyes of "monster," a being who confounds the very certainties by which people live and in doing so embodies in extremis what it means to be human.
Suggested Reading: All Stars | Immortalism Fiction Stars
- Holy Fools
Author: Harris, Joanne
Publisher: Morrow $ 24.95 ISBN: 0060559128 Date: 2004
From the bestselling author of Chocolat comes a novel of love and betrayal, friendship and revenge, set in 17th-century France.
- The Changeling of Finnistuath
Author: Horsley, Kate
Publisher: Shambhala $ 22.95 ISBN: 1590300483 Date: 2004
A young girl who is raised as a boy searches for identity and redemption in this compelling and provocative coming-of-age story set in 14th century Ireland--from the author of Confessions of a Pagan Nun.
Author: Loh, Vyvyane
Publisher: Norton $ 24.95 ISBN: 0393057925 Date: 2004
This brilliant novel chronicles the fall of Singapore to the Japanese in World War II. Central to the story is one Chinese family. Expatriates, spies, fifth columnists, and nationalists--including the elusive young woman Ling-Li--mingle in this exotic culture as the Japanese threat looms.
Suggested Reading: World War Stars
- Empress Orchid
Author: Min, Anchee
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin $ 24 ISBN: 0618068872 Date: 2004
Empress Orchid is the story of a fascinating, strong-willed woman who for generations has been vilified as a grand seductress and murderer. Min draws a vivid portrait of a flawed yet utterly compelling woman and, through her life, of the world of the Chinese court and the sexual and political lives of the royal concubines.
Suggested Reading: Asian American Stars | Biographical Fiction
- The Singing Fire
Author: Nattel, Lilian
Publisher: Scribner $ 25 ISBN: 0743249666 Date: 2004
From the acclaimed author of The River Midnight comes a remarkable tale of two women who abandon everything they know for the maelstrom of London at the turn of the century.
Author: Phillips, Scott
Publisher: Ballantine $ 23.95 ISBN: 0345461002 Date: 2004
The author of The Ice Harvest and The Walkaway returns with a novel set in 1870s and 1880s Kansas and California.
- The Virtues of War: A Novel of Alexander the Great
Author: Pressfield, Steven
Publisher: Doubleday $ 24.95 ISBN: 0385500998 Date: 2004
In the brilliantly imagined first-person voice of Alexander the Great, acclaimed novelist Pressfield brings to life his epic battles, his unerring command of his forces, and the passions and ambitions that drove him.
Suggested Reading: Ancient Greece
- The Retreat
Author: Rimbaud, Patrick
Publisher: Atlantic $ 24 ISBN: 0871138778 Date: 2004
A gripping historical novel focused on Napoleon's dramatic invasion of Russia, The Retreat is a stirring follow-up to The Battle, winner of France's Goncourt Prize.
- The Princes
of Ireland: The Dublin Saga
Author: Rutherfurd, Edward
Publisher: Doubleday $ 27.95 ISBN: 0385502869 Date: 2004
Rutherfurd has introduced millions of readers to the human dramas that are the lifeblood of history. His latest is a sweeping panorama steeped in the tragedy and glory that is Ireland, epitomizing the power and richness of Rutherfurd's storytelling magic.
- The Painting
Author: Schuyler, Nina
Publisher: Algonquin $ 22.95 ISBN: 1565124413 Date: 2004
Set in 1870s Japan and France, this atmospheric novel tells the story of a Japanese woman who escapes her arranged marriage by painting memories of her lover, which she secretly sends to an importer in Paris.
- Dreaming the
Author: Scott, Manda
Publisher: Delacorte $ 25 ISBN: 0385336713 Date: 2004
The second part of the stunning fictionalization of the life of Britain's warrior queen, Boudica, immerses readers in a world of druids and dreamers, warriors and lovers, passion and courage.
- The Snow Fox
Author: Shaeffer, Susan Fromberg
Publisher: Norton $ 24.95 ISBN: 039305814x Date: 2004
A great samurai and a beautiful poet fall in love in a novel that captures medieval Japan in breathtaking detail. The heartbreaking story of their renewed love is fraught by the Japanese concept of "mono no aware"--life's ephemeral nature--that weighs on the lovers.
- A Black Englishman
Author: Slaughter, Carolyn
Publisher: FSG $ 24 ISBN: 0374113998 Date: 2004
Set against the backdrop of India in the 1920s, this novel is the tale of a powerful and erotic love affair that combines the themes of colonial exploitation, political and ethnic tensions, race and sexuality, and the many forms of partition, both secular and religious.
- The Ptolemies
Author: Sprott, Duncan
Publisher: Knopf $ 25.95 ISBN: 1400041546 Date: 2004
Sprott's wildly imaginative yet historically accurate, and often hilarious work re-creates the early years of the House of Ptolemy (330-23 BC)--the dark, glittering, disastrous and forgotten 10-generation dynasty of Greek pharaohs of Egypt.
- System of the World
Author: Stephenson, Neal
Publisher: Morrow $ 27.95 ISBN: 0060523875 Date: 2004
Kirkus PW LJ
New York Times bestselling author Neal Stephenson pens the final volume in his hugely ambitious and compelling epic of intrigue, adventure, and excitement, filled with a remarkable cast of characters in a time of genius, discovery, and change.
Suggested Reading:All Stars
- The Confusion
Author: Stephenson, Neal
Publisher: Morrow $ 27.95 ISBN: 0060523867 Date: 2004
Kirkus Booklist PW LJ
In this profoundly compelling adventure, Stephenson brings to life a cast of unforgettable characters in the late 1600s on the high seas. It is a time of breathtaking genius and discovery for men and women whose exploits define an age known as Baroque.
Suggested Reading: All Stars | Pirate Stars | Sea Stories
- The Fires of Pride:
A Novel of the Civil War
Author: Trotter, William R.
Publisher: Carroll & Graf $ 26 ISBN: 0786712236 Date: 2004
The Fires of Pride concludes a two-part Civil War saga which brings America's most tragic conflict to life at Fort Fisher, a fortress on North Carolina's windswept coastline.
Suggested Reading: Civil War Stars
- The Forest Lover
Author: Vreeland, Susan
Publisher: Viking $ 24.95 ISBN: 0670032670 Date: 2004
A historical novel that tells the story of painter Emily Carr, who shook up the early 20th century art scene with uncompromising brushstrokes that captured the fading wilderness of an increasingly industrialized British Columbia as well as the indigenous villages, the tribal peoples and their dying customs and art forms.
- Prisoners of War
Author: Yarbrough, Steve
Publisher: Knopf $ 23 ISBN: 0375414789 Date: 2004
Set in a Mississippi farming town in 1943, Prisoners of War is the story of Marty Stark, returned mysteriously from the front and reassigned to guard men he had been trained to kill--German soldiers whose fighting days are over.
Suggested Reading: World War Stars
Author: Zacharius, Walter
Publisher: Atria $ 24 ISBN: 0743482115 Date: 2004
In this haunting and moving debut novel that echoes the emotional intensity of The Pianist, a young woman must rely on her remarkable strength of character in order to survive the devastation of World War II.
Suggested Reading: Debuts | World War Stars
American Historical Fiction Book List
Historical Fiction for Children & Adults
Historical Fiction Bibliography
Soon's Historical Fiction Site
Uchronia: Alternate History
Yahoo - Historical Fiction
Starred Review Lists
Books that received at least one starred review from Booklist, Kirkus, LJ, and PW.
Hotlists@ Google Docs
(lists of new and notable books - lists are sortable and can be downloaded)
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