Top Ten Historical Fiction Books of 2013

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We've had some exceptional historical fiction in 2013 - in fact some say that it was a work of historical fiction which won the Booker Prize. We've a few others from a few different eras for you.

The Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle


Katherine Parr was the last of Henry VIII's wives; the one that felt the fear but did it anyway as she struggled against the fate of her predecessors. This novel is so beautifully detailed and well-written that we're right there beside her. Historical and literary empathy-invocation at its finest. Full review...

Secrets of the Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford


A beautiful split-time story of love, coming to terms with the past and a healing hope for the future. It's beguiling, it's feel-good, it's a 6 out of 5. Full review...

Master of War by David Gilman


First in a series of hist-fict based around the Hundred Years War by an author who can compete with Bernard Cornwell and, in places, wins on points. Exciting, informative and including battle scenes that made our reviewer reach for a firm surface. We love it! Full review...

The Last King of Lydia by Tim Leach


King Croesus experiences a dramatic change of fortune that allows him to evaluate the true meaning of happiness. But is it too late? Full review...

The Bull Slayer by Bruce Macbain


Bruce Macbain's second historical murder mystery featuring the Roman sleuthing talents of Pliny the Younger. Fast-moving, informative, engrossing to the extent that it's even better than the first one and what an ending! Great stuff! Full review...

Paris by Edward Rutherfurd


Spanning the years from 1261 to 1968 but focussing on the period from 1875 to 1940. Rutherfurd's exemplary historical research supports a wonderfully woven saga of four families from different social positions through the ages that captures the spirit of the nation. As enchanting and complex as the city he describes. Full review...

Coconut Chaos by Diana Souhami


A marvellously eclectic mix of historic fact, travel, a bit of fiction and the joyous realisation that this is the sort of unusual book that is a jewel of a find for any jaded reader. Full review...

The Purchase by Linda Spalding


The haunting story of an early American Quaker family that kept me up all night till I'd read it. This 6-out-of-5 book is as gut-wrenching as it is beautiful and won't let you go, even if you wanted it to. Full review...

Traitor's Field by Robert Wilton


A spy thriller set towards the end of the English Civil War. The sort of pacey novel you learn from by accident as the facts are embedded in a story that rips along. Wonderful stuff! Full review...

The Maid's Version by Daniel Woodrell


A portrait of what made 1920s small town America tick and suffer in an exceptionally told story by someone that Roddy Doyle rates as one of the world's greatest novelist. Not to be missed! Full review...


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