Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Steven Pressfield & Steven Saylor on Historical Fiction

Recently at the Getty Villa in California, a discussion took place between Steven Saylor and Steven Pressfield on Historical Fiction: The Ancient World in Modern Literature. Here's a video presentation of it - and very interesting it is too, whether you're a reader or a writer (or both). Steven Saylor calls ancient historians like Livy the first historical novelists and explains why. Steven Pressfield maintains that while research is useful, it's often "the stuff you make up that's most convincing".

Roma, Steven Saylor's novel about the early history of Rome is just out in paperback and the latest instalment of his Roma sub Rosa mystery series, The Triumph of Caesar, will be available any minute now.

Steven Pressfield's most recent novel of ancient times is The Afghan Campaign, which is about Alexander the Great's attempt to conquer that graveyard of empires. No prizes for getting the parallels. His latest novel is Killing Rommel.

1 comment:

Peter said...

Those are fascinating periods of history and ones that lend themselves to great historical fiction.

Another great period of history (IMHO) is the gold rush era of 19th century America. I've just finished reading "El Tigre" by John Manhold. It tells the story of Johann Heinrich von Manfred from his youth as a student in a Prussian military academy through his many exciting and dangerous adventures. It's a fantastic insight into life in the 19th century Americas and carries all the hallmarks of great historical fiction - plenty of action, a dab of romance, a fluid pace and most importantly, historical accuracy. It's well worth checking out!