1. 'Masters of Rome' series by Colleed McCullough. This is actually five novels tracing life in Ancient Rome (110B.C till the ascendency of Octavius in 31B.C). It is a fantastic novel which traces the end of the Republican Rome and the start of the Empire. In my opinion, this is probably one of the best historical novel which uses hundreds of Roman sources (from Cinna to Cicero to Ceaser) and constructs the events skillfully. I still read the novels now and then and it is still interesting. The best of the series is 'Ceaser' Which traces the rise of Julius Ceaser and his death followed by the revenge taken by Octavian and Agrippa. Its mind boggling to read of such great characters like Marius, Sulla, Ceaser, Cato, Cicero and many more. If you are a history buff, this is a must read.
2. 'Julian' by Gore Vidal. This is not available freely and I had to order it through the Atlanta central libarary to get it. But it is well worth it. It follows the life of Julian the Apostate one of the emperors of Rome who rallied Rome against Christianity for one last stand and failed.
3. 'Creation' by Gore Vidal. Another rare book. It traces the travels of Cyrus Spitama, the grandson of Prophet Zoraster, from Greece to China in around 440B.C. Another meticulously researched novel and Cyrus visits India during the time of MahaVira and during the reigh of BinduSara(in Patliputra). It is a very interesting novel in that it attempts to describe the social life as well.
4. 'American Empire' series by Gore Vidal. I haven't read all the novels but it traces the history of America from 1776 to around 1960's. I have read '1876', 'Burr' and 'Lincoln' from the series and because it is recent history, the novels are researched well and interesting.
5. Ofcourse, can't leave the master, Alexandre Dumas, from this list. Greatest romance writer and ofcourse, his novels are more stories than based on historical facts.
6. 'Over the Edge of the World' - Laurence Bergreen. A very interesting novel about the circumnavigation of the world by Megallen and his crew.
Then, there is 'Gates of Fire', Jeffrey Shaara's series on the American Civil war, Leon Uris and many more.
There are another set of crappy novels which I have vowed never to go near. But thats for another day.
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