Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Books: For historical fiction fans...

Lots of folks have probably read Lest Darkness Fall, by L. Sprague de Camp, one of the classic "Connecticut Yankee"-type tales of all time. (Perhaps better than the original, in that its historical milieu is obviously so carefully researched.)

While I was at McKay's on Friday, I found a copy from Baen Publishing that included a novella by David Drake (one of my favorite authors) called "To Bring The Light". Drake's novella features a protagonist from sophisticated, modern 3rd Century AD Rome blown a thousand years back to the time when illiterate goatherds on the Seven Hills were thinking about founding a village. How she interacts with superstitious farmers like Romulus and Remus makes for a must-read tale, and Drake is obviously happy to take his degrees in Roman lit. out and show them off a bit, guaranteeing an extremely believable setting.

The reason I bring this up in such a "zomg!" breathless fashion is that I love historical fiction, and I consider myself to be a big David Drake fan (I have, like, five feet of Drake paperbacks on my bookshelves) yet somehow this tale's very existence remained under my radar. I've never seen it published outside of this double billing with de Camp's novel.

If you're at all a fan of The Glory That Was Rome, buy it; you'll like it.


Anonymous said...

Even Drake's science fiction set in the distant future is based on his knowledge of history. Back in 1990 I met him in Atlanta. I told him that I enjoyed his novel "The Forlorn Hope." He smiled and gave me a thorough explanation of what obscure historical military action he stole the whole thing from.

I'm ashamed to say that his treatise was mostly wasted on me at that time. Granted, I was 19 and stupid. I'm not 19 anymore. ;)

Nice guy, by the way.

Lizard said...

At the moment, my favorite Connecticut Yankee/alt-hist series is 1633. My favorite part of Lest Darkness Fall, which I wish was satire and yet, sadly, isn't, was where someone complains about "religious oppression and intolerance" -- because the laws require him and his co-believers to put up with all the various pagans and heretics in their midst, instead of killing them outright.