While I wait for the ISBN number for my next novel, Zulu, I thought I’d add to my ongoing 11-part series on my favourite authors of historical fiction.
#5 – Sharon Kay Penman
I’ve written about Sharon Kay Penman before in one of my earliest blog posts, a lengthy book review that I will not repeat here for the sake of both brevity and originality. That said, I will repeat again what I said back in 2009: She is one of the shining lights of historical fiction today.
The particular era and area she writes about is on the Middle Ages of Great Britain and France, and her attention to detail in that time period is every bit as impressive as Colleen McCullough’s Masters of Rome series. If she says something happened on a Wednesday, she’s looked up the date and adjusted for the Gregorian calendar reforms that dropped ten days out of the year 1582 to make that statement. I’m only exaggerating slightly when I enthuse that when her characters lean against an oak tree, she’s probably seen the stump. She’s less a writer of fiction than a journalist who apologetically plays fast and loose with her quotations because of the understandable difficulty in interviewing people who have been dead for between seven and nine centuries. The history nerd in me gets all warm and fuzzy reading her stories, knowing she will confess her few inventions in a detailed author’s note at the end.