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The Piquet Book List

This page is for Piquet Gamers to find and review Historical Books with and for other PK Gamers.  This page is a member page to the Official PK Gamers Site.   Piquet is published by Piquet Inc. and © by Robert W. Jones.  I'm hoping this page will be the answer to Alex Aimette (member of the PKmailer) question: "Does anyone know of a good resource of historical novels based on historical period? Normally fiction is categorized by author, making it difficult to look for a period novel by the period itself."

PK Gamers are requested to submit their Book reviews to the PK Gamers Webmaster.

Periods Covered by the Piquet Book List:

Piquet Master Rules for Wargaming
Ancients to Feudal (3000 BC - 1200 AD)
Medieval (1200 AD - 1600 AD)
TYW - ECW (1600 AD - 1695 AD)
Marlborough, SYW & AWI (1695 - 1790)
Napoleonic (1790 AD - 1820 AD)
Mexican American & Crimea ( 1820 AD - 1860 AD)
ACW & FPW (1860 AD - 1871 AD)
Colonial (1850 AD - 1914 AD)
W.W. I (1914 AD - 1936 AD)
W.W. II (1936 AD - 1952 AD)

W.W. II (1936 AD - 1952 AD)

4th NZ Armoured Brigade. Shermans in Italy

Greg Simmonds: Jeff Plowman, a local author, has written a new book on the NZ 4th Armoured brigade. He is currently trying to guage interest in this book to see how many copies to run of.  His first book was very good, but due to a limited printing run is no longer availiable. Because this will be another limited run I would recommend getting in early. Visit his site KIWIS IN ARMOUR or email him if you are interested.

W.W. I (1914 - 1936) Barrage Supplement:

Eye Deep in Hell

VJCina: Just a few quick thoughts I had while I was reading a very good book called "Eye Deep in Hell" by John Ellis. If anyone is interested in WW1 I whole heatedly recommend this book.  What I was wondering is how will Barrage deal with troops moving through "No Mans Land"?  Will the terrain be considered type 3 or type 2? When units go over the top will they be out of command due to the terrain or is there some other way of handling this?

Eric Burgess: This is the last great hurdle I must cross to finish Barrage. All ideas on how to make troops move across no-man's land with out causing EVERY unit to go out of command would be great. I must admit that I hate the Western Front trench warfare so I have put off working on this until the last. One thought I had was to make all classes of terrain one less in "penalties" than in the current PK supplements.So CLASS II terrain would use the movement & command rules for CLASS I terrain. CLASS III terrain would use CLASS II movement & command rules. In this case no-man's land would be CLASS III terrain, but would not cause units to go out of command, but they would still move at half rate. Thoughts?

Patrick McGuire: Why not just make No Man's Land it's own terrain class. Units can move thru it without disorder, if they move on a No Man's Land card. But they can also move on a regular class III/IV terrain card and run the risk of disorder. It's the commander's option as to what card to move on. Just a thought.

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1901 : A Novel

Tom Downs: Another one that I enjoyed was called *1901: A Novel* by Robert Conroy. This one is alternative history in which Germany invades the United States. It sounds cockeyed but the author poses a plausible scenario. And the decisive battle of the war took place less than twenty miles from where I work. This one could actually generate PK games-Eric, will PK cover this period<g>?

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The General (Great War Stories)

Tom Downs: One of my all-time facorites is *The General* by C.S. Forester. It is about the military career of Lt. Col. Herbert Curzon who, on 1 August 1914, was second-in-command of the 22nd Lancers. Through a variety of chances he rises to command a corps by 1 July 1916.  Forester's assessment of British generalship is dated, but it does paint a marvelous portrait of the British officer caste.

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ACW & FPW (1860 AD - 1871 AD)

Starbuck Chronicles

Andy Finkel: I enjoyed Bernard Cornwell's Starbuck Chronicles.Cornwell has written four books so far (Rebel, Copperhead, Battle Flag and Bloody Ground) about the fictional Nathaniel Starbuck, a northerner who finds himself rising up the ranks of the Confederate Army. So far, the books have taken Starbuck and his men as far as the battle of Antietam.  I find the battle sequences are even better than in his Sharpe novels. Just as he does in the Sharpe novels, Cornwell cleverly weaves historical events into the plots of the books in a dramatic fashion. Starbuck, like Sharpe in the Napoleonic era novels, is a misfit because of his background, but rises in rank due to his flair and competence as a combat commander. He has a tough sergeant side-kick to share his adventures, cover his back and pull him out of scrapes. Various characters drift in and out of the books, reappearing from time to time.

This rousing and splendid Civil War series continues with the story of Nate Starblick as he serves under General Robert E. Lee himself, culminating in the famous, bloody battle of Antietam.

"The best thing to hit Civil War fiction."
--The Washington Times

"Cornwell is more than a great stroyteller. [He] has woven an excellent history of the Civil War in eastern theater."
--Flint Journal

Providing gritty, realistic, and detailed experience of the famous battles of the Civil War, this novel continues with the story of Nate Starbuck as he serves under General Robert E. Lee himself, culminating in the famous, bloody Battle of Antietam. "The best thing to hit Civil War fiction."--The Washington Times.

Bernard Cornwell, is the author of the highly acclaimed American Civil War series The Starbuck Chronicles: Rebel, Copperhead, and Battle Flag. A native of England, where he worked as a journalist in newspapers and television, Cornwell is now a resident of the United States and lives with his American wife in Cape Cod.

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Stonewall in the Valley : Thomas J. 'Stonewall' Jackson's Shenandoah Valley Campaign Spring 1862

Geri F. Gulotta: I just finished "Stonewall in the Valley" by Robert Tanner. It is in its third edition and well researched. What would be of particular interest is the study of the campaign which included many withdrawals from the battles and how the were handled.

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Mighty Stonewall (Texas A & M University Military History Series, Vol 9)

Bill Hupp: "Arms were hard to obtain for the militia units-so scarce, in fact, that he was forced to ask for pikes!" pg 217, Mighty Stonewall, Frank E. Vandiver. Whether Stonewall was crazy or not is a favorite debate topic among us Civil Warriors. He was generally an aggressive commander, but an unusual individual even for the times, and greatly assisted by his early death and the cult of Virginia.

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Napoleonic (1790 - 1820) Les Grognards Supplement

A Close Run Thing: A Novel of Wellington's Army of 1815

John Haire: I just picked up "A Close Run Thing: A Novel of Wellington's Army of 1815" by Allan Mallinson. I havn't read it yet, but the online reviewswere good.

Andy Finkel: The flavour of the Napoleonic era and the British cavalry officer class is well-portrayed. Mallinson has a flair for authentic detail, such as his accurate command of the Irish language phrases attributed to the inhabitants of rural Co. Cork in the book.

 

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The Complete Brigadier Gerard or Seven Men of Gascony

Andy Finkel: Two books on the Napoleonic era which I recommend are "Brigadier Gerard" by Arthur Conan Doyle (editor notes: "In these little-known stories, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle tells of the hilarious exploits of Etienne Gerard, a cavalryman (hussar) in Napoleon's Grand Army. Gerard is a simple minded soldier, totally loyal to Napoleon, who has a knack for getting into funny situations. The settings range from the invasion of Russia to Waterloo, but the stories don't focus on the battles. Rather they relate humorous experiences of Gerard, told in his own words. These tales rank, in terms of entertainment, alongside Doyle's better known Sherlock Holmes stories."); and "Seven Men of Gascony" by R.F Delderfield. Both writers were celebrated authors, so the quality of the writing is excellent. Brigadier Gerard is widely regarded as a parody on the memoirs of Baron Marbot.

Peter Jackson (Ilkley Lads): I would agree with the recommendation for Seven Men of Gascony. Excellent book.

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Marlborough, SYW & AWI (1695 - 1790) Cartouche Supplement

Peter Jackson (Ilkley Lads): Bernard Cornwell has written "Redcoat" (editor: In the Autumn of 1777, loyalties are tested and families torn asunder. The young Redcoat, Sam Gilpin, has seen his brother die. Now he must choose between duty to a distant king and the call of his own conscience. Soon, across the fields of ice and blood in a place called Valley Forge, history will be rewritten, changing lives, fortunes, and families forever. ) set during the American War of Independence or American Revolution (depending upon your nationality). Redcoat.jpg (69867 bytes) Order Redcoat Today!

Medieval (1200 - 1600) Band of Brothers Supplement

Jerusalem and Great Maria

Jeff Wasileski: Several years ago, an author by the name of Cecilia Holland wrote a number of books dealing with several different periods of medieval history. Her stories almost always dealt with military topics. Her battle scenes were describe in a ters but gripping style. My favorite is "Until the Sun Falls" an epic account of the Mongol invasion of Russia and Eastern Europe told from the Mongol perspective. She also wrote "The Death of Attila", "The Firedrake"(about the Battle of Hastings), "Jerusalem" (Battle of Hattin), "The Antichrist" (Emperor Frederick II), "Great Maria" (The Norman conquest of southern Italy) and several other titles. I don't know about the availability of any books but they are well worth looking for.

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The Sunne in Splendour

Andy Finkel: For medieval fans, I enjoyed "The Sunne in Splendour" by Sharon Penman. It is a novel about the life of Richard III, although I don't know how much of the novel is based on fact and how much is fiction.  My wife, who used to be a member of the Richard III society, would say that it's a counterbalance to Shakespeare's play (and the Laurence Olivier film based on it) , which she regards as Tudor propaganda . Maybe Shakespeare was Henry VIII's spin doctor!

Steve Schifani: I enjoyed this book also. While I don't agree at all with how the book portrays certain events, I did appreciate that nothing she wrote was historically impossible. In other words, it "could have" been that way. A very pro-Yorkist view, as you well know.

Kenneth Baggaley: Your wife's opinion is pretty much spot-on. I wrote my thesis at Princeton on Renaissance Military Anachronisms in Shakespeare. Ol'Willie had no choice BUT to present Richard III as a usurper and scoundrel. To do otherwise would cast doubt on the legitimacy of the Tudor reign. Shakespeare was not above 'working within the limits' and towing the line on sensitive political matters. The proof of his skill is how well he works within them, sometimes poking at them, producing powerful , interesting, believeable - and most of all memorable - characters. Very few bad guys come on stage and simply hiss at the audience. Shakespeare was a master craftsmen at turning even propaganda pieces into quality statements on human nature. His propaganda stuff is really blatant in 'Henry VIII', which was such a flip piece of Tudor Love-fest pageantry that many scholars consider he had co-writers working with him. In King Lear, he has to change the story and have the invading French army lose. In Henry V, Macmorris the Irishman has to proclaim against his own 'bastard nation'. And a heroic
reference to the Earl of Essex (the Queen's favorite, then campaigning in Ireland) had to find it's way into the play as well.  So there's no doubt really that Richard III is rife with Tudor propaganda. However, the historical Richard was a brutal, opportunistic and competent man of his times. He was no saint by any stretch, and remains a prime suspect in the deaths of the princes in the Tower. But the monster of legend is just that - a legend.  The Sunne in Splendor is well written and entertaining, but is far too pro-Yorkist, in my view. But, like Shakespeare's play, it's an enjoyable peice of literature.

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Golden Hawk

Kenneth Baggaley: For an Errol Flynn type, try Frank Yerby's 'The Golden Hawk'.

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Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen

Peter Anderson: H. Beam Piper's "Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen" (about 30 years war era technologicaly) Evidently (from the Renaissance mailer) he wrote a sequel, ? The King's War. The only copy I've ever seen listed anywhere was $50, too much for me!

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Spider King a Biographical Novel of Louis XI of France

Kenneth Baggaley: One of the all-time best writers of medieval/early renaisssance historical novels is Lawrence Schoonover. I've read several of his books, and two good ones were 'The Spider King' and 'The Gentle Infidel'. There is at least one more good one, I'll post if I can find it.

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The Last Crusader

Kenneth Baggaley: The all time best book about Lepanto is Louis de Wohl's 'The Last Crusader'. Wohl is a very catholic writer, and has a clear agenda in mind. However, his history, especially from a military side, is very sound, and full of adventure and drama. And his description of Lepanto is absolutely chilling/thrilling.

The Spanish Bridegroom

Kenneth Baggaley: For some good old fashion swashbuckling, you can try Jean Plaidy, who wrote The Spanish Bridegroom (Phillip II) and The King's Mistress (naughty old Restoration stuff).

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Ancients to Feudal (3000 BC - 1200 AD) - Archon Supplement

Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae

Brent Oman: I just returned from a business trip - which always provides some downtime for reading (airports, hotels....). Anyway - Gates of Fire, by Steven Pressfield is a tremendous book. I picked it up in paperback for about $7. Essentially it is a novelization of the Spartans and Thermopolae. I began reading and couldn't put it down. Pat V. - I now agree - all of my Hoplites will be dense, mounted 4 to a stand! Get this book!!

Eric Burgess: I'm going to order this book right now! Brent with DENSE hoplites! Say it ain't so!  I'm rebasing my entire collection of Ancients (Previously painted and owned by Pat V.)  All my infantry (non-skirmishers) are going to be based four to a stand 2 ranks deep. I just love this look! Each stand will still only have 3 hits, but they just look so much cooler two ranks deep. So instead of 12 man units I have 16 man units. Looks really nice so far. I will post pictures eventually. I'd like to shoot some shots for Tony Barr's Society of Ancients website.

Scott A Monsour: Excellent book I recommend it as well.

Robert E. Wiltrout: "Gates of Fire" has not yet been made. But my information source  a newsletter that came with a copy of the Military History Quarterly; said that, in the wake of the success of "Gettysburg" and "Saving Private Ryan", military movies were now getting new interest, and Universal Studios had just signed a major deal for the rights to the new book "Gates of Fire", and George Clooney was under contract for the film. But I know of no schedule for actually getting it made. It's a bit hard to imagine an accurate movie about life in Sparta having wide-spread public appeal, but I'd have said the same thing about "Killer Angels".

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The First Man in Rome
or
The Grass Crown
or
Fortune's Favorites
or
Caesar's Women
or
Caesar A Novel

Scott Karakas: Good topic! For the Late Republican Roman period, I can highly recommend a series of excellent novels by Colleen McCullough (yes, the one who wote The Thorn Birds!). So far, her novels run from the rise of Gaius Marius to Caesar's
victory over Pompey. The titles are: The First Man in Rome, The Grass Crown, Fortune's Favorites, Caesar's Women, Caesar, Can't wait for the next one!

The First Man in Rome Synopsis:From the bestselling author of The Thornbirds comes a masterpiece of historical fiction that is fascinating, moving, and gloriously heroic. Readers are swept back to the early centuries of Western civilization, encountering the immortal men and women who laid the foundations of the Empire. First in a series of novels chronicling the events leading to the establishment of the Roman Empire. Illustrations and maps.

The Grass Crown Synopsis: Bestselling author McCullough continues her dramatic saga of Republican Rome with this powerful sequel to The New York Times bestseller, The First Man in Rome. Even as great kingdoms fall beneath the heels of advancing legions, internal rebellion rocks the mighty Republic, as an aging, ailing Gaius Marius seeks an unprecedented seventh consulship. "Incomparable!"--Chicago Tribune. HC: Morrow. (Historical Fiction)

Fortune's Favorites Synopsis : In the midst of a disintegrating Republic, the dictator of ancient Rome, Sulla, retires, the brutally ambitious Pompey appoints himself Magnus, and a young Caesar emerges as a towering figure to his people, with his wife, Cimilla, by his side.

Caesar's Women Synopsis: After achieving many victories on the battlefields, Caesar undertakes his greatest challenge in his quest to conquer the Roman Forum and the many Roman noblewomen who fall victim to his charismatic charms and forceful passions.

Caesar Synopsis: It is 54 B.C. Gaius Julius Caesar is sweeping through Gaul. While his victories in the name of Rome are epic, the conservative leaders of the Republic are not pleased -- they are terrified. Where will the boundless ambition of Rome's most brilliant soldier stop? He must be destroyed before he can overthrow the government and install himself as Dictator.

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Last Updated: Monday, November 08, 1999 08:15:17 PM

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