#WaterlooRemembered Day 7: Turning Fact into Fiction I speak to Lynn Bryant, author of the Peninsular War saga novels about the challenges and joys of writing fiction set in this period - this interview was a lot of fun. https://anchor.fm/the-napoleonicist/episodes/Waterloo-Remembered-Day-7-Turning-Fact-into-Fiction-ef94l8
top of page
bottom of page
Zach by the way was an Austrian general of Marengo fame.
Anyway, interesting to hear the thoughts of an author of historical fiction.
In my young days I was an avid reader of historical fiction of all kinds, where Hornblower was maybe the most accurate of those I read. The books and adventures certainly sparked my interest for history even more.
Today I cannot read it any longer, exception Erckmann & Chatrian - those author's two books I read from front to cover.
Sharpe I did find extremely boring - and threw the book into the bin after read half of it. I couldn't see any feel for the time. How could an officer like this - survive in the British Army as officer?
Just finished to read the recollections of Woodbury, officer in the 18th hussars, he describes well how the officers lived and what their interest and inner regimental feuds were.
Other highly acclaimed authors - or works, Rambaud, I found equally boring and couldn't continue reading after several pages.
About women - they are frequently mentioned in memories and not only those who are within the army, but the myriads of girls they encounter when being in quarters - just for overnight stay. In case those officers stay longer - romances are inevitable with tragic ends, the armies had to move on and along with them the officers and soldiers.
So why do I find historical fiction about the Napoleonic times so boring? The actual memoirs are in my view much more entertaining - written by true existing people - who have most interesting stories to tell.
My favorites are French memoirs and those of the Confederation of the Rhine units - because the come around in Europe so much and consequently have a lot to tell about the different countries they fight and they live for a while.
Amazing stories of soldiers marching from a small Confederation of the Rhine state to Spain, suffering badly, then are recalled only to march into Russia 1812 - surviving the retreat - become a garrison in Danzig, are besieged, were released when their state changed sides - marched back to their home - could stay just overnight - got a new uniform and then had to march and fight against the French, what fiction is needed for such stories?
I've read two of Lynn's books; she is an accomplished writer, and her research is several levels above that of many authors of historical fiction. That being said, here we have yet another Anglo-centric interview about historical fiction set in the Peninsula, ground as well-trodden as Waterloo and just as predictable. No attempt to find historical fiction by American, German, Spanish, or even, God forbid, French authors writing about anything other than the Peninsula or Waterloo? Why not? Because of the language barrier?
Oh, well... Only six more days to go.