Sunday, 17 January 2010

My favourite fiction authors and books

I read a lot of non-fiction books but I do have a selection of favourite fiction – and authors – that I often return to. My collection includes works by the following authors:

Boris Akunin
  • The Erast Fandorin novels and stories
  • The Sister Pelagia novels
Margery Allingham
  • The Albert Campion novels
John Buchan
  • The Richard Hannay novels
  • The Dickson McCunn novels
John le Carré
  • The George Smiley novels
Agatha Christie
  • The Hercule Poirot novels and stories
  • The Miss Marple novels
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Sherlock Holmes novels and stories
  • The Brigadier Gerard short stories
C S Forrester
  • The Hornblower novels
  • Brown on Resolution
  • The Gun
  • The African Queen
  • The General
  • The Ship
George MacDonald Fraser
  • The Flashman novels and stories
Andrew Martin
  • The Jim Stringer – Steam Detective novels
Martin Cruz Smith
  • The Arkardy Renko novels
H G Wells
  • Any of his science fiction novels
Having written this list I noticed common themes:
  • The majority are crime, espionage, or military/historical stories
  • Most are set in the late 19th or early 20th centuries
  • Russia features in quite a number of the stories
It has been said that the books on someone's bookshelves tell you more about them than an hour-long conversation with them.

I wonder what this list of books tells you about me?


  1. Bob;

    No Bernard Cornwell?

    My own list would include classics by Dashell Hammett, Ian Fleming and early Brian Garfield, Len Deighton and Jack Higgins in the mystery/thriller genré;

    Louis L'Amour, Elmore Leonard, Larry McMurtry and Owen Wister in the American Western genré;

    Cornwell, Delderfield, T.H. White, Fraser and Conan Doyle in the "classic" historical fiction genré;

    And Tom Clancy, Larry Bond, Harold Coyle, Stephen Coonts and Steve Berry in the modern techno/military thriller genré.

    All the best, I like the blog a great deal as we share common "roots" and memories.


  2. Sir William the Aged,

    I am very pleased that you like my blog and that you enjoy reading my idle and inconsequential ramblings.

    With the exception of the writers of Western novels and stories, I have read most of the authors you mention, and have liked their work. However, they have been people whose books I have read once ... and then not usually read a second time, unlike the authors and books that I listed.

    And as to your question about Bernard Cornwell ... well I like the Sharpe books and I spent my formative years at school in South Essex so I suppose I should have mentioned him ... especially as I sat in front a chap named Cornwell at school (we were all sat in alphabetical order)!

    All the best,


  3. I guess it says you like alot of old books!

    I have read quite a bit of your list. My dad was a big Le Carre fan and I think I went straight from 'The Fantastic Mr Fox' to tinker tailor! The recent radio adaptation was very good.

    Nie list.

  4. Holden,

    Yes, I suppose that it does! It comes of being brought up in the 1950s and 1960s, when literature - even popular literature - never seemed to be newly published books.

    I have yet to hear the most recent radio adaptation of the Smiley novels, although I am hoping that I might get them as a present next Christmas.

    All the best,


  5. I suspect something very similar to what my father said when he saw the selection of books I'd kept to see me through the year.

    "Conrad, this is the book shelf of a man who likes a good solid war."

  6. Another key point is that almost all those books are part of one series or other and make use of heroes and characters who recur throughout the series.

    Also, you might want to change the title of the post to "My favourite fiction authors and books".

  7. Conrad Kinch,

    Oops! I failed to spot that glaring error!

    You are right about liking boos that are part of a series; it gives you the opportunity to see the character (or characters) develop.

    All the best,


  8. A good list of books Bob, many of my own favorites there. Have you tried Arthur Mallinson's Hervey series? A light dragoon officer who serves in India and South Africa amongst other places in post Waterloo times and probably my favorite "horse & musket/colonial" novels.

    Also, in light of your inclusion of the wonderful CS Forrester, have you read the the Jack Aubrey novels by Patrick O'Brien, an outstanding series (imho).

    For myself there are few historical authors with as deep a hold on me as Rosemary Sutcliffe. Sword at Sunset remains possibly my favorite novel 40 years after I 1st read it. BUt perhaps that's the ancients gamer in me :)

  9. Ross Mac,

    I must admit that I have yet to try any of Arthur Mallinson's 'Hervey' novels or Patrick O'Brien's 'Jack Aubrey' novels (although I was tempted after watching 'Master and Commander'), but I hope to one day (when I actually do retire!). I have read (but did not list) Alexander Kent's 'Bolitho' novels, which are also set during the Napoleonic Wars.

    I must admit that I had forgotten Rosemary Sutcliffe. I read 'Eagle of the Ninth' many, many years ago, and I really enjoyed it. Perhaps I am slowly developing an interest in Ancients ...

    All the best,