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  • Of course, many Alternate History stories feature real historical figures, both major and minor.
  • Thomas Malory appears in Phenomena, where he is aparently King Veha, the king of a country called Aldra, in the planet Erda. He is also a prophet of sorts and a vizard. He also is a huge Fanboy of modern version of his books. Supposedly based Le Morte D'Arthur on Phenomena. And apparently it's even true.
  • There is a very odd tendency lately to turn historical people into detectives. This includes ElizabethI, Abigail Adams, and Jane Austen of all people. The Trope Maker for this sub genre may be Theodore Mathieson, 1950s author of "Captain Cook: Detective", "Leonardo da Vinci: Detective", "Florence Nightingale: Detective" etc., etc.'
    • Much earlier, before the detective novel as we understand it even existed, E. T. A. Hoffmann wrote the novella Das Fräulein von Scuderi (1819/1821), in which the aged writer Madeleine de Scudéry (1607-1701) investigates a string of mysterious murders in Paris in the year 1680.
    • The still-more recent tendency to turn historical people into monsters and/or monster hunters is even odder.
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  • Spanish novelist and war journalist Arturo Pérez-Reverte noticed that his 12-year-old daughter's History book had only a paragraph for the 17th century, the Spanish Golden Century. Wanting to solve the situation, he wrote a series of adventure books starring a fictional sword-for-hire, Captain Alatriste, who gets involved in state conspiracies and meets kings and important figure and fights in important battles. Spanish writer Francisco De Quevedo is a recurrent character as Alatriste's personal friend. They made a movie of the series.
  • Philippa Ballantine's novel Chasing The Bard is about Will Shakespeare saving not one but two worlds from an Eldritch Abomination type being.
  • Conqueror: Most of the characters. The protagonist is Genghis Khan.
  • Low-key example in The English Patient: Almasy and the Cliftons. Real people, with minor historical significance.
    • This use of minor historical figures as characters happens again in Michael Ondaatje's other works: The Collected Works of Billy the Kid (yes, that Billy the Kid), mysterious disappeared Canadian businessman Ambrose Small in In The Skin of A Lion, Buddy Bolden (jazz musician) in Coming Through Slaughter, and so on.
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  • "The Night's Dawn Trilogy," by Peter F Hamilton, brings back 2 characters from the past as souls possessing bodies of the living: Fletcher Christian and... wait for it... Al Capone.
  • Stephen Baxter's and Arthur C. Clarke's novel, Time's Eye, has a large host of characters from various time periods: Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and Thomas Edison, to name several.
  • Although most characters in The Divine Comedy with dialogue were just acquaintances of Dante's, the Comedy features a handful of famous historical figures in significant roles.
    • The Roman poet Virgil serves as the guide for Dante in the first two parts of the Comedy. Fittingly, the Comedy is in the same genre as Virgil's The Aeneid. As a pagan, he's condemned to Hell, but Dante acknowledges his virtue by putting him in the relatively benign first circle.
    • Those arriving in Purgatory are greeted by Cato the Younger, who so faithfully followed the cardinal virtues that it is almost as if he was graced by God. It's unclear if Cato is an occupant of Limbo or if he is destined to be saved.
    • The Byzantine Emperor Justinian appears in the Heaven of Mercury to make it clear to Dante that even if the saints are given different graces, they are all as happy as they could possibly be in God's love.
  • George Eliot's Romola, set in fifteenth-century Florence, features Savonarola in a prominent role. It also includes walk-ons by figures like a very young Niccolò Machiavelli.
  • Almost the entire cast of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall, which stars Thomas Cromwell (a Third-Person Person) and features, among others, Cardinal Wolsey, Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, and so on, and so on. Includes an extensive Take That! against Thomas More. In fact there is only one fictional named character in the entire book, a French serving boy in Cromwell's employ.
    • Similarly, the entire cast of Hilary Mantel's A Place Of Greater Safety, which stars Robespierre, Camille Desmoulins, Danton, and many others.
  • Robespierre, Danton, and Marat appear in Victor Hugo's Ninety-Three.
  • Teddy Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, and Franz Boas appear in The Alienist.
  • As the titles suggest, William Shakespeare appears in The Science of Discworld II: The Globe and Charles Darwin appears in The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch.
  • In Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan, Charles Darwin not only creates the theory of evolution by means of natural selection, but also the 'Life threads' or DNA and how to genetically enhance and manipulate/combine elements of animals. Also, Nora Barlow, his granddaughter, is a major character. Though they have yet to appear, Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph, then first lord of the admiralty Winston Churchill, and several other major political leaders have had a bearing on the plot.
  • The Grimnoir Chronicles has John Joseph Pershing and John Moses Browning as major characters, and Sullivan has some unpleasant dealings with J. Edgar Hoover near the beginning.
  • The Sano Ichiro series, which takes place in Edo-period Japan and uses at least two real-life figures from that period in every book: Shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, who employs Sano as his sosakan, and Chamberlain Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu, who has received a Historical Villain Upgrade and serves as Sano's main antagonist for most of the books. The Shogun's real-life mother, Keisho-in, also makes several appearances throughout the series, and in later books the shogun's nephew Tokugawa Ienobu joins the court.
  • Several appear in the novels of J.T. Edson. Calamity Jane got her own series, and Belle Starr plays a major role in several novels. Outlaw John Wesley Hardin and Cattle Baron Charles Goodnight play significant roles in individual novels.
  • With the exception of Flashman, his wife and his father-in-law, nearly every major and minor character in the Flashman series is one of these. Well, perhaps not - Flashman's father, his nemesis, John Charity Spring, and (as far as I know) Rudi Von Starnberg were all creations of Fraser. And there appear to be plenty of, erm, "love" interests that are not based on real people.
  • Arthur Wellesley, 1st The Duke of Wellington, plays a role in the Gaslamp Fantasy Sorcery & Cecelia..
  • Hiob von Luzern and Alexander the Great appear in Dirge for Prester John.
  • Some real life Hollywood people would show up at the parties described in Bride of the Rat God.
  • Almost all humans in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel except the two main characters Sophie and Josh.
  • The Shardlake books, by C.J. Sansom, are set during the reign of Henry VIII and feature real people and events mixed in with the ficticious ones - with a handy postscript by the author to assist the reader in distinguishing the one from the other, and explaining any anachronisms the author has knowingly committed. Sansom was a historian before becoming a writer, and likes to show his work.
  • Most of Tim Powers works rely heavily on this trope or its subtropes.
  • The Tome of Bill has a number of these. It's implied that all of the First Coven are this. There's Alexander as in, Alexander the Great and The Khan (actually Ogedei Khan, Genghis' son). "Joshua" is all but directly stated to actually be Jesus. James wasn't anyone famous in particular, but he mentions having sailed with Marco Polo.
  • Horatio Hornblower uses many historical figures, mostly officers from the real Royal Navy with some kings and czars thrown in. You can find a full list here.
  • In Dangerous Spirits, Nicholas II makes several appearances in flashbacks to Konstantine's life.
  • Gentleman Ranker: Trent joins General Braddock's expedition to Virginia, meets George Washington's brother and engages in a fistfight and later a target shooting match with Daniel Boone, among many others with more minor roles.
  • There are many of them throughout the Kydd series, most of them in supporting or background roles. Some of the more famous ones include Lord Nelson, and even some of the lesser-known figures make an appearance, such as Zephaniah Job in The Admiral's Daughter.
  • The works of Gary Jennings make liberal use of this trope, with both major and minor figures as characters. Justified, as his novels are historical fiction. Thematically, each novel is the story of a character set in the middle of an empire. Examples: Aztec featured several rulers including Montezuma and Nezahaulpili and made mention of a number of royal family members, as well as Malintzin (who acted as interpreter for Cortez) and many of the Conquistadors (Cortez, Geronimo de Aguilar, King Carlos of Spain, etc.). The Journeyer was the story of Marco Polo's life, beginning with his childhood in Venice and continuing through his travels to the Far East and eventually back to Venice. Some historical characters in The Journeyer include Kublai Khan, a number of rulers, and of course Marco himself. Raptor is set during the Gothic empire and follows a similar pattern (Theodoric the Great and other figures from the time period).
  • Magnus, Duke of Östergötland appears in The Kingdom of Little Wounds. He marries Princess Sophia and quickly leaves after she dies.
  • Many of the characters in both Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and The Last American Vampire are real historical people of varying degrees of fame. Henry Sturges (significant in ALVH and protagonist of TLAV) is probably the least generally known, and yes, he's a real person and appears on real-life lists of Roanoke colonists.
  • In Theodor Fontane's novella Schach von Wuthenow, which is set in the year 1806, a number of real-life persons including Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, Queen Louise, the military publicist Dietrich von Bülow, interact with the main characters. Family-minded Frederick William III for instance orders Schach to marry Victoire von Carayon, the woman he got pregnant.
  • Animorphs has a time-travelling episode where they run into the likes of George Washington, Henry V, Horatio Nelson and Adolf Hitler. However, there is very little interaction with the first three (George is too busy trying not to freeze to death, Henry is seen making a Rousing Speech, and Nelson's ship is sunk when a spark hits the powder magazine). They do instinctively try to cut Hitler's throat... but due to the messed-up timeline, he was only a corporal in WW2, with the allied French and Germans pushing back the US (who still belonged to England) on D Day.
  • Except for the protagonist and his closest associates, almost every character in The Sage Adair Historical Mysteries is either a real person or an Expy of one.
  • John Winthrop, Samuel Gorton, and Mononotto in Hope Leslie.
  • The Dragon Waiting is an Alternate History novel with a large cast of familiar names, with Lorenzo de Medici and Richard III just the tip of the iceberg.
  • The Obituary Writer features John F. and Jackie Kennedy as characters of interest to Claire Fontaine and her friends, who comment about their seemingly perfect and glamorous relationship (unlike Claire's loveless marriage). Jack London also briefly appears in Vivien Lowe's story, as an attendee at the restaurant she and David Gardner meet at.
  • Kim Newman's Bad Dreams features several flashbacks to the immortal Big Bad's activities in earlier eras, which include appearances by Joan of Arc, Joseph McCarthy, and Ayn Rand, among others.
  • Swedish author Leif G.W. Persson, in one of his Nordic Noir novels featuring the appalling Dirty Cop Backstrom, fictionalises the unsolved real-life murder of Swedish prime minister Olof Palme and advances an Author Tract that the killers were rogue policemen belonging to his own security services and personal protection squad — who knew exactly how to foul, obscure and cover up the subsequent investigation.
  • Steve Bein's Fated Blades series has Toyotomi Hideyoshi as a prominent minor character whose actions in Warring States Japan has repercussions in Modern Day Tokyo. Also this Hideyoshi was regularly sticking himself in the butthole of his fictional minion, General Shishio. This was a source of tension as Hideyoshi thinks it's shameful for a grown man to be anally penetrated, but he can't resist Shishio's supernatural seductiveness and masterful sex techniques. Shishio however has no shame being Hideyoshi's bottom and knows the power he has over the regent of Japan.
  • Monster Mash neo-noir Wolfman Confidential features real-life gangsters Mickey Cohen, Jack Whalen, and Johnny Stompanato in major roles, and cameos from Audrey Hepburn and Rock Hudson.
  • Gatling: Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont, leaders of the North-West Rebellion, are major characters in Border War, where Gatling is hired to deliver modern weapons to Riel's metis forces.
  • Eurico the Presbyter: Most of the cast except for the main protagonist are historical figures associated with the Umayyad conquest of the Iberian Penisula such as Tariq, King Roderic and Pelagius of Asturias. There are also semi-fictional characters like Pelagius' sister whose historicity is questionable, but she is a major character in the book as the main protagonist's love interest.
  • WWW Trilogy: Stephen Hawking is a character in the novel. He's a visiting scholar at the same institute Caitlin's dad works in, and they watch a recorded speech he gives. The US President isn't named, but pretty clearly he's Barack Obama (which he really was at the time of the novels). A few more actual scientists also get mentioned as being characters, and meet with the protagonists (offscreen).
  • In Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Was Not, real world doctors who get paired with Holmes include Doc Holliday, Doctor John Dee, Doctor Theodore Moriarty (a Victorian spiritualist and occultist), and Arthur Conan Doyle.
  • In "Angel Down, Sussex", Arthur Conan Doyle and Aleister Crowley separately turn up to investigate the same paranormal event the protagonists are investigating. Conan Doyle is convinced it's fairies at work, Crowley interprets it in the light of his spiritual beliefs, and both are more of a hindrance than a help.
  • Queen of Zazzau is a Historical Fantasy novel based on the legends surrounding the life of Amina, a warrior-queen who ruled parts of Hausaland (modern-day northern Nigeria) in the 16th century.
  • Isaac Asimov's "The Immortal Bard": Archimedes is one of several people Dr Welch brought to the present-day with temporal transference. He was the most fascinated by present-day science, but became lonely and frightened away from his culture. He also brought Isaac Newton and Galileo Galilei.


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