Since the forum isn't so active I thought I'd post up a new question to spark a debate every few days.
I remember, back in the days old the old forum, you mentioning something about historical research. If memory serves, someone asked about field research and you responded saying you like to take a trek to wherever the boys are being posted in the next book. I distinctly remember you mentioning Palmyra. (You're a lucky bugger to have seen it with your own eyes before those ISIS buggers blew up the ruins.)
I was just wondering how much care you actually take in your research? I know many authors get very hung up on details of authenticity. Every single little detail must be correct. Whilst others don't seem too bothered. Obviously you write fiction; you take liberties to help the story flow and to keep your readers on their toes. My question, is where do you draw the line and has that line changed over the years?
The only reason I ask (apart from trying to get this forum a bit more lively!) is that I was recently watching a YouTube video about medieval siege craft. It was about the mighty trebuchet, the greatest weapon of mass destruction the world has ever known or will know. I went down a bit of a rabbit hole in my research and discovered that the Romans only used onagers between the 4th and 6th century, ish. That would've been too late for them to be used by Macro and Cato in the siege of Artaxata.
My personal opinion as a reader is that I'm not bothered about authenticity as long as it's not absurd. I'm trying to read a good story, not a factual account. If Cato pulled out an AK-47 I'd have a pretty big problem with that. It would be quite entertaining though if book 20 starts with Cato executing Nero with a sniper... Things like historical figures having a family member who didn't exist in the story is pretty fine I think. For example, If you wanted to write about Augustus having a brother who incites a rebellion that isn't a big deal. I think most people reading wouldn't know Augustus didn't have a brother and those that did would probably be fine with it. It's historical *fiction*.
Just wondering as well what other readers think? Do you get quite upset over historical inaccuracies or is it something that you believe fine to ignore for the sake of a better story?
I look forward to hearing from everyone!