You might want to to include books that were written in the time.period.as "historical fiction". Books that were written in the time period. Jane Austen works such as Pride and Prejudice has a lot of good historical information that can be gleamed from it, such as 50 miles was half a day's ride on good roads. Or that people kept carriages but apparently rented out the horses to use them.
I remember the film "The Egyptian", starring the wooden Edmund Purdom. Rumour has it that he died during production, and nobody noticed.
Easily the best novels set in ancient Egypt that I've read , are those written by French Egyptologist, Christian Jacq. His early books, featuring Ramses The Great are real page turners. Unfortunately, he goes a bit overboard in some later novels. EG he treats Egyptian Gods and Egyptian magic as real So the novels are best read as a bit of fun. His book featuring the Black Pharoah, Pianky/Piye ,25th Dynasty, is riveting.
My favorite historical fiction novel of all time is "Whom the Gods Would Destroy" by Richard Powell. It's a modern retelling of the Trojan War cycle told from the perspective of a fictional son of King Priam named Helios. The beauty of the novel is how Powell brings characters like Odysseus, Achilles, Hector, Agamemnon, Paris, Helen, Cassandra, and the rest to life. Great dialogue. Great descriptions. Great action. Anyone I've ever recommended this book to (including my students when I was teaching) has coming back with rave reviews of this novel.
Although Powell is not a household name, he's written several other noteworthy novels. One in particular, called "The Soldier" is about the Pacific Theater during WW2. Powell himself served on General MacArthur's staff. After the war he was a journalist on the now defunct Evening Ledger. Later he worked as a writer at the advertising agency N. W. Ayer & Son. His most famous novel was "The Philadelphian," which was later turned into a movie starring Paul Newman. Powell died in 1999.
Love the Flashman books They are meant to be the brutally honest memoirs of Brigadier Sir Harry Flashman, VC. Found him a more attractive character than as some of the prigs he had to deal with. I especially like the explanation of what happened to Tom Brown's friend East ; died pointlessly, defending the empire, like a so many dickheads of his class at that time. I also loved his portrayal as an old man, full of honours in a nursing home, telling the nurses he'd give them "a good rogering"
I waded through several of Colleen McCullough's books. Her books are long and she seems to have done some research. Not easy reads. I haven't read ''The Thorn birds', but saw the ghastly miniseries.