Sometimes the place where a novel is set can play such a big part as to assume the mantle of a character. The best example of this I can think of is the Fry and Cooper series by Stephen Booth where the Derbyshire countryside plays a massive part of all the novels.
Once a location or setting has been decided upon it will influence lots of other factors such as character names (You don’t get many Jock McTavish’s in rural
dialect and the social standing of the characters. Italy
When authors get it right and there are no silly inconsistencies like a stockbroker living on a sink estate or a petty thief owning a country house then everything about the novel just falls into place.
Sometimes a limited area like
or the ship itself in HMS Ulysses can crowd the action and characters together
to ensure that the pace of the story keeps the reader gripped and thus the
pages turning. HMS Ulysses in particular with the constant threat of being sunk
by u-boat wolf packs or the shadowy presence of the Tirpitz (a feared German
battleship) envelops the reader in the claustrophobia of a ship at war in the Nakatomi Tower North Atlantic. On the other side of the coin the
sweeping African plains gave Wilbur Smith a perfect setting for his novels and
his obvious love for the country shone through every descriptive phrase.
My own story Suburban Combat was set in a leafy cul-de-sac and I had to make sure that I didn’t use foul language or slang terms when writing the dialogue as it would have been totally wrong coming from characters who lived in such a suburb.
Any examples of novels or short stories where the setting or location becomes a character would be gratefully received in the comments.