The best new historical fantasy book with a twist on Arthurian legend

Angela R. Hughes Author Of Elanor and the Song of the Bard: The Once and Future Chronicles, Book 1
By Angela R. Hughes

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by the fantastic since childhood—ever since I read my first book, The Princess & the Goblin. As a young adult, I lived on the Emerald Isle of Ireland and I fell in love with the history and legends of the British Isles. Stories of King Arthur, Saint Patrick, and the mighty warrior Cu Chulainn inspired my imagination. Now through years of studying Arthurian Legend and Celtic Mythos—I write historical fantasy filled with the ageless inspirations of the ancient Celtic world.


I wrote...

Elanor and the Song of the Bard: The Once and Future Chronicles, Book 1

By Angela R. Hughes,

Book cover of Elanor and the Song of the Bard: The Once and Future Chronicles, Book 1

What is my book about?

Merlin was all Elanor could think of since her strange dreams had begun. She kept reminding herself that he was not real. He was just a dream. However, it didn’t feel like a dream, and thoughts of him never left her mind. She mused on this as she walked the few blocks to the bookstore. The bell on the door jingled as she entered and headed to the back shelves that held the fiction books. An older gentleman stood nearby, scanning the pages of a book he held in his hands, King Arthur and His Knights. “Elanor.” The old man’s voice stopped her cold. Her heart raced as she slowly turned to face him. “How do you know my name…”

The books I picked & why

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The Paradise War: Book One in The Song of Albion Trilogy

By Stephen R Lawhead,

Book cover of The Paradise War: Book One in The Song of Albion Trilogy

Why this book?

Stephen Lawhead’s Paradise War is the first in a trilogy. This epic fantasy helps you fall into another world that mirrors our own. The story follows Lewis, a geeky college student who discovers this world, and it challenges all he believes to be true. The glory of this reluctant, heart-felt hero has you cheering from the start, while a destructive, insidious evil keeps you on the edge of your seat. I personally love stories with a twist of real history and mythology entwined. It kindles the hope that the world of fantasy may not be that far from our own. Anyone who is a fan of Celtic history, mythology, and legend, will be enthralled with this book and the entire series.

The Paradise War: Book One in The Song of Albion Trilogy

By Stephen R Lawhead,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Paradise War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Wolves in Oxford; extinct beasts in Scotland: the barriers between our world and the Celtic Otherworld are breaking down. Two men are drawn into Albion, and changed for ever.

The Crystal Cave

By Mary Stewart,

Book cover of The Crystal Cave

Why this book?

I recommend this book especially if you love the more ancient tellings of Arthurian legend. Being an Arthurian nerd myself, I really appreciate the amount of research this author did before jumping in to tell her version of the story. These books focus more heavily on the character of Merlin—capturing his mystique beautifully. Mary Stewart helps the reader encounter the greater magic, that goes beyond a wizard in a blue pointy hat, and a sword in the stone. This reimagining of the Arthurian world kept me turning the page, and I was not able to put it down. 

The Crystal Cave

By Mary Stewart,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Crystal Cave as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The spellbinding story of Merlin's rise to power.

Vivid, enthralling, absolutely first-class - Daily Mail

So begins the story of Merlin, born the illegitimate son of a Welsh princess in fifth century Britain, a world ravaged by war. Small and neglected, with his mother unwilling to reveal his father's identity, Merlin must disguise his intelligence - and hide his occasional ability to know things before they happen - in order to keep himself safe.

While exploring the countryside near his home, Merlin stumbles across a cave filled with books and papers and hiding a room lined with crystals. It is…


Demons & Thieves

By Brae Wyckoff,

Book cover of Demons & Thieves

Why this book?

I am a huge fan of historical fiction. Especially when there is the edge of fantasy and supernatural that goes along with it. This book details the journey of two demons and brilliantly weaves the tale of the two thieves that found themselves crucified next to Jesus on the cross. This scary, tense, and thrilling take on this story took me entirely by surprise. The historic Roman world was excellently presented. My favorite part of this story was the turmoil within the minds of the different characters, which is true to lifeand in a world that wants to better understand mental illnessthis book packs a punch of truth that will really set people free.

Demons & Thieves

By Brae Wyckoff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Demons & Thieves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A thief in search of his destiny.
A man in search of his son.
The Messiah fated to meet them both.

Demons & Thieves is a fast-paced, riveting tale of demonic powers that bring destruction, of unconditional love that brings restoration, and of man’s ultimate choice toward one or the other. In this brilliantly crafted historical novel, master storyteller, Brae Wyckoff, weaves together the account of the two thieves on the cross and the Gerasene demoniacs in an action-packed, epic adventure that progresses across a span of twenty years against the backdrop of ancient Israel.

From the first page, Wyckoff…

How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe

By Thomas Cahill,

Book cover of How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe

Why this book?

As someone who loves history, particularly Celtic history, this one hit me in a really special place in my heart. This little-known history of the Celtic Saints, and particularly Saint Patrick really opened my eyes. It details how Celtic monks quietly saved the written word while barbarians and Vikings burnt Roman literature—which would have made all western thought—even the bible on the threat of extinction. It dazzled me to be given a much bigger perspective on the infamous Book of Kells, and even how schools throughout the western world originated because of these men that hid behind the chaos of the times. All this history by itself was amazing to learn, but even more, the author wrote with wit and charm that made it a fun read.

How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe

By Thomas Cahill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How the Irish Saved Civilization as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Shamelessly engaging, effortlessly scholarly, utterly refreshing history of the Irish soul and its huge contribution to Western culture' Thomas Keneally

Ireland played the central role in maintaining European culture when the dark ages settled on Europe in the fifth century: as Rome was sacked by Visigoths and its empire collapsed, Ireland became 'the isle of saints and scholars' that enabled the classical and religious heritage to be saved.

In his compelling and entertaining narrative, Thomas Cahill tells the story of how Irish monks and scrines copied the mauscripts of both pagan and Christian writers, including Homer and Aristotle, while libraries…


Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings

By Diana Glyer, James A. Owen (illustrator),

Book cover of Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings

Why this book?

Read this book if you want to get inside the heads of the two fathers of Fantasy, JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. This book brilliantly ventures into what created the ‘Inklings’, and how they inspired each other to write fantastic stories of hobbits, dragons and magical worlds. This book particularly gripped me, because these two authors are my hero’s and have inspired my imagination above all others. This book even showed me how I could personally become an inkling, and join forces with other creative, and inspired writers to create a new world all our own. 

Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings

By Diana Glyer, James A. Owen (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bandersnatch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An inside look at the Inklings and their creative process

C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and the other Inklings met each week to read and discuss each other's works-in-progress, offering both encouragement and blistering critique. How did these conversations shape the books they were writing? How does creative collaboration enhance individual talent? And what can we learn from their example?

Complemented with original illustrations by James Owen, Bandersnatch offers an inside look at the Inklings of Oxford-and a seat at their table at the Eagle and Child pub. It shows how encouragement and criticism made all the difference…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Middle Ages, wizards, and the sociology of literature?

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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