The best historical novels that drop you into adventure

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved reading and feel a natural attraction to history and the lessons it can give us. I want to learn something new whenever I pick up a book but also enjoy the story and characters as well. Since 2010, I have authored six historical novels of my own and am working on my seventh. I carefully weave years of extensive research into a fast-paced, exciting story that pushes all the right buttons! Intrigue, love, fear, and hope are integral parts of my novels, and I hope along the way, my readers will gain a new insight into a different culture or era they never knew before.  

I wrote...

Iron and Bronze

By Thomas J. Berry,

Book cover of Iron and Bronze

What is my book about?

Five men and women in Ancient Greece are set on a dangerous journey of self-discovery during the bitter conflict of the Peloponnesian War.

The Olympic festivals honor the gods with their renowned athletic contests and one woman finds herself in a deadly gamble when she must make an agonizing choice. A young helot slave longs for freedom while a new wife imperils herself to stand by her husband and home. When a wealthy aristocrat finds his world turned upside down, he must learn what true sacrifice is all about. A Spartan officer who has lived by a strict code of tradition must discover new ways to cope in an unconventional war.  Who will survive and what will their lives be like when it's over?

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Pillars of the Earth

Thomas J. Berry Why did I love this book?

I am an avid reader and love to learn about history and the people who shaped this world in times gone by. I have an eye for literary craftsmen and give special praise to those who really excite my interest and keep me reading long into the night. I first picked up Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth back in college and it blew me away in terms of historical details, plot, and characters. I had never quite read anything like it before. It’s a lengthy saga detailing a small town in Britain during the Middle Ages but the gripping tales of Tom Builder and his struggling family made the time pass quickly. The trials they faced were real but the bonds these characters forged throughout the story renewed my hope in humanity. It taught me that history did not have to be stark and boring…it could come alive in new and exciting ways! Truly the best historical novel I have ever read.  

By Ken Follett,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked The Pillars of the Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times Bestseller

Oprah's Book Club Selection

The "extraordinary . . . monumental masterpiece" (Booklist) that changed the course of Ken Follett's already phenomenal career-and begins where its prequel, The Evening and the Morning, ended.

"Follett risks all and comes out a clear winner," extolled Publishers Weekly on the release of The Pillars of the Earth. A departure for the bestselling thriller writer, the historical epic stunned readers and critics alike with its ambitious scope and gripping humanity. Today, it stands as a testament to Follett's unassailable command of the written word and to his universal appeal.


Book cover of The Jester

Thomas J. Berry Why did I love this book?

James Patterson is one of my favorite authors and his historical novel The Jester is a masterpiece, blending an intriguing story of treachery, deceit, and love against the backdrop of Medieval Britain. Patterson brings the characters into living color, especially the poor peasants who toil within the cold, stone walls. While the plot is fantastic in its own right, the author does something unique that sets him apart – his chapters are always short and easy to read. Cliffhangers dangle at the end of most of the pages, keeping the reader on the edge of his seat. The combination makes this book hard to put down and you’ll be finished in no time. It's clear he understands what the reader wants, and he delivers!

By James Patterson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Jester as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

Freedom - in eleventh-century France, it is a luxury enjoyed by only the King and nobility. For the serf, it is surely worth fighting for. But is it worth dying for?

Arriving home disillusioned from the Crusades, Hugh DeLuc discovers that his village has been ransacked and his wife abducted. The dark riders came in the dead of night, like devils, wearing no colours but black crosses on their chests, leaving no clue as to who they are. Knights they may be, but honour and chivalry are not part of their code. They search for a relic, one worth more…

Book cover of Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae

Thomas J. Berry Why did I love this book?

Ever since watching the 2006 movie 300 about the famous Spartan defense against the Persians in Ancient Greece, I was intrigued by the people behind the story and the events which shaped it. I immediately fell in love with Steven Pressfield’s Gates of Fire! He effortlessly blends historical realism with character development while not shying away from the important questions that transcend the ages. What is fear and how do soldiers of any army reach deep into themselves to fight for hearth and home? It was my first foray into Ancient Greece and would shape my vision for Spartan culture for years to come.  

By Steven Pressfield,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Gates of Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the Sunday Times bestseller Gates of Fire, Steven Pressfield tells the breathtaking story of the legendary Spartans: the men and women who helped shaped our history and have themselves become as immortal as their gods.

'Breathtakingly brilliant . . . this is a work of rare genius. Savour it!' DAVID GEMMELL

'A tale worthy of Homer, a timeless epic of man and war, exquisitely researched and boldy written. Pressfield has created a new classic' STEPHEN COONTS

'A really impressive book - imaginatively framed, historically detailed and a really gripping narrative' ***** Reader review

'Beautifully written and a great joy…

Book cover of Three Roads to the Alamo: The Lives and Fortunes of David Crockett, James Bowie, and William Barret Travis

Thomas J. Berry Why did I love this book?

Have you ever wondered what happens during a significant moment in history and no one is left to tell the tale? Three Roads to the Alamo by William C. Davis helps give a wonderful backstory to the characters leading up to the famous 1836 Texas battle against the Mexican army under Santa Ana. The pages are filled with details obtained through original documents of the era both in the United States and Mexico, making the characters come alive as never before. The incorrigible James Bowie, loyal commander William Barret Travis, and the renowned Davy Crockett give the ultimate sacrifice against insurmountable odds, and in doing so, shape the course of history forever.

By William C. Davis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Three Roads to the Alamo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"William C. Davis's Three Roads to the Alamo is far and away the best account of the Alamo I have ever read. The portraits of Crockett, Bowie, and Travis are brilliantly sketched in a fast-moving story that keeps the reader riveted to the very last word." — Stephen B. Oates

Three Roads to the Alamois the definitive book about the lives of David Crockett, James Bowie and William Barret Travis—the legendary frontiersmen and fighters who met their destiny at the Alamo in one of the most famous and tragic battles in American history—and about what really happened in that battle.

Book cover of Alexander the Great

Thomas J. Berry Why did I love this book?

Of all the characters in history, few have accomplished as much as Alexander the Great. It has been over two thousand years since the young man from Macedonia set out with his father’s army and conquered the entire Persian and Egyptian empires in just six short years. Philip Freeman brings this incredible story to life in his book Alexander the Great. I was mesmerized by the politics and behind-the-scenes machinations of this man and the court he controlled as he marched his army across the scorching deserts and inhospitable terrain. The young king was forced to confront both traitors in his midst and enemies at the point of his spear, all the while keeping his iron grip on a rebellious populous. A lively read!

By Philip Freeman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Alexander the Great (Alexander III of Macedon) was one of history's great generals, a man studied by Caesar and Napoleon, among hundreds of others. He was born to the king of Macedon and educated by Aristotle, whose inquiring mind Alexander appreciated. After his father, Philip II, was assassinated, the 19-year-old Alexander succeeded to the throne and swiftly consolidated power. Over the next 13 years until his death at age 32, Alexander created one of the great empires of history, covering an area as far south as Egypt and as far east as Afghanistan and India. Most of the world that…

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Captain James Heron First Into the Fray: Prequel to Harry Heron Into the Unknown of the Harry Heron Series

By Patrick G. Cox, Janet Angelo (editor),

Book cover of Captain James Heron First Into the Fray: Prequel to Harry Heron Into the Unknown of the Harry Heron Series

Patrick G. Cox Author Of Ned Farrier Master Mariner: Call of the Cape

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

On the expertise I claim only a deep interest in history, leadership, and social history. After some thirty-six years in the fire and emergency services I can, I think, claim to have seen the best and the worst of human behaviour and condition. History, particularly naval history, has always been one of my interests and the Battle of Jutland is a truly fascinating study in the importance of communication between the leader and every level between him/her and the people performing whatever task is required.  In my own career, on a very much smaller scale, this is a lesson every officer learns very quickly.

Patrick's book list on the Battle of Jutland

What is my book about?

Captain Heron finds himself embroiled in a conflict that threatens to bring down the world order he is sworn to defend when a secretive Consortium seeks to undermine the World Treaty Organisation and the democracies it represents as he oversees the building and commissioning of a new starship.

When the Consortium employs an assassin from the Pantheon, it becomes personal.

Captain James Heron First Into the Fray: Prequel to Harry Heron Into the Unknown of the Harry Heron Series

By Patrick G. Cox, Janet Angelo (editor),

What is this book about?

The year is 2202, and the recently widowed Captain James Heron is appointed to stand by his next command, the starship NECS Vanguard, while she is being built. He and his team soon discover that they are battling the Consortium, a shadowy corporate group that seeks to steal the specs for the ship’s new super weapon. The Consortium hires the Pantheon, a mysterious espionage agency, to do their dirty work as they lay plans to take down the Fleet and gain supreme power on an intergalactic scale. When Pantheon Agent Bast and her team kidnap Felicity Rowanberg, a Fleet agent…

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