98 books like A Thousand Ships

By Natalie Haynes,

Here are 98 books that A Thousand Ships fans have personally recommended if you like A Thousand Ships. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Circe

S.G. Slade Author Of Touch of a Witch

From my list on spellbinding novels with threads of magic woven in their core.

Who am I?

I’m a British writer with a passion for the stories of history, both real and imagined. I have always been fascinated by tales and relics of the past, old ruins, ancient buildings, mythology, and the uncanny power of the natural world. All these things connect us to the ghosts of the past. So, I write historical fantasy novels based in the England I explored growing up, but brushed with the shadow of the supernatural, magic, witchcraft, and seductive illusion. I also write straight historical fiction under the name Samantha Grosser.

S.G.'s book list on spellbinding novels with threads of magic woven in their core

S.G. Slade Why did S.G. love this book?

I read this book when I was in hospital having surgery a few years ago, and it utterly transported me away from pain and anxiety to another world.

I’ve always loved Greek myth, and I love a book that makes you question things you thought you knew, bringing another side of the story to the fore. For thousands of years, we’ve taken Odysseus’s side on his long journey home from Troy. But who was the witch Circe, and how did she come to be alone on her island in the first place?

Questions of power and justice, love and betrayal, are woven through the text, and these are the themes that never fail to stir me. Written in beautiful prose, I’ve read it twice and recommended it to everyone I know.

By Madeline Miller,

Why should I read it?

32 authors picked Circe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The international Number One bestseller from the author of The Song of Achilles, shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction

Woman. Witch. Myth. Mortal. Outcast. Lover. Destroyer. Survivor. CIRCE.

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. Circe is a strange child - not powerful and terrible, like her father, nor gorgeous and mercenary like her mother. Scorned and rejected, Circe grows up in the shadows, at home in neither the world of gods or mortals. But Circe has a dark power of her own: witchcraft. When her gift threatens…


Book cover of The King Must Die

Emily Mitchell Author Of The Last Summer of the World

From my list on reminding you how strange the past really was.

Who am I?

I’ve always been interested in history. I grew up in London, where there's a lot of it. But what made me want to write fiction about the past was experiences of imaginative affinity for certain other times and places. My first book is set during World War One. I've always felt connected to the change in sensibility that many people went through then, from an optimistic, moralistic, Victorian outlook, in which, to quote Paul Fussell from The Great War and Modern Memory, people “believed in Progress and Art and in no way doubted the benignity even of technology” to an understanding that human beings and our societies contained deeper, more persistent shadows. 

Emily's book list on reminding you how strange the past really was

Emily Mitchell Why did Emily love this book?

The challenge of writing historical fiction set in the distant past is bridging the vast gap between our modern understanding of the world and that of our distant forebears, since even our most basic assumptions and values undergo enormous changes over time. Those who love Renault’s works about classical antiquity relish the ability of her novels to truly carry us into another world, to make it felt and intelligible. This novel follows the fortunes of the mythic hero Theseus, from his origins in Troizen to his departure for Athens to find his father, his achievement of the kingship of Eleusis, his voluntary enslavement in Crete as a bull-dancer, an acrobat who vaults over living animals for spectacle, his confrontation with the minotaur and his eventual return home, older and more baffled by existence. It gives dimension to the mythic hero, a complexity that is at once familiar and profoundly, unsettlingly…

By Mary Renault,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The King Must Die as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Theseus is the grandson of the King of Troizen, but his paternity is shrouded in mystery - can he really be the son of the god Poseidon? When he discovers his father's sword beneath a rock, his mother must reveal his true identity: Theseus is the son of Aegeus, King of Athens, and is his only heir. So begins Theseus's perilous journey to his father's palace to claim his birth right, escaping bandits and ritual king sacrifice in Eleusis, to slaying the Minotaur in Crete. Renault reimagines the Theseus myth, creating an original, exciting story.


Book cover of The Song of Achilles

Terry Bartley Author Of Tyranny of the Fey

From my list on casually queer sci-fi fantasy.

Who am I?

I’ve always been a big fan of sci-fi and fantasy, especially anything involving superheroes or D&D-style adventure. For the longest time, I had to find queer representation through subtle glances and creative readings of characters. I loved these stories for the sci-fi and fantasy elements, but it was frustrating that every love story that came up was straight. It didn’t feel possible for queer love to be a part of a plot, and even when there was a queer character it had a “very special episode” vibe to it. Finally, queer characters are becoming part of the story, and it doesn’t have to be a “big deal.”

Terry's book list on casually queer sci-fi fantasy

Terry Bartley Why did Terry love this book?

The Song of Achilles is such as beautifully written book that perfectly weaves together a queer love story with a proper Greek epic.

It was so fulfilling to follow Patroclus and Achilles as they grew up. The attraction grows subtly and feels very natural. The fantasy elements feel very matter-of-fact and never take away from the incredibly relatable character moments.

By Madeline Miller,

Why should I read it?

27 authors picked The Song of Achilles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**OVER 1.5 MILLION COPIES SOLD**
**A 10th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL EDITION, FEATURING A NEW FOREWORD BY THE AUTHOR**

WINNER OF THE ORANGE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION
THE INTERNATIONAL SENSATION
A SUNDAY TIMES AND NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

'Captivating' DONNA TARTT
'I loved it' J K ROWLING
'Ravishingly vivid' EMMA DONOGHUE

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms…


Book cover of Hand of Fire

Amalia Carosella Author Of Helen of Sparta

From my list on retelling Greek myths.

Who am I?

I’ve been playing in the sandbox of Greek myth as a writer for two decades, and passionately absorbed by it for even longer. My mother raised us all to love ancient history, and I was further encouraged by my brother at age 7, who brought home a copy of Bulfinch and taught me the difference between Heracles and Hercules, cementing my delight and inspiring me to pursue a BA in Classical Studies. The result was not only my Helen of Sparta duology, by a plethora of other works exploring our relationships to the divine in the retelling of historically-grounded myths, some well-known, and some half-forgotten.

Amalia's book list on retelling Greek myths

Amalia Carosella Why did Amalia love this book?

Hand of Fire was one of the first books to truly win me over on Achilles as a real hero worthy of romanticism and admiration. Starkston’s exploration of Briseis’s character and her relationship to and with Achilles is so well-wrought, pulling both from the Hittites (the empire in which Briseis was born) and the Greek mythology and archeology. The way she weaves the two cultures together to create this story, priming Briseis for Achilles’s arrival to create a narrative that gives Briseis both power and agency is absolutely masterful. I loved that Starkston didn’t shy away from the supernatural hallmarks of the Iliad, either, allowing the gods and their direct influence to breathe inside her retelling of the Trojan War.

By Judith Starkston,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Briseis steps out from the handful of lines she gets in Homer's epic, and fearlessly tells her own story as healer, war prize, and partner to the famous Achilles—here a godlike hero who manages to be all too human. Recommended! –Kate Quinn, NYT Times Bestselling author of The Alice Network

A legendary war, an invincible warrior, a woman forced to defend her family and realm—and her independent spirit. Will she become the captive or the captor?

Briseis struggles to protect her city, an ally of Troy, from marauding Greeks and her husband’s arrogant violence. She finds strength in visions of…


Book cover of Helen of Troy

Judith Starkston Author Of Hand of Fire

From my list on set in the Trojan War.

Who am I?

I write fiction set in the Bronze Age world of the Trojan War and the Hittite Empire. I love to combine history and archaeology with magic and fantasy arising from the ancient beliefs of this period. My novels bring women to the fore—whether the captive Briseis or a remarkable Hittite queen lost to human memory until recently. Armed with degrees in Classics, I have spent too much time exploring the remains of the ancient Greeks and Hittites through travel and research. From the beginning, the Trojan War tradition has left room for many variations. Here are five entirely different “takes” on this iconic war—all masterfully written.

Judith's book list on set in the Trojan War

Judith Starkston Why did Judith love this book?

Margaret George is a preeminent writer of historical fiction—big, authoritative novels focusing on remarkable, famous people, as her 2006 Helen of Troy demonstrates. She covers Helen’s life from girlhood through the Trojan War and back to Sparta. She builds a full depiction of ancient Greek life, which always makes me happy, but George is most compelling with her characters. George’s interpretations often break with tradition, and that is true for Helen and Paris. Helen disdains her extraordinary beauty and must grow into visionary insights and outsized passions with guidance from the gods. If you want a genuinely heroic Paris (not his usual wimpiness) and a couple who cleave to each other to the end, this is the Helen book for you. George’s skill holds your attention through it all.

By Margaret George,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Acclaimed author Margaret George tells the story of the legendary Greek woman whose face "launched a thousand ships" in this New York Times bestseller.

The Trojan War, fought nearly twelve hundred years before the birth of Christ, and recounted in Homer's Iliad, continues to haunt us because of its origins: one woman's beauty, a visiting prince's passion, and a love that ended in tragedy.

Laden with doom, yet surprising in its moments of innocence and beauty, Helen of Troy is an exquisite page-turner with a cast of irresistible, legendary characters-Odysseus, Hector, Achilles, Menelaus, Priam, Clytemnestra, Agamemnon, as well as Helen…


Book cover of Helen of Sparta

Judith Starkston Author Of Hand of Fire

From my list on set in the Trojan War.

Who am I?

I write fiction set in the Bronze Age world of the Trojan War and the Hittite Empire. I love to combine history and archaeology with magic and fantasy arising from the ancient beliefs of this period. My novels bring women to the fore—whether the captive Briseis or a remarkable Hittite queen lost to human memory until recently. Armed with degrees in Classics, I have spent too much time exploring the remains of the ancient Greeks and Hittites through travel and research. From the beginning, the Trojan War tradition has left room for many variations. Here are five entirely different “takes” on this iconic war—all masterfully written.

Judith's book list on set in the Trojan War

Judith Starkston Why did Judith love this book?

Carosella offers another, refreshing take on Helen. This Helen takes control of her life and tries to defy fate (and the gods do their darndest, as usual in Greek mythology, to make her and everyone else miserable). Carosella’s engaging novel develops the characters’ jealousies, passions, and loyalties, as well as bringing the reader directly into the ancient Greek world. I enjoyed the sense of interconnectedness between different parts of this Greek and Mediterranean world, Troy, Sparta, Egypt, Mycenae, and Athens. This accurately reflects the current understanding of this exotic world. I appreciate a flexible view of all the legendary mythology surrounding this iconic war, and Carosella has flexed some impressive muscle.

By Amalia Carosella,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Long before she ran away with Paris to Troy, Helen of Sparta was haunted by nightmares of a burning city under siege. These dreams foretold impending war-a war that only Helen has the power to avert. To do so, she must defy her family and betray her betrothed by fleeing the palace in the dead of night. In need of protection, she finds shelter and comfort in the arms of Theseus, son of Poseidon. With Theseus at her side, she believes she can escape her destiny. But at every turn, new dangers-violence, betrayal, extortion, threat of war-thwart Helen's plans and…


Book cover of A Song of War

Judith Starkston Author Of Hand of Fire

From my list on set in the Trojan War.

Who am I?

I write fiction set in the Bronze Age world of the Trojan War and the Hittite Empire. I love to combine history and archaeology with magic and fantasy arising from the ancient beliefs of this period. My novels bring women to the fore—whether the captive Briseis or a remarkable Hittite queen lost to human memory until recently. Armed with degrees in Classics, I have spent too much time exploring the remains of the ancient Greeks and Hittites through travel and research. From the beginning, the Trojan War tradition has left room for many variations. Here are five entirely different “takes” on this iconic war—all masterfully written.

Judith's book list on set in the Trojan War

Judith Starkston Why did Judith love this book?

If a racially diverse, gender-bending, often raunchy, always nuanced, new take on an old tale sounds like a good read to you, then pick up this “novel-in-parts.” Both the racial and sexual fullness reflect historical reality, although they’ve ordinarily been left out. Retelling the Trojan War from its early causes to its tragic but still hope-infused end, the authors gave this rendition a compelling depth that will make you savor the old tradition with some new spice on your tongue.

By Christian Cameron, Libbie Hawker, Vicky Alvear Shecter

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Troy: city of gold, gatekeeper of the east, haven of the god-born and the lucky, a city destined to last a thousand years. But the Fates have other plans—the Fates, and a woman named Helen. In the shadow of Troy's gates, all must be reborn in the greatest war of the ancient world: slaves and queens, heroes and cowards, seers and kings . . . and these are their stories.

A young princess and an embittered prince join forces to prevent a fatal elopement.

A tormented seeress challenges the gods themselves to save her city from the impending disaster.

A…


Book cover of The Penelopiad

Gourav Mohanty Author Of Sons of Darkness

From my list on lifting the patriarchal veil off ancient heroines.

Who am I?

I daylight as a lawyer, moonlight as a stand-up comic and gaslight as a storyteller. A connoisseur of mythology and momos, I have often wondered how our ancient tales might have unfolded if narrated from women’s perspectives - a curiosity kindled since I listened to my grandmother’s grievances even as she regaled me with these stories. In the same breadth, I could not help but see how harmful and reductionist “evil” labels can be especially when history is chronicled only by victors. It is this quest of humanizing the vanquished and the vilified while honouring the essence of a timeless epic that led me to play a medieval matchmaker by wedding Indian Lore to Italian Renaissance.

Gourav's book list on lifting the patriarchal veil off ancient heroines

Gourav Mohanty Why did Gourav love this book?

Talking about Penelope brings me to the Penelopiad. This book could have been more accurately called the Trial of Odysseus.

Odysseus here feels like an ancient Andrew Tate. Picture the ancient soap opera: Penelope, the ever dutiful, saintly wife, is left holding the fort while Odysseus sails off on a ten-year vacation fighting the Trojan War, followed by another decade of epic escapades and sexscapades.

And meanwhile Penelope is using her twelve maids to let themselves be used and abused by her suitors to buy time till Odysseus returns. Well, the suitors are killed, naturally. But the maids…Honor killing is still an epidemic in parts of India, and to see it from the POVs of the maids, who have so far been overlooked as extras in a play, felt like redemption.

The best thing in the book that worked for me was the way it is structured as a conversation…

By Margaret Atwood,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Penelopiad as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Penelope. Immortalised in legend and myth as the devoted wife of the glorious Odysseus, silently weaving and unpicking and weaving again as she waits for her husband's return.

Now Penelope wanders the underworld, spinning a different kind of thread: her own side of the story - a tale of lust, greed and murder.

The Myths series brings together some of the world's finest writers, each of whom has retold a myth in a contemporary and memorable way. Authors in the series include Karen Armstrong, Margaret Atwood, A.S. Byatt, David Grossman, Natsuo Kirino, Alexander McCall Smith, Philip Pullman, Ali Smith and…


Book cover of Argos: The Story of Odysseus as Told by His Loyal Dog

Tad Crawford Author Of On Wine-Dark Seas: A Novel of Odysseus and His Fatherless Son Telemachus

From my list on the heroes and myths of the Trojan War.

Who am I?

My interest in the heroes and myths of the Trojan War came from a dream. My father was a wounded Greek youth and I carried him down into the Underworld. As I explored that dream and my relationship to my father, the world of Greek mythology opened to me. I absorbed The Iliad and The Odyssey, read the fragments and summaries of the other six poems that in antiquity had been part of the Epic or Trojan Cycle, immersed myself in Greek myths and gods, wondered if Homer wrote both surviving epics (I don’t think he did), and found within myself the voice of Telemachus ready to narrate On Wine-Dark Seas.

Tad's book list on the heroes and myths of the Trojan War

Tad Crawford Why did Tad love this book?

I loved this book. It tells Odysseus’ story from the viewpoint of his loyal dog Argos. Intended for readers aged 8-12, it can awaken the child in all of us. We knew from The Odyssey how loyal a dog Argos was. But hearing in Argos’s own words how he protected Penelope, Telemachus, and the hall of Odysseus in his master’s absence makes absolutely clear that Argos is formidable indeed. In fact, he shares many of his master’s characteristics. He can plan, trick his opponents, and use his wits to overcome any challenge in service to Odysseus. He learns of Odysseus’ movements by speaking to birds who have come from the islands where Odysseus is struggling to return home from Troy. Although Argos dies of old age when he finally sees Odysseus, he has had a son who, loyal like his father, stands beside Odysseus and Telemachus and witnesses their slaughter…

By Ralph Hardy,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Argos as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Fans of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series will love this reimagining of Homer’s The Odyssey told from the point of view of Odysseus’s loyal dog, Argos.

Now available in paperback, this rousing story of devotion and determination is an original take on one of the most beloved myths of all time.

For twenty years, the great hero Odysseus struggles to return to home on Ithaka. He defeats monsters. He outsmarts the Cyclops. He battles the gods. He does whatever it takes to reunite with his family.

And what of that family—his devoted wife, Penelope; his young son, Telemachos; his dog,…


Book cover of Age of Bronze Volume 1: A Thousand Ships

Amalia Carosella Author Of Helen of Sparta

From my list on retelling Greek myths.

Who am I?

I’ve been playing in the sandbox of Greek myth as a writer for two decades, and passionately absorbed by it for even longer. My mother raised us all to love ancient history, and I was further encouraged by my brother at age 7, who brought home a copy of Bulfinch and taught me the difference between Heracles and Hercules, cementing my delight and inspiring me to pursue a BA in Classical Studies. The result was not only my Helen of Sparta duology, by a plethora of other works exploring our relationships to the divine in the retelling of historically-grounded myths, some well-known, and some half-forgotten.

Amalia's book list on retelling Greek myths

Amalia Carosella Why did Amalia love this book?

This graphic novel is an absolute gift to anyone interested in both many of the lesser-known but no less fascinating narrative digressions of the Trojan War cycle and the visual exploration of what the late bronze age might have truly looked like. Shanower has given so much attention to period details and clothing, to the settings and backgrounds of palace, ship, and landscape. If you’re like me and you struggle to really see what the archaeological record has presented to us in rough floor plans and surviving artworks as a whole picture of life and living, this is an absolute must-read as a gorgeously illustrated narrative of the Trojan War—and the people who existed in the period we often refer to as Mycenean.

By Eric Shanower,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Age of Bronze Volume 1 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?

This new, fully colored edition brings the historical action within the pages of AGE OF BRONZE to new, greater levels.

Daring heroes, breathtaking women, betrayals, love and death--the most spectacular war story ever told: The Trojan War. When a lustful Trojan prince abducts the beautiful Queen Helen of Sparta, Helen`s husband vows to recover her no matter the cost. So begins the Trojan War. From far and wide the ancient kings of Greece bring their ships to join the massive force to pledge their allegiance to High King Agamemnon. Featuring the greatest of the Greek heroes: Achilles, Odysseus, and Herakles,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Trojan War, Odysseus, and Greek mythology?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Trojan War, Odysseus, and Greek mythology.

The Trojan War Explore 32 books about the Trojan War
Odysseus Explore 24 books about Odysseus
Greek Mythology Explore 67 books about Greek mythology