79 books like Alexander the Great

By Philip Freeman,

Here are 79 books that Alexander the Great fans have personally recommended if you like Alexander the Great. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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

Nick Brown Author Of The Siege: Agent of Rome 1

From my list on books that take you to another world.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before I was a writer, I was a reader.  My mother was a primary school teacher, so I was encouraged to read from my earliest years. I wanted to be not only entertained but transported to another place, time, or world. When I finally decided to write my first novel, I settled on historical fiction, but I have since written both science fiction and fantasy. I always endeavour to emulate my literary heroes and create engaging characters, compelling plots, and an interesting, unusual, convincing world.

Nick's book list on books that take you to another world

Nick Brown Why did Nick love this book?

Forget the film 300. The Battle of Thermopylae has never been described with more power and authenticity than in Pressfield’s 1998 novel.

His immense knowledge and understanding of the era are evident on every page, and any reader will swiftly find themselves alongside Xeones, Leonidas, and the outnumbered Spartans as they defend their homeland against the Persian invaders. This is a bloody, brutal, brilliant classic of the historical fiction genre. 

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 The Pillars of the Earth

Jill Wallace Author Of War Serenade

From my list on impossible odds and satisfying endings.

Why am I passionate about this?

My ultimate read is when the action is fast, but the character's discovery of self is slow. Besides, being engrossed in the challenges of others makes my own pale by comparison. The author needs to get me to empathize with the characters - even if their struggles are nothing like my own - and once they’ve done that, I’ll be in for the long haul! Journeying through life’s mire and finding the rainbow with a character you believe - and believe in - makes for the ultimate in vicarious living. And ‘Heck, YES’ to a satisfying ending!

Jill's book list on impossible odds and satisfying endings

Jill Wallace Why did Jill love this book?

OMG. I have recommended this book to more people than any other. It’s truly a historical fiction masterpiece. I read slowly but my eyes flew over these titillating pages as if I was a famished glutton and had to devour them quickly lest they disappear. The intrigue! The avarice! The anarchy!

It is an ambitious literary project that splashes over the colorful canvas set in 12th-century England. If, like me, you love the complexities of the human condition, read this book and prepare for the rapture that is virtuoso storytelling.

By Ken Follett,

Why should I read it?

18 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.

The…


Book cover of The Jester

Thomas J. Berry Author Of Iron and Bronze

From my list on history that drops 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.  

Thomas' book list on history that drops you into adventure

Thomas J. Berry Why did Thomas 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 Three Roads to the Alamo: The Lives and Fortunes of David Crockett, James Bowie, and William Barret Travis

Thomas J. Berry Author Of Iron and Bronze

From my list on history that drops 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.  

Thomas' book list on history that drops you into adventure

Thomas J. Berry Why did Thomas 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 Lord of the Two Lands

Jeanne Reames Author Of Becoming

From my list on Alexander the Great.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dr. Jeanne Reames is a professional historian, college professor, and specialist in ancient Macedonia and Alexander the Great. She also earned a degree in creative writing and has published fiction and poetry. She’s been collecting fiction about Alexander the Great for almost 35 years, and previously managed the website Beyond Renault: Alexander the Great in Fiction since WW I, until retiring it after over ten years. She has (almost) every professionally published English-language novel about Alexander, and has penned several articles on Alexander in fiction, including “Alexander the Great and Hephaistion in Fiction after Stonewall,” for The Routledge Companion to the Reception of Ancient Greek and Roman Sexuality (forthcoming).

Jeanne's book list on Alexander the Great

Jeanne Reames Why did Jeanne love this book?

Opting to cover just a slice of Alexander’s campaign, Judith Tarr treats the period after the Battle of Issus down to his fateful trip to the Oracle of Ammon in Egypt. Being historical fantasy, magic is present, but Tarr (a trained historian) depicts it as understood by the ancient Egyptians. An Egyptian priestess, Meriamon, has been charged by her gods to bring Alexander to Egypt in order to eject the hated Persians and preserve her people. The novel also contains a love story between Meriamon and the fictional younger brother of Ptolemy—the same Ptolemy who would found a dynasty in Egypt after Alexander’s death. Lord of the Two Lands is a master class in how to utilize magic for historical fantasy in an authentic way.

By Judith Tarr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It is 33 BC and Egypt lies under the yoke of Persia, ruled by governors appointed by the King of Kings. In the temple of Amon in Thebes lives Meriamon - the only living child of the Nectanebo, the last fully Egyptian Pharoah.


Book cover of The Virtues of War: A Novel of Alexander the Great

Sam Foster Author Of Non-Semper Fidelis

From my list on showing that a man is the sum of his choices.

Why am I passionate about this?

I heard a Jordan Peterson interview in which he boiled down my entire life’s struggle in a single phrase.  The interviewer was pushing Jordon on the subject of male toxicity. Jordon said something like, “If a man is entirely unwilling to fight under any circumstance, he is merely a weakling. Ask in martial arts trainer and they will tell you they teach two things – the ability to fight and self-control. A man who knows how and also knows how to control himself is a man.”

Sam's book list on showing that a man is the sum of his choices

Sam Foster Why did Sam love this book?

As a teenager Alexander, to become The Great, is given to one of his father’s warriors – Telamon – to go on a life-threatening winter wolf hunt. A risk of building character and spirit his father is willing to take.  Later in life, during Alexander’s conquest, Telemon never wishes to rise above a colonel’s rank. He wants to remain in the midst of the fighting.  

When Alexander finally departs India to end his conquests Telamon leaves him to go off with a group of monks. When Alexander asks why that choice Telamon responds, “I schooled you as a boy Alexander, to be superior to fear and anger. You vanquished hardship and hunger and cold and fatigue. But you have not learned to master your victories. These hold you. You are their slave.” What more can a man learn from a book?

As for my liking this book, Pressfield is one of my favorite authors and this…

By Steven Pressfield,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

I have always been a soldier. I have known no other life. So begins Alexander’s extraordinary confession on the eve of his greatest crisis of leadership. By turns heroic and calculating, compassionate and utterly merciless, Alexander recounts with a warrior’s unflinching eye for detail the blood, the terror, and the tactics of his greatest battlefield victories. Whether surviving his father’s brutal assassination, presiding over a massacre, or weeping at the death of a beloved comrade-in-arms, Alexander never denies the hard realities of the code by which he lives: the virtues of war. But as much as he was feared by…


Book cover of The Landmark Arrian: The Campaigns of Alexander

David Austin Beck Author Of The Greek Prince of Afghanistan

From my list on understanding the Scythians.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an author who believes that history contains an endless number of stories of how our past peers dealt with and contributed to the tension, fusion, and reinvention that is human existence. When writing The Greek Prince of Afghanistan, which focuses on the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom of ancient Afghanistan, I included a Scythian character, because I felt the novel’s story, like humanity’s story, is best told through multiple perspectives. The above books helped me greatly in that effort.

David's book list on understanding the Scythians

David Austin Beck Why did David love this book?

Arrian is one of the few primary sources used to illuminate the campaigns of Alexander the Great. It is also one of the few primary sources to focus directly on the Scythians – in this case, the Saka (an eastern group of Scythians). After conquering the Bactrian region, Alexander faced war with the Scythians, as well as local rebellions, which the Scythians played a role in. Arrian’s account is an important source for understanding the Scythians as it speaks directly to the clash of an army built for pitched battle against an army build for more mobile warfare.

By James Romm, Robert B. Strassler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Arrian’s Campaigns of Alexander, widely considered the most authoritative history of the brilliant leader’s great conquests, is the latest addition to the acclaimed Landmark series.
 
After twelve years of hard-fought campaigns, Alexander the Great controlled a vast empire that was bordered by the Adriatic sea to the west and modern-day India to the east. Arrian, himself a military commander, combines his firsthand experience of battle with material from Ptolemy’s memoirs and other ancient sources to compose a singular portrait of Alexander. This vivid and engaging new translation of Arrian will fascinate readers who are interested in classical studies, the history…


Book cover of Dividing the Spoils: The War for Alexander the Great's Empire

Nicole Sallak Anderson Author Of Origins: Song of the King's Heart

From my list on ancient Egypt and the Ptolemaic dynasty.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since 7th grade, I’ve been reading and researching about ancient civilizations like Greece, the Mayans, Incans, and of course, Egypt, yet I never thought I’d write a book, much less a trilogy set thousands of years ago. While researching rebellions for another novel, I found the Great Egyptian Revolt of 200 BCE, as well as Ankhmakis’s story. Given my lifelong love of ancient mythologies, I spent the next two years collecting books about ancient Egypt. These books are but a small sampling I collected during that time in my life, and I’m so glad to share them with you.

Nicole's book list on ancient Egypt and the Ptolemaic dynasty

Nicole Sallak Anderson Why did Nicole love this book?

The forty years after Alexander the Great’s death are rarely studied in history class, yet key to understanding the Ptolemaic rule in Egypt that followed.

Few books have ever covered the warfare waged among his generals as they fought one another for his empire, each one hoping to be the next Alexander, and each falling short. Instead of creating an empire, Alexander’s generals created a world of war, using the native populations of Syria, Indo-Kush, Egypt, and more as fodder in their quest to become Emperor.

Dividing the Spoils is an action-packed read, even if it is nonfiction. I couldn’t put it down.

By Robin Waterfield,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Alexander the Great conquered an enormous empire--stretching from Greece to the Indian subcontinent--and his death triggered forty bloody years of world-changing events. These were years filled with high adventure, intrigue, passion, assassinations, dynastic marriages, treachery, shifting alliances, and mass slaughter on battlefield after battlefield. And while the men fought on the field, the women, such as Alexander's mother Olympias, schemed from their palaces and pavilions.

Dividing the Spoils serves up a fast-paced narrative that captures this turbulent time as it revives the memory of the Successors of Alexander and their great contest for his empire. The Successors, Robin Waterfield shows,…


Book cover of The Persian Boy

Ruth Vanita Author Of Memory of Light

From my list on lesbian and gay literary fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Thanks to my mother, I grew up immersed in English literature. I was educated in Delhi and co-founded the first nationwide feminist magazine, but same-sex love was never mentioned either in the classroom or in the women’s movement. I educated myself in Indian literature and discovered that same-sex sexuality had been practiced and written about until the British criminalized it. I wrote several books about same-sex unions in Indian literature and history and translated poetry and fiction from Hindi and Urdu to English. My first novel, Memory of Light, is a love story between two courtesans, based in pre-colonial India, where poets freely wrote about same-sex, as well as cross-sex love. 

Ruth's book list on lesbian and gay literary fiction

Ruth Vanita Why did Ruth love this book?

This is one of the first books I found when I was scrounging around for gay literature in Indian bookshops in the early 1980s. I re-read it every few years; as one of Oscar Wilde’s characters remarks, “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.”

Renault brings the ancient Greek world to life as no other novelist has. She delineates the wonderfully erotic and moving relationship between Alexander the Great and his Persian lover, Bagoas, who narrates the story.

By Mary Renault,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Persian Boy traces the last years of Alexander's life through the eyes of his lover, Bagoas. Abducted and gelded as a boy, Bagoas is sold as a courtesan to King Darius of Persia, but finds freedom with Alexander the Great after the Macedon army conquers his homeland. Their relationship sustains Alexander as he weathers assassination plots, the demands of two foreign wives, a sometimes mutinous army, and his own ferocious temper. After Alexander's mysterious death, we are left wondering if this Persian boy understood the great warrior and his ambitions better than anyone.


Book cover of Hannibal: Rome's Greatest Enemy

Yakov Ben-Haim Author Of The Dilemmas of Wonderland: Decisions in the Age of Innovation

From my list on making decisions when you don’t know what’s going on.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired university professor. My research, in which I am still actively engaged, deals with decision-making under deep uncertainty: how to make a decision, or design a project, or plan an operation when major relevant factors are unknown or highly uncertain. I developed a decision theory called info-gap theory that grapples with this challenge, and is applied around the world in many fields, including engineering design, economics, medicine, national security, biological conservation, and more.

Yakov's book list on making decisions when you don’t know what’s going on

Yakov Ben-Haim Why did Yakov love this book?

This is a very readable account of Hannibal and his exploits, though it’s perhaps a somewhat idealized, romantic, and heroic portrayal of the man. Nonetheless it’s a great read.

The book follows Hannibal’s many military exploits in Carthage, Sicily, Spain, and many more, up to Cannae, Rome, and his ultimate fall from power and exile.

One sees the continual tension between three factors: Hannibal’s military genius in making military decisions despite deep uncertainty about his own capabilities and about the adversary's intentions, the military genius of his opponents, and the ruthless hand of uncertainty in human history. Hannibal’s life illustrates all three factors.

By Philip Freeman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Telling the story of a man who stood against the overwhelming power of the mighty Roman empire, Hannibal is the biography of a man who, against all odds, dared to change the course of history.

Over two thousand years ago one of the greatest military leaders in history almost destroyed Rome. Hannibal, a daring African general from the city of Carthage, led an army of warriors and battle elephants over the snowy Alps to invade the very heart of Rome's growing empire. But what kind of person would dare to face the most relentless imperial power of the ancient world?…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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