10 books like Anglo-Saxon England

By Sir Frank Stenton,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Anglo-Saxon England. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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History of the English Church and People

By Bede,

Book cover of History of the English Church and People

As close as we come to a first-hand account of events in the first part of the early medieval period. Writing in the early 8th century, Bede was able to interview some of the people who had witnessed events he describes. Bede was undoubtedly writing from the Christian perspective and he was certainly biased in favour of his native Northumbria, but his words are like a window into the past and how people (or at least the clergy) thought.

History of the English Church and People

By Bede,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked History of the English Church and People as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Bede


The King in the North

By Max Adams,

Book cover of The King in the North: The Life and Times of Oswald of Northumbria

Good research is so important to me and this is the historical study that I’d recommend to anyone who wants to know more about the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria. Max Adams has studied the period in detail, but his style of writing is easy to read and sometimes exciting, so much so that I almost felt that I was reading a novel. I love the way Max Adams suggests various possible scenarios, from the written evidence, studies, and archaeology that we have. This is a perfect research book for a novelist, wanting to bring the time period to life. I found that I couldn’t put the book down, once I’d started reading it.

The King in the North

By Max Adams,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The King in the North as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A triumph - a Game of Thrones in the Dark Ages' TOM HOLLAND.

The magisterial biography of Oswald Whiteblade, exiled prince of Northumbria, who returned in blood and glory to reclaim his birthright.

A charismatic leader, a warrior whose prowess in battle earned him the epithet Whiteblade, an exiled prince who returned to claim his birthright, the inspiration for Tolkein's Aragorn.

Oswald of Northumbria was the first great English monarch, yet today this legendary figure is all but forgotten. In this panoramic portrait of Dark Age Britain, archaeologist and biographer Max Adams returns the king in the North to his…


The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles

By Anne Savage,

Book cover of The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles

This book covers the entirety of the history of the Anglo-Saxons in their own words. Like Bede’s History, it suffers from bias, depending on the scribe writing each section and what kingdom they inhabited, but it is a fascinating year-by-year account of the rise and fall of kings and clergy, and of the battles and natural phenomena faced by the people of early medieval Britain.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles

By Anne Savage,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The authentic voices of England, from the time of Julius Caesar to the coronation of Henry 2nd.


The Anglo-Saxon World

By M.J. Ryan, Nicholas J. Higham,

Book cover of The Anglo-Saxon World

The Anglo-Saxon World is the best introductory survey for students of Anglo-Saxon history. Experts in their field, the authors flesh out the traditional narrative account with insights from archaeology, numismatics, and DNA analysis. The book is splendidly enriched by almost three hundred colour photographs, tables, maps, and diagrams, while box-out sections in each chapter delve into interesting topics or debates. The authors also outline the historiography for readers who want to know how scholarly understanding of the period has developed.

The Anglo-Saxon World

By M.J. Ryan, Nicholas J. Higham,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Anglo-Saxon World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Anglo-Saxon period, stretching from the fifth to the late eleventh century, begins with the Roman retreat from the Western world and ends with the Norman takeover of England. Between these epochal events, many of the contours and patterns of English life that would endure for the next millennium were shaped. In this authoritative work, N. J. Higham and M. J. Ryan reexamine Anglo-Saxon England in the light of new research in disciplines as wide ranging as historical genetics, paleobotany, archaeology, literary studies, art history, and numismatics. The result is the definitive introduction to the Anglo-Saxon world, enhanced with a…


Britain After Rome

By Robin Fleming,

Book cover of Britain After Rome: The Fall and Rise, 400 to 1070

Britain After Rome is the best account of what it was like to live in Britain in the centuries before the Norman Conquest. Vividly recreating ordinary people’s lived experiences, Fleming mines the archaeological and material record to illuminate the non-political changes that transformed Roman Britain into the Britain of 1066. While plenty of books focus on the activities of kings and bishops in those centuries, Fleming’s engaging and erudite survey tells the history of everyone.

Britain After Rome

By Robin Fleming,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The enormous hoard of beautiful gold military objects found in a field in Staffordshire has focused huge attention on the mysterious world of 7th and 8th century Britain. Clearly the product of a sophisticated, wealthy, highly militarized society, the objects beg innumerable questions about how we are to understand the people who once walked across the same landscape we inhabit, who are our ancestors and yet left such a slight record of their presence.

Britain after Rome brings together a wealth of research and imaginative engagement to bring us as close as we can hope to get to the tumultuous…


The Shining Company

By Rosemary Sutcliff,

Book cover of The Shining Company

Sutcliff’s characters and stories are always believable—and show her amazing gift to always make her research invisible to the reader. All her works feed from actual history. She weaves a fragment or story from the past into a rich tapestry of the human experience and makes history live again. This tale shows her skills perfectly. Sutcliff uses as her source Y Gododdin, a period poem, to frame the construction of this coming-of-age story. Sutcliff takes the torch of the poem’s attempt to keep alive the memory of men who fought and died in a sixth-century British battle, comparable to that of the Battle of Thermopylae, to relight it through the eyes of Prosper, Sutcliff imagined British shield bearer. A witness to and one of the few to survive this unwinnable battle, Prosper sings a tale of The Shining Company who sacrificed their lives so others could live.

The Shining Company

By Rosemary Sutcliff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'I saw riders with black eyesockets in glimmering mail where their faces should have been, grey wolfskins catching a bloom of light from the mist and the moon; a shining company indeed, not quite mortal-seeming.' Many years after King Arthur defeated the Saxons, the tribes of Britain are again threatened by invaders. Prosper and his loyal bondsman, Conn, answer the call of King Mynydogg to join a highly skilled army - the Shining Company. Led by the gallant Prince Gorthyrn, the company embark on a perilous but glorious campaign. An epic tale of battles and bravery from the acclaimed historical…


Aethelstan

By Sarah Foot,

Book cover of Aethelstan: The First King of England

Aethelstan is an engrossing account of king Aethelstan, lauded as the first crowned king of ‘England,’ something his father, and more importantly, his grandfather, King Alfred, was unable to lay claim to. It’s a thorough examination of all that’s known about Aethelstan during his reign. It’s rare to get a book dedicated to any one single king before the reign of Æthelred II, who was Aethelstan’s great, great-nephew, and reigned thirty years later. The work shows just how much can be gleaned about historical figures during this period by experts in the field, who know how to unpick all the complicated details and present them to readers in an engaging format.

Aethelstan

By Sarah Foot,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"AEthelstan was perhaps the most important king of tenth-century England, but we know very little about him, and he has no modern biography. Sarah Foot triumphantly fills this gap, and adds to the richness of our understanding of the period in a way that few others have managed."-Chris Wickham, author of The Inheritance Of Rome

The powerful and innovative King AEthelstan reigned only briefly (924-939), yet his achievements during those eventful fifteen years changed the course of English history. He won spectacular military victories (most notably at Brunanburh), forged unprecedented political connections across Europe, and succeeded in creating the first…


By Force Alone

By Lavie Tidhar,

Book cover of By Force Alone

A brutal re-telling of the King Arthur legend, this novel reimagines the familiar story, retaining the feeling of weird magic, while pulling no punches about the characters. Arthur is a thug, Guinevere is no better, Merlin is a frustrated sprite beset by his female counterparts, and Britain is best described as a “clogged sewer that Rome abandoned just as soon as it could.”

The first of a five-book planned series to tell the story of the Matter of Britain, this is a ruthless and dark take that grabbed me from the beginning. I’ve always loved history, even a warped version like this. It left me eager for more and set me tracking down what else this author had written. I was not disappointed.

By Force Alone

By Lavie Tidhar,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

There is a legend...

Britannia, AD 535

The Romans have gone. While their libraries smoulder, roads decay and cities crumble, men with swords pick over civilisation's carcass, slaughtering and being slaughtered in turn.

This is the story of just such a man. Like the others, he had a sword. He slew until slain. Unlike the others, we remember him. We remember King Arthur.

This is the story of a land neither green nor pleasant. An eldritch isle of deep forest and dark fell haunted by swaithes, boggarts and tod-lowries, Robin-Goodfellows and Jenny Greenteeths, and predators of rarer appetite yet.

This…


Wolf of Wessex

By Matthew Harffy,

Book cover of Wolf of Wessex

Mathew Harffy has a lot going for him in the historical fiction world. His fight scenes are not overly technical and are easy to follow. They have just the right amount of blood and gore to make you believe the characters are really in danger but are not simply gratuitous violence. What I really love about this book is his voice when he writes descriptions of the forest and the people who live in it. I grew up in the woods of a small town in Canada, and I know how the forest can be a peaceful, tranquil setting one moment and then suddenly transform into a place of shadows and dread. Judging by the cover of this book, I think Harffy knows this as well.

Wolf of Wessex

By Matthew Harffy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Harffy's Dunston is a fantastic creation - old, creaking and misanthropic. The forest is beautifully evoked. A treat of a book' The Times.

AD 838. Deep in the forests of Wessex, Dunston's solitary existence is shattered when he stumbles on a mutilated corpse.

Accused of the murder, Dunston must clear his name and keep the dead man's daughter alive in the face of savage pursuers desperate to prevent a terrible secret from being revealed.

Rushing headlong through Wessex, Dunston will need to use all the skills of survival garnered from a lifetime in the wilderness. And if he has any…


Building Anglo-Saxon England

By John Blair,

Book cover of Building Anglo-Saxon England

Blair approaches the history of these centuries by dividing mainland Britain into environmental and cultural zones. In doing so, he highlights the role of geography, geology, infrastructure, trade and even rainfall in determining trends of settlement, social cohesion, and material culture. Blair examines how landscapes were created – the evolution of villages, towns, and religious complexes – while exploring the relationship between centres of power and the satellite hubs around them. The book is richly served by colour images, artists’ reconstructions, maps, and diagrams. Comparisons to Scandinavia (where early timber structures survive) help bring the houses and surroundings of the Anglo-Saxons vividly to life.

Building Anglo-Saxon England

By John Blair,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Building Anglo-Saxon England as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize
A radical rethinking of the Anglo-Saxon world that draws on the latest archaeological discoveries

This beautifully illustrated book draws on the latest archaeological discoveries to present a radical reappraisal of the Anglo-Saxon built environment and its inhabitants. John Blair, one of the world's leading experts on this transformative era in England's early history, explains the origins of towns, manor houses, and castles in a completely new way, and sheds new light on the important functions of buildings and settlements in shaping people's lives during the age of the Venerable Bede and King Alfred.

Building…


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