100 books like Anglo-Saxon England

By Frank Stenton,

Here are 100 books that Anglo-Saxon England fans have personally recommended if you like Anglo-Saxon England. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of History of the English Church and People

Matthew Harffy Author Of A Time for Swords

From my list on the world of Anglo-Saxon Britain.

Who am I?

Matthew Harffy is the author of ten novels set in the early medieval world. His Bernicia Chronicles, follow the saga of Beobrand as he moves through the echelons of Anglo-Saxon society, fighting in many battles and dealing with the intrigues of the ever-increasingly powerful men and women with whom he mixes. Recently, with Wolf of Wessex and the A Time for the Swords series, Harffy has covered the early Viking Age with his usual eye for detail, historical realism and a gripping plot.

Matthew's book list on the world of Anglo-Saxon Britain

Matthew Harffy Why did Matthew love this book?

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.

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

Theresa Tomlinson Author Of A Swarming of Bees

From my list on throwing light into the Dark Ages.

Who am I?

I spent much of my childhood living close to Whitby Abbey and heard many stories of the famous Saint Hilda. As a mother of three, I began writing stories, initially to entertain my children, and eventually published many historical stories for children and young adults – twice shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. I moved back to the Whitby area in my 60s determined to write for an older age group and indulge my lifelong fascination for the Anglo-Saxon period. I took the half pagan Fridgyth character from my Young Adult adventure mystery – Wolfgirl - and developed her role as a warm, curious, flawed, investigator. I'm working on a third Fridgyth the Herbwife novel.

Theresa's book list on throwing light into the Dark Ages

Theresa Tomlinson Why did Theresa love this book?

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.

By Max Adams, 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…


Book cover of The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles

Matthew Harffy Author Of A Time for Swords

From my list on the world of Anglo-Saxon Britain.

Who am I?

Matthew Harffy is the author of ten novels set in the early medieval world. His Bernicia Chronicles, follow the saga of Beobrand as he moves through the echelons of Anglo-Saxon society, fighting in many battles and dealing with the intrigues of the ever-increasingly powerful men and women with whom he mixes. Recently, with Wolf of Wessex and the A Time for the Swords series, Harffy has covered the early Viking Age with his usual eye for detail, historical realism and a gripping plot.

Matthew's book list on the world of Anglo-Saxon Britain

Matthew Harffy Why did Matthew love this book?

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.

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.


Book cover of The Anglo-Saxon World

Tom Licence Author Of Edward the Confessor: Last of the Royal Blood

From my list on Anglo-Saxon England.

Who am I?

Tom Licence is Professor of Medieval History at the University of East Anglia and a former Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He teaches Anglo-Saxon History to undergraduates and postgraduates.

Tom's book list on Anglo-Saxon England

Tom Licence Why did Tom love this book?

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.

By M.J. Ryan, Nicholas J. Higham, 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…


Book cover of The Anglo-Saxons: A History of the Beginnings of England

Andrew Varga Author Of The Last Saxon King: A Jump in Time Novel

From my list on detailed, fun, and easy to read Anglo-Saxon history.

Who am I?

I’ve been a lifelong student of history. Even as a child I would devour history books or watch documentaries on TV telling tales of past wars of heroic battles. This passion eventually turned into a degree in History from the University of Toronto. I have also visited countless museums, castles, ruins, and historic sites throughout Europe and North America. My particular interest in Anglo-Saxon history came during my university years when I took some Old English language courses. Poems like the Battle of Maldon and Beowulf were my gateway to the rich tapestry of lives and events that made up the Anglo-Saxon era.

Andrew's book list on detailed, fun, and easy to read Anglo-Saxon history

Andrew Varga Why did Andrew love this book?

This book provides a grand tour of 600 years of English history in a light, entertaining way that kept me engrossed throughout.

Although it would be impossible to cover all Anglo-Saxon history in just one book, the author does a fantastic job of introducing the major people and events that defined and shaped this period of English history.

By Marc Morris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

'[A] clever, lively ... splendid new book'
DAN JONES, SUNDAY TIMES

'A big gold bar of delight'
SPECTATOR

Sixteen hundred years ago Britain left the Roman Empire and swiftly fell into ruin. Into this violent and unstable world came foreign invaders from across the sea, and established themselves as its new masters. In this sweeping and original history, renowned historian Marc Morris separates the truth from the legend and tells the extraordinary story of how the foundations of England were laid.

'Marc Morris is a genius of medieval narrative'
IAN MORTIMER, author of The Time Traveller's…


Book cover of By Force Alone

RJ Hore Author Of The Dark Lady

From my list on fantasy with a touch of darkness in its soul.

Who am I?

An avid reader, and a spec-fiction/fantasy reviewer for CM Canada online, I’ve wanted to tell stories for as long as I can remember. I write “pantser-style” and let the characters run loose, looking at their motivation to steer the tale, often starting with little more than an idea and, if lucky, a character or two. My love of history led me to writing mediaeval or historical fantasy, as my first group of published novels attest, but to avoid stagnation added science fiction and a fantasy detective series of novellas. To date have fourteen novels and three anthologies of my novellas published and have appeared on panels at several cons.

RJ's book list on fantasy with a touch of darkness in its soul

RJ Hore Why did RJ love this book?

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 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…


Book cover of The Anglo-Saxons

Andrew Varga Author Of The Last Saxon King: A Jump in Time Novel

From my list on detailed, fun, and easy to read Anglo-Saxon history.

Who am I?

I’ve been a lifelong student of history. Even as a child I would devour history books or watch documentaries on TV telling tales of past wars of heroic battles. This passion eventually turned into a degree in History from the University of Toronto. I have also visited countless museums, castles, ruins, and historic sites throughout Europe and North America. My particular interest in Anglo-Saxon history came during my university years when I took some Old English language courses. Poems like the Battle of Maldon and Beowulf were my gateway to the rich tapestry of lives and events that made up the Anglo-Saxon era.

Andrew's book list on detailed, fun, and easy to read Anglo-Saxon history

Andrew Varga Why did Andrew love this book?

By using a balance of primary sources and archaeological discoveries, this book provides a detailed overview of Anglo-Saxon history, presented in a very readable way.

But what truly makes this book stand out is the colour and black-and-white images that decorate almost every page. These images provide an intimate view of Anglo-Saxon life, art, and religion that mere words can never achieve. 

By James Campbell, Eric John (editor), Patrick Wormald (editor)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This survey, an introduction to the history of Anglo-Saxon England looks at political history, and religious, cultural, social, legal and economic themes are woven in. Throughout the book the authors make use of original sources such as chronicles, charters, manuscripts and coins, works of art, archaelogical remains and surviving buildings.The nature of power and kingship, role of wealth, rewards, conquest and blood-feud in the perennial struggle for power, structure of society, the development of Christianity and the relations between church and secular authority are discussed at length, while particular topics are explored in 19 "picture essays".


Book cover of Wolf of Wessex

J. K. Swift Author Of Acre

From my list on with realistic fight scenes.

Who am I?

I love a good fight scene! It doesn’t need to be long and gruesome, but it must be visceral and make me nervous for those involved. Don’t get me wrong, I also love a good first-kiss scene but unfortunately, my past has made me more adept at recognizing and writing one over the other. I started training in martial arts at the age of nine and continued for thirty years. I don’t train much these days but I took up bowmaking a few years back and now spend a lot of time carving English longbows and First Nations’ bows. I recently also took up Chinese archery.

J. K.'s book list on with realistic fight scenes

J. K. Swift Why did J. K. love this book?

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.

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…


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

Tom Licence Author Of Edward the Confessor: Last of the Royal Blood

From my list on Anglo-Saxon England.

Who am I?

Tom Licence is Professor of Medieval History at the University of East Anglia and a former Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He teaches Anglo-Saxon History to undergraduates and postgraduates.

Tom's book list on Anglo-Saxon England

Tom Licence Why did Tom love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of Essays in Anglo-Saxon History

Richard Shaw Author Of How, When and Why did Bede Write his Ecclesiastical History?

From my list on Bede and his Ecclesiastical History.

Who am I?

I am Professor of History at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Canada. Previously a journalist and a diplomat serving in the Middle East, since returning to academia I have published several books and a wide variety of academic articles – winning the 2014 Eusebius Essay Prize. My work is focused on source analysis and the use of sources to reconstruct the truth of the past – especially in the early Middle Ages: as a result, I have been able to discover the date of Augustine of Canterbury’s death; the underlying reasons behind the need to appoint Theodore of Tarsus as bishop; and the essential story of how Bede produced his Ecclesiastical History.

Richard's book list on Bede and his Ecclesiastical History

Richard Shaw Why did Richard love this book?

To my mind, James Campbell was the greatest commentator on early Anglo-Saxon England of the last sixty years.

He was my tutor at Oxford for a course on early Anglo-Saxon history and archaeology, and he inspired me to recognise just how much of the so-called “Dark Ages” can be brought to light via a combination of rigour in analysis and creativity in reconstruction.

Campbell’s seminal articles on Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, included in this edited collection, transformed Bedan studies and set out the path forward for the next generation of scholars, although much more remains to be done – particularly in connection with identifying Bede’s sources and unpacking the chronology of the composition of his History.

If you want to understand the conversion of Anglo-Saxon England, you need to understand Bede’s Ecclesiastical History; and if you want to understand Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, you have to understand Bede. The quest will…

By James Campbell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

James Campbell's work on the Anglo-Saxons is recognised as being some of the most original of recent writing on the period; it is brought together in this collection, which is both an important contribution to Anglo-Saxon studies in itself and also a pointer to the direction of future research.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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