100 books like Company of Liars

By Karen Maitland,

Here are 100 books that Company of Liars fans have personally recommended if you like Company of Liars. 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 The Coffin Path

S.P. Oldham Author Of Wakeful Children: A Collection of Horror and Supernatural Tales

From my list on creepy British ghost stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in South Wales, where ghost stories are cherished. As a child, I spent many a winter evening telling spooky tales with my mum and my sisters, sitting before the fire. We would record them on tape (I am that old) complete with homemade sound effects, then play them back to listen to. I loved the combined fear and excitement these stories instilled in me. My father also loved to read horror and scary fiction, which had some influence on what I chose to read as I grew older. For someone who always loved to write, I think publishing in this genre is simply a natural extension of all that.

S.P.'s book list on creepy British ghost stories

S.P. Oldham Why did S.P. love this book?

First of all, the title. Intriguing, original, enigmatic. That is what first drew me to this book. I had to find out more about it.

This book is much more in the style of traditional ghost stories, which I love. A spooky, desolate setting in an old house with a long history. I love the build-up of suspense, the remote location adding to the sense of isolation and helplessness, everything cold, chilly. 

The ghostly happenings, whilst perhaps not original, are very well done, which is just fine with me. Traditional ghost stories are meant to have certain elements that are standard, just as fantasy stories must have certain magical aspects. As far as ghost stories are concerned, as long as they make the hair on the back of my neck stand on end, I’m happy. This book does that extremely well, I thought. Absolutely dripping with spooky atmosphere.

By Katherine Clements,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

**Longlisted for the HWA Gold Crown**

An eerie and compelling ghost story set on the dark wilds of the Yorkshire moors. For fans of The Witchfinder's Sister and The Silent Companions, this gothic tale will weave its way into your imagination and chill you to the bone.

'Spine-tingling... the scariest ghost story I have read in a long time' Barbara Erskine

'A wonderful, macabre evocation of a lost way of life' The Times

'Like something from Emily Bronte's nightmares' Andrew Taylor, author of The Ashes of London

Maybe you've heard tales about Scarcross Hall, the house on the old coffin…


Book cover of The Woman in Black

Catherine Cavendish Author Of The After-Death of Caroline Rand

From my list on transporting you to a haunted house.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m Catherine Cavendish – writer of Gothic and ghostly horror stories. I lived in a haunted house. It didn’t scare me because our ghost seemed to go out of her way to make us welcome. Elsewhere in the building was a different matter. This was occupied by a social club and in one room in particular, an entity targeted lone females, taking delight in poking and shoving them. Since we left there, I wonder about our friendly ghost. Does she continue to watch over her old home? As for the malevolent spirit – one encounter was quite enough for me! My experiences left me fascinated by the power of buildings to absorb its ghosts.

Catherine's book list on transporting you to a haunted house

Catherine Cavendish Why did Catherine love this book?

Eel Marsh House. The name itself sets you up for something dark, sinister, cold, lonely, and hide-under-the-bedcovers scary.

The way Susan Hill handles her brand of horror has always fascinated and grabbed me. She sets her Gothic and ghostly stories – which are mostly novella length – in an indeterminate timeline which has been called ‘Hill-time’ and this all adds to the mystery and ethereal darkness.

The Woman in Black is her most famous (writing in this genre) and has all the ingredients you want. An isolated house with such a macabre back story it’s no wonder it is so deeply haunted, a desolate fog-ridden landscape, the hapless and grieving solicitor who stays there in order to sort out the legal affairs of the late owner.

Add all this to the tragic legend that has the locals fearful and wary and it’s classic stuff – but no less gripping when…

By Susan Hill,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Woman in Black as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

The classic ghost story from the author of The Mist in the Mirror: a chilling tale about a menacing spectre haunting a small English town.
 
Arthur Kipps is an up-and-coming London solicitor who is sent to Crythin Gifford—a faraway town in the windswept salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway—to attend the funeral and settle the affairs of a client, Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House. Mrs. Drablow’s house stands at the end of the causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but Kipps is unaware of the tragic secrets that lie hidden behind its sheltered windows. The routine business trip…


Book cover of The Secret of Crickley Hall

Mark Drotos Author Of The Haunting of Crimshaw Manor

From my list on books that will give you chills and thrills.

Why am I passionate about this?

While attending college, I lived in a haunted house. This was before all the ghost-hunting shows and YouTube, so I didn’t know what I was seeing at night. During the year and a half of these experiences, I saw two distinct shadow figures and had other people living in the front of the house, as well as my roommate, confirm they, too, had seen and heard things that were unexplainable. This began my interest in the paranormal. After graduation, I became a law enforcement officer and have been a Police Detective for the last 21 years. I have explored haunted locations and seen spirits and other unexplainable things.  

Mark's book list on books that will give you chills and thrills

Mark Drotos Why did Mark love this book?

A family tragedy leads a young family to seek an old home in a peaceful seaside village in the UK. There is a reason the house is vacant… it’s haunted. I was chilled reading this book. James Herbert is a master of suspense and does a great job of tying past events to the present. 

I enjoyed how the spirits of the past interacted with the current homeowners. It was scary and believable!

By James Herbert,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Secret of Crickley Hall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Caleighs have had a terrible year... They need time and space, while they await the news they dread. Gabe has brought his wife, Eve, and daughters, Loren and Cally, down to Devon, to the peaceful seaside village of Hollow Bay. He can work and Eve and the kids can have some peace and quiet and perhaps they can try, as a family, to come to terms with what's happened to them...

Crickley Hall is an unusually large house on the outskirts of the village at the bottom of Devil's Cleave, a massive tree-lined gorge - the stuff of local…


Book cover of The Winter Ghosts

S.P. Oldham Author Of Wakeful Children: A Collection of Horror and Supernatural Tales

From my list on creepy British ghost stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in South Wales, where ghost stories are cherished. As a child, I spent many a winter evening telling spooky tales with my mum and my sisters, sitting before the fire. We would record them on tape (I am that old) complete with homemade sound effects, then play them back to listen to. I loved the combined fear and excitement these stories instilled in me. My father also loved to read horror and scary fiction, which had some influence on what I chose to read as I grew older. For someone who always loved to write, I think publishing in this genre is simply a natural extension of all that.

S.P.'s book list on creepy British ghost stories

S.P. Oldham Why did S.P. love this book?

This is another ghost story told in the traditional vein. However, it is not set within the bounds of some old building but in an entire mountain village, populated by more than one ghost.

I think this is a gentle, rather beautiful read. The cold surroundings are depicted so well, it is easy to envisage them in your own mind. We begin to get to the heart of the story when Freddie crashes his car one snowy night. Circumstances mean he has no choice but to accept the hospitality of an elderly couple and spend the night under their roof. While staying with them, the tragic, ancient history of the place begins to show itself to Freddie, drawing him irrevocably into its story.

Yes, it is somewhat predictable, but I find that almost comforting. There may not be any huge surprises or great reveals, yet the way in which the…

By Kate Mosse,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Sepulchre and Labyrinth-a compelling story of love, ghosts and remembrance.

 

World War I robbed England and France of an entire generation of friends, lovers and futures. In Freddie Watson's case, the battlefields took his beloved brother and, at times, his peace of mind. In the winter of 1928, still seeking some kind of resolution, Freddie is travelling through the beautiful but forbidding French Pyrenees. During a snowstorm, his car spins off the mountain road. Freezing and dazed, he stumbles through the woods, emerging in a tiny village, where he finds an inn…


Book cover of The Years of Rice and Salt

Tom Doyle Author Of Olympian Games: Agent of Exiles 2

From my list on alternate/secret histories that blew my mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love history, and it infuses most of my fiction. Since I first picked up a book, I’ve never stopped learning about the past. Now, I listen to college courses and podcasts and read books both popular and academic. Sometimes this is for my writing or personal travel, but those things are often just excuses for the fun of immersion in a subject. I particularly enjoy reading and writing alternate/secret history because it merges creative imagination with factual scholarship. But I’m picky about the use of history in all media—factual sloppiness bumps me out of a story as quickly as bad physics drives a scientist from an SF movie. 

Tom's book list on alternate/secret histories that blew my mind

Tom Doyle Why did Tom love this book?

Robinson’s book is alternate history on the boldest scale, covering hundreds of years after a very dramatic change indeed: around the year 1400, 99% of Europeans have been killed by a double whammy of plagues, leaving the rest of the world’s story to go on without them.

Such a saga in other hands might be too far removed from the human, character-driven level to be enjoyable, but Robinson has a clever solution to that problem—reincarnation. The main characters are reborn again and again, for the most part lacking memories of their past lives, but identifiable by the initial letter/sound of their names (e.g., there’s a “K” character).

An emotionally moving view of humans struggling to meet the challenges of their times to build a better world. 

By Kim Stanley Robinson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With the incomparable vision and breathtaking detail that brought his now-classic Marstrilogy to vivid life, bestselling author KIM STANLEY ROBINSON boldly imagines an alternate history of the last seven hundred years. In his grandest work yet, the acclaimed storyteller constructs a world vastly different from the one we know....

The Years of Rice and Salt

It is the fourteenth century and one of the most apocalyptic events in human history is set to occur–the coming of the Black Death. History teaches us that a third of Europe’s population was destroyed. But what if? What if the plague killed 99 percent…


Book cover of World Without End

E.L. Daniel Author Of All the Gold in Abbotsford

From my list on where the damsel is not always the one in distress.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a strong, independent woman (*snaps fingers through the air*), yet I adore a soul-sucking romance. Many might think this is a contradiction, but it’s not! A woman can be both loving and stubborn…both enamored by her partner yet still strong enough to speak up for herself. Sadly, I think historical fiction often defaults to portraying dependent and subjugated women, and this isn’t necessarily wrong—in fact, it’s probably more accurate. However, when I’m getting lost in the magic of a novel, I want to experience the all-consuming love without sacrificing the resiliency and independence of the women involved, and these books spin stories where both outcomes are possible!

E.L.'s book list on where the damsel is not always the one in distress

E.L. Daniel Why did E.L. love this book?

There is so much going on in this book in terms of plot, drama, and relationships, but why I especially love it is because Caris, one of the protagonists, breaks the mold of the typical powerless medieval woman. When the Black Plague comes to Kingsbridge, Caris is the only one who uses observation and common sense to realize that the disease spreads by contact. In a world that revolves around religion and superstition, this doesn’t go over well. Though forced to sacrifice the love of her life, and put on trial as a witch, Caris sticks to her guns and enacts the medical policies she knows will save lives. Eventually, she gains the townspeople’s trust, ultimately ascending into a position of power within the town. Get it, girl!

By Ken Follett,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked World Without End as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

On the day after Halloween, in the year 1327, four children slip away from the cathedral city of Kingsbridge. They are a thief, a bully, a boy genius and a girl who wants to be a doctor. In the forest they see two men killed. As adults, their lives will be braided together by ambition, love, greed and revenge. They will see prosperity and famine, plague and war. One boy will travel the world but come home in the end; the other will be a powerful, corrupt nobleman. One girl will defy the might of the medieval church; the other…


Book cover of Between Two Fires

Richard Swan Author Of The Tyranny of Faith

From my list on mentor/apprentice relationships.

Why am I passionate about this?

As writers, one of the things that most commonly unites us is how quickly we are able to point to our favourite teacher from school—almost always our literature teacher. These people instilled in us a love of reading, and encouraged us to explore and hone the craft of writing. I’m always drawn to, and fascinated by, the idea of how certain individuals can impact our lives, this butterfly effect of personal connection. Sometimes these relationships can have very complex dynamics; other times these mentors won’t even know the impact they have had on us. In this list, I have selected five works that I have read recently and which I think examine these relationships masterfully.

Richard's book list on mentor/apprentice relationships

Richard Swan Why did Richard love this book?

One of the most masterfully-wrought novels I’ve had the pleasure to read.

Here we follow a bitter, veteran knight, Thomas, wounded at the Battle of Crecy and divested of his landholdings, as he leaves behind a life of brigandage in order to deliver a young oddball girl to Avignon.

All the while France descends into chaos, not just because of the bubonic plague, but because the forces of heaven and hell are locked in a battle for the fate of humankind. Freighted with pathos and lyrical in its allegory, this is a novel that will both inspire and terrify you.

By Christopher Buehlman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Between Two Fires as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

His extraordinary debut, Those Across the River, was hailed as “genre-bending Southern horror” (California Literary Review), “graceful [and] horrific” (Patricia Briggs). Now Christopher Buehlman invites readers into an even darker age—one of temptation and corruption, of war in heaven, and of hell on earth… And Lucifer said: “Let us rise against Him now in all our numbers, and pull the walls of heaven down…” The year is 1348. Thomas, a disgraced knight, has found a young girl alone in a dead Norman village. An orphan of the Black Death, and an almost unnerving picture of innocence, she tells Thomas that…


Book cover of The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time

Juliana Cummings Author Of Medicine in the Middle Ages: Surviving the Times

From my list on for those with a fascination for filth and torture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been fascinated by the history of medicine, particularly the more macabre details. While researching my family lineage, I became especially interested in medieval medicine and the lives of English monarchs. I was honored to be asked to write a book on medicine in the middle ages, and I dove into the research head first. I have been lucky enough to write for several other publications, and I have self-published on Amazon. I enjoy writing historical fiction and my novel, Sleeping with the Impaler, was a book I truly enjoyed writing. I hope the books I recommended spark your interest as they will stay with me forever.

Juliana's book list on for those with a fascination for filth and torture

Juliana Cummings Why did Juliana love this book?

The Great Mortality was a key tool in my research for my book. John covered the Black Death in every country it devastated, such as England, Italy, and France. He touches on the effect the Black Death had on the church and the great lengths that were taken to protect the pope. He goes into morbid detail about the plague, and you get a real understanding of what these people went through. I can not recommend this book enough. 

By John Kelly,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Powerful, rich with details, moving, humane, and full of important lessons for an age when weapons of mass destruction are loose among us.” — Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb 

The Great Plague is one of the most compelling events in human history—even more so now, when the notion of plague has never loomed larger as a contemporary public concern.

The plague that devastated Asia and Europe in the 14th century has been of never-ending interest to both scholarly and general readers. Many books on the plague rely on statistics to tell the story:…


Book cover of Until Proven Safe: The History and Future of Quarantine

Jonathan Charteris-Black Author Of Metaphors of Coronavirus: Invisible Enemy or Zombie Apocalypse?

From my list on the human reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I founded Critical Metaphor Analysis, an approach that has become well known in English language studies. My books Corpus Approaches to Critical Metaphor Analysis, Politicians and Rhetoric: The persuasive power of metaphor, and Analysing Political Speeches have over 5,000 citations. I am also ranked first on Google Scholar on political rhetoric. I have always tried (though not always successfully) to write in an accessible style to reach out to audiences beyond academia. As well as lecturing, I assist in the training of Westminster speechwriters. I love languages and speak French, Spanish, Moroccan Arabic, and Malay with varying degrees of incompetence; I have rediscovered the pleasure of watercolour painting.

Jonathan's book list on the human reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic

Jonathan Charteris-Black Why did Jonathan love this book?

I found this a fascinating account of the origins and history of quarantine, stretching from medieval times right up to the Covid-19 pandemic, the authors take us on a tour of the many different forms that quarantine has taken in different parts of the world. Quarantine is about finding out what may be hidden within the body but this book reveals much about the different cultural and historical settings where quarantine has been employed. The book helped me understand why the responses to Covid-19 were so diverse in spite of the fact that governments were dealing with the same illness.

By Geoff Manaugh, Nicola Twilley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Manaugh and Twilley shed illuminating light on a phenomenon that seems utterly of the present moment.' Financial Times' Best Books of the Year

'Startlingly timely, authoritatively researched, and electrifyingly written.' Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

Quarantine has shaped our world, yet it remains both feared and misunderstood. It is our most powerful response to uncertainty, but it operates through an assumption of guilt: in quarantine, we are considered infectious until proven safe. An unusually poetic metaphor for moral and mythic ills, quarantine means waiting to see if something hidden inside of…


Book cover of In the Wake of the Plague: The Black Death and the World It Made

Bryn Barnard Author Of Outbreak! Plagues That Changed History

From my list on pandemics, parasites, and pathogens.

Why am I passionate about this?

We're all in this together: public health for all people, no matter their status or wealth, is one of humanity's great achievements. Favoring reason over faith, science over anecdote, and the group over the individual, has led to lowered infant mortality, improved health, and longer human lifespans. During pandemics, however, evidence and reason are often discarded, as people panic and try to save themselves. The odd human behavior we have seen during the Covid-19 pandemic has multiple precedents in the past. Quack cures, snake-oil sales, conspiracy theories, suspicion of authority, the emergence of cults with eccentric, bizarre, and inexplicable beliefs: again and again, this has been the human response to the unknown.

Bryn's book list on pandemics, parasites, and pathogens

Bryn Barnard Why did Bryn love this book?

Cantor’s book showed me that when a lethal pandemic arrives, it can change society in ways that make “returning to normal” impossible, because the conditions that made “normal” possible no longer exist. The Black Death - probably a bubonic plague pandemic - wiped out as much as half of China’s population, before traveling the silk road to Europe where, from 1347-1351, a third of the population died. The pandemic also suffocated the feudal order, created the conditions for capitalism, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment, breathed new life into art, and transformed the legal system. In effect, the pandemic plowed the seedbed for the modern Western world. Covid may be a similar epidemiological juggernaut, sweeping away human institutions that we know, leaving us a novel world that will be strange and different in ways we can’t yet imagine.

By Norman F. Cantor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestseller, In the Wake of the Plague is a fascinating study of the cultural and religious consequences of one of the deadliest tragedies to befall humanity: the black plague. Though rigorously scientific in his approach, Norman F. Cantor has produced an unforgettable narrative that in many ways employs the novelist’s skill for storytelling.

The Black Death was the fourteenth century’s equivalent of a nuclear war. It wiped out one-third of Europe’s population, and irrevocably changed the lives of those who survived. And yet, most of what we know about it is wrong. The details of the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Black Death, ghost story, and the transatlantic slave trade?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Black Death, ghost story, and the transatlantic slave trade.

The Black Death Explore 33 books about the Black Death
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The Transatlantic Slave Trade Explore 26 books about the transatlantic slave trade