100 books like Dissolution

By C.J. Sansom,

Here are 100 books that Dissolution fans have personally recommended if you like Dissolution. 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 On Wilder Seas: The Woman on the Golden Hind

G.J. Williams Author Of The Conjuror's Apprentice

From my list on tempestuous times and crimes of the Tudors.

Why am I passionate about this?

I studied the Tudor era in high school and have been hooked ever since. It was an era of enormous change. The world was opening up, science was advancing, religion was losing its grip over people, and new ideas were challenging every level of society. Discovery was everywhere–new planets, lands, theories, foods, and trading routes. Society was changing, and women were beginning to have a voice and education. It was also an era of characters–men and some women who made a mark on the world through their wit and wisdom–and some just by being rogues. There are no dull moments in Tudor times.

G.J.'s book list on tempestuous times and crimes of the Tudors

G.J. Williams Why did G.J. love this book?

In this book, you meet a rare person–a female heroine from the Tudor Times. Based on a true story about a woman aboard the Golden Hind, you are taken into the dark world of medieval ships and meet Maria.

As the book unfolded, I was moved to tears by her courage, strength, and ability to navigate a terrible world. I was inspired by her. 

By Nikki Marmery,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked On Wilder Seas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

April 1579: When two ships meet off the Pacific coast of New Spain, an enslaved woman seizes the chance to escape. But Maria has unwittingly joined Francis Drake’s circumnavigation voyage as he sets sail on a secret detour into the far north. Sailing into the unknown on the Golden Hind, a lone woman among 80 men, Maria will be tested to the very limits of her endurance. It will take all her wits to survive—and courage to cut the ties that bind her to Drake to pursue her own journey. How far will Maria go to be truly free? Inspired…


Book cover of Wolf Hall

Iris Mwanza Author Of The Lions' Den

From my list on immersed in another culture, country and time.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Zambia, a small, landlocked country where travel was prohibitively expensive, but through books, I could travel to any place and across time without ever leaving my bedroom. Now, I’m fortunate that I get to travel for work and leisure and have been to over thirty countries and counting. Before I go to a new country, I try to read historical fiction as a fun way to educate myself and better understand that country’s history, culture, food, and family life. I hope you also enjoy traveling worldwide and across time through this selection.

Iris' book list on immersed in another culture, country and time

Iris Mwanza Why did Iris love this book?

I was surprised by how much I loved this book about England in the 1500s. The story of Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII has been told and retold, but even when I thought I knew what was coming (it is history, after all), I didn’t!

I laughed, cried, and found myself rooting for Cromwell. Yes, Cromwell! Such is the power of Hilary Mantle; there is no better historical fiction writer.

By Hilary Mantel,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked Wolf Hall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Man Booker Prize Shortlisted for the the Orange Prize Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award

`Dizzyingly, dazzlingly good' Daily Mail

'Our most brilliant English writer' Guardian

England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey's clerk, and later his successor.

Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with…


Book cover of The Power and the Glory

Scott Turow Author Of Suspect

From my list on thrillers powered by an eccentric hero.

Why am I passionate about this?

The key to a great contemporary thriller—as opposed to older novels about say, Sherlock Holmes or James Bond—is that solving the mystery reveals something essential about the protagonist. In other words these are character investigations as well as whodunits, where the same action provides revelations in both arenas. It’s what I discovered I wanted to do, when I veered from “serious fiction” to the books I began to write, starting with Presumed Innocent.

Scott's book list on thrillers powered by an eccentric hero

Scott Turow Why did Scott love this book?

Set in Mexico in the 1930s when the revolutionary government engaged in an active campaign against the Catholic Church, Greene’s hero, the so-called Whiskey Priest, is a drunk who has also failed to adhere to his vow of chastity, but his kindness and commitment to worshippers make him an intensely sympathetic figure, as he is hunted by the local police chief determined to put him behind bars.

The book was a revelation to me when I first read it in college. I did not realize that the Mexican government had engaged in this war against the Church so recently. Nor did I realize that a novel so gripping could be told with such literary grace. 

By Graham Greene,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

During an anti-clerical purge in Mexico, a priest is hunted like a hare. Too human for heroism, too humble for martyrdom, the little worldly priest is nevertheless impelled towards his squalid Calvary as much by his own compassion for humanity as by the efforts of his pursuers.


Book cover of The Great Gatsby

Shobana Mahadevan Author Of A Marriage Knot: A Tangled Love Story

From my list on classical books that teach you about psychology.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started reading classical books at a very young age. Granted, I did not understand a lot of things then. Rereading the same books again after years made me realize that more than what the author was trying to convey, my maturity made a world of difference when reading a book. It was the same text but with entirely different contexts and perspectives. I love old books. Books that take me back a century or more. It gives me an insight into how people lived, thought, and felt back then. It helps me connect with people across centuries.

Shobana's book list on classical books that teach you about psychology

Shobana Mahadevan Why did Shobana love this book?

A book from the 1920s. The Jazz Age. This book will take you back to that age and time. A book about romance, class divide, and the ‘libertine.’

All the people you cheer for will die. And all the people who you don’t want to survive thrive! And yet, when you finish the book, the story will occupy your mind and heart for a long time. That is the impact of this book! 

By F. Scott Fitzgerald,

Why should I read it?

22 authors picked The Great Gatsby as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the summer unfolds, Nick is drawn into Gatsby's world of luxury cars, speedboats and extravagant parties. But the more he hears about Gatsby - even from what Gatsby himself tells him - the less he seems to believe. Did he really go to Oxford University? Was Gatsby a hero in the war? Did he once kill a man? Nick recalls how he comes to know Gatsby and how he also enters the world of his cousin Daisy and her wealthy husband Tom. Does their money make them any happier? Do the stories all connect? Shall we come to know…


Book cover of Killing Floor

Tina O’Hailey Author Of Dark Drink

From my list on unconventional, stubborn, loyal characters with explorer’s hearts.

Why am I passionate about this?

I chose my favorite books, and through careful psyche analysis, I see a theme in them: stubborn characters who persevere through miserable elements. I cave, hike, kayak, motorcycle, etc. A lot of it is not comfortable. It starts with having an explorer’s heart. It isn’t glamorous. It is 90% talking yourself into the fact that you can do something you at first don’t believe you can do. The similar-minded friends that one finds along the way are lifelong, and there’s a bond that forms from crazy people like this. That comes through in my writing – companionship against a backdrop of stubborn exploration in an indifferent environment.

Tina's book list on unconventional, stubborn, loyal characters with explorer’s hearts

Tina O’Hailey Why did Tina love this book?

Reacher is dedicated to his “family” 5000%. Nothing else matters. Nothing. He is an incredibly simple and driven character who cannot resonate with the world around him nor give a moment to care that he does not. He is. That is all. Family is his team and, in this case, one actual family member. All are on equal footing.

While most details from books fade from my memory, this book (read when it first came out and eons before the TV show) is etched into my memory completely. The characters, the places, the fights, the sights and smells. I fell for Reacher’s plight and his steadfast mission to prove his innocence. My favorite image is hobo Reacher sleeping wherever and thinking nothing strange in that.

By Lee Child,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Killing Floor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is a drifter. He's just passing through Margrave, Georgia, and in less than an hour, he's arrested for murder. Not much of a welcome. All Reacher knows is that he didn't kill anybody. At least not here. Not lately. But he doesn't stand a chance of convincing anyone. Not in Margrave, Georgia. Not a chance in hell.


Book cover of The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession

Theodore Irvin Silar Author Of Lady Grace's Revels: A Tale of Elizabethan England

From my list on fiction set in the 16th century.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a Ph.D. in English from Lehigh University, and I have taught English for 30 years. I have studied and taught Shakespeare, Tudor drama, English linguistics, the Reformation, and various other aspects in the literary and cultural history of the 16th century. The 16th century is a time of great upheaval and the more I study it, the more I am fascinated by how pivotal this epoch is in the creation of the modern world, for better and for worse. I seek out books that chart, from grandest to most intimate, this momentous time’s transformations.

Theodore's book list on fiction set in the 16th century

Theodore Irvin Silar Why did Theodore love this book?

Antiquarian Charlie Lovett’s The Bookman’s Tale is informed by his expertise. TBT is a paean to books, their production, archival, transmission, forgery. This book should appeal to readers who love books. The story of Peter, a present-day apprentice rare books dealer, alternates with that of Bartholomew Harbottle, a crooked Elizabethan book dealer, a friend of William Shakespeare. 

The book follows a Shakespearean document as it passes from hand to hand over time. At first, the document appears real. Then forged. Then partially forged. Then perhaps real. Then a perfect copy shows up. Which one is real? Which one is fake? Are both fake? Therein lies a tale.

By Charlie Lovett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bookman's Tale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A mysterious portrait ignites an antiquarian bookseller's search through time and the works of Shakespeare for his lost love. Charlie Lovett's new book, The Lost Book of the Grail, is now available.

Guaranteed to capture the hearts of everyone who truly loves books, The Bookman's Tale is a former bookseller's sparkling novel and a delightful exploration of one of literature's most tantalizing mysteries with echoes of Shadow of the Wind and A.S. Byatt's Possession.

Nine months after the death of his beloved wife Amanda left him shattered, Peter Byerly, a young antiquarian bookseller, relocates from North Carolina to the English…


Book cover of The Religion

Theodore Irvin Silar Author Of Lady Grace's Revels: A Tale of Elizabethan England

From my list on fiction set in the 16th century.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a Ph.D. in English from Lehigh University, and I have taught English for 30 years. I have studied and taught Shakespeare, Tudor drama, English linguistics, the Reformation, and various other aspects in the literary and cultural history of the 16th century. The 16th century is a time of great upheaval and the more I study it, the more I am fascinated by how pivotal this epoch is in the creation of the modern world, for better and for worse. I seek out books that chart, from grandest to most intimate, this momentous time’s transformations.

Theodore's book list on fiction set in the 16th century

Theodore Irvin Silar Why did Theodore love this book?

The Religion is a harrowing, jaw-dropping narrative I think everybody should read. That the 1565 Great Siege of Malta that stopped the Ottomans in the West is so unknown is unwarranted. Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent sends an army to conquer Malta, an island owned by the Knights Hospitaller, a Catholic military order.

Mattias Tannhauser, a former janissary, ends up fighting with the Maltese Knights, against former comrades, for a Hospitaller leader he must murder, while the Inquisition welcomes the Hospitallers’ downfall: a glorious mess of cross-purposes for those who like plot twists. The Religion delivers an overwhelming immersion in a momentous event described in colorful, dramatic prose.

By Tim Willocks,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Their god is War. And every god needs his Devil. THE RELIGION

Malta, 1565. The greatest war the world has ever seen is unleashed on the doomed island as the Turks do battle with the Knights. The Knights call themselves The Religion. The Turks call them the Hounds of Hell.

Back in Sicily, the beautiful, rich Carla pines for her bastard son, lost in the bloody inferno across the water.

Enter Mattias Tannhauser - warrior, hero and double agent. Under Carla's command, he embarks on a death-defying mission to save her son. But can he evade the Inquisition and escape…


Book cover of Q

Theodore Irvin Silar Author Of Lady Grace's Revels: A Tale of Elizabethan England

From my list on fiction set in the 16th century.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a Ph.D. in English from Lehigh University, and I have taught English for 30 years. I have studied and taught Shakespeare, Tudor drama, English linguistics, the Reformation, and various other aspects in the literary and cultural history of the 16th century. The 16th century is a time of great upheaval and the more I study it, the more I am fascinated by how pivotal this epoch is in the creation of the modern world, for better and for worse. I seek out books that chart, from grandest to most intimate, this momentous time’s transformations.

Theodore's book list on fiction set in the 16th century

Theodore Irvin Silar Why did Theodore love this book?

Q takes place in strife-ridden 1500s central Europe. At the center is an Anabaptist revolutionary, of many names, hunted by a Papal spy, Q. Identities mutate in Q. Thus, Q is an espionage novel, with disguises, code, counterfeiting. Commoners build egalitarian communities in Q. But rulers cannot tolerate egalitarianism. It might be catching. Thus, Q is also a war novel, with battles, skirmishes, narrow escapes. 

Is Q an allegory for modern revolution? The take-away seems to be, “Use the new technology and dissimulate.” A seems self-evident. But B? Would I even know, if they’re dissimulating? An idea-filled, engrossing, wide-ranging, tragi-comic read.

By Luther Blissett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1517, Martin Luther nails his ninety-five theses to the door of Wittenburg Cathedral, and a dance of death begins between a radical Anabaptist with many names and a loyal papal spy known mysteriously as "Q." In this brilliantly conceived literary thriller set in the chaos of the Reformation-an age devastated by wars of religion-a young theology student adopts the cause of heretics and the disinherited and finds himself pursued by a relentless papal informer and heretic hunter. What begins as a personal struggle to reveal each other's identity becomes a mission that can only end in death.


Book cover of Shakespeare's Dog: A Novel

Theodore Irvin Silar Author Of Lady Grace's Revels: A Tale of Elizabethan England

From my list on fiction set in the 16th century.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a Ph.D. in English from Lehigh University, and I have taught English for 30 years. I have studied and taught Shakespeare, Tudor drama, English linguistics, the Reformation, and various other aspects in the literary and cultural history of the 16th century. The 16th century is a time of great upheaval and the more I study it, the more I am fascinated by how pivotal this epoch is in the creation of the modern world, for better and for worse. I seek out books that chart, from grandest to most intimate, this momentous time’s transformations.

Theodore's book list on fiction set in the 16th century

Theodore Irvin Silar Why did Theodore love this book?

Shakespeare’s Dog is the craziest Shakespearean book I’ve ever read. Not only is the young Stratford Shakespeare’s tale told by his dog, Hooker ̶ the dog speaks a kind of faux-Shakespearean: full of Elizabethan-esque vocabulary and syntax, Anglo-Saxon bawdry, new-coined usages of common words (“the wind flummoxed”; “I knelled the truth”).  Moreover, Rooke must really know his dogs. Because the dog-viewpoint (a frustrated Shakespeare “bites his toenails”) seems right on the money. The struggle of a prodigy youth and his prodigy dog to escape the tawdry, shallow, raucous banality of provincial small-town life is told with vividness, wit, and pathos.

By Leon Rooke,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shakespeare's Dog as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Will Shakespeare's dog, named Hooker, reports on the young poet and playwright's tumultuous Stratford household and on his and his master's shared and growing desire to be away to London


Book cover of The Falcon's Flight

Tony Riches Author Of Owen

From my list on the Tudors.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born within sight of Pembroke Castle, the birthplace of Henry Tudor, who later became King Henry VII and began the Tudor Dynasty, so I’ve always had an interest in his story. I found several biographies, but no novels which brought the truth of his story to life. The idea for the Tudor Trilogy occurred to me when I realised Henry Tudor could be born in book one, ‘come of age’ in book two, and rule England as king in book three. Since then, I’ve continued to follow the Tudor ‘thread’ all the way from Owen Tudor’s first meeting with Catherine of Valois to the death of Queen Elizabeth I.

Tony's book list on the Tudors

Tony Riches Why did Tony love this book?

Evocative and atmospheric, the second book in Natalia Richards' series on the life of Anne Boleyn covers her time in France. Often skimmed over by historians, understandably keen to move on to the tragedy of Anne's later life, this immersive, first-person narrative places the reader firmly in Anne's shoes. I particularly enjoyed Natalia's description of the sights (and smells) of medieval Paris, and to find myself at The Field of Cloth of Gold, where King Henry VIII met King François I of France.

By Natalia Richards,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Falcon's Flight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Anne Boleyn's life is threatened, intrigue, gossip and treachery abound, and her destiny is finally revealed.

A young Anne Boleyn and her sister are sent to Paris to attend Mary Tudor, the new Queen of France. Unclear where her loyalties should lie, Anne soon makes an enemy of the queen. When the widowed Mary returns to England, Anne stays on in France to serve the new queen, Claude, but Anne's sister's actions put the girls' new court career at risk.

A dangerous love affair follows and Anne finds an unlikely ally in the French king's mistress.

But nothing ever goes…


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