100 books like Hadrian's Wall

By Brian Dobson, David J Breeze,

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

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Garrison Life at Vindolanda

Douglas Jackson Author Of Hero of Rome

From my list on Hadrian’s Wall and the soldiers who manned it.

Who am I?

Douglas Jackson is the author of eleven historical novels, including the 9-book Valerius Verrens series, which involves his Hero of Rome in conspiracies, battles, and intrigues from the Boudiccan rebellion in 60AD to the battle of Mons Graupius in 84AD. His next book, appropriately titled The Wall, will be published in 2022. His first job when he left school at sixteen was helping to restore one of Julius Agricola’s marching camps in the Cheviot Hills. The Romans have fascinated him ever since, to the point where he's managed to make a living out of writing about them. With Hadrian’s Wall almost on his doorstep, there was never any doubt he'd set a book there.

Douglas' book list on Hadrian’s Wall and the soldiers who manned it

Douglas Jackson Why did Douglas love this book?

No list of the best books about Hadrian’s Wall would be complete without Anthony Birley’s hugely insightful and endlessly absorbing book about the Roman fort at Vindolanda, even if Vindolanda, a fort on the Stanegate, is not, in reality, part of Hadrian’s Wall at all. For Vindolanda is the only place in what was the Roman Empire that we actually get to meet the auxiliary soldiers who made up much of the Roman army, and the ordinary people with whom they interacted. Listen very carefully, and you can even hear them speak. The keys that open the door to their lives are the world-acclaimed Vindolanda Tablets, small slivers of alder or birch 15cm x10, which were used to send letters or messages. These tiny time capsules have opened up the lives and given us the names of several hundred of the Batavian and Tungrian soldiers who garrisoned Vindolanda, and introduced…

By Anthony Birley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Garrison Life at Vindolanda as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The ink writing-tablets, first indentified at Roman Vindolanda, just south of Hadrian's Wall, in 1973, revealed a hitherto unknown papyrus-substitute, thin leaves of wood for day-to-day book-keeping and letters. Dating mostly from the years AD 90-125 (Hadrian's Wall was begun in 122), these unique tablets represent the largest collection of original Roman letters ever found. The book paints a detailed picture of two Roman auxilary regiments, the 9th Cohort of Batavians and the 1st Cohort of Tungrians. Among the 400 named officers and personnel, the Batavian prefect Flavius Cerialis features prominently, together with his wife Sulpicia Lepidina, who received the…


Book cover of The Wall: Rome's Greatest Frontier

Douglas Jackson Author Of Hero of Rome

From my list on Hadrian’s Wall and the soldiers who manned it.

Who am I?

Douglas Jackson is the author of eleven historical novels, including the 9-book Valerius Verrens series, which involves his Hero of Rome in conspiracies, battles, and intrigues from the Boudiccan rebellion in 60AD to the battle of Mons Graupius in 84AD. His next book, appropriately titled The Wall, will be published in 2022. His first job when he left school at sixteen was helping to restore one of Julius Agricola’s marching camps in the Cheviot Hills. The Romans have fascinated him ever since, to the point where he's managed to make a living out of writing about them. With Hadrian’s Wall almost on his doorstep, there was never any doubt he'd set a book there.

Douglas' book list on Hadrian’s Wall and the soldiers who manned it

Douglas Jackson Why did Douglas love this book?

A non-fiction book with the same title as my novel, well why not? Alistair Moffat is an old friend and fellow Borderer who grew up not so far north of Hadrian’s Wall and has an abiding passion for history, language and place. What I love about The Wall is the way it manages to encompass the grand theme of the Romans in Britain and at the same time shine a spotlight on the fascinating minutiae of life in those ancient times. Thus we learn about the games the Roman soldiers played, the food they consumed and the building techniques they used to construct the Wall. Fair enough, you say, but … where else would we discover that the historian Suetonius, whose Life of the Twelve Caesars helped inform several of my earlier novels, was sacked by the Emperor Hadrian. That WH Auden wrote a poem called ‘Roman Wall Blues’. Or…

By Alistair Moffat,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hadrian's Wall is the largest, most spectacular and one of the most enigmatic historical monument in Britain. Nothing else approaches its vast scale: a land wall running 73 miles from east to west and a sea wall stretching at least 26 miles down the Cumbrian coast. Many of its forts are as large as Britain's most formidable medieval castles, and the wide ditch dug to the south of the Wall, the vallum, is larger than any surviving prehistoric earthwork. Built in a ten-year period by more than 30,000 soldiers and labourers at the behest of an extraordinary emperor, the Wall…


Book cover of An Archaeological Guide to Walking Hadrian's Wall from Bowness-on-Solway to Wallsend

Douglas Jackson Author Of Hero of Rome

From my list on Hadrian’s Wall and the soldiers who manned it.

Who am I?

Douglas Jackson is the author of eleven historical novels, including the 9-book Valerius Verrens series, which involves his Hero of Rome in conspiracies, battles, and intrigues from the Boudiccan rebellion in 60AD to the battle of Mons Graupius in 84AD. His next book, appropriately titled The Wall, will be published in 2022. His first job when he left school at sixteen was helping to restore one of Julius Agricola’s marching camps in the Cheviot Hills. The Romans have fascinated him ever since, to the point where he's managed to make a living out of writing about them. With Hadrian’s Wall almost on his doorstep, there was never any doubt he'd set a book there.

Douglas' book list on Hadrian’s Wall and the soldiers who manned it

Douglas Jackson Why did Douglas love this book?

The only way to see Hadrian’s Wall properly is to visit it on foot. Only then can you experience it as the Roman soldiers who garrisoned it between 122AD and 410AD experienced it, especially when the freezing hail comes howling in from the north. If Breeze and Dobson have written the definitive book on Hadrian’s Wall, Mike Bishop, who has walked, cycled, driven and flown along the Wall, is undoubtedly the font of all knowledge, immersed in every detail. Backed by a lifetime of archaeological experience, this guide allows you to see the monument through his eyes, with a host of historical and physical detail that most people miss. It follows the Hadrian’s Wall Trail, which Mike was involved in from the start, but where the path deviates from the Wall, this account stays with it, allowing the reader to experience and examine remains most other walkers don’t. I was…

By M.C. Bishop,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An Archaeological Guide to Walking Hadrian's Wall from Bowness-on-Solway to Wallsend as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is an informative (yet informal) description of the route of Hadrian's Wall and all the remains that can still be seen. For most of the route from east to west, it follows the Hadrian's Wall National Trail Footpath, but with an important difference: where the path veers off the line of the Wall, this account stays with it and allows you to examine the remains most other walkers do not see (and most other guidebooks do not describe). Profusely illustrated with more than 100 photographs and plans, it is the perfect archaeological companion to your walk along Hadrian's Wall,…


Book cover of Hadrian's Wall

Douglas Jackson Author Of Hero of Rome

From my list on Hadrian’s Wall and the soldiers who manned it.

Who am I?

Douglas Jackson is the author of eleven historical novels, including the 9-book Valerius Verrens series, which involves his Hero of Rome in conspiracies, battles, and intrigues from the Boudiccan rebellion in 60AD to the battle of Mons Graupius in 84AD. His next book, appropriately titled The Wall, will be published in 2022. His first job when he left school at sixteen was helping to restore one of Julius Agricola’s marching camps in the Cheviot Hills. The Romans have fascinated him ever since, to the point where he's managed to make a living out of writing about them. With Hadrian’s Wall almost on his doorstep, there was never any doubt he'd set a book there.

Douglas' book list on Hadrian’s Wall and the soldiers who manned it

Douglas Jackson Why did Douglas love this book?

Last, but certainly not least, the iconic landmark captured through the lens of a master. Despite the sub-title to my previous book, Mike Bishop’s preferred route along Hadrian’s Wall is from west to east, with the prevailing wind at his back. Derry Brabbs obviously agrees, because this beautifully illustrated book takes us from the Solway Coast to Wallsend in a series of stunning photographs that capture the Wall in the kind of breathtaking detail that perfectly illustrates why Brabbs is one of the UK’s most highly regarded photographers. It’s not just about the amazing vistas and moody landscapes, there is a very readable narrative, but it’s the photographs that will draw you back time and time again.

By Derry Brabbs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hadrian's Wall has been designated a World Heritage Site since 1987 and in 2005 was also incorporated into a wider UNESCO category - the Frontiers of the Roman Empire.

It is also the basis for an 84 mile National Trail.



The book will cover not only the full length of Hadrian's Wall from the Solway Firth to Wallsend on Tyneside, but also other places of historical, landscape or architectural merit to the north and south of the actual Wall itself.



Chapter One Background and History

Chapter Two The Solway Coast

Chapter Three Carlisle to Birdoswald

Chapter Four Birdoswald to Cawfields…


Book cover of Hadrian's Wall: Creating Division

Simon Elliott Author Of Roman Britain's Missing Legion: What Really Happened to IX Hispana?

From my list on Roman Britain.

Who am I?

Dr. Simon Elliott is an award-winning and best-selling historian, archaeologist, author, broadcaster, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Kent, Trustee of the Council for British Archaeology, Ambassador for Museum of London Archaeology, Guide Lecturer for Andante Travels, and President of the Society of Ancients. He frequently appears on broadcast and social media as a presenter and expert regarding the ancient world, and currently has 12 books on sale on similar themes, with three more due later this year. He is also a PR Week award-winning, highly experienced communications practitioner who has advised a wide variety of clients at a senior level on their interaction with the world of the media and politics. 

Simon's book list on Roman Britain

Simon Elliott Why did Simon love this book?

The northern border of Roman Britain came to define much of the occupation in the province, given the far north of the main island of Britain was never fully conquered. This meant the north and west of the province featured an exceptionally large military presence, with the whole local economy there bent on maintaining it. By far the most enigmatic manifestation of this is Hadrian’s Wall, the physical northern frontier for much of the Roman period. In this brand new work, featuring much new research, Matthew Symonds of Current Publishing goes into great detail about the history of the fortification, its purpose, and the impact it has had on British history following Rome’s departure. 

By Matthew Symonds,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Over its venerable history, Hadrian's Wall has had an undeniable influence in shaping the British landscape, both literally and figuratively. Once thought to be a soft border, recent research has implicated it in the collapse of a farming civilisation centuries in the making, and in fuelling an insurgency characterised by violent upheaval. Examining the everyday impact of the Wall over the three centuries it was in operation, Matthew Symonds sheds new light on its underexplored human story by discussing how the evidence speaks of a hard border scything through a previously open landscape and bringing dramatic change in its wake.…


Book cover of Wounds of Honour

Duncan Lay Author Of Bridge of Swords

From my list on rampaging Romans bathed in barbarian blood.

Who am I?

I have a fascination for Roman history, having been born in the UK, and visiting Hadrian’s Wall. I have read many, many works of both history and historical fiction about Rome. To me, these five are the most memorable. Obviously the story has to be fantastic but it's important to be accurate. The opening battle in Gladiator annoyed me because the Romans never broke lines to fight man to man with barbarians. The concept of the Celts living among the rubble of the Empire, of being surrounded by things they cannot understand helped inspire my Empire Of Bones series. I even have a gladius sword and use it to inspire my own battle scenes. 

Duncan's book list on rampaging Romans bathed in barbarian blood

Duncan Lay Why did Duncan love this book?

High-born Marcus Aquila finds himself on Hadrian’s Wall in a lowly auxiliary cohort after his family angers the mad Emperor Commodus. He arrives just in time for a tribal rebellion and finds himself up to his neck in crazed berserkers. The action is fast, the battles incredible. Be careful as you turn the page, because you might just slip in all the entrails. The series loses steam around book 7 but the first three are stunning.

By Anthony Riches,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Marcus Valerius Aquila has scarcely landed in Britannia when he has to run for his life - condemned to dishonorable death by power-crazed Emperor Commodus. The plan is to take a new name, serve in an obscure regiment on Hadrian's Wall and lie low until he can hope for justice. Then a rebel army sweeps down from the wastes north of the Wall, and Marcus has to prove he's hard enough to lead a century in the front line of a brutal, violent war.


Book cover of Vindolanda

Duncan Lay Author Of Bridge of Swords

From my list on rampaging Romans bathed in barbarian blood.

Who am I?

I have a fascination for Roman history, having been born in the UK, and visiting Hadrian’s Wall. I have read many, many works of both history and historical fiction about Rome. To me, these five are the most memorable. Obviously the story has to be fantastic but it's important to be accurate. The opening battle in Gladiator annoyed me because the Romans never broke lines to fight man to man with barbarians. The concept of the Celts living among the rubble of the Empire, of being surrounded by things they cannot understand helped inspire my Empire Of Bones series. I even have a gladius sword and use it to inspire my own battle scenes. 

Duncan's book list on rampaging Romans bathed in barbarian blood

Duncan Lay Why did Duncan love this book?

Flavius Ferox is kind of like a Roman sheriff looking after tribal lands in northern England. What looks like a simple raid soon turns into something much more. Ferox is a fantastic character and there’s some subtle humour in with the bloodshed. The start of an excellent trilogy, this gets you in from the start.

Yes, technically Flavius Ferox isn't a Roman as he was born a Silurian (a very warlike tribe of Wales) but he fights for the Romans and he has no problems at all in being bathed in barbarian blood at the end of a battle. That makes him a more than worthy addition to this list.

By Adrian Goldsworthy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Gripping, authentic novel set in Roman Britain from bestselling historian, Adrian Goldsworthy.

AD 98: VINDOLANDA.
A FORT ON THE EDGE OF THE ROMAN WORLD.

The bustling army base at Vindolanda lies on the northern frontier of Britannia and the entire Roman world. In just over twenty years time, the Emperor Hadrian will build his famous wall. But for now defences are weak as tribes rebel against Rome, and local druids preach the fiery destruction of the invaders.

It falls to Flavius Ferox, Briton and Roman centurion, to keep the peace. But it will take more than just a soldier's courage…


Book cover of Terra Incognita

Lisa E. Betz Author Of Fountains and Secrets

From my list on historical mystery series with a touch of humor.

Who am I?

I enjoy authors who craft twisty mystery plots with vivid historical settings filled with memorable characters. I enjoy them even more when they make me laugh out loud. When I read for pleasure, I don’t want books filled with gritty realism or tragic stories. I want a bit of fun, but my dry sense of humor is left wanting by many novels purported to be funny. I often find their main characters either annoyingly frivolous or painfully cynical. Give me intelligent characters, stories filled with hope, and an occasional one-liner that tickles my funny bone. I hope this list has introduced you to authors who do just that.

Lisa's book list on historical mystery series with a touch of humor

Lisa E. Betz Why did Lisa love this book?

An unlikely pair fight crime and corruption in second-century Britain. 

Meet Ruso and Tilla. He’s an educated, idealistic Roman serving as an army medic with the 20th Legion. She’s a feisty, pragmatic Briton and former slave. Together they fight injustice, solve murders, and share an endearing talent for getting themselves into awkward pickles by misconstruing each other’s intentions. 

In Terra Incognito, Ruso travels to the British frontier, where he is the outsider and Tilla the one who understands the rules. Can a tough Roman soldier learn to take advice from his barbarian housekeeper? Can he trust her not to betray him or run away to rejoin her people? Tilla proves trustworthy, and a great crime-fighting partnership is formed.

By Ruth Downie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It is spring in the year of 118, and Hadrian has been Emperor of Rome for less than a year. After getting involved with the murders of local prostitutes in the town of Deva, Doctor Gaius Petreius Ruso needs to get out of town, so has volunteered for a posting with the Army on the volatile border where the Roman-controlled half of Britannia meets the independent tribes of the North. Not only is he going to the hinterlands of the hinterlands, but it his slave Tilla's homeland and she has some scores to settle there. Soon they find that Tilla's…


Book cover of Roman Woman: Everyday Life in Hadrian's Britain

Amanda Cockrell Author Of Shadow of the Eagle

From my list on life in the Roman Empire.

Who am I?

As Damion Hunter, I have written six novels set in the first and second centuries of the Roman Empire, for which I have done extensive research. My picks are all books that I have found most useful and accessible for the writer who wants to ground her fiction in accurate detail and for the reader who just wants to know the little stuff, which is always more interesting than the big stuff.

Amanda's book list on life in the Roman Empire

Amanda Cockrell Why did Amanda love this book?

This follows a British woman who has married a Roman army veteran through a year in Britain during the reign of Hadrian. It is filled with tons of accurate detail about every aspect of daily life. It is written as a novel but because the author is a scholar of Roman British history and archaeology, you can count on her accuracy in a way that I ordinarily don’t rely on with novels.

By Lindsay Allason-Jones,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Roman Britain is vividly portrayed in this fascinating and authentically detailed story about a year in the life of an ordinary woman and her family.

The year is AD 133. Hadrian is Emperor of Rome and all its vast empire, including Britannia. The greater part of that island has long been under imperial rule and the Roman legions control most of the land, quelling uprisings and building new forts and towns. Around the fortress of Eboracum (now known as York), a bustling garrison settlement is developing, while along the north-west frontier of Hadrian's empire, the legions are completing the construction…


Book cover of The Ivy Tree

Muna Shehadi Author Of The First Wife

From my list on knocking you off your ass-umptions.

Who am I?

People either love or hate surprises, but in a book, done well, they’re always welcome—whether we race to the last page to find them or they hip-check us along the way. I started my career writing comedy romance—comfort reads but with few surprises. Now in my novels, I make sure to give readers plenty they don’t expect, whether it’s a character who isn’t what s/he seems, a contradictory situation gradually made clear, or a jaw-dropping twist. Pulling off a successful surprise is one of my favorite parts of writing—therefore my love of books that take me somewhere I didn't expect.

Muna's book list on knocking you off your ass-umptions

Muna Shehadi Why did Muna love this book?

This is the only book I reread regularly (life is short, so many titles!) because it is gobsmackingly brilliant. The story is about a woman visiting an English country town who’s mistaken for a former resident and convinced to take that person’s place. It’s beautifully written, with great characters, typically compelling plot, but the twist! I gasped out loud the first time and have never failed to get chills on every reread. You don’t see the surprise coming, and yet it is absolutely logical and perfect. I keep trying to find someplace where Stewart trips up or gives it away, and there’s nothing. I bow down.

By Mary Stewart,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Mary Stewart, one of the great British storytellers of the 20th century, transports her readers to rural Northumberland for this tale of romance, ambition, and deceit - a perfect fit for fans of Agatha Christie and Barbara Pym.

'There are few to equal Mary Stewart' Daily Telegraph

'Mary Stewart is magic.' New York Times

Whitescar is a beautiful old house and farm situated in Roman Wall country. It will make a rich inheritance for its heirs, but in order to secure it, they enlist the help of a young woman named Mary who bears remarkable resemblance to missing Whitescar heiress,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Hadrian's Wall, Emperor Hadrian, and Roman Britain?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Hadrian's Wall, Emperor Hadrian, and Roman Britain.

Hadrian's Wall Explore 11 books about Hadrian's Wall
Emperor Hadrian Explore 16 books about Emperor Hadrian
Roman Britain Explore 27 books about Roman Britain