100 books like Hannibal

By Ross Leckie,

Here are 100 books that Hannibal fans have personally recommended if you like Hannibal. 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 Julian

Christopher Harris Author Of Mappamundi

From my list on getting right inside the minds of historical people.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of the Byzantine Trilogy (in 4 parts). These books depict the difficult beginning, decadent apogee, and sad end of the Byzantine empire. I think it is important to make historical fiction vivid, to immerse the reader in a distant time and place, with all its sights, smells, sounds, and tastes, as experienced by someone who was really there. I am also interested in what people believed, and why. For that reason, my historical novels are all first-person narratives, stories told by the people who lived through them. Here are some of the fictional memoirs that inspired me to start writing.

Christopher's book list on getting right inside the minds of historical people

Christopher Harris Why did Christopher love this book?

The short reign of Julian the Apostate is one of the “what ifs” of history. Raised as a Christian, Julian was a secret pagan. When he unexpectedly became emperor, he reversed the privileges of the Church and promoted his own Neo-Platonist cult, intending to restore paganism. Even though we know how things really turned out, it is fascinating to speculate about what might have happened if he had succeeded. 

Gore Vidal has filled this novel with war, politics, sex, religion, heresy, and philosophy. I have tried to follow his example (though I have been more sympathetic to eunuchs than he was).

By Gore Vidal,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Gore Vidal's fictional recreation of the Roman Empire teetering on the crux of Christianity and ruled by an emperor who was an inveterate dabbler in arcane hocus-pocus, a prig, a bigot, and a dazzling and brilliant leader.


Book cover of Aztec

Andrew Hudgins Author Of After the Lost War: A Narrative

From my list on historical novels that I love to recommend.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with historical novels as a kid somewhere between reading Johnny Tremain and Ben and Me (from the point of view of a mouse living in Ben Franklin’s hat) in elementary school and Mika Waltari’s The Roman and The Egyptian and Lew Wallace’s Ben-Hur in junior high. And that love led me to write After the Lost War, a historical novel in verse based on the life of the poet Sidney Lanier, who served in the confederate army in the civil war, survived to start a family and died from tuberculous he contracted as a prisoner of war.

Andrew's book list on historical novels that I love to recommend

Andrew Hudgins Why did Andrew love this book?

Mixtli, an elderly Aztec lord captured by the Spanish, is reluctantly questioned by a Catholic bishop charged with reporting to the king of Spain about the customs and mores of his new unwilling subjects. The bishop is repulsed and appalled by the violent history and, to his mind, sexual looseness of the Aztecs while blind to the violent depredations of the conquistadors who protect him. But the story that outrages the bishop is for the reader a spectacular tragic saga of the end of the Aztec empire from the point of view of the conquered and a telling of what was lost.

By Gary Jennings,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Gary Jennings's Aztec is the extraordinary story of the last and greatest native civilization of North America.

Told in the words of one of the most robust and memorable characters in modern fiction, Mixtli-Dark Cloud, Aztec reveals the very depths of Aztec civilization from the peak and feather-banner splendor of the Aztec Capital of Tenochtitlan to the arrival of Hernán Cortás and his conquistadores, and their destruction of the Aztec empire. The story of Mixtli is the story of the Aztecs themselves---a compelling, epic tale of heroic dignity and a colossal civilization's rise and fall.


Book cover of The Long Ships

Daniel Ben-Horin Author Of Substantial Justice

From my list on funny international classics you (may) have not heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

Humor is based on surprise and the ‘foreign’ is often surprising. As I traveled all over the world for work, I searched out local authors and found myself laughing. It started with At Swim Two Birds and has never stopped.

Daniel's book list on funny international classics you (may) have not heard of

Daniel Ben-Horin Why did Daniel love this book?

I remember buying The Long Ships about twenty years ago on Potrero Hill in San Francisco. Generally speaking, 1950s Swedish novels about Vikings are not my thing, but there was an absolutely over-the-top introduction from Michael Chabon.…'best novel ever’ kind of stuff…so I bought it.

Since then, I have recommended it to dozens of people, almost all of whom have, often to their surprise, loved it and recommended it to others. My favorite recommendation was to a pal whose daughter absconded with it and was reading it on a parapet in southern Spain when a guy came by and asked her what she was reading. She showed him the book, he perused it gravely, and then tore out the frontispiece and used it to roll a joint. This is a very satisfying book in every way.

Don’t get it confused with the derivative Norwegian comedy series, Norsemen. The Long Ships…

By Frans G. Bengtsson, Michael Meyer,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Long Ships as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This saga brings alive the world of the 10th century AD when the Vikings raided the coasts of England.

Acclaimed as one of the best historical novels ever written, this engaging saga of Viking adventure in 10th century northern Europe has a very appealing young hero, Orm Tostesson, whose story we follow from inexperienced youth to adventurous old age, through slavery and adventure to a royal marriage and the search for great treasure. Viking expeditions take him to lands as far apart as England, Moorish Spain, Gaardarike (the country that was to become Russia), and the long road to Miklagard.…


Book cover of Circe

Judith Lindbergh Author Of Akmaral

From my list on historical fiction with eponymous titles.

Why am I passionate about this?

When we authors name our characters, we gift them with meaning—a single word that somehow encompasses everything they will experience on the page. The name of my heroine, Akmaral, hails from Kazakhstan and means “white deer.” It resounds with the sound of hooves on the ancient Central Asian steppes and the deep connection to the natural world of the nomadic people who once lived there. Names bear unconscious expectations—hopes for strength and wisdom, dreams of triumph, beauty, and love. I hope that someday, hearing “Akmaral” will bring to mind vast, windswept steppes and a strong woman on horseback, head held high, contemplating her journey from warrior to leader.

Judith's book list on historical fiction with eponymous titles

Judith Lindbergh Why did Judith love this book?

It doesn’t hurt to be a goddess—even a minor goddess—that is, unless you are condemned to live alone on an enchanted island for eternity. I love the magic and herbology woven into Circe's character. (I love anything that has to do with harnessing nature’s powerful, innate wisdom.)

Circe’s suffering at the hands of gods and men is as intense as if she were a human woman. Yet she is immortal. Is there no end to it? Thankfully, even a goddess can grow. 

By Madeline Miller,

Why should I read it?

36 authors picked Circe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The international Number One bestseller from the author of The Song of Achilles, shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction

Woman. Witch. Myth. Mortal. Outcast. Lover. Destroyer. Survivor. CIRCE.

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. Circe is a strange child - not powerful and terrible, like her father, nor gorgeous and mercenary like her mother. Scorned and rejected, Circe grows up in the shadows, at home in neither the world of gods or mortals. But Circe has a dark power of her own: witchcraft. When her gift threatens…


Book cover of Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization

Eve MacDonald Author Of Hannibal: A Hellenistic Life

From my list on Carthage and Hannibal in the Ancient Mediterranean.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an archaeologist and ancient historian, originally from Canada but living in London in the UK. I teach and write and excavate the ancient world and have worked both in the Mediterranean in Italy and North Africa and in the ancient near east, in Iran, and in Oman. I try to understand how the ancient world worked, both the history and the material culture, and how much it impacts us still today. Hannibal was such a crucial figure in this world just as it was forming, and he was from Africa, was Carthaginian, and we have lost so much knowledge of him and his culture.  

Eve's book list on Carthage and Hannibal in the Ancient Mediterranean

Eve MacDonald Why did Eve love this book?

A great read that will take you through the whole story of Carthage from its Phoenician beginnings to the destruction by Rome and beyond. Context and details on the whole story of Hannibal and also the history of one of the most important cities from the Ancient Mediterranean.

By Richard Miles,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Carthage Must Be Destroyed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first full-scale history of Hannibal's Carthage in decades and "a convincing and enthralling narrative." (The Economist )

Drawing on a wealth of new research, archaeologist, historian, and master storyteller Richard Miles resurrects the civilization that ancient Rome struggled so mightily to expunge. This monumental work charts the entirety of Carthage's history, from its origins among the Phoenician settlements of Lebanon to its apotheosis as a Mediterranean empire whose epic land-and-sea clash with Rome made a legend of Hannibal and shaped the course of Western history. Carthage Must Be Destroyed reintroduces readers to the ancient glory of a lost people…


Book cover of Project Hannibal

Douglas Phillips Author Of Quantum Space

From my list on hard science fiction published this century.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a scientist, I love hard science fiction, especially when the story makes me think about the true nature of reality or takes me on an adventure to places unknown. We’ve all read the classics from Clarke, Heinlein, Bear, or Asimov. But books written decades ago are becoming increasingly dated as society progresses into a new century. (Will people of the future really chain smoke? And why are all the characters men?) Never fear, modern hard sci-fi is alive and well. Here are five recent books that tell an intriguing, uplifting, or awe-inspiring story. Even better than the classics, it’s hard sci-fi for the 21st century!

Douglas' book list on hard science fiction published this century

Douglas Phillips Why did Douglas love this book?

Kathryn is the best sci-fi author you haven’t read. How do I know? I was her critique buddy. We traded chapters as we wrote, each acting as advisor to the other.

I really liked Monkey Girl, a great choice for teen girls. But Project Hannibal is my favorite. Kathryn works at a zoo, so she knows a lot about animals. In Hannibal, she asks, could DNA from extinct woolly mammoths be used to impregnate a modern elephant? And if you could produce mammoth offspring, why do it?

As it turns out, mammoths might be exactly the wildlife our neglected planet needs. Join a flying doctor and her teenage assistant in a grand adventure across the wilderness of Alaska.

By Kathryn Hoff,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Hannibal: Rome's Greatest Enemy

Yakov Ben-Haim Author Of The Dilemmas of Wonderland: Decisions in the Age of Innovation

From my list on making decisions when you don’t know what’s going on.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired university professor. My research, in which I am still actively engaged, deals with decision-making under deep uncertainty: how to make a decision, or design a project, or plan an operation when major relevant factors are unknown or highly uncertain. I developed a decision theory called info-gap theory that grapples with this challenge, and is applied around the world in many fields, including engineering design, economics, medicine, national security, biological conservation, and more.

Yakov's book list on making decisions when you don’t know what’s going on

Yakov Ben-Haim Why did Yakov love this book?

This is a very readable account of Hannibal and his exploits, though it’s perhaps a somewhat idealized, romantic, and heroic portrayal of the man. Nonetheless it’s a great read.

The book follows Hannibal’s many military exploits in Carthage, Sicily, Spain, and many more, up to Cannae, Rome, and his ultimate fall from power and exile.

One sees the continual tension between three factors: Hannibal’s military genius in making military decisions despite deep uncertainty about his own capabilities and about the adversary's intentions, the military genius of his opponents, and the ruthless hand of uncertainty in human history. Hannibal’s life illustrates all three factors.

By Philip Freeman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Telling the story of a man who stood against the overwhelming power of the mighty Roman empire, Hannibal is the biography of a man who, against all odds, dared to change the course of history.

Over two thousand years ago one of the greatest military leaders in history almost destroyed Rome. Hannibal, a daring African general from the city of Carthage, led an army of warriors and battle elephants over the snowy Alps to invade the very heart of Rome's growing empire. But what kind of person would dare to face the most relentless imperial power of the ancient world?…


Book cover of Hannibal's Dynasty: Power and Politics in the Western Mediterranean, 247-183 BC

Eve MacDonald Author Of Hannibal: A Hellenistic Life

From my list on Carthage and Hannibal in the Ancient Mediterranean.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an archaeologist and ancient historian, originally from Canada but living in London in the UK. I teach and write and excavate the ancient world and have worked both in the Mediterranean in Italy and North Africa and in the ancient near east, in Iran, and in Oman. I try to understand how the ancient world worked, both the history and the material culture, and how much it impacts us still today. Hannibal was such a crucial figure in this world just as it was forming, and he was from Africa, was Carthaginian, and we have lost so much knowledge of him and his culture.  

Eve's book list on Carthage and Hannibal in the Ancient Mediterranean

Eve MacDonald Why did Eve love this book?

Here is a book that takes the family of Hannibal, the Barcids, as they were known and looks at their role in the formation of the western Mediterranean in the 3rd century BCE. This is an accessible and well-written deep dive into the identity and ideas behind the family that created Hannibal by one of the best-known scholars of the topic. 

By Dexter Hoyos,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Accessible and enlightening, Hannibal's Dynasty provides the full story of Carthage's achievement, going beyond the usual focus on Hannibal and military matters alone to look at a wide range of political and diplomatic issues too.

Dexter Hoyos shows how the aristocratic Barcid family won dominance in the free republic of Carthage, and how they exploited family connections to lead Carthage to greatness at home and abroad.

For students of Hannibal, his dynasty and his legacy - this is the book to read.


Book cover of Hannibal

Christopher Calvin Author Of Pendant of God

From my list on that were adapted into worse movies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up a child of the movies, open to watching anything at least once and countlessly rewatching the movies I loved. When not in front of a television, I was instead in front of a book, playing the words of the page out in my imagination. Now I write thrillers of multiple varieties (action, techno, paranormal, etc.), still visualizing words as movies playing out in my mind. Over the years, I’ve seen the quality of novel adaptations grow (e.g., Harry Potter, The Martian, etc.), and yet these staples of my youth have always stuck with me as lost opportunities to deliver a superior work to the general movie-watching audience.

Christopher's book list on that were adapted into worse movies

Christopher Calvin Why did Christopher love this book?

On one hand, this sequel to the amazing The Silence of the Lambs might have been doomed from the start, given the pedigree it was expected to live up to. On the other hand, taken as its own work, Hannibal is an interesting, disturbing, and highly engrossing horror thriller.

The ending was extremely controversial, so much so that it was changed for the 2001 movie adaptation. Regardless of how one feels about each ending, however, one thing is certain: the book was the superior version of the tale.

Ridley Scott is an amazing director, but he was the wrong choice for this story, and it led to the overall feel of the movie, as well as the altered ending, not living up to the feel of other entries in the series. Keep an open mind, and the book will please.

By Thomas Harris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

_________________________
HANNIBAL LECTER HAS BEEN ON THE RUN FOR SEVEN YEARS.

And seven years after he helped FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling bring down Buffalo Bill, her career is collapsing after a disastrous drug bust.

Meanwhile, seven years after violently escaping from custody, Hannibal Lecter is hunted by Mason Verger, a psychopathic former client obsessed with feeding him to wild boars.

With the one-time partners at a low ebb, Hannibal is the one to reach out to Clarice, who has been plagued by dreams of his rasping voice.

It has been seven years since they both came to realise they…


Book cover of Cannae: The Experience of Battle in the Second Punic War

Eve MacDonald Author Of Hannibal: A Hellenistic Life

From my list on Carthage and Hannibal in the Ancient Mediterranean.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an archaeologist and ancient historian, originally from Canada but living in London in the UK. I teach and write and excavate the ancient world and have worked both in the Mediterranean in Italy and North Africa and in the ancient near east, in Iran, and in Oman. I try to understand how the ancient world worked, both the history and the material culture, and how much it impacts us still today. Hannibal was such a crucial figure in this world just as it was forming, and he was from Africa, was Carthaginian, and we have lost so much knowledge of him and his culture.  

Eve's book list on Carthage and Hannibal in the Ancient Mediterranean

Eve MacDonald Why did Eve love this book?

The Battle of Cannae is one of the most famous of the ancient world. This is such an amazing read – it is helpful to understand and get background for Hannibal and the battle of Cannae itself, what it might have felt like to be in it. Also, the whole context of the key battle of the Second Punic War is deeply researched and perfect if you want more about these key factors.  

By Gregory Daly,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On a hot and dusty summer's day in 216 BC, the forces of the Carthaginian general Hannibal faced the Roman army in a dramatic encounter at Cannae. Massively outnumbered, the Carthaginians nevertheless won an astonishing victory - one that left more than 50,000 men dead.
Gregory Daly's enthralling study considers the reasons that led the two armies to the field of battle, and why each followed the course that they did when they got there. It explores in detail the composition of the armies, and the tactics and leadership methods of the opposing generals. Finally, by focusing on the experiences…


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