100 books like Hero of Rome

By Douglas Jackson,

Here are 100 books that Hero of Rome fans have personally recommended if you like Hero of Rome. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ 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.

The Magus

By John Fowles,

Book cover of The Magus

Gregg Dunnett Author Of Little Ghosts: My sister's name was Layla. I know who killed her. She told me.

From the list on blurring the line between fantasy and reality.

Who am I?

I’m not an expert on very much. Certainly not the biggest questions of all, such as are we really here, and if not, what’s this all about? But I’ve always enjoyed books that touch upon these questions and find a way to connect them to our everyday reality (I find them easier than actual philosophy). If I am well placed to curate this list, that’s why. I hope it reminds you how we all grapple with these same universal questions. How we all share our doubts and face the same fears. How we’re all whittled away by the same relentless flow of time. 

Gregg's book list on blurring the line between fantasy and reality

Why did Gregg love this book?

A young man takes a job as an English teacher on a Greek island, and is quickly drawn into a bewildering mystery involving the island mythological roots, and an impossibly beautiful woman who seems to want him as much as he wants her.

This mix proved irresistible to me when I read it as a young man, teaching English abroad. The novel ultimately weaves a web of psychological intrigue so powerful there can be no answer to the riddles it sets. Which is perhaps why the ending blurs reality so that I still don’t really know the why for what happens.

It’s a credit to the strength of Fowle’s characters that I’d still pick this as my favourite ever read. If I had to pick just one.   

By John Fowles,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Magus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Magus is the story of Nicholas Urfe, a young Englishman who accepts a teaching assignment on a remote Greek island. There his friendship with a local millionaire evolves into a deadly game, one in which reality and fantasy are deliberately manipulated, and Nicholas must fight for his sanity and his very survival.

The Winter King

By Bernard Cornwell,

Book cover of The Winter King

David Z. Pyke Author Of Rescuing Crockett

From the list on elements of historical adventure fiction.

Who am I?

My passion for historical adventure and Texas history stems from my heritage: I’m a native Texan related to one of the Alamo defenders. My great-great-great-great-great-granduncle, Isaac Millsaps, was one of the Immortal 32, the reinforcements from Gonzales who answered William Barret Travis's call for help, rode to San Antonio, and died in the Alamo on March 6, 1836. My relationship with words began in elementary school, where I read Beowulf and Dracula by the time I was 10 years old (probably explains a lot about me). I began writing for newspapers in 1975 and have been writing professionally ever since.

David's book list on elements of historical adventure fiction

Why did David love this book?

I chose this because this is how historical adventure is done. Cornwell brilliantly creates authentic characters, setting, dialogue, plot, and conflict.

The Winter King is the first book of the Warlord Trilogy, which is the best retelling of the Arthur legend I’ve ever encountered, but this could be about any of his novels and series. He’s written about the Stone Age, the Dark Ages, Henry V, Alfred the Great, and the Napoleonic wars. He even took on Shakespeare with Fools and Mortals.

Cornwell’s battle sequences are the best in the business, his storylines are compelling, his characters are memorable, his pacing is perfect, and his worlds are immersive. Cornwell is the acknowledged master of the genre.

By Bernard Cornwell,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Winter King as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Uther, the High King of Britain, has died, leaving the infant Mordred as his only heir. His uncle, the loyal and gifted warlord Arthur, now rules as caretaker for a country which has fallen into chaos - threats emerge from within the British kingdoms while vicious Saxon armies stand ready to invade. As he struggles to unite Britain and hold back the Saxon enemy, Arthur is embroiled in a doomed romance with beautiful Guinevere.

Jane Eyre

By Charlotte Brontë,

Book cover of Jane Eyre

Deborah Kasdan Author Of Roll Back the World: A Sister's Memoir

From the list on startling encounters with mental illness.

Who am I?

When my older sister died, I felt a pressing need to tell her story. Rachel was a strong, courageous woman, who endured decades in a psychiatric system that failed her. She was a survivor, but the stigma of severe mental illness made her an outcast from most of society. Even so, her enduring passion for poetry inspired me to write about her. I sought out other people’s stories. I enrolled in workshops and therapy. I devoured books and blogs by survivors, advocates, and family members. Everything I read pointed to a troubling rift between the dominant medical model and more humane, less damaging ones. This list represents a slice of my learning.

Deborah's book list on startling encounters with mental illness

Why did Deborah love this book?

I first read this novel when I was ten. Pages had fallen out and even though I later found intact copies, I read it over and over to fill the gaps in my understanding.

How I loved the way Jane took charge of her fate with such intelligence, the way she captured Rochester’s heart without demeaning herself. But oh that madwoman she encountered in the attic. What did Jane make of Bertha, this “clothed hyena?”

Unlike Rochester, she didn’t blame Bertha for her violence. And while she understood Rochester’s dilemma she couldn’t agree to stay with him. In an intolerable situation, I learned, you can love a person and still leave them. Then Bertha dies in a fire she sets, allowing the couple to marry. But I never took that tacked-on ending very seriously.

By Charlotte Brontë,

Why should I read it?

29 authors picked Jane Eyre as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Introduction and Notes by Dr Sally Minogue, Canterbury Christ Church University College.

Jane Eyre ranks as one of the greatest and most perennially popular works of English fiction. Although the poor but plucky heroine is outwardly of plain appearance, she possesses an indomitable spirit, a sharp wit and great courage.

She is forced to battle against the exigencies of a cruel guardian, a harsh employer and a rigid social order. All of which circumscribe her life and position when she becomes governess to the daughter of the mysterious, sardonic and attractive Mr Rochester.

However, there is great kindness and warmth…

A Day of Fire

By Vicky Alvear Shecter, Kate Quinn, E. Knight, Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, Sophie Perinot

Book cover of A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii

Steven A. McKay Author Of The Druid

From the list on what you should read after Steven A. McKay's The Druid.

Who am I?

I was born in Scotland in 1977 and always enjoyed studying history – well, the interesting bits, not so much what they taught us in school. My first book in the Forest Lord series, Wolf’s Head, was set in medieval England and it’s a fast-paced, violent retelling of the Robin Hood legends. I’ve since sold over 130,000 books in the past few years. As a working class man from a little village in Scotland, I’m honestly amazed at how many people enjoy my writing.

Steven's book list on what you should read after Steven A. McKay's The Druid

Why did Steven love this book?

A collection of interlinked short stories about the volcanic destruction of Pompeii which works better than I thought it would. A lot better, as this is one of the most moving books I’ve ever read, bringing me to tears in places. Six authors, all looking at the doom of quite different characters, from gladiators to senators to a pregnant woman and more, you expect the whole thing to be utterly depressing but, somehow, it isn’t. I must admit I read this when I was in a very fragile state of mind having just suffered a terrible tragedy of my own, so it’s possible that affected my reading of A Day of Fire and how I responded to it, but I know it was extremely well written and I was so glad to have read it. I think you should too.

By Vicky Alvear Shecter, Kate Quinn, E. Knight, Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, Sophie Perinot

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens died in the chaos, some escaped the mountain's wrath . . . and these are their stories: A boy loses his innocence in Pompeii's flourishing streets. An heiress dreads her wedding day, not knowing it will be swallowed by fire. An ex-legionary stakes his entire future on a gladiator bout destined never to be finished. A crippled senator welcomes death, until…

Daily Life in Ancient Rome

By Jerome Carcopino,

Book cover of Daily Life in Ancient Rome: The People and the City at the Height of the Empire

Sheila Finch Author Of A Villa Far From Rome

From the list on Roman Britain and the Celts.

Who am I?

Sheila Finch is best known as a Nebula-winning author of science fiction, but on a visit back to her first alma mater in Chichester, UK, she encountered a mystery that wouldn’t let her go. Who built the nearby magnificent Roman palace that was just now being excavated at Fishbourne, and why? Months of research later, she came up with a possible explanation that involved a sixteen-year-old Roman mother, a middle-aged Celtic king of a small tribe, and Emperor Nero’s secret plans:

Sheila's book list on Roman Britain and the Celts

Why did Sheila love this book?

A historical novel has to do more than just re-tell a part of history. The author has the duty to make history come alive for the reader, even if fictionalized. That means details about daily life and customs, not just buildings and battles. This book was enormously helpful in describing everyday Roman life. What the Romans were eating and wearing in Rome, they probably also ate (as near as they could) and wore in their colonies. Here I found everything from going to the barber to going to the circus.

By Jerome Carcopino,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Daily Life in Ancient Rome as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This classic book brings to life imperial Rome as it was during the second century A.D., the time of Trajan and Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, and Commodus. It was a period marked by lavish displays of wealth, a dazzling cultural mix, and the advent of Christianity. The splendor and squalor of the city, the spectacles, and the day's routines are reconstructed from an immense fund of archaeological evidence and from vivid descriptions by ancient poets, satirists, letter-writers, and novelists-from Petronius to Pliny the Younger. In a new Introduction, the eminent classicist Mary Beard appraises the book's enduring-and sometimes surprising-influence and its…

Roman Britain

By Richard Hobbs, Ralph Jackson,

Book cover of Roman Britain

Ruth Downie Author Of Medicus

From the list on Roman Britain.

Who am I?

A family visit to Hadrian’s Wall first sparked my interest in Roman Britain, and since then I’ve written eight novels, one novella, and a couple of short stories featuring Roman Army Medic and reluctant sleuth Gaius Petreius Ruso and his British partner, Tilla. I’m the owner of an archaeological trowel and infinite curiosity, both of which I wield as often as possible in search of the “real” Roman Britain. 

Ruth's book list on Roman Britain

Why did Ruth love this book?

This is the British Museum’s take on Roman Britain and as you’d expect, there are gorgeous photos on every page. If you can drag your eyes away from the visual feast, the text is intelligent and informative and there are suggestions for further reading. Don’t just leave it adorning the coffee table – pick it up and discover a lost world!

By Richard Hobbs, Ralph Jackson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The British Museum's new introductory guide to Roman Britain combines an informative text with first-class design and is illustrated with plentiful artefacts from the museum's collections. Throughout the book the emphasis is on cultural interaction and change, showing the impact of the Roman presence, but also British survivals; the book starts, perhaps unusually for general guides of this kind, with a section on pre-Roman Britain, and ends with a chapter on Britons after Rome. In between we learn about the military, the new literate culture introduced by Rome, about the impact of Rome on the rural economy, and on life…

Britain After Rome

By Robin Fleming,

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 the 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

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…

The First Fossil Hunters

By Adrienne Mayor,

Book cover of The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Times

Stephen R. Wilk Author Of Medusa: Solving the Mystery of the Gorgon

From the list on the unexpected truths behind myths.

Who am I?

I’m a scientist, engineer, and writer who has written on a wide range of topics. I’ve been fascinated by mythology my entire life, and I spent over a decade gathering background material on the myth of Perseus and Medusa, and came away with a new angle on the origin and meaning of the myth and what inspired it. I was unable to present this in a brief letter or article, and so decided to turn my arguments into a book. The book is still in print, and has been cited numerous times by scholarly journals and books. It formed the basis for the History Channel series Clash of the Gods (in which I appear).

Stephen's book list on the unexpected truths behind myths

Why did Stephen love this book?

Adrienne Mayor, a historian of ancient science and folklorist at Princeton University, looks at classical myths that ultimately owe their inspiration to fossils found and interpreted by the Greeks and Romans.

Stories of Giants and Monsters grew up around the giant and mysterious fossil bones that resembled nothing they knew. In particular, she relates the image and stories of griffins to ceratopsian fossils, like those of Protoceratops and Psitticasaurus.

She also shows how dwarf elephant fossils may have inspired the myth of the Cyclops. An excellent read.

By Adrienne Mayor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Griffins, Cyclopes, Monsters, and Giants--these fabulous creatures of classical mythology continue to live in the modern imagination through the vivid accounts that have come down to us from the ancient Greeks and Romans. But what if these beings were more than merely fictions? What if monstrous creatures once roamed the earth in the very places where their legends first arose? This is the arresting and original thesis that Adrienne Mayor explores in The First Fossil Hunters. Through careful research and meticulous documentation, she convincingly shows that many of the giants and monsters of myth did have a basis in fact--in…

Hollywood's Ancient Worlds

By Jeffrey Richards,

Book cover of Hollywood's Ancient Worlds

Martin M. Winkler Author Of Arminius the Liberator: Myth and Ideology

From the list on ideological and popular uses of ancient Rome.

Who am I?

I am Professor of Classics at George Mason University. I learned about ancient Romans and Greeks in my native Germany, when I attended a humanist high school, possibly the oldest in the country. (It was founded during the reign of Charlemagne, as the eastern half of the Roman Empire was still flourishing.) My mother once informed me that I betrayed my passion for stories long before I could read because I enthusiastically used to tear pages out of books. In my teens I became fascinated with stories told in moving images. I have been a bibliophile and, em, cinemaniac ever since and have pursued both my obsessions in my publications.

Martin's book list on ideological and popular uses of ancient Rome

Why did Martin love this book?

Richards’ book broadens the perspective advanced here with a concise overview of American and British films and some American-European co-productions about ancient Greek, Roman, biblical, and other cultures.

Its main focus is on the 1950s and 1960s, when epic filmmaking reached its height with color and widescreen cinematography, giant sets, huge casts, stereophonic sound, extreme lengths, and ruinous costs.

Richards rides to the rescue of several less-than-stellar films but can be severe as well, e.g. about 300: “probably the most Fascistic film to come out in cinemas since the fall of the Third Reich.” (No argument here.)

A few inaccuracies concerning antiquity and cinematic details detract from the book’s value, but they are instructive, since errors can create new fictions from the fictions that films invariably create from history.

By Jeffrey Richards,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book offers a new, full analysis of the Ancient World epic and how this film genre continues to comment on modern-day issues.Few genres have been subject to such critical scorn as the Ancient World epic. Yet they have regularly achieved huge box office success. This book tells the history of the Ancient World epic from the silent screen successes of "Intolerance" and "The King of Kings" through the 'golden age of the epic' in the 1950s (Quo Vadis, Ben-Hur, Spartacus, Cleopatra etc) through to the 1990s revival with "Gladiator", its successors in cinema (Alexander, Troy, 300) and on television…

How to Stop a Conspiracy

By Sallust, Josiah Osgood (translator),

Book cover of How to Stop a Conspiracy: An Ancient Guide to Saving a Republic

Emily Katz Anhalt Author Of Embattled: How Ancient Greek Myths Empower Us to Resist Tyranny

From the list on why Ancient Greece and Rome matter today.

Who am I?

I first visited ancient Greece as an undergraduate. Homer and Plato seemed to speak directly to me, addressing my deepest questions. How do you live a good life? What should you admire? What should you avoid? Frustrated by English translations (each offers a different interpretation), I learned to read ancient Greek and then Latin. In college and then graduate school, I came to know Homer, Plato, Aeschylus, Cicero, Ovid, and many others in their own words. The ancient Greeks and Romans faced the same existential struggles and anxieties as we do. By precept, example, and counter-example, they remind me of humanity’s best tools: discernment, deliberation, empathy, generosity.

Emily's book list on why Ancient Greece and Rome matter today

Why did Emily love this book?

Osgood details the ancient version of a phenomenon we may recognize: a cold-blooded grift by a charismatic, lawless, leader transmuted into terrorism while posing as patriotism.

Detailing the violent conspiracy of L. Sergius Catilina (63 BCE), Osgood’s elegant translation of Sallust’s The War Against Catiline (c. 43 BCE) emphasizes the danger that political violence and intimidation pose to communal welfare and stability. The Romans never found the recipe for combining individual freedom with equality and political harmony. (Rome’s 450-year-old Republic ultimately devolved into civil war and autocracy.)

Sallust’s tale and Rome’s experience caution us against preserving inequities even as we seek to preserve the rule of law.

By Sallust, Josiah Osgood (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Stop a Conspiracy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An energetic new translation of an ancient Roman masterpiece about a failed coup led by a corrupt and charismatic politician

In 63 BC, frustrated by his failure to be elected leader of the Roman Republic, the aristocrat Catiline tried to topple its elected government. Backed by corrupt elites and poor, alienated Romans, he fled Rome while his associates plotted to burn the city and murder its leading politicians. The attempted coup culminated with the unmasking of the conspirators in the Senate, a stormy debate that led to their execution, and the defeat of Catiline and his legions in battle. In…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Rome, Boudica, and druids?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Rome, Boudica, and druids.

Rome Explore 307 books about Rome
Boudica Explore 6 books about Boudica
Druids Explore 27 books about druids