100 books like Peace-Weavers and Shield Maidens

By Kathleen Herbert,

Here are 100 books that Peace-Weavers and Shield Maidens fans have personally recommended if you like Peace-Weavers and Shield Maidens. 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 King in the North: The Life and Times of Oswald of Northumbria

Theresa Tomlinson Author Of A Swarming of Bees

From my list on throwing light into the Dark Ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent much of my childhood living close to Whitby Abbey and heard many stories of the famous Saint Hilda. As a mother of three, I began writing stories, initially to entertain my children, and eventually published many historical stories for children and young adults – twice shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. I moved back to the Whitby area in my 60s determined to write for an older age group and indulge my lifelong fascination for the Anglo-Saxon period. I took the half pagan Fridgyth character from my Young Adult adventure mystery – Wolfgirl - and developed her role as a warm, curious, flawed, investigator. I'm working on a third Fridgyth the Herbwife novel.

Theresa's book list on throwing light into the Dark Ages

Theresa Tomlinson Why did Theresa love this book?

Good research is so important to me and this is the historical study that I’d recommend to anyone who wants to know more about the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria. Max Adams has studied the period in detail, but his style of writing is easy to read and sometimes exciting, so much so that I almost felt that I was reading a novel. I love the way Max Adams suggests various possible scenarios, from the written evidence, studies, and archaeology that we have. This is a perfect research book for a novelist, wanting to bring the time period to life. I found that I couldn’t put the book down, once I’d started reading it.

By Max Adams, Max Adams,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The King in the North as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A triumph - a Game of Thrones in the Dark Ages' TOM HOLLAND.

The magisterial biography of Oswald Whiteblade, exiled prince of Northumbria, who returned in blood and glory to reclaim his birthright.

A charismatic leader, a warrior whose prowess in battle earned him the epithet Whiteblade, an exiled prince who returned to claim his birthright, the inspiration for Tolkein's Aragorn.

Oswald of Northumbria was the first great English monarch, yet today this legendary figure is all but forgotten. In this panoramic portrait of Dark Age Britain, archaeologist and biographer Max Adams returns the king in the North to his…


Book cover of Absolution by Murder

Theresa Tomlinson Author Of A Swarming of Bees

From my list on throwing light into the Dark Ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent much of my childhood living close to Whitby Abbey and heard many stories of the famous Saint Hilda. As a mother of three, I began writing stories, initially to entertain my children, and eventually published many historical stories for children and young adults – twice shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. I moved back to the Whitby area in my 60s determined to write for an older age group and indulge my lifelong fascination for the Anglo-Saxon period. I took the half pagan Fridgyth character from my Young Adult adventure mystery – Wolfgirl - and developed her role as a warm, curious, flawed, investigator. I'm working on a third Fridgyth the Herbwife novel.

Theresa's book list on throwing light into the Dark Ages

Theresa Tomlinson Why did Theresa love this book?

I read this book many years ago - loved the strong female protagonist and was impressed by the writer’s detailed knowledge of the period, which must have come from vast research. The setting was familiar to me, as I had spent much of my childhood within view of Whitby Abbey. Though utterly fascinated by the story, I had a somewhat different take on what might have happened there in the year 664 and felt inspired to try my own hand at a historical murder mystery.

By Peter Tremayne,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The King of Northumbria has requested the services of a wise counsel to decide the people's religious future. Among the select priests, elders, and scholars from Ireland and Rome is Sister Fidelma of Kildare. Trained as an advocate of the courts, she was expecting to rule on issues of law. Instead she was plunged into unholy murder.

Dead was the Abbess Etain, a leading Celtic speaker, her throat slashed. With the counsel in an uproar and civil war threatening, the desperate king has turned to the sharp-witted Sister Fidelma for help. With the aide of her dear friend Brother Eadulf…


Book cover of The Sins of the Father

Theresa Tomlinson Author Of A Swarming of Bees

From my list on throwing light into the Dark Ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent much of my childhood living close to Whitby Abbey and heard many stories of the famous Saint Hilda. As a mother of three, I began writing stories, initially to entertain my children, and eventually published many historical stories for children and young adults – twice shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. I moved back to the Whitby area in my 60s determined to write for an older age group and indulge my lifelong fascination for the Anglo-Saxon period. I took the half pagan Fridgyth character from my Young Adult adventure mystery – Wolfgirl - and developed her role as a warm, curious, flawed, investigator. I'm working on a third Fridgyth the Herbwife novel.

Theresa's book list on throwing light into the Dark Ages

Theresa Tomlinson Why did Theresa love this book?

This is the second book in an exciting series. I loved the first book, which told the story of the fierce Mercian King Penda! The Sins of the Father focuses on the life of Penda’s more sensitive, less warlike son, Ethelred. Annie Whitehead (who is also a respected historian) brings vibrantly to life many of the people and places that I’m interested in, more from the point of view of the ancient Kingdom of Mercia, rather than Northumbria. Familiar characters appear and I find it so interesting to view them from a different angle. These books are not murder mysteries, but utterly fascinating historical novels, which vividly capture both the humanity and battles for power in the ancient kingdoms.

By Annie Whitehead,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A father's legacy can be a blessing or a curse...
AD658: The sons of Penda of Mercia have come of age. Ethelred, the youngest, recalls little of past wars while Wulf is determined to emulate their father, whose quest to avenge his betrayed kinswomen drew him to battle three successive Northumbrian kings.
Ecgfrith of Northumbria is more hostile towards the Mercians than his father was. His sister Ositha, thwarted in her marriage plans, seeks to make her mark in other ways, but can she, when called upon, do her brother's murderous bidding?
Ethelred finds love with a woman who is…


Book cover of The Song of Heledd: At the Hall of Cynddylan

Theresa Tomlinson Author Of A Swarming of Bees

From my list on throwing light into the Dark Ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent much of my childhood living close to Whitby Abbey and heard many stories of the famous Saint Hilda. As a mother of three, I began writing stories, initially to entertain my children, and eventually published many historical stories for children and young adults – twice shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. I moved back to the Whitby area in my 60s determined to write for an older age group and indulge my lifelong fascination for the Anglo-Saxon period. I took the half pagan Fridgyth character from my Young Adult adventure mystery – Wolfgirl - and developed her role as a warm, curious, flawed, investigator. I'm working on a third Fridgyth the Herbwife novel.

Theresa's book list on throwing light into the Dark Ages

Theresa Tomlinson Why did Theresa love this book?

This is another historical novel set in my favourite time period AD 600’s, this time in Powys. The main character is Heledd – a peace-weaver bride, she is human, flawed, compelling, and courageous. The background detail is vivid and well researched, but what I love most about this book is the lyrical style of writing, which may almost give the reader the sense that the story is being sung,  reflecting with feeling and humanity, the real Anglo-Saxon poetry that has come down to us. Here is a powerful sense of sadness, regret, and gathering doom, lifted by moments of pure joy – a true lament!

By Judith Arnopp,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In seventh century Powys at the hall of King Cynddylan of Pengwern, the princesses, Heledd and Ffreur attend a celebratory feast where fifteen-year-old Heledd develops an infatuation for a travelling minstrel. Their illicit liaison triggers a chain of events that will destroy two kingdoms and bring down a dynasty. Set against the backdrop of the pagan-Christian conflict between kings Penda and Oswiu The Song of Heledd sweeps the reader from the ancient kingdom of Pengwern to the lofty summits of Gwynedd where Heledd battles to control both her own destiny and those around her. Judith Arnopp has carried out lengthy…


Book cover of Britain in the First Millennium: From Romans to Normans

Rory Naismith Author Of Early Medieval Britain

From my list on Britain in the Early Middle Ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Professor of Early Medieval English History at the University of Cambridge. I also work on relations with the rest of Britain, and between Britain and its European neighbours, especially from an economic and social point of view. My interest in early medieval history arose from the jigsaw puzzle approach that it requires: even more so than for other periods, sources are few and often challenging, so need to be seen together and interpreted imaginatively. 

Rory's book list on Britain in the Early Middle Ages

Rory Naismith Why did Rory love this book?

Most books covering the early Middle Ages in Britain start with the fifth century and end around the tenth or eleventh. Edward James’s Britain is different, in that it embraces the Roman period too. Breadth on this level is stimulating, especially when (as here) it is accompanied by elegant and insightful prose that takes care to pay attention to diverse constituencies in society. 

By Edward James,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ideal for undergraduates, this survey of medieval Britain is a coherent narrative of events between the two great invasions from continental Europe. It is unique both for its broad historical perspective and for its wide geographic coverage: it spans the 'long' millennium from the first century BC through the Norman conquest and covers events across the whole of Britain, from Cornwall to the Shetlands. Edward James provides the European context for events in England while also examining the many ways Britain differed from the rest of Europe. Students of medieval Europe will find his book an invaluable synthesis.


Book cover of 1415: Henry V's Year of Glory

Gordon Corrigan Author Of A Great and Glorious Adventure: A Military History of the Hundred Years War

From my list on the Hundred Years' War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I decided to write this book because while there are many works on the Hundred Years War, they tend to dwell on the political and diplomatic, rather than the military aspects. I considered that this period marked a real revolution in military affairs, led by England. It was England that had the world’s only professional army since the collapse of the Roman Empire in the west in the 5th Century, that used technology (the longbow) as a force multiplier, and while moving on horseback did its fighting on foot. It was these three legs of the revolution that allowed tiny English armies to defeat far larger French feudal ones.

Gordon's book list on the Hundred Years' War

Gordon Corrigan Why did Gordon love this book?

Henry of Monmouth, Henry V, was the second king of the disputed Lancastrian dynasty, and in my opinion the greatest Englishman who ever lived.

He was king at 25, slaughterer of the nobility of France at 27, regent and acknowledged heir to the French throne at 32, and dead at 34. Had he lived, the history of Europe might be very different. He was a man who shaped English history and who still affects Anglo-French relations to this day.

This book, by Ian Mortimer, one of the very best authors of the period, looks at the year 1415, the year when the young Henry led a sick, exhausted, and starving English army to a stunning victory over a far larger French force at Agincourt, in an example of leadership and military professionalism of the highest order.  

By Ian Mortimer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 1415 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Henry V is regarded as the great English hero. Lionised in his own day for his victory at Agincourt, his piety and his rigorous application of justice, he was elevated by Shakespeare into a champion of English nationalism for all future generations. But what was he really like? Does he deserve to be thought of as 'the greatest man who ever ruled England?'

In Ian Mortimer's groundbreaking book, he portrays Henry in the pivotal year of his reign. Recording the dramatic events of 1415, he offers the fullest, most precise and least romanticised view we have of Henry and what…


Book cover of The First English Empire: Power and Identities in the British Isles 1093-1343

Marc Morris Author Of The Anglo-Saxons: A History of the Beginnings of England

From my list on medieval Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell into medieval history from the moment I arrived at university, when I looked at a lecture list that included the Norman Conquest, King John and Magna Carta, Edward I – in short, the subjects of the books I have gone on to write. The attraction for me was that the medieval centuries were formative ones, shaping the countries of the British Isles and the identities of the people within them. After completing my doctorate on the thirteenth-century earls of Norfolk I was keen to broaden my horizons, and presented a TV series about castles, which was a great way to reconnect with the reality of the medieval past.

Marc's book list on medieval Britain

Marc Morris Why did Marc love this book?

When I arrived in Oxford in 1998 to begin my doctorate, I knew a bit about English medieval history, but almost nothing about the histories of Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. That deficiency was corrected by Prof Rees Davies, at whose feet I was lucky enough to sit. Earlier that same year Rees had delivered the prestigious Ford lectures in Oxford, and they were published two years later as The First English Empire. Deeply learned, but also beautifully written, they are a powerful meditation on centuries when English power expanded aggressively into the rest of the British Isles, and the effects this had on national identities, which continue to resonate to this day.

By R.R. Davies,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The future of the United Kingdom is an increasingly vexed question. This book traces the roots of the issue to the Middle Ages, when English power and control came to extend to most of the British Isles. By 1300 it looked as if Edward I was in control of virtually the whole of the British Isles. Ireland, Scotland, and Wales had, in different degrees, been subjugated to his authority; contemporaries were even comparing him with King Arthur. This was the
culmination of a remarkable English advance into the outer zones of the British Isles in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.…


Book cover of The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England

T.M. Rowe Author Of A Viking Moon

From my list on transporting you back through time.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have three lifelong passions, the first was reading, then writing, and then archaeology/history. To this end I studied and trained as an archaeologist before I sat down and decided to write stories set in the past as a way of bringing it to life. Of course, there had to be an adventure, a bit of a mystery, and a dash of magic to bring it all together. The books on my list are just a few of those that I have enjoyed reading during my hunt to get to know the past in intimate detail – on my own time travelling journey.

T.M.'s book list on transporting you back through time

T.M. Rowe Why did T.M. love this book?

I have read a lot of history and archaeology books and more often than not they can be a little dull, dry and in some cases work better than a sleeping tablet.

Not with this book, here you learn about parts of medieval England you just wouldn’t think about, written from a more personal point of view its less about political stuff like kings, queens, and those pesky archbishops and much more on the practicalities of living in medieval England.

Would you know what to eat, wear, or where to go to the toilet? Would you know how to address a lord or lady? Would you know what to do if you got sick? This is a vital guide for all time travelers!

By Ian Mortimer,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The past is a foreign country. This is your guidebook. Imagine you could get into a time machine and travel back to the fourteenth century. What would you see? What would you smell? More to the point, where are you going to stay? Should you go to a castle or a monastic guest house? And what are you going to eat? What sort of food are you going to be offered by a peasant or a monk or a lord? This radical new approach turns our entire understanding of history upside down. It shows us that the past is not…


Book cover of Stephen: The Reign of Anarchy

Marc Morris Author Of The Anglo-Saxons: A History of the Beginnings of England

From my list on medieval Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell into medieval history from the moment I arrived at university, when I looked at a lecture list that included the Norman Conquest, King John and Magna Carta, Edward I – in short, the subjects of the books I have gone on to write. The attraction for me was that the medieval centuries were formative ones, shaping the countries of the British Isles and the identities of the people within them. After completing my doctorate on the thirteenth-century earls of Norfolk I was keen to broaden my horizons, and presented a TV series about castles, which was a great way to reconnect with the reality of the medieval past.

Marc's book list on medieval Britain

Marc Morris Why did Marc love this book?

The reign of King Stephen (1135–1154) was characterized by chaos and disorder, as he and his cousin Matilda fought over the succession to the English throne. This makes it a challenge to offer a coherent account, but Carl Watkins succeeds where others have failed in his short history of Stephen’s reign. The whole book, minus its academic endnotes, runs to under 90 pages, but it packs a considerable punch, thanks to Watkins’ elegant and enviable prose style. 

By Carl Watkins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Stephen risked being seen as a man who never quite transcended the essential flawed-ness of his claim to be king. His actions betrayed uneasiness in his new skin'

Remembered as a time in which 'Christ and his saints slept', Stephen's troubled reign plunged England into anarchy. Without clear rules of succession in the Norman monarchy, conflict within William the Conqueror's family was inevitable. But, as this resonant portrait shows, there was another problem too: Stephen himself, unable to make good the transition from nobleman to king.


Book cover of The Midwife's Apprentice

Nancy McConnell Author Of Into the Lion's Mouth

From my list on kids who love a medieval quest.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before I could start writing Into the Lion’s Mouth, I spent a lot of time researching the medieval and renaissance Venice. I was astounded to see how relevant that history is to today. Not only are there many parallels that can be drawn between the past and today there is so much to learn about the consistency of human nature. I find myself currently gravitating towards books that mix history and fiction and these are some of my favorites.

Nancy's book list on kids who love a medieval quest

Nancy McConnell Why did Nancy love this book?

This book was a Newberry Award winner and it’s easy to see why. It is hard not to love Alyce and root for her as she grapples with the difficulty of learning midwifery under the not to tender tutelage of Jane the Midwife. The story is at times funny, poignant and fascinating. I was moved by the courage and persistence Alyce shows. This book transported me to another era and left me wanting more. 

By Karen Cushman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Midwife's Apprentice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

A poor girl in medieval England gains a name, a purpose, and a future in this “delightful”* and beloved Newbery Medal-winning book. Now with a new cover!

* “A truly delightful introduction to a world seldom seen in children’s literature.” —School Library Journal*, starred review

* “A fascinating view of a far distant time.” —Horn Book, starred review

* “Gripping.” —Kirkus, starred review

A girl known only as Brat has no family, no home, and no future until she meets Jane the Midwife and becomes her apprentice. As she helps the short-tempered Jane deliver babies, Brat—who renames herself Alyce—gains knowledge,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Middle Ages, women, and the Dark Ages?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Middle Ages, women, and the Dark Ages.

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