98 books like Quarantine

By Jim Crace,

Here are 98 books that Quarantine fans have personally recommended if you like Quarantine. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ 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 Memoirs of Hadrian

Larry Mellman Author Of The Man With Sapphire Eyes

From my list on historical fiction with a twist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved historical fiction as a reader, but my passion to write it caught fire during the years I lived in Venice, Italy, when I discovered the curious institution of the ballot boy within the Byzantine complexities of the thousand-year Venetian Republic. Since ballot boys were randomly chosen over a period of six hundred years, choosing my particular Doge and ballot boy required a survey of the entire field before I circled in on Venice, 1368, IMHO the peak brilliance of that maritime empire. It is a peculiarity of history that the names of all 130 doges of Venice are recorded, but none of their ballot boys are mentioned. The challenge was irresistible. 

Larry's book list on historical fiction with a twist

Larry Mellman Why did Larry love this book?

It’s not Hadrian’s love affair with the beautiful boy Antinous that swept me off my feet, nor the way Hadrian makes him a god after his mysterious death and builds a city dedicated to worshiping him.

That’s only a small part of a book overflowing with the emperor’s interior life, his fears and doubts and dreams. Yourcenar spent most of her life on and off writing this book, her life’s work. Filled with the exhilaration and perplexity of achieving absolute power and then holding onto it, we experience Hadrian as a profoundly paradoxical genius from the inside out. 

By Marguerite Yourcenar, Grace Frick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Framed as a letter from the Roman Emperor Hadrian to his successor, Marcus Aurelius, Marguerite Yourcenar's Memoirs of Hadrian is translated from the French by Grace Frick with an introduction by Paul Bailey in Penguin Modern Classics.

In her magnificent novel, Marguerite Yourcenor recreates the life and death of one of the great rulers of the ancient world. The Emperor Hadrian, aware his demise is imminent, writes a long valedictory letter to Marcus Aurelius, his future successor. The Emperor meditates on his past, describing his accession, military triumphs, love of poetry and music, and the philosophy that informed his powerful…


Book cover of Eagle in the Snow

Edoardo Albert Author Of Edwin

From my list on overlooked or largely forgotten historical fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer and historian, specialising in the early-Medieval period and the fractious but fruitful encounter between the Christian and Islamic worlds. My fiction is informed by my non-fiction work: it’s a great help to have written actual histories of Northumbria in collaboration with some of the foremost archaeologists working on the period. I regard my work as the imaginative application of what we can learn through history to stories and the books I have selected all do this through the extraordinarily varied talents of their authors. I hope you will enjoy them!

Edoardo's book list on overlooked or largely forgotten historical fiction

Edoardo Albert Why did Edoardo love this book?

For writers of historical fiction, Eagle in the Snow has attained almost mythical status. First published fifty years ago, the book is still in print mainly through the enthusiastic recommendation of readers. Wallace Breem wrote only two other works and died in 1990, so there will be nothing more from his pen. It adds piquancy to the themes of the story: it’s a tale of the passing of things and the dying of an empire. It’s the tale of a man struggling against the fading of the light, even though he knows the struggle is hopeless. It’s a story of endings in a world that does not understand its mortality.

By Wallace Breem,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Eagle in the Snow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A novel about General Maximus, one of the inspirations behind Ridley Scott's massively successful film GLADIATOR.

'Behind me I left my youth, my middle age, my wife and my happiness. I was a general now and I had only defeat or victory to look forward to. There was no middle way any longer, and I did not care.'

In the year AD 406 Rome was on the defensive everywhere, and a single Roman legion stood desperate guard on the Empire's Rhine frontier. Maximus, the legion's commander, is urged to proclaim himself emperor, but he stands by his concept of duty…


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 The Love-Artist

Jesse Browner Author Of The Uncertain Hour: A Novel

From my list on historical novels of the ancient world.

Why am I passionate about this?

If you want to learn about historical societies and events, read history books. But if you want to understand your own world, and how it has emerged from and been shaped by the eternal, unchanging human psyche, intellect and fragility, read historical fiction. A great historical novel should always be first and foremost about the time in which it is written. That is what first drew me to the story of Petronius in The Uncertain Hour – if it doesn’t have a human heart, no amount of technical historical detail will kindle it in the reader’s imagination.

Jesse's book list on historical novels of the ancient world

Jesse Browner Why did Jesse love this book?

The Roman poet Ovid was one of the most popular writers of his day, but the defining tragedy of his life – his lifelong exile from Rome at the very height of his powers – remains as mysterious today as it was in his own time. In The Love-Artist, Jane Alison provides that tragedy with a back story, when Ovid, on holiday on the shores of the Black Sea, meets and is enchanted by the witch-like Xenia and persuades her to return with him to Rome, with dire consequences. But it’s the book’s dream-like atmosphere – the sense that we are seeing the world through the eyes of a great poet with one foot in the ambitious world of empire and the other in an unstable netherworld of imagination and mythology – that will remain with the reader.

By Jane Alison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A darkly brilliant first novel imagines a missing chapter in the life of Ovid. Why was Ovid, the most popular author of his day, banished to the edges of the Roman Empire? Why do only two lines survive of his play Medea, reputedly his most passionate work, and perhaps his most accomplished? Between the known details of the poets life and these enigmas, Jane Alison has interpolated a haunting drama of passion and psychological manipulation. On holiday in the Black Sea, on the fringes of the Empire, Ovid encounters an almost otherworldly woman who seems to embody the fictitious creations…


Book cover of The Master and Margarita

Robert Wynne-Simmons Author Of Blood on Satan's Claw: or, The Devil's Skin

From my list on supernatural challenging the way we see the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born a polymath in Cheam, Surrey, England. Even as a child I had a passionate interest in music, architecture, film, poetry, drama, and storytelling. I lived very much in the world of my imagination and was able to apply it to a wide variety of projects. I have worked in Film, TV, Theatre, and have written scripts, plays, novels, songs, a musical, and an opera, all different in feeling. I have therefore had a special interest in innovative artistic work, and story-telling which pushes the boundaries of the imagination.

Robert's book list on supernatural challenging the way we see the world

Robert Wynne-Simmons Why did Robert love this book?

People who read The Master and Margarita will tell you that it is one of the greatest books they have ever read, but few can tell you why. It defies description.  It is truly unique. 

It opens on a blistering hot day in Moscow, a paradox in itself. The devil, seemingly out of Goethe’s Faust, is on a visit to the town. He and his strange entourage would be laughable, if they were not so lethal. Only the madness of Stalin’s paranoid Communism could have created such a story.

Bulgakov has an uncanny way of investing even the most unlikely scenes with intense realism. You never doubt him.  At times hilarious, at times terrifying, the book shows us what a fragile hold we have on reality.

By Mikhail Bulgakov, Richard Pevear (translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (translator)

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked The Master and Margarita as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Bulgakov is one of the greatest Russian writers, perhaps the greatest' Independent

Written in secret during the darkest days of Stalin's reign, The Master and Margarita became an overnight literary phenomenon when it was finally published it, signalling artistic freedom for Russians everywhere. Bulgakov's carnivalesque satire of Soviet life describes how the Devil, trailing fire and chaos in his wake, weaves himself out of the shadows and into Moscow one Spring afternoon. Brimming with magic and incident, it is full of imaginary, historical, terrifying and wonderful characters, from witches, poets and Biblical tyrants to the beautiful, courageous Margarita, who will…


Book cover of The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ

Jonathan Trigell Author Of The Tongues of Men or Angels

From my list on fiction with Jesus as a character.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the author of five extremely different novels: Boy A (which was made into an award-winning film), Cham, Genus, The Tongues of Men or Angels, and Under Country. They share almost nothing in subject or setting. Ranging from first-century Judaea to a future London. From ski resort workers in France to young offender prisons in Britain. My latest work - Under Country - is about the 1984 Miners’ Strike and its still lingering scars in the North East pit villages. Yet, I suppose, if there were a unifying theme between them, it would be that each, in its own way, is influenced by and fascinated with Christianity.

Jonathan's book list on fiction with Jesus as a character

Jonathan Trigell Why did Jonathan love this book?

Pullman sets out – and achieves, with his usual aplomb – to subvert the stories of Jesus, indeed to divide them: his Jesus and his Christ are two entirely separate figures. Pullman uses a deliberate echo of Biblical style, to show how the Bible stories are first and foremost just that: stories. To show how history became myth and then myth became faith. How the very hypocrisies that Jesus himself pointed out people mouthing religious observances, without the accompanying good deeds – became an almost fundamental structure of the established church. 

By Philip Pullman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'If I vanished he wouldn't notice, if I died he wouldn't care. I think of him all the time, and he thinks of me not at all. I love him, and my love torments me. There are times when I feel like a ghost beside him; as if he alone is real, and I'm just a daydream.'

This is the story of two brothers. One is impassioned and one reserved. One is destined to go down in history and the other to be forgotten.

In Pullman's hands, this sacred tale is reborn as one of the most enchanting, thrilling and…


Book cover of The Testament of Mary

Victoria MacKenzie Author Of For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain

From my list on short historical novels that pack an emotional punch.

Why am I passionate about this?

Understanding history is essential for understanding ourselves as human beings – for recognising where we’ve come from and why we live as we do. What I love about historical fiction is that it can take tumultuous times and show their effects on the individuals who lived through them. As a historical novelist, I try to bring history back to a tangible, human level. These short novels show that if a writer’s prose is fresh, witty, and moving, then historical novels don’t need to be enormous tomes to give us a new slant on the past and allow us to inhabit lives utterly different from our own.

Victoria's book list on short historical novels that pack an emotional punch

Victoria MacKenzie Why did Victoria love this book?

This novel has such a wonderfully bold premise: it’s a retelling of the story of the crucifixion of Jesus through the eyes of Jesus’ mother, Mary. I love how Tóibín takes one of the founding stories of Western civilisation and manages to make it intimate. Jesus is still the Son of God, of course, but he is also the son of a woman, a flesh and blood man, who suffers a torturous death in front of his friends and family.

Using a first-person narrative, Tóibín gives us the world through Mary’s eyes, showing a humble woman caught up in extraordinary events. It’s a tragic story about the impossibilities of protecting your loved ones, but it’s also a story of love, tenderness, and hope. 

By Colm Toibin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Tóibín is at his lyrical best in this beautiful and daring work” (The New York Times Book Review) that portrays Mary as a solitary older woman still seeking to understand the events that become the narrative of the New Testament and the foundation of Christianity—shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize.

In the ancient town of Ephesus, Mary lives alone, years after her son’s crucifixion. She has no interest in collaborating with the authors of the Gospel, who are her keepers. She does not agree that her son is the Son of God; nor that his death was “worth it”;…


Book cover of The Liars' Gospel

Jonathan Trigell Author Of The Tongues of Men or Angels

From my list on fiction with Jesus as a character.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the author of five extremely different novels: Boy A (which was made into an award-winning film), Cham, Genus, The Tongues of Men or Angels, and Under Country. They share almost nothing in subject or setting. Ranging from first-century Judaea to a future London. From ski resort workers in France to young offender prisons in Britain. My latest work - Under Country - is about the 1984 Miners’ Strike and its still lingering scars in the North East pit villages. Yet, I suppose, if there were a unifying theme between them, it would be that each, in its own way, is influenced by and fascinated with Christianity.

Jonathan's book list on fiction with Jesus as a character

Jonathan Trigell Why did Jonathan love this book?

Naomi was raised as an Orthodox Jew. I can’t remember whether she told me herself, or I read it somewhere, but she once said that she struggled to see how people who weren’t steeped in the Judaic tradition could even understand the Christian Bible. There is something in this: The ‘New Testament’ rests upon and relies upon Judaism for all of its authority. And yet it is simultaneously incredibly antisemitic. It’s a paradox that Christian scholars and theologians have struggled with for millennia, frequently with devastating and bloody consequences. I read The Liars’ Gospel as Naomi’s quite beautiful attempt to examine and unravel this paradox.

By Naomi Alderman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An award-winning writer reimagines the life of Jesus, from the points of view of four people closest to him before his death.

This is the story of Yehoshuah, who wandered Roman-occupied Judea giving sermons and healing the sick. Now, a year after his death, four people tell their stories. His mother grieves, his friend Iehuda loses his faith, the High Priest of the Temple tries to keep the peace, and a rebel named Bar-Avo strives to bring that peace tumbling down.

It was a time of political power plays and brutal tyranny. Men and women took to the streets to…


Book cover of The Jesus Fast: The Call to Awaken the Nations

Polly Betzner Walshin Author Of You Got Daddy Issues?

From my list on books that restore your soul and let you know you are not alone.

Why am I passionate about this?

The reason why I recommended these books is they all have the constant theme of freedom. Each one is very unique, and they all have adventure, romance, tragedy, and fantasy. Every single book is a different journey of healing for your soul that I feel anyone would enjoy. We have two biographies that are so raw; they will rock your soul, and you can relate to them. We have one on how not to get offended, which is amazing, and another that is sci-fi, which is way better than Harry Potter ever thought about being. If you like me as an author, you will love the books that I have recommended. 

Polly's book list on books that restore your soul and let you know you are not alone

Polly Betzner Walshin Why did Polly love this book?

First of all, Lou Engel is an amazing man in his 60s, and he literally probably spent half of his life fasting and intercession in prayer for the nations and for the world.

This book shows you the power of fasting and the miracle answers that happened so many times in history, where there’s been a movement of God where fasting was prevalent.

By Lou Engle, Dean Briggs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Passionate, Prophetic Summons to Prayer and Fasting

We are poised at a key moment in history. Amidst pain and chaos, we can turn the tide of evil in our lands. With excitement and profound insight, seasoned prophetic leader Lou Engle shows how: through bold faith and aggressive, passionate prayer and fasting.

Here he equips you with the dynamic, practical tools you need to answer the call of countercultural consecration. Using Jesus as the role model, he reveals that 40 days of prayer and fasting always precede breakthrough, revelations of God's glory, breakage of demonic hindrances, and more. As we…


Book cover of With Christ in the School of Prayer

Jodie Berndt Author Of Praying the Scriptures for Your Life: 31 Days of Abiding in the Presence, Provision, and Power of God

From my list on prayer and why it is so powerful.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m often introduced as a “prayer expert” but I’m not. I’m just someone who’s found herself praying a lot—for my family, my friends, and even sometimes complete strangers. And while there are all sorts of ways we can pray, I like praying the Scriptures—taking the actual words of the Bible and using them to shape our perspective as well as our prayers. Not only has that approach made my conversations with God more diverse and creative, but it has made them more powerful. Plus, praying this way has equipped me to trust God and experience freedom from worry or fear—even when things don’t happen the way, or in the timing, that I want them to.

Jodie's book list on prayer and why it is so powerful

Jodie Berndt Why did Jodie love this book?

If you’re looking for a well-loved prayer “classic,” you won’t find many books with more staying power than Andrew Murray’s With Christ in the School of Prayer. Murray doesn’t see prayer as one facet of the Christian life; rather, he says that it is the “root and strength” of all that we do. “Jesus never taught his disciples how to preach,” Murray writes, “only how to pray.” And the secret to a powerful prayer life is abiding in Christ—growing into his likeness—so that our lives (including our thoughts and desires) look more like his. As we enroll in Jesus’ “school of prayer", we will learn to pray in harmony with God, be equipped to impact our world, and discover the true purpose of prayer.

By Andrew Murray,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked With Christ in the School of Prayer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally titled: 'With Christ In the School of Prayer: Thoughts on Our Training for the Ministry of Intercession,' to Include: Lord, Teach Us to Pray - In Spirit & Truth - Pray To Thy Father, Which Is In Secret - After This Manner Pray - Ask, & It Shall be Given You - How Much More? - How Much More the Holy Spirit - Because of His Importunity - Pray the Lord of the Harvest - What Wilt Thou? - Believe That Ye Have Received - Have Faith in God - Prayer & Fasting - When Ye Stand Praying, Forgive…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Jesus, quarantines, and ancient history?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Jesus, quarantines, and ancient history.

Jesus Explore 224 books about Jesus
Quarantines Explore 16 books about quarantines
Ancient History Explore 19 books about ancient history