10 books like Sea Witch

By Helen Hollick,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Sea Witch. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Rebel's Knot

By Cryssa Bazos,

Book cover of Rebel's Knot

Rebel Knot is set in 17th-century Ireland, torn apart by religious conflict between Catholics and Protestants. This is a war-ravaged Ireland, a land where hope is in short supply and peace is more of a dream than a possibility. And yet, in the midst of all that violence fragile love can flourish—even between people who belong on opposite sides of the religious fence. Ms. Bazos does a fantastic job of transporting the reader back in time, and her two main characters, Niall and Ainé, are wonderfully complex and relatable. The harshness of the times is vividly depicted—as is the growing attraction between the innocent and traumatised Ainé and her new protector, Niall. 

Rebel's Knot

By Cryssa Bazos,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ireland 1652: In the desperate, final days of the English invasion . . .

A fey young woman, Áine Callaghan, is the sole survivor of an attack by English marauders. When Irish soldier Niall O'Coneill discovers his own kin slaughtered in the same massacre, he vows to hunt down the men responsible. He takes Áine under his protection and together they reach the safety of an encampment held by the Irish forces in Tipperary.

Hardly a safe haven, the camp is rife with danger and intrigue. Áine is a stranger with the old stories stirring on her tongue and rumours…


By Love Divided

By Elizabeth St.John,

Book cover of By Love Divided

I have a passion for the 17th century and this novel based on actual diaries and letters from IRL people living through the realities of the English Civil War is a favourite. Ms. St. John writes about her own ancestors, and she imbues her characters with so much life, so many contrary opinions. These are difficult times, and especially for mother Lucy St. John whose son is a through-and-through royalist while daughter Luce is head-over-heels in love with Parliamentarian John Hutchinson. Luce is utterly fascinating: intelligent and with a passion to truly reform, she never loses her humanity or her ability for compassion. This novel is a real treat for anyone desiring well-researched historical fiction – with the added benefit of having a spoonful or two of love to complicate things! 

By Love Divided

By Elizabeth St.John,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

”A fantastic read." Editor’s Choice, Historical Novel Society

London, 1630. Widowed and destitute, Lucy St.John is fighting for survival and makes a terrible choice to secure a future for her children. Worse still, her daughter Luce rejects the royal court and a wealthy arranged marriage, and falls in love with a charismatic soldier. As England tumbles toward bloody civil war, Luce’s beloved brother Allen chooses to fight for the king as a cavalier. Allen and Luce are swept up in the chaos of war as they defend their opposing causes and protect those they love.

Will war unite or divide…


Julia Prima

By Alison Morton,

Book cover of Julia Prima

Several years ago, I came across a series of books set in Roma Nova, a surviving remnant of the Roman Empire. I was fascinated by Ms. Morton’s description of this (unfortunately non-existent) country and her casual references to Roman rites and traditions that had somehow survived to modern times. Julia Prima is the foundation story, set in the 4th century when the Roman Empire is crumbling at the edges. Ms. Morton brings the uncertainties of the times to vivid life. The conflicts between Christians and pagans are exploding, previously safe roads are plagued by bandits and through all this Julia rides towards the distant Rome, determined to find the man she loves. ‘Nuff said, methinks! 

Julia Prima

By Alison Morton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"You should have trusted me. You should have given me a choice."
AD 370, Roman frontier province of Noricum. Staying faithful to the Roman gods in a Christian empire can be lethal. Half-divorced Julia Bacausa is condemned to an emotional desert and a forced marriage, Lucius Apulius barely clings onto his posting in a military backwater. Strongly drawn to each other, they are soon separated, but Julia is determined not to lose the only man she will love.

Neither wholly married nor wholly divorced, Julia is trapped in the power struggle between the Christian church and her pagan ruler father.…


A Painter in Penang

By Clare Flynn,

Book cover of A Painter in Penang

It is always fascinating when a novel has you discovering periods and countries you know little about. Ms. Flynn’s novel throws this reader straight into the complexities of post-war British Malaysia. Yes, the British are still in control, but the old world order is being challenged. While the rubber plantations remain owned by white planters, the Malays, the Chinese, and the Indians want their share and communist insurgents spread violence and fear. In the midst of all this upheaval stands Jasmine, on the cusp of womanhood. Over a period of several months, she will experience everything from first love to betrayal. She emerges somewhat wiser, somewhat bruised. But that, after all, is what growing up entails, isn’t it? 

A Painter in Penang

By Clare Flynn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sixteen-year-old Jasmine Barrington hates everything about living in Kenya and longs to return to the island of Penang in British colonial Malaya where she was born. Expulsion from her Nairobi convent school offers a welcome escape – the chance to stay with her parents’ friends, Mary and Reggie Hyde-Underwood on their Penang rubber estate.

But this is 1948 and communist insurgents are embarking on a reign of terror in what becomes the Malayan Emergency. Jasmine unearths a shocking secret as her own life is put in danger. Throughout the turmoil, her one constant is her passion for painting.

From the…


Under the Black Flag

By David Cordingly,

Book cover of Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates

David Cordingly’s book is useful for its accurate and lively attempt to separate pirate facts from public fiction. He sifts through childhood tales of wooden legs and parrots to highlight the harsh realities experienced by most of these violent rogues. The tortures he describes serve to remind the reader that these were desperate times full of volatile career criminals. And the women were often as dangerous as their male counterparts! While considering Anne Bonny and Mary Read, he questions “Were there other women pirates?” and “How was it possible for a woman to pass herself off as a man in the cramped and primitive conditions on board an eighteenth-century ship?” These prompts helped me to focus on the issues my own female protagonist would have to overcome during her nautical adventures. I recommend this book because it is informative, thought-provoking, and entertaining.

Under the Black Flag

By David Cordingly,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Under the Black Flag as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book sets out to discover the truth behind the stereotypical image of the pirate. Examining the rich literary and cultural legacy of piratical icons from Blackbeard to Captain Hook, the author compares the legends with their historical counterparts and comes up with some surprising conclusions. In a wider overview of the piracy myth, he explores its enduring and extraordinary appeal and assesses the reality behind the romance, answering in the process questions such as: why did men become pirates; were there any women pirates; how much money did they make from their plundering and looting; what effect did their…


A Clash of Steel

By C.B. Lee,

Book cover of A Clash of Steel: A Treasure Island Remix

I’m a huge fan of queer re-tellings (as you can probably sense from this list) as well as lush, detailed historical fiction, and C.B. Lee delivers both in this vivid, adrenaline-spiking adventure. My favorite thing about this story is how Lee takes the bones of Treasure Island and reanimates them, bringing a new perspective to a classic by shifting the focus from traditional Western pirate narratives. Riding the waves with Xiang as she discovers her own identity and family history is an absolute delight, and seeing her relationship with Anh grow is a beautiful thrill. 

A Clash of Steel

By C.B. Lee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

China, 1826. The sun is setting on the golden age of piracy, and the legendary Red Banner Fleet, the scourge of the South China Sea, is no more.

Sheltered her whole life, Xiang desperately wants to set sail and explore like her late father. Her only memento of him is a plain gold pendant. But the pendant's true nature is revealed when a mysterious girl named Anh steals it, only to return it to Xiang in exchange for her help in decoding the tiny map scroll hidden inside. Rumour has it that the legendary Dragon Queen had one last treasure…


A General History of the Robberies & Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates

By Captain Charles Johnson,

Book cover of A General History of the Robberies & Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates

It was long thought that Captain Charles Johnson was a pseudonym for Daniel Defoe (of Robinson Crusoe fame), the original pirate novelist. As such, this anecdotal collection of seafaring tales may be as close to historical “primary source” material as we can get! A General History has inspired several generations of nautical poems, plays, and novels about life on the account, including Fire on Dark Water. Captain Johnson’s classic book undoubtedly raised public awareness about the lives and loves of many buccaneers and it is still a fascinating read today.

A General History of the Robberies & Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates

By Captain Charles Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A General History of the Robberies & Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1724-and now with an introduction and commentary by David Cordingly, best-selling author of the pirate classic Under the Black Flag-this famous account of the most notorious pirates of the day was an immediate success. Written by the mysterious Captain Johnson, it appeared in the book world at a time since described as the "Golden Age of Piracy" and vividly captures the realities of the savage seafaring existence-detailing specific events, including trials, of the day's most feared pirates. Indeed, this book has become the main source for scholars seeking to learn more about the female pirates Mary Read…


Black Flags, Blue Waters

By Eric Jay Dolin,

Book cover of Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America's Most Notorious Pirates

I am a sucker for a good non-fiction book, especially if it features pirates. Ever since childhood, growing up in Wisconsin on Lake Michigan, the water called to me, and learning about real-life pirates and the history kept me reading late into the night. Black Flags, Blue Waters is the epic history of America’s most notorious pirates and it tells riveting tales that are almost unbelievable. While non-fiction, the stories are so enthralling, it almost reads like they can’t possibly be true.  

Black Flags, Blue Waters

By Eric Jay Dolin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Black Flags, Blue Waters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Set against the backdrop of the Age of Exploration, Black Flags, Blue Waters reveals the surprising history of American piracy's "Golden Age" - spanning the late 1600s through the early 1700s - when lawless pirates plied the coastal waters of North America and beyond. "Deftly blending scholarship and drama" (Richard Zacks), best-selling author Eric Jay Dolin illustrates how American colonists at first supported these outrageous pirates in an early display of solidarity against the Crown, and then violently opposed them. Through engrossing episodes of roguish glamour and extreme brutality, Dolin depicts the star pirates of this period, among them the…


Sea of Ruin

By Pam Godwin,

Book cover of Sea of Ruin

This book took me on an incredible adventure on the high seas. This historical pirate romance has everything—action, suspense, love, betrayal, bloody battles, and scorching hot steamy scenes. Rich and deep world-building, the depth of characters and storylines, and the beautiful descriptions pulled me into this story and kept me there the same way a riptide drags you under. I was left speechless during some scenes and will never be able to forgot this book as long as I live. The battle of wills between Bennett and Lord Ashley Cutler left me breathless and the scenes with her lover, pirate Priest Farrell, left me sweating. If you love swashbuckling historical romance with a modern twist, you must grab it. Not for the faint of heart or pearl-clutchers.

Sea of Ruin

By Pam Godwin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Beautiful, soul-shattering, and utterly delicious." ~ Ilsa Madden-Mills, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today bestselling author
Bennett Sharp is on the run.
Wanted for piracy, she fears neither God nor death nor man.
Except Priest Farrell.

The unfaithful, stormy-eyed libertine hunts her with terrifying possessiveness. Nothing will stop him from coming for her. Not his unforgivable betrayal. Not when she's captured by the ice-cold pirate hunter, Lord Ashley Cutler.
She must escape Ashley's prison and Priest's deceit. But can she walk away from their twisted desires?

Two gorgeous captains stand on opposite sides of the law. When…


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates

By Howard Pyle,

Book cover of Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates

On a day trip to Cambridge UK I was in an old book store. I could not believe my good fortune when I spotted an old-worn book entitled Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates. I realised immediately that Pyle was the art teacher of N.C.Wyeth, the styles of the 2 are interchangeable. This book contains numerous Pirate stories, which Pyle wrote himself. Obviously the text is now very antiquated, but there are numerous illustrations illustrating Pirate battles and adventure. Pyle wrote and taught art in the late 19th Century. Any student of the Wyeth’s should check him out.

Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates

By Howard Pyle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pirates, Buccaneers, Marooners, those cruel but picturesque sea wolves who once infested the Spanish Main, all live in present-day conceptions in great degree as drawn by the pen and pencil of Howard Pyle….It is improbable that anyone else will ever bring his combination of interest and talent to the depiction of these old-time Pirates, any more than there could be a second Remington to paint the now extinct Indians and gun-fighters of the Great West.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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