10 books like Six Tudor Queens

By Alison Weir,

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

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Tombland

By C.J. Sansom,

Book cover of Tombland

At the time of writing, this is believed to be the last in the Shardlake novels and I, for one, am already missing them. I have loved every one of the books in the series, following the adventures of the lawyer/crime solver Matthew Shardlake and his assistants Jack Barak and Nicholas Overton. The author has a real way of bringing the Tudor age to life and as a reader you are instantly transported into the 1500s with Sansom’s descriptive and quite brilliant writing. As a general recommendation I could have picked any of the Shardlake novels but under the heading of books that made me want to know more, the reason I have selected Tombland specifically as one of my top 5 books is the author’s focus on the peasants’ revolt in Norfolk in 1549.

The rebellion was led by a man named Robert Kett and although I had vaguely…

Tombland

By C.J. Sansom,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Tudor England is brought vividly to life in Tombland, the seventh novel in C. J. Sansom's number one bestselling Shardlake series, for fans of Hilary Mantel and Philippa Gregory.

'When it comes to intriguing Tudor-based narratives, Hilary Mantel has a serious rival' - Sunday Times
'Sansom has the trick of writing an enthralling narrative. Like Hilary Mantel, he produces densely textured historical novels that absorb their readers in another time' - Andrew Taylor, Spectator

The Sunday Times Number One Bestseller

England, 1549: Two years after the death of Henry VIII, England is sliding into chaos . . .

The nominal…


Bring Up the Bodies

By Hilary Mantel,

Book cover of Bring Up the Bodies

Although Wolf Hall is the better-known and lauded novel, my preference is for the second book of Hilary Mantel’s trilogy. The author’s focus is Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s ruthlessly efficient first minister who came to prominence after Cardinal Wolsey fell from grace for his failure to solve the King’s “Great Matter.”  I admit I’ve never warmed to Cromwell, although he has been praised by illustrious Tudor historians such as GR Elton. Certainly, he was instrumental in freeing the King of his papal shackles and all that followed in the wake of England’s break from Rome. That being said, the Cromwell of the historical record hardly seems sympathetic. He was one of the wiliest serpents in the snake pit of the Tudor court. Mantel’s books attempt to show a more human side of Henry VIII’s right-hand man.

Bring Up the Bodies

By Hilary Mantel,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Bring Up the Bodies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Man Booker Prize

The second book in Hilary Mantel's award-winning Wolf Hall trilogy, with a stunning new cover design to celebrate the publication of the much anticipated The Mirror and the Light

An astounding literary accomplishment, Bring Up the Bodies is the story of this most terrifying moment of history, by one of our greatest living novelists.

'Our most brilliant English writer' Guardian

Bring Up the Bodies unlocks the darkly glittering court of Henry VIII, where Thomas Cromwell is now chief minister. With Henry captivated by plain Jane Seymour and rumours of Anne Boleyn's faithlessness whispered by…


The Watchers

By Stephen Alford,

Book cover of The Watchers: A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth I

Although Elizabeth I has gone down in history as the iconic ‘Gloriana’, the longest-reigning and arguably most successful monarch from the Tudor dynasty, as queen she never enjoyed the luxury of feeling secure on her throne. This brilliant non-fiction book explores the many plots that swirled around the Virgin Queen’s throne – and the intricate spy network that helped thwart them all.

The Watchers

By Stephen Alford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The acclaimed and enthralling story of the dark side of Elizabethan rule, from Stephen Alford

Elizabeth I's reign is known as a golden age, yet to much of Europe she was a 'Jezebel' and heretic who had to be destroyed. The Watchers is a thrilling portrayal of the secret state that sought to protect the Queen; a shadow world of spies, codebreakers, agent provocateurs and confidence-men who would stop at nothing to defend the realm.

Reviews:

'Forget Le Carre, Deighton and the rest - this is more enthralling than any modern spy fiction' Daily Telegraph

'Absorbing and closely documented ...…


Game of Queens

By Sarah Gristwood,

Book cover of Game of Queens: The Women Who Made Sixteenth-Century Europe

There is no doubt that the sixteenth century was a man’s world. Women were treated as second-class citizens and viewed as inferior in every single respect: mentally, physically and emotionally. Yet it was also the era of powerful female sovereigns, consorts and regents. Sarah Gristwood’s beautifully written and well-researched study follows the varying fortunes of some of the period’s most formidable matriarchs, from Isabella of Castile to the six wives of Henry VIII.

Game of Queens

By Sarah Gristwood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A BBC History magazine Book of the Year and an amazon.com Best Book of the Month

As religion divided sixteenth-century Europe, an extraordinary group of women rose to power. They governed nations while kings fought in foreign lands. They ruled on behalf of nephews, brothers and sons. They negotiated peace between their warring nations. For decades, they ran Europe. Small wonder that it was in this century that the queen became the most powerful piece on the chessboard.

From mother to daughter and mentor to protegee, Sarah Gristwood follows the passage of power from Isabella of Castile and Anne de…


Anna of Kleve, The Princess in the Portrait

By Alison Weir,

Book cover of Anna of Kleve, The Princess in the Portrait

Of all the six wives of Henry VIII, it is fair to say that Anne of Cleves is often considered the least interesting. We have Katherine – the stoical first wife; Anne Boleyn – the Mistress who lost her head; Jane Seymour – Henry probably loved her most and she died giving him his much-longed-for son; Katherine Howard – young, flighty, and careless who also lost her head; and Katherine Parr who loved another and managed to out-live Henry and her marriage to him. And then in the middle, there’s Anne of Cleves – dull (Henry thought so too), who he divorced and packed off to the country. No story there.

But in Anna of Kleves, Weir really brings her alive and gives us a living, breathing version of who she may have been. From her days before Henry, to her survival instincts both during and after her marriage, I…

Anna of Kleve, The Princess in the Portrait

By Alison Weir,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Anna of Kleve, The Princess in the Portrait as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The surprising and dramatic life of the least known of King Henry VIII’s wives is illuminated in the fourth volume in the Six Tudor Queens series—for fans of Philippa Gregory, Hilary Mantel, and The Crown.

Newly widowed and the father of an infant son, Henry VIII realizes he must marry again to ensure the royal succession. Forty-six, overweight, and suffering from gout, Henry is soundly rejected by some of Europe's most eligible princesses. Anna of Kleve, from a small German duchy, is twenty-four, and has a secret she is desperate to keep hidden. Henry commissions her portrait from his court…


The Priory of the Orange Tree

By Samantha Shannon,

Book cover of The Priory of the Orange Tree

I adore Ead!! Unsurprisingly, that's why I’m including this book in my recommendations. One of three central characters (including my second favourite in this book – Sabran), Ead won me over because she’s just fantastically capable, but not showy about it at all. She’s the kind of person you’d love to have at your side through thick and thin. 

I got a little bit of a Robin Hobb vibe from this book which also made it a winner for me because I love all of Hobb’s work. This is a monster of a book (and it’s a standalone), but the pacing moves quite quickly despite the length and I never got stuck or felt like it bogged down in too much detail. The world building is fantastic and brings the story to life.

The Priory of the Orange Tree

By Samantha Shannon,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Priory of the Orange Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Get ready for Samantha Shannon's new novel, A Day of Fallen Night, coming in February 2023!

The New York Times bestselling "epic feminist fantasy perfect for fans of Game of Thrones" (Bustle).

NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY:
AMAZON (Top 100 Editors Picks and Science Fiction and Fantasy) * CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY * BOOKPAGE * AUTOSTRADDLE

A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction--but assassins are getting…


The Queen of Nothing

By Holly Black,

Book cover of The Queen of Nothing

Holly Black delivered a lush world within the Cruel Prince trilogy, and each book got better and better. The ending of book two, The Wicked King, had me running to the library to get the third book and I couldn’t put it down. It’s set in a land of the fae where a mortal girl refuses to be outmatched by their power, proving herself to be a foe much more dangerous than any of them predicted. As she gets closer to the throne, things become more dangerous, and she must be lethal and cunning if she is to survive.

Each book has plot twists, but the third was my favorite. This is a finished trilogy perfect for those who love the fae, fierce heroines, enemies to lovers, or political intrigue.

The Queen of Nothing

By Holly Black,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Queen of Nothing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

GOODREADS BEST FANTASY YA 2020. The intoxicating and bloodthirsty finale to the New York Times bestselling The Cruel Prince, nominated for the CARNEGIE MEDAL, and New York Times bestseller The Wicked King, Best YA Fantasy in the Goodreads Choice Awards 2019.

After being pronounced Queen of Faerie and then abruptly exiled by the Wicked King Cardan, Jude finds herself unmoored, the queen of nothing. She spends her time with Vivi and Oak, watching reality television, and doing odd jobs, including squaring up to a cannibalistic faerie.

When her twin sister Taryn shows up asking a favour, Jude jumps at the…


Queen of Ambition

By Fiona Buckley,

Book cover of Queen of Ambition

Who would expect a queen’s lady-in-waiting might be a spy? 

Ursula Blanchard is a genteel but penniless female trying to survive in the cut-throat world of Elizabethan court intrigue. She proves her intelligence and resourcefulness to Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, who takes her under his protective wing—a two-edged sword, since it means Ursula is often called into dangerous undercover missions. The vivid, impeccably researched backdrop of Elizabethan England adds to the drama and provides fascinating color.   

In addition to her ability to unravel complicated plots, I appreciate how Ursula often faces ethical dilemmas. In this novel, she is forced to choose between saving a friendship and protecting the queen. She also proves certain male “experts” wrong when she cracks a series of coded messages.

Queen of Ambition

By Fiona Buckley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ursula Blanchard, loyal lady of the Queen's Presence Chamber and gifted sleuth, is at home amid the glittering complexities of the royal court. Now, Ursula has a new part to play in the service of her Queen -- a role that exposes her to hidden dangers in the famed university town of Cambridge. Assigned as a harbinger for the Queen's upcoming Summer Progress to Cambridge, Ursula is placed in charge of not only Her Majesty's comfort, but also her safety. For Ursula, that means undertaking menial employment in a pie shop to investigate rumored political perils behind a swashbuckling student…


A Dangerous Inheritance

By Alison Weir,

Book cover of A Dangerous Inheritance: A Novel of Tudor Rivals and the Secret of the Tower

I will start by admitting that I had ambivalent feelings about this book for some time simply because it takes a different view on certain historical events and people than I do. Still, I cannot not recommend it, because it stunned me over and over with its vivid characters and the slowly unravelling mystery that is at the heart of the story. Above all, I was delighted to find that this novel centres around two young women who have been overshadowed by more prolific historical figures, bringing lesser-told stories to the forefront.

A Dangerous Inheritance

By Alison Weir,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Two women separated by time but linked by twin destinies investigate the mysterious, tragic fate of the young princes in the tower in this engrossing novel, “a juicy mix of romance, drama, and Tudor history” (Ladies’ Home Journal).

“Alison Weir’s strong suit as a fiction writer is making her novels living history.”—The Courier-Journal
 
When her older sister, Lady Jane Grey, is executed in 1554 for unlawfully accepting the English crown, Lady Katherine Grey’s world falls apart. Barely recovered from this tragic loss she risks all for love, only to incur the wrath of her formidable cousin Queen Elizabeth I, who…


Cavalier

By Lucy Worsley,

Book cover of Cavalier: A Tale of Chivalry, Passion, and Great Houses

Also not specifically set in Ireland, this book reveals in wonderful detail what life was like in the great manor houses of both England and Ireland. Such houses distinguished the 17th century from the age of castles and fortresses, and were lavishly constructed and furnished as tangible statements of power and wealth. You’ll learn what daily life was like from chambermaid to earl.

Cavalier

By Lucy Worsley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

William Cavendish was a gifted horseman, prolific womaniser and skilled diplomat. Famously defeated at the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644, he went into a long and miserable exile before returning to England in triumph on the restoration of King Charles II to the throne in 1660. But this is not just the story of that one remarkable man and the courtly world of King Charles I and his Cavaliers. More than that, Lucy Worsley brings to life the complex and fascinating household hierarchies of the seventeenth century, painting a picture of conspiracy, sexual intrigue, clandestine marriage and gossip. From…


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