100 books like Stephen

By Carl Watkins,

Here are 100 books that Stephen fans have personally recommended if you like Stephen. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Conquests, Catastrophe and Recovery: Britain and Ireland 1066–1485

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?

This is a fantastic introduction to what was going on in the British Isles during the medieval period. The scholarship is up-to-the-minute, the writing is witty and engaging, and it is teeming with original ideas. It’s not a political history, plodding predictably from one reign to the next, but a sweeping overview, covering diverse topics such as the decline of slavery, the rise of parliament, kingship and queenship, religion, education, leisure, crime, and chivalry.

By John Gillingham,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Beginning with the Norman Conquest of England, these tumultuous centuries and their invasions shaped the languages and political geography of present-day Britain and Ireland.

The Irish, Scots and Welsh fought their battles against the English with varying success - struggles which, like the events of 1066 in England, produced spectacular upheavals and left enduring national memories. But there was still a common enemy: the Black Death - still the greatest catastrophe in their history.

There were significant advances, too. Hundreds of new towns were founded; slavery, still prevalent until the twelfth century, died out; magnificent cathedrals built, schools and universities…


Book cover of The Song of Simon de Montfort: The Life and Death of a Medieval Revolutionary

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?

I was trained as a historian of the thirteenth century, and three of my books have been on thirteenth-century topics. One of the most influential figures in this period was Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester, who first befriended and then rebelled against King Henry III, reducing the king to a cipher and effectively ruling in his place. Montfort was also highly controversial, driven by a mix of high-minded altruism and personal ambition that divided people at the time and still has historians arguing to this day. Sophie Ambler tells his tale in an exciting fashion, emphasizing the violence and the drama, but this is also a book with real academic ballast. In particular, it brings out how different Montfort was by virtue of being raised in southern France during the Albigensian crusade, and why political violence in England increased in the wake of Montfort’s own bloody demise.

By Sophie Thérèse Ambler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A biography of one of the Middle Ages' most controversial, reckless, and heroic figures

Born in France in the early thirteenth century to a crusading father of the same name, Simon de Montfort traveled to England in his adulthood, where he claimed the earldom of Leicester and ingratiated himself into King Henry III's inner circles. Initially a trusted advisor, Simon's good relationship with the king did not last. Frustrated by the increasing injustice meted out to his subjects, Simon would go on to rebel against him, marching on the king's hall at Westminster and leading England's first revolution, and imposing…


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 Citadel of the Saxons: The Rise of Early London

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?

In my own writing I’ve recently ventured into the Anglo-Saxon period, so I know how hard it is to conjure the history of these early medieval centuries from the meagre source material that survives. Rory Naismith manages this brilliantly in his highly engaging history of London in the centuries between the end of Roman Britain and the Norman Conquest. Naismith’s earlier books are on coins and coinage, but he does not allow his specialism to pull the book off balance. It’s a comparatively short volume, but it provides a comprehensive overview of the emerging capital, and it wears its considerable learning lightly.

By Rory Naismith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With a past as deep and sinewy as the famous River Thames that twists like an eel around the jutting peninsula of Mudchute and the Isle of Dogs, London is one of the world's greatest and most resilient cities. Born beside the sludge and the silt of the meandering waterway that has always been its lifeblood, it has weathered invasion, flood, abandonment, fire and bombing. The modern story of London is well known. Much has been written about the later history of this megalopolis which, like a seductive dark star, has drawn incomers perpetually into its orbit. Yet, as Rory…


Book cover of A Mortal Bane

Cara Hogarth Author Of My Lady of the Whip

From my list on medieval sexuality.

Why am I passionate about this?

Cara Hogarth emigrated from England to Australia as a child, but always wished she hadn’t. So she studied medieval history at university in order to travel back in time and place. Now that she’s bagged a PhD (on Chaucer’s raunchy Wife of Bath), she prefers to write historical fiction in order to truly immerse herself and her readers in the past. She finds academic history a fantastic inspiration for her fiction writing, but is always seeking out historical novels that hit just the right balance between research, humor, and page-turning plot. Warning: her novels can get quite steamy!

Cara's book list on medieval sexuality

Cara Hogarth Why did Cara love this book?

A medieval murder mystery set in a brothel! Prostitution was one of the few ways in which a woman might earn an independent living in the Middle Ages.

Not that I’m recommending it as a career choice, mind you. Roberta Gellis has created quite the unusual whorehouse under her unfortunately beautiful Madam, Magdalene. Her employees include a blind woman, a mute Saracen, a woman of childlike intelligence, and the brothel’s cook too is deaf. Magdalene herself was accused of murder and has to live in disguise.

This is a wonderfully well-researched historical mystery that illuminates the circumstances that might force a medieval woman into prostitution. 

By Roberta Gellis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Roberta Gellis, acclaimed author of The Roselynde Chronicles, brings medieval London to life--and death--with her latest tale of splendor and squalor. Magdalene la Bâtarde is the madam of the Old Priory Guesthouse in Southwark. She and her women are expected to engage in a number of sinful delights, but bloody murder isn't one of them--until Baldassare, the messenger, dies.

Though Baldassare wasn't a regular client of the Old Priory Guesthouse, Magdalene and her women refuse to allow his death to go unavenged. Of course, their efforts aren't completely altruistic. Chances are if they don't find the killer, they will be…


Book cover of The Pillars of the Earth

Jill Wallace Author Of War Serenade

From my list on impossible odds and satisfying endings.

Why am I passionate about this?

My ultimate read is when the action is fast, but the character's discovery of self is slow. Besides, being engrossed in the challenges of others makes my own pale by comparison. The author needs to get me to empathize with the characters - even if their struggles are nothing like my own - and once they’ve done that, I’ll be in for the long haul! Journeying through life’s mire and finding the rainbow with a character you believe - and believe in - makes for the ultimate in vicarious living. And ‘Heck, YES’ to a satisfying ending!

Jill's book list on impossible odds and satisfying endings

Jill Wallace Why did Jill love this book?

OMG. I have recommended this book to more people than any other. It’s truly a historical fiction masterpiece. I read slowly but my eyes flew over these titillating pages as if I was a famished glutton and had to devour them quickly lest they disappear. The intrigue! The avarice! The anarchy!

It is an ambitious literary project that splashes over the colorful canvas set in 12th-century England. If, like me, you love the complexities of the human condition, read this book and prepare for the rapture that is virtuoso storytelling.

By Ken Follett,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked The Pillars of the Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times Bestseller

Oprah's Book Club Selection

The "extraordinary . . . monumental masterpiece" (Booklist) that changed the course of Ken Follett's already phenomenal career-and begins where its prequel, The Evening and the Morning, ended.

"Follett risks all and comes out a clear winner," extolled Publishers Weekly on the release of The Pillars of the Earth. A departure for the bestselling thriller writer, the historical epic stunned readers and critics alike with its ambitious scope and gripping humanity. Today, it stands as a testament to Follett's unassailable command of the written word and to his universal appeal.

The…


Book cover of The Written World: Past and Place in the Work of Orderic Vitalis

Tracey Warr Author Of Daughter of the Last King

From my list on reads in idiosyncratic bookshops and lovely libraries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love a library, an eccentric bookshop, or the roadside book exchange cupboards where I live in rural southwest France. There is serendipity and synergy in what can be found through browsing (as opposed to purposeful searching). I am the author of five historical novels set in medieval Europe and centred on strong female leads. Idiosyncratic bookshops and lovely libraries bring unexpected twists to my research and writing. My six-year-old grandson recently started to read after his mum and I read many bedtime stories to him. It was a thrilling moment to hear him join the ranks of readers. Writing is inspired by and learned from voracious reading. 

Tracey's book list on reads in idiosyncratic bookshops and lovely libraries

Tracey Warr Why did Tracey love this book?

I stumbled on this book in Raven secondhand bookstore in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

I was researching for my 12th-century trilogy, Conquest, and this book is a brilliant critical study of the Anglo-Norman chronicler, Orderic Vitalis. The book is wonderfully written and conveys the astonishing beauty of Orderic’s own work.

Orderic, as he writes, ranged far and wide across the Anglo-Norman kingdom in his imagination and then returned to his ‘black-clad life’ as a monk.

Raven and Shakespeare and Co. Bookshop in Paris are amongst my top favourites. I love to visit Shakespeare for its cramped unevenly floored labyrinth and intelligent array of books.

I greatly enjoy a bookshop – these two and Victoria Bookshop in Haverfordwest spring to mind – where the staff is obviously as lovestruck by books as I am.

By Amanda Hingst,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Anglo-Norman monk Orderic Vitalis (1075-c.1142) wrote his monumental, highly individual Historia Ecclesiastica as an exercise in monastic discipline intended to preserve the events and character of Christendom for future generations. Though cloistered since childhood in a Benedictine monastery near Normandy's southern border, Orderic gained access to an intellectual world that extended from Scotland to Jerusalem through his engagement with texts and travelers that made their way into his monastic milieu. His Historia Ecclesiastica, with a breadth of vision unparalleled in its time, is a particularly fertile source for an investigation of concepts of space and historiography in the high…


Book cover of The Stone Rose

Lee Swanson Author Of Her Dangerous Journey Home

From my list on medieval fiction with fierce female protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first recollection of a fascination with medieval history occurred while watching Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood. I soon exhausted our school library’s limited selection of tales of kings and castles. Much later, a history degree and decades spent in Germany and England allowed me to delve deeply into historical research, gaining a specialized knowledge into the areas in which I was most interested. I am particularly fascinated with the lives of women, most of whom medieval chroniclers relegate to a brief mention as wives and mothers. There are clearly stories here yet to be told and I am always excited to learn of new scholarship.

Lee's book list on medieval fiction with fierce female protagonists

Lee Swanson Why did Lee love this book?

How can I write about fierce women of the Middle Ages and not include the woman referred to by the sobriquet She-Wolf of France?

Carol McGrath’s The Stone Rose presents the story of Queen Isabella’s strength and determination framed around her ill-fated marriage to King Edward II in a beautiful tapestry threaded with both painstakingly researched historical fact and masterfully imaginative fiction.

The author’s extensive knowledge of the time period is evidenced by the accuracy of detail that is interwoven into the narrative. Since Edward’s reign forms the backdrop for my series, my own interest is obvious; however, the tale of Isabella’s struggle to protect herself and those she loves in the face of rampant intrigue and treachery will appeal to all.

By Carol McGrath,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A real tour de force of gripping writing, rich historical detail and complex, fascinating characters. Superb!' NICOLA CORNICK on The Stone Rose
_________________

EARLY READERS ARE GRIPPED BY THE STONE ROSE!

* 'Springs to vivid life for the reader . . . A compulsive read' ANNE O'BRIEN

* 'An enticing and intriguing tale of a woman who is driven to desperate and ruthless lengths to protect those she loves' ALEXANDRA WALSH

* 'Carol McGrath really got into Isabella's head . . . Enlightening' SHARON BENNETT CONNOLLY

* 'Bold and compelling' JENNY BARDEN

* 'A novel that's a definite page-turner' LIZ…


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,…


Book cover of Crusaders and Revolutionaries of the Thirteenth Century: De Montfort

Sharon Bennett Connolly Author Of Defenders of the Norman Crown: Rise and Fall of the Warenne Earls of Surrey

From my list on histories of medieval families.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by history my whole life and have now published 4 non-fiction history books. My fourth and latest book, Defenders of the Norman Crown: Rise and Fall of the Warenne Earls of Surrey, tells the story of the Warenne earls over 300 years and 8 generations. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, I have studied history academically and just for fun. I even worked as a tour guide at a castle! I also write the highly popular history blog History... the Interesting Bits, and I am also a feature writer for All About History magazine. My TV work includes Australian Television's Who Do You Think You Are?

Sharon's book list on histories of medieval families

Sharon Bennett Connolly Why did Sharon love this book?

There are so many reasons to love Crusaders and Revolutionaries of the Thirteenth Century: De Montfort by Darren Baker. The foremost reason is that it is a fabulous, enjoyable, and entertaining read. Darren Baker has fast become the ‘go-to’ historian for all things De Montfort. His research is thorough, and the story is recounted in an accessible manner that draws the reader in. Told in chronological order, the narrative flows freely, drawing the reader into the lives of this incredible family.

The second reason is the cover. If there ever was a cover to attract a reader, this is it. It is stunning! And the artwork was done by a de Montfort descendant, Rosana de Montfort. It epitomises the ethos of the medieval barons, their sense of duty, and dedication to the crusading ideal. It is a wonderful book for anyone interested in medieval history, either for leisure, research,…

By Darren Baker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Crusaders and Revolutionaries of the Thirteenth Century as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the families that dominated the thirteenth century were the de Montforts. They arose in France, in a hamlet close to Paris, and grew to prominence under the crusading fervour of that time, taking them from leadership in the Albigensian wars to lordships around the Mediterranean. They marry into the English aristocracy, join the crusade to the Holy Land, then another crusade in the south of France against the Cathars.

The controversial stewardship of Simon de Montfort (V) in that conflict is explored in depth. It is his son Simon de Montfort (VI) who is perhaps best known. His…


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