69 books like The Bookseller's Tale

By Ann Swinfen,

Here are 69 books that The Bookseller's Tale fans have personally recommended if you like The Bookseller's Tale. 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 Dark Fire

Toni Mount Author Of The Colour of Bone

From my list on murder mysteries to challenge your brain cells.

Why am I passionate about this?

Many years ago, when I’d read my first medieval mystery, I decided I wanted to write my own. But mine would be as realistic as I could manage; I wanted the reader to smell medieval London and to be there with me. A lot had been written about Kings and Queens but not much about ordinary life so that became the center of my academic study leading eventually to my Master's Degree in medieval medicine. As well as my novels I now write popular factual books and I’m pleased to say people have taken the time to say how much they enjoy the fine details I share.

Toni's book list on murder mysteries to challenge your brain cells

Toni Mount Why did Toni love this book?

This is the second Matthew Shardlake adventure from the pen of a master craftsman, set at the time of Henry VIII.

I was embroiled in danger alongside the lawyer as he fights to save a girl accused of murder from the hangman’s noose and recover a long-lost ancient secret. I learned that the intriguing machinations going on in a Tudor court of law are as shifty and tangled as those at the royal court in Whitehall.

I visited many a seedy London tavern with side-kick Barak during that searing hot summer of 1540, smelling the sour stink of sweaty humanity as the body count increased and met Shardlake’s nemesis, Richard Rich. Brilliant stuff!    

By C.J. Sansom,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Dark Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When a friend's niece is charged with murder and threatened with torture for her refusal to speak, 1540 lawyer Matthew Sharklake is granted an unexpected two-week reprieve to investigate the case if he will also accept a dangerous assignment to find a legendary weapon of mass destruction. By the author of Dissolution. 25,000 first printing.


Book cover of The Merry Devils

Toni Mount Author Of The Colour of Bone

From my list on murder mysteries to challenge your brain cells.

Why am I passionate about this?

Many years ago, when I’d read my first medieval mystery, I decided I wanted to write my own. But mine would be as realistic as I could manage; I wanted the reader to smell medieval London and to be there with me. A lot had been written about Kings and Queens but not much about ordinary life so that became the center of my academic study leading eventually to my Master's Degree in medieval medicine. As well as my novels I now write popular factual books and I’m pleased to say people have taken the time to say how much they enjoy the fine details I share.

Toni's book list on murder mysteries to challenge your brain cells

Toni Mount Why did Toni love this book?

Forget Shakespeare. Nicholas Bracewell and Lord Westfield’s Men are a far more intriguing introduction to Elizabethan theatre. I was there, watching the rehearsals, hearing the applause, and enjoying the play as murder was committed, literally, behind the scenes.

With a bit of alchemy, madness, and passion thrown into the mix, if you love the Elizabethan period this is a not-to-be-missed historical mystery as Nicholas pits his wits against the devil himself. 

By Edward Marston,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

He had the power to assume a pleasing shape, but would he take to the stage . . . ?

The audience was merry indeed when a third devilish imp bounded onstage to join the two that had been written into the script. But backstage all was uproar. The third demon seemed too much like the real thing. Even Nicholas Bracewell, the company mainstay, was shaken when, next time the play was given, only one devil appeared. The second, poor fellow, was now only a little red heap backstage. Murdered.

Before the curtain rose again, Lord Westfield's Men would suffer…


Book cover of Monk's-Hood: The Third Chronicle of Brother Cadfael

Toni Mount Author Of The Colour of Bone

From my list on murder mysteries to challenge your brain cells.

Why am I passionate about this?

Many years ago, when I’d read my first medieval mystery, I decided I wanted to write my own. But mine would be as realistic as I could manage; I wanted the reader to smell medieval London and to be there with me. A lot had been written about Kings and Queens but not much about ordinary life so that became the center of my academic study leading eventually to my Master's Degree in medieval medicine. As well as my novels I now write popular factual books and I’m pleased to say people have taken the time to say how much they enjoy the fine details I share.

Toni's book list on murder mysteries to challenge your brain cells

Toni Mount Why did Toni love this book?

A real classic whodunnit and an old-school case of poisoning.

I loved every word of Ellis Peter’s third book in her Brother Cadfael series, taking me back to the turbulent times of King Stephen and the Empress Matilda in the twelfth century – a period I find intriguing. And with the wise and friendly Cadfael, the abbey’s herbalist and unraveller of dastardly deeds to guide the reader, I was hooked from the start.

And what happens when a celibate monk encounters an old flame? Do sparks fly? I couldn’t wait to find out. Cadfael is a proper page turner. 

By Ellis Peters,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Brother Cadfael, Benedictine monk and self-appointed detective of Shrewsbury Abbey, defends a young man accused of poisoning his stepfather, a guest at the abbey, and pursues several seemingly obscure clues to expose the murderer


Book cover of Prince Edward's Warrant

Toni Mount Author Of The Colour of Bone

From my list on murder mysteries to challenge your brain cells.

Why am I passionate about this?

Many years ago, when I’d read my first medieval mystery, I decided I wanted to write my own. But mine would be as realistic as I could manage; I wanted the reader to smell medieval London and to be there with me. A lot had been written about Kings and Queens but not much about ordinary life so that became the center of my academic study leading eventually to my Master's Degree in medieval medicine. As well as my novels I now write popular factual books and I’m pleased to say people have taken the time to say how much they enjoy the fine details I share.

Toni's book list on murder mysteries to challenge your brain cells

Toni Mount Why did Toni love this book?

Mel Starr is an American author who deserves to be better known for his Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton set in late fourteenth-century England.

Hugh is a surgeon as well as bailiff of Brampton. In this eleventh tale, Hugh is escorted to Kensington Palace, his expertise required to treat the ailing Black Prince. But I knew things had to get more serious than that and, sure enough, murder is committed.

Mel Starr’s research is impeccable and I found myself in the heart of medieval England, encountering royalty, rogues, and worse villains. But Hugh’s medical knowledge means he can tell an accident from a deliberate killing and there’s no deceiving him when he’s on a murderer’s trail.

By Mel Starr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Another delightful and absorbing mystery from Mel Starr, keeping the reader guessing as the corpses pile up in Prince Edward's palace. Hugh de Singleton, of the dry wit and engaging humility, is one of my favourite sleuths.' Penelope Wilcock, British author and blogger

Master Hugh won the Black Prince's favour when he helped to ease the Prince's illness.

Now, in the autumn of 1372, the prince is suffering a relapse and sends to Bampton for Master Hugh to attend him. While at dinner in Kennington Palace, Sir Giles, the knight who escorted Hugh to London, is stricken and dies. Poison!…


Book cover of To Calais, in Ordinary Time

Justine Firnhaber-Baker Author Of The Jacquerie of 1358: A French Peasants' Revolt

From my list on medieval peasants.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am professor of medieval history at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. As a PhD student, I was electrified by the historian E. P. Thompson’s call to rescue the masses ‘from the enormous condescension of posterity’, but it’s often only when peasants revolt, as they did outside Paris in 1358, that we get much evidence about the masses in the Middle Ages. I loved writing The Jacquerie of 1358 because it allowed me to get very close to the men (and a few women) who risked everything to make their society a more just and equal one. It was a privilege, and a pleasure, to tell their story.

Justine's book list on medieval peasants

Justine Firnhaber-Baker Why did Justine love this book?

This is a work of fiction, but one so well imagined that I felt like I was actually in the medieval English countryside.

It’s the story of Will, a peasant heading to France to join the English army as an archer in the Hundred Years War during the summer of 1348, when the Black Death swept across northern Europe. Along with him travel a gentlewoman avoiding an unwelcome marriage, some soldiers harboring a sordid secret, and a cleric with troubles of his own.

Following behind is Will’s gender-fluid childhood friend and would-be lover, Hab-Madlen, who is endangered as much by people’s prejudices as by the disease stalking the population. Will they escape England and their pasts before the plague catches up with them?

By James Meek,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked To Calais, in Ordinary Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Inventive and original' The Times
'Fans of intelligent historical fiction will be enthralled' Hilary Mantel

Shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction
Longlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction

Three journeys. One road.

England, 1348. A gentlewoman flees an odious arranged marriage, a proctor sets out for a monastery in Avignon and a young ploughman in search of freedom is on his way to volunteer with a company of archers. All come together on the road to Calais. In the other direction comes the Black Death, the plague that will wipe out half of the population of…


Book cover of Plague Land

Nick Brown Author Of The Siege: Agent of Rome 1

From my list on books that take you to another world.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before I was a writer, I was a reader.  My mother was a primary school teacher, so I was encouraged to read from my earliest years. I wanted to be not only entertained but transported to another place, time, or world. When I finally decided to write my first novel, I settled on historical fiction, but I have since written both science fiction and fantasy. I always endeavour to emulate my literary heroes and create engaging characters, compelling plots, and an interesting, unusual, convincing world.

Nick's book list on books that take you to another world

Nick Brown Why did Nick love this book?

This is the first part of S.D. Skyes’ medieval mystery series, following nobleman and investigator Oswald de Lacy. Sykes always creates an intriguing, compelling plot for each of the five de Lacy novels but it is the fourteenth-century setting that draws the reader in.

This is a land ravaged by the Black Death and the reader is not only entertained but informed by this powerful evocation of a society dealing with a disaster almost beyond comprehension.  

By S D Sykes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Book 1 in the gripping Oswald de Lacy series, which can be read as a standalone, from 'the medieval CJ Sansom' (Jeffery Deaver)

England, 1350: the Black Death has changed the country forever, taking master and servant alike.

Young Oswald de Lacey was never meant to be Lord of Somershill Manor, but when his father and older brothers die of the Plague, he must return home from the monastery and assume responsibility for an estate ravaged by pestilence.

Almost immediately Oswald is confronted with the vicious murder of a young woman, Alison Starvecrow. The village priest claims it is the…


Book cover of The Scottish Boy

Seth Haddon Author Of Reborn

From my list on queer love stories that defy all odds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a queer writer whose latest novel explores destiny’s role in love, and what it means for love to triumph. I’m completely addicted to reading queer romances, and my favourite dynamics are always couples whose love beats the odds. I am a queer Australian writer of fantasy, as well as a video game designer. I live in Sydney with my partner and our two furry children. 

Seth's book list on queer love stories that defy all odds

Seth Haddon Why did Seth love this book?

This is a book I saw cropping up every so often, but I was worried it would be too history-heavy (which can be a massive plus, but I was looking for something more heavy on the romance side!)

But when an artist friend of mine painted a very beautiful man, I had to know where he was from—and this was that book! It’s set in 1333, England is at war with Scotland, and already we have a beautiful tension set up.

Harry is a young untested knight eager for glory who is roped into a mission in Scotland where a massacre occurs, all to retrieve a young man, wild and angry, who is then put into Harry’s care. There’s so much mystery around this young man and his and Harry’s relationship has to overcome first their heritages, then the expectations of their societies.

It’s beautiful, hot, and one I’ll remember…

By Alex de Campi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

1333. Edward III is at war with Scotland. Nineteen-year-old Sir Harry de Lyon yearns to prove himself, and jumps at the chance when a powerful English baron, William Montagu, invites him on a secret mission with a dozen elite knights. They ride north, to a crumbling Scottish keep, capturing the feral, half-starved boy within and putting the other inhabitants to the sword.

But nobody knows why the flower of English knighthood snuck over the border to capture a savage, dirty teenage boy. Montagu gives the boy to Harry as his squire, with only two rules: don't let him escape, and…


Book cover of The Black Prince

Mary Ellen Johnson Author Of The Lion and the Leopard

From my list on why the 14th century mirrors our ideals.

Why am I passionate about this?

In junior high, I happened across a picture of an armor-plated knight being raised by a winch to sit astride his destrier. What a ridiculous time period, I thought. After raiding every related book in the school library,  I changed my opinion from “ridiculous” to “fascinating.” Particularly when deciding that periods such as the fourteenth century, with its plagues, wars, political upheavals, and climate change were pretty much a distorted mirror of our own. Throughout my life as wife, mother, novelist, and social justice advocate, I’ve held medieval England close to my heart. I remain forever grateful I’ve been able to explore it both in my writing and in several treks across the pond.  

Mary's book list on why the 14th century mirrors our ideals

Mary Ellen Johnson Why did Mary love this book?

Each time I visit Canterbury Cathedral, I pay homage to my favorite knight, Edward of Woodstock, who epitomizes the fourteenth-century version of the knight nonpareil. Being an autodidact rather than a scholar, I am particularly grateful that Black Prince is both meticulously researched and easy to read. I particularly admire Prince Edward because of his courage on and off the battlefield, especially when enduring the mysterious illness that ultimately killed him. Edward the Black Prince embraced all the turns of fortune’s wheel with grace, courage, and dignity. Love this man and love this book!

By Michael Jones,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As a child he was given his own suit of armor; at the age of sixteen, he helped defeat the French at Crécy. At Poitiers, in 1356, his victory over King John II of France forced the French into a humiliating surrender that marked the zenith of England’s dominance in the Hundred Years War. As lord of Aquitaine, he ruled a vast swathe of territory across the west and southwest of France, holding a magnificent court at Bordeaux that mesmerized the brave but unruly Gascon nobility and drew them like moths to the flame of his cause. He was Edward…


Book cover of Edward III

Hope Carolle Author Of The Veil Between Worlds

From my list on surviving and thriving in Medieval England.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved books where the main character goes from his/her own ordinary existence into another world, with inspiration from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, who was a tutor in English Literature. Since I love history, there’s nothing more fun for me than historical time travel, and I wonder how difficult it might be for a modern woman or man, well-versed in the history and literature of the time, to navigate the customs, etiquette, language, clothing, and politics in 1344. 

Hope's book list on surviving and thriving in Medieval England

Hope Carolle Why did Hope love this book?

Edward III’s founding of the Order of the Garter was what inspired me to write my book, but I knew little about him.

This true medieval king’s fifty-year-long reign was marked by controversy from the start, but he was also a romantic, a warrior (he instigated the 100 Year War against the French), steered England through the horrific amount of death from the plague in 1348, and was the patriarch to The Black Prince and John of Gaunt, and The War of the Roses came after his reign.

I recommend this fascinating account of his life. 

By W. Mark Ormrod,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A landmark biography of the charismatic king beloved of fourteenth-century England

Edward III (1312-1377) was the most successful European ruler of his age. Reigning for over fifty years, he achieved spectacular military triumphs and overcame grave threats to his authority, from parliamentary revolt to the Black Death. Revered by his subjects as a chivalric dynamo, he initiated the Hundred Years' War and gloriously led his men into battle against the Scots and the French.

In this illuminating biography, W. Mark Ormrod takes a deeper look at Edward to reveal the man beneath the military muscle. What emerges is Edward's clear…


Book cover of The Three Edwards

Mary Ellen Johnson Author Of The Lion and the Leopard

From my list on why the 14th century mirrors our ideals.

Why am I passionate about this?

In junior high, I happened across a picture of an armor-plated knight being raised by a winch to sit astride his destrier. What a ridiculous time period, I thought. After raiding every related book in the school library,  I changed my opinion from “ridiculous” to “fascinating.” Particularly when deciding that periods such as the fourteenth century, with its plagues, wars, political upheavals, and climate change were pretty much a distorted mirror of our own. Throughout my life as wife, mother, novelist, and social justice advocate, I’ve held medieval England close to my heart. I remain forever grateful I’ve been able to explore it both in my writing and in several treks across the pond.  

Mary's book list on why the 14th century mirrors our ideals

Mary Ellen Johnson Why did Mary love this book?

Thomas Costain’s series introduced me to a fascinating world of castles and cathedrals, of tournaments where mounted knights broke lances on behalf of their ladies, where courtly love and chivalry ruled the day. (In theory. Seldom in practice.) How strange, my preteen self thought. How enchanting! I was particularly fascinated by The Three Edwards, which recounts the reign of one of England’s worst kings sandwiched between two of its greatest. With the eye of a natural storyteller, Costain intersperses tales of wars, rebellions, and political machinations with myths such as Arthur and Guinevere’s tombs being “discovered” in Glastonbury and the possible origins of Robin Hood. While there are newer series mining the same period, Costain’s research remains relatively solid, and his prose retains its powerful simplicity.  

By Thomas B. Costain,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE THREE EDWARDS covers the years between 1272 and 1377 when three Edwards ruled England. Edward I brought England out of the Middle Ages. Edward II had a tragic reign but gave his country Edward III, who ruled gloriously, if violently.
"A thrilling narrative... history told with all the interest found only in a great novel." (Salt Lake City Tribune)


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