100 books like The History of the Kings of Britain

By Geoffrey of Monmouth, Neil Wright (translator), Michael D. Reeve (editor)

Here are 100 books that The History of the Kings of Britain fans have personally recommended if you like The History of the Kings of Britain. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Robert B. Marks Author Of Re: Apotheosis

From my list on writing for new (and even established) fiction writers.

Who am I?

Writing is in my blood – my grandmother wrote poetry, my mother writes novels, and over the last twenty-plus years I’ve written just about everything (and now I teach writing at my local university). I’ve loved stories for as long as I can remember. While my fiction career may be newly revived, I spent over 20 years as a pop culture commentator, poking at the minutia of the stories I love. I think stories may be one of the most important things in our culture – they inspire us, they brighten our day, they bring us to tears, and sometimes when we are lost they show us the way.

Robert's book list on writing for new (and even established) fiction writers

Robert B. Marks Why did Robert love this book?

This will be one of my more controversial picks – there are plenty of people who disagree with Campbell as a folklorist, a mythographer, and with his depiction of the Hero’s Journey. But, what is important about Campbell is his exploration of why the elements that appear in stories have the impact they do on our psyche, and how they fit together. One may not agree with all of Campbell’s conclusions, but I don’t think there’s a writer out there who won’t benefit from his exploration of the subject. I know I did.

By Joseph Campbell,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Hero with a Thousand Faces as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Joseph Campbell's classic cross-cultural study of the hero's journey has inspired millions and opened up new areas of research and exploration. Originally published in 1949, the book hit the New York Times best-seller list in 1988 when it became the subject of The Power of Myth, a PBS television special. The first popular work to combine the spiritual and psychological insights of modern psychoanalysis with the archetypes of world mythology, the book creates a roadmap for navigating the frustrating path of contemporary life. Examining heroic myths in the light of modern psychology, it considers not only the patterns and stages…


Book cover of Myth: A Biography of Belief

Graeme Davis Author Of Thor: Viking God of Thunder

From my list on mythology and its impact on the world.

Who am I?

Graeme Davis has been fascinated by myth and folklore ever since he saw Ray Harryhausen’s creatures in Jason and the Argonauts as a child. While studying archaeology at Durham University, he became far too involved with a new game called Dungeons & Dragons and went on to a career in fantasy games. He has written game sourcebooks on various ancient cultures and their myths, and worked as a researcher and consultant on multiple video games with historical and mythological settings.

Graeme's book list on mythology and its impact on the world

Graeme Davis Why did Graeme love this book?

This short book takes a deep dive into the nature of mythology and its relationship to the human mind. As well as the mythologies of past civilizations, Leeming examines modern-day myths and cultural beliefs and shows how myths are living and evolving things that serve a human need to understand the universe. If you have ever wondered what makes a myth a myth, or why everyone seems to have them, this book has some interesting answers.

By David Leeming,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Joseph Campbell wrote that mythology is "the wonderful song of the soul's high adventure." In Myth, David Leeming considers the role this "wonderful song" has to play in a world increasingly dependent on scientific and technical information.
Exploring classic works such as the Song of Songs, the Tao Te Ching, the Rg Veda, the New Testament, and the Indonesian myth of Hainuwele, Myth reveals the cultural energies that ancient "mythmakers" sought to corral in their creations. Leeming argues that myths are, by definition, evolving creations that live on in the work of modern-day "mythmakers" such as W.B. Yeats, Virginia Woolf,…


Book cover of The Quest of the Holy Grail

Graeme Davis Author Of Thor: Viking God of Thunder

From my list on mythology and its impact on the world.

Who am I?

Graeme Davis has been fascinated by myth and folklore ever since he saw Ray Harryhausen’s creatures in Jason and the Argonauts as a child. While studying archaeology at Durham University, he became far too involved with a new game called Dungeons & Dragons and went on to a career in fantasy games. He has written game sourcebooks on various ancient cultures and their myths, and worked as a researcher and consultant on multiple video games with historical and mythological settings.

Graeme's book list on mythology and its impact on the world

Graeme Davis Why did Graeme love this book?

This is an early example of mythology being used for a deliberate purpose: in this case, the promotion of Christian chivalric virtue. Full of dreamlike images and allegories, it also had a great influence on early fantasy writing, even if those creating early fantasy tales had never read it. And then, of course, there’s Monty Python.

By Unknown, Pauline M. Matarasso (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Composed by an unknown author in early thirteenth-century France, The Quest of the Holy Grail is a fusion of Arthurian legend and Christian symbolism, reinterpreting ancient Celtic myth as a profound spiritual fable. It recounts the quest of the knights of Camelot - the simple Perceval, the thoughtful Bors, the rash Gawain, the weak Lancelot and the saintly Galahad - as they journey through danger and temptation to reach the elusive Holy Grail. But only one of them is judged worthy to see the mysteries within the sacred vessel, and look upon the ineffable. Enfused with tragic grandeur and an…


Book cover of Holy Blood, Holy Grail

Karen Martin Author Of The Bringer of Happiness

From my list on writing about death, religion, and spirituality.

Who am I?

Our history is spoken through the voice of the conqueror – notably white male. My work seeks to balance our narratives through insight from women’s perspectives. I support my creative writing with extensive research in history, archeology, and myths, and include in situ interpretations of the relevant landscape. There are many truths to be told, not simply one ordained story and I wish to shine the light on stories that have been hidden and/or silenced. The themed series title, Women Unveiled, pertains to this.

Karen's book list on writing about death, religion, and spirituality

Karen Martin Why did Karen love this book?

I first read this book while at university. I re-read it after touring the Langue d’Òc region of France focusing on the folklore surrounding Mary Magdalene. This book advances the hypothesis that the historical Jesus married Mary Magdalene and travelled to the south of France, where their children married into nobility and established what became known as the Merovingian dynasty. This book provided a source of information as well as support, given my subject matter and the two entwining histories: the biblical era of Jesus and the 13th C siege of Montsegur. Its extensive bibliography provided a rich source of research, including academic articles, essays, and books.

By Richard Leigh, Henry Lincoln, Michael Baigent

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Is the traditional, accepted view of the life of Christ in some way incomplete?

• Is it possible Christ did not die on the cross?
• Is it possible Jesus was married, a father, and that his bloodline still exists?
• Is it possible that parchments found in the South of France a century ago reveal one of the best-kept secrets of Christendom?
• Is it possible that these parchments contain the very heart of the mystery of the Holy Grail?

According to the authors of this extraordinarily provocative, meticulously researched book, not only are these things possible — they…


Book cover of The Age of Arthur: A History of the British Isles from 350 to 650

Nicholas J. Higham Author Of King Arthur: The Making of the Legend

From my list on the origins of King Arthur.

Who am I?

As a university historian and archaeologist my focus has been the Early Middle Ages. In the 1990s I wrote several books about the fifth and sixth centuries which barely mentioned Arthur but popular histories and films based on his story just kept coming, so I decided to look again at his story and work out how and why it developed as it did. I have published three well-received books on the subject, each of which builds on the one before, plus articles that have been invited to be included in edited volumes. I disagree with much in the five books above but collectively they reflect the debate across my lifetime. It is a great debate, I hope you enjoy it. 

Nicholas' book list on the origins of King Arthur

Nicholas J. Higham Why did Nicholas love this book?

John Morris was an ancient historian specializing in the later Roman Empire who late in life turned his attention to Dark Age Britain. I only met him very briefly at a conference in the mid-1970s, by which time he was already very ill. He wrote by far his best-known work while presiding over the translation of a host of source materials for early medieval Britain and their publication by Phillimore, all the time fighting his own battle against cancer. He didn’t just accept Arthur as a real historical figure but made him the pivotal figure of British history in the decades around 500, accepting as authoritative all sorts of stories written many hundreds of years later. In so doing he was largely responsible for bringing the Arthurian Period of British history into existence and certainly gave it enormous popular appeal. Rarely has one writer had such an impact on a…

By John Morris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A lifetime's scholarship enabled John Morris to recreate a past hitherto hidden in myth and mystery. He describes the Arthurian Age as 'the starting point of future British history', for it saw the transition from Roman Britain to Great Britain, the establishment of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales from the collapse of the Pax Romana. In exploring political, social, economic, religious and cultural history from the fourth to the seventh century, his theme is one of continuity. That continuity is embodied in Arthur himself: 'in name he was the last Roman Emperor, but he ruled as the first medieval king.'


Book cover of Arthur in Medieval Welsh Literature

Nicholas J. Higham Author Of King Arthur: The Making of the Legend

From my list on the origins of King Arthur.

Who am I?

As a university historian and archaeologist my focus has been the Early Middle Ages. In the 1990s I wrote several books about the fifth and sixth centuries which barely mentioned Arthur but popular histories and films based on his story just kept coming, so I decided to look again at his story and work out how and why it developed as it did. I have published three well-received books on the subject, each of which builds on the one before, plus articles that have been invited to be included in edited volumes. I disagree with much in the five books above but collectively they reflect the debate across my lifetime. It is a great debate, I hope you enjoy it. 

Nicholas' book list on the origins of King Arthur

Nicholas J. Higham Why did Nicholas love this book?

Oliver Padel is a linguist specializing in early Welsh and Cornish and as such the ideal guide to Arthur’s presence in early Celtic literature. While acknowledging that the earliest datable instances come in the Historia Brittonum in 829-30, his view is that Arthur began as a figure of Celtic mythology and was only later converted into a pseudo-historical figure fixed in the past. In that sense, the early Arthur is the individual in the Historia Brittonum in the section called Mirabilia (Wonders), where he is used as a way of explaining landscape features and the names given to them, who has then been adapted to be a British general fighting 12 battles in chapter 56. This has strongly influenced ways of looking at the evidence in recent years and it deserves our attention.

Personally, I don’t agree with it for two reasons. First of all is the whole issue of…

By O.J. Padel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Arthur in Medieval Welsh Literature as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fascinating survey of the numerous references to Arthur found in medieval Welsh literature emphasising the diverse literary genres used and the multifaceted portrayal of the character. New edition.


Book cover of Concepts of Arthur

Nicholas J. Higham Author Of King Arthur: The Making of the Legend

From my list on the origins of King Arthur.

Who am I?

As a university historian and archaeologist my focus has been the Early Middle Ages. In the 1990s I wrote several books about the fifth and sixth centuries which barely mentioned Arthur but popular histories and films based on his story just kept coming, so I decided to look again at his story and work out how and why it developed as it did. I have published three well-received books on the subject, each of which builds on the one before, plus articles that have been invited to be included in edited volumes. I disagree with much in the five books above but collectively they reflect the debate across my lifetime. It is a great debate, I hope you enjoy it. 

Nicholas' book list on the origins of King Arthur

Nicholas J. Higham Why did Nicholas love this book?

Green’s book is a great read, very scholarly, and inclusive of a great deal of comparatively early source material on Arthur. If you want a good discussion of how you could go from a figure of Celtic myth to one of history, again and again in multiple stories, this is the best guide to that journey and deserves a hearing, whether ultimately you agree with it or not. You’ll probably not be surprised to hear that I am not persuaded, despite my considerable respect for the arguments made herein, largely for the same reasons as I noted in looking at Padel’s work above. It is extraordinarily difficult to determine whether Arthur passed from ‘history’ to folk-lore or folk-lore to ‘history’, better in my view to not distinguish these as two separate genres with this much clarity.

As usual, it all comes down to the Historia Brittonum, which is called…

By Thomas Green,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ever since Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote his 'History of the Kings of Britain' in the twelfth century, there have been numerous attempts to prove that the Arthur of Celtic legend was in fact based on an actual historical figure. This trend continues to the present day, although as yet no definitive literary or archaeological proof has emerged for Arthur's existence.
In this new and vigorous re-examination of the Arthurian legend, Thomas Green considers the earliest surviving literary and folkloric sources for Arthur and contests the belief that he was an actual person. Far from being an historical figure, Arthur emerges…


Book cover of The Arthur of the Welsh: The Arthurian Legend in Medieval Welsh Literature

Helen Fulton Author Of A Companion to Arthurian Literature

From my list on sensible stories about King Arthur.

Who am I?

I came to the Arthurian legends through the medium of medieval Welsh literature, a subject that had intrigued and challenged me since I was an undergraduate. I found the language impenetrable and yet beautiful, while the literature it encoded was fascinatingly unlike the literary traditions of England and France. I wanted to connect with a version of Arthur that preceded the romance traditions of France and England and bears witness to a much older culture and social organisation. Though I've learned to love other versions of Arthur, and indeed I teach the Arthurian legends as part of my academic work, the stark drama of the Welsh poems and tales continues to intrigue me.

Helen's book list on sensible stories about King Arthur

Helen Fulton Why did Helen love this book?

For any serious Arthurian fan, an understanding of the Welsh origins of Arthur is essential, and yet unpicking these early threads of Arthurian material can be difficult.

This book provides the perfect guide, a series of accessible articles about the various stories and poems that circulated in Wales before the fourteenth century. As someone who has studied medieval Welsh literature in depth, I enjoy sharing knowledge of this fascinating culture with others, and this book opens a door into the world of early Wales where Arthur first took shape as a legendary battle warrior.

Arthur’s Welsh origins have perhaps attracted more extremist views than any other part of the legends, so this book, based on documentary evidence, is a welcome corrective to the more far-fetched speculations about the origins of Arthur.

By Rachel Bromwich (editor), A.O.H. Jarman (editor), Brynley F. Roberts (editor)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Little, if anything, is known historically of Arthur, yet for centuries the romances of Arthur and his court dominated the imaginative literature of Europe in many languages. The roots of this vast flowering of the Arthurian legend are to be found in early Welsh tradition, and this volume gives an account of the Arthurian literature produced in Wales, in both Welsh and Latin, during the Middle Ages.

The distinguished contributors offer a comprehensive view of recent scholarship relating to Arthurian literature in early Welsh and other Brythonic sources. The volume includes chapters on the 'historical' Arthur, Arthur in early Welsh…


Book cover of The Return to Camelot: Chivalry and the English Gentleman

Helen Fulton Author Of A Companion to Arthurian Literature

From my list on sensible stories about King Arthur.

Who am I?

I came to the Arthurian legends through the medium of medieval Welsh literature, a subject that had intrigued and challenged me since I was an undergraduate. I found the language impenetrable and yet beautiful, while the literature it encoded was fascinatingly unlike the literary traditions of England and France. I wanted to connect with a version of Arthur that preceded the romance traditions of France and England and bears witness to a much older culture and social organisation. Though I've learned to love other versions of Arthur, and indeed I teach the Arthurian legends as part of my academic work, the stark drama of the Welsh poems and tales continues to intrigue me.

Helen's book list on sensible stories about King Arthur

Helen Fulton Why did Helen love this book?

I love this description of the power that the Arthurian legends exerted in nineteenth-century Britain and its cultural imagination.

With the re-printing of Thomas Malory’s Morte Darthur, poets, writers, and artists were inspired by these tales of chivalry and sacrifice at a time when the British Empire was at its height and ideals of service, governance, and personal endeavour were central to norms of masculinity.

Girouard perfectly captures the mood of the times and shows us why the vision of Camelot, doomed in its own Arthurian context, was even more flawed, and yet magnetic, in the context of empire.

By Mark Girouard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

. 1981, bright clean copy, with dustjacket, no markings, Professional booksellers since 1981


Book cover of Excalibur

Adam Lofthouse Author Of The Centurion’s Son

From my list on inspired me to start writing.

Who am I?

I first became obsessed with the ancient world at around seventeen, and have spent the subsequent years researching and gathering knowledge on all aspects of ancient life. It was through fiction that this love first blossomed and the yearning for books has not yet ceased. In 2015 I decided I didn’t want to just be a reader anymore, and I began work on what would in 2017 become my debut novel, The Centurion’s Son. I have no plans to stop any time soon.

Adam's book list on inspired me to start writing

Adam Lofthouse Why did Adam love this book?

I was about seventeen, at an airport waiting for a flight to Cyprus when I picked up this book whilst browsing. Didn’t realise at the time it would change my life forever. I read it three times in two weeks, despite finding out after the first time it was the third in a trilogy. I was hooked on the blood and the battles, the brotherhood of Arthur’s soldiers, the bygone era Bernard Cornwell seemed to so effortlessly breathe back to life. I haven’t looked back since.

By Bernard Cornwell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A story of love, war, loyalty and betrayal, EXCALIBUR begins with the failure of Lancelot's rebellion and the ruin of Arthur's marriage to Guinevere. The Saxons, sensing the disunity of the Britons, seize the chance to destroy Arthur. The climax of the war comes with the legendary triumph at Mount Badon, and Arthur`s great victory. But the promises he made then come back to haunt him after the years of peace and glory.


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