100 books like The Jefferson Key

By Steve Berry,

Here are 100 books that The Jefferson Key fans have personally recommended if you like The Jefferson Key. 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 Red Dragon

Tom Grace Author Of The Secret Cardinal

From my list on thrillers to keep you awake at night.

Who am I?

I am an avid reader and devour books of all types, but for pure entertainment I love a good thriller. These are the kind of books I read on planes and at the beach, and these are the kinds of books I shared with my late father. I contributed a piece on Rudyard Kipling’s Kim to the collection Thrillers: 100 Must Reads and am a member of the International Thriller Writers. While I write thrillers professionally, I remain a passionate reader of the genre and love to share the brilliant stories that kept me reading late into the night.

Tom's book list on thrillers to keep you awake at night

Tom Grace Why did Tom love this book?

Hannibal Lecter. That alone is enough to recommend this brilliant Thomas Harris novel. Red Dragon serves as the literary debut of the iconic psychiatrist/gourmand serial killer. This tense, psychological thriller places FBI profiler Will Graham between the imprisoned but still dangerous Lecter and the titular character who slays entire families under the light of a full moon. The novel opens with Graham on leave and recovering from physical and psychological injuries sustained in Lecter’s capture when the urgency of catching this new killer presses him reluctantly back into service. Graham’s effort to aid the hunt of the Dragon from the shadows is thwarted when Lecter aims the killer at Graham and his family. Wicked fun.

By Thomas Harris,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Red Dragon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of "Silence of the Lambs" and "Black Sunday", this is the book that introduces the most famous serial killer of them all - Hannibal Lecter.


Book cover of The Black Angel

Tom Grace Author Of The Secret Cardinal

From my list on thrillers to keep you awake at night.

Who am I?

I am an avid reader and devour books of all types, but for pure entertainment I love a good thriller. These are the kind of books I read on planes and at the beach, and these are the kinds of books I shared with my late father. I contributed a piece on Rudyard Kipling’s Kim to the collection Thrillers: 100 Must Reads and am a member of the International Thriller Writers. While I write thrillers professionally, I remain a passionate reader of the genre and love to share the brilliant stories that kept me reading late into the night.

Tom's book list on thrillers to keep you awake at night

Tom Grace Why did Tom love this book?

Connolly weaves taut crime thrillers that I have great trouble putting down once I start reading. Charlie Parker and the rest of the regular cast are beautifully rich characters I care about, which explains the 19 books in this series on my shelf. What sets Connolly apart is an undercurrent of supernatural evil that arcs through these crime stories. In The Black Angel, the shroud that conceals what the reader likely sensed in the early novels is pulled back a little to reveal an underworld of darkness beneath the stories. Charlie Parker is the detective you want on the case when there is more than just a crime and The Black Angel is a milestone in the series.

By John Connolly,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

EVIL TAKES MANY FORMS.
PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR CHARLIE PARKER HUNTS THEM ALL.

The Black Angel is not an object. The Black Angel is not a myth. The Black Angel lives.

A young woman goes missing from the streets of New York. Those who have taken her believe that nobody cares about her, and that no one will come looking for her. They are wrong. She is linked to the killer Louis, the man who stands at the right hand of private detective Charlie Parker, and Louis will tear apart anyone who stands in the way of his attempts to find her.…


Book cover of Raise the Titanic!

David Z. Pyke Author Of Rescuing Crockett

From my list on elements of historical adventure fiction.

Who am I?

My passion for historical adventure and Texas history stems from my heritage: I’m a native Texan related to one of the Alamo defenders. My great-great-great-great-great-granduncle, Isaac Millsaps, was one of the Immortal 32, the reinforcements from Gonzales who answered William Barret Travis's call for help, rode to San Antonio, and died in the Alamo on March 6, 1836. My relationship with words began in elementary school, where I read Beowulf and Dracula by the time I was 10 years old (probably explains a lot about me). I began writing for newspapers in 1975 and have been writing professionally ever since.

David's book list on elements of historical adventure fiction

David Z. Pyke Why did David love this book?

I chose this for the power of hook and title. This action & adventure novel with historical elements has the greatest title in the history of literature.

The purpose of a title is to sell the book, and no title ever succeeded so well. Raise the Titanic! was published a decade before the wreck of Titanic was discovered, so in the world’s imagination the ship was still largely intact. Cussler tapped into the intoxicating idea of the legendary ship’s resurrection and the completion of its maiden voyage.

I was so struck when I saw Raise the Titanic! in a bookstore, I decided to buy it before I picked it up. The book propelled Cussler from moderate success to the best-selling grandmaster of adventure, and it inspired my search for a hook and title.

By Clive Cussler,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Raise the Titanic! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

'Cussler is hard to beat' Daily Mail

The fantastic fourth Dirk Pitt classic from multi-million-copy king of the adventure novel, Clive Cussler.

A tidal wave of pounding excitement from the first page to the last . . .

Two and a half miles beneath the icy North Atlantic the mighty Titanic holds the key to the safety of the free world. The Americans want it. So do the Russians. Ace maritime troubleshooter Dirk Pitt faces one of the most stupendous tests of courage and ingenuity ever.

Raise the Titanic is a spellbinding blockbuster of action and…


The Blighted Mission

By E. Chris Ambrose,

Book cover of The Blighted Mission

E. Chris Ambrose Author Of The Mongol's Coffin

New book alert!

Who am I?

As an art school drop-out who'd been majoring in sculpture, I'm fascinated by material culture—artifacts created by early peoples that reveal their cultural values. Often, the relics and sites that engage both archaeologists and readers suggest unexpected depths of knowledge that show human ingenuity through the ages. I strive to incorporate the details of an artifact or monument's creation into the clues and descriptions in my work, hopefully illuminating a little-known historical realm, if only by torchlight as the adventure unfolds. The fact that I get to explore so many exotic locations, in research if not in person, is a definite plus!

E. Chris' book list on weaving adventure and history

What is my book about?

Disgraced British anthropologist Nigel Rowe hopes his YouTube adventure channel will be just the treat to redeem him, but vengeful treasure hunters have other plans! Seeking a legendary Jesuit mission in Baja, Nigel saves his producer’s life when the man takes a bullet meant for him. 

When an ex-Marine strolls up for a bodyguard interview, and dresses him down for his lax security, she might be precisely what he needs, or the last face he'll ever see. They plunge into the desert in search of fame, fortune and viral footage. Will he survive long enough to work out who's after him or meet a sticky end in the mountains of Mexico? All he can hope is that his new partner's doesn’t pull the trigger herself.

The Blighted Mission

By E. Chris Ambrose,

What is this book about?

A disgraced British anthropologist hopes his YouTube adventure channel will redeem him, but vengeful treasure hunters have other plans.

From the author of the internationally best-selling Bone Guard archaeological adventures!

On the trail of a legendary Jesuit mission in Baja—and the treasure it may contain—Nigel Rowe leaps into action to save the life of his producer when the man takes a bullet meant for Nigel. Alas, the list of those who might wish him dead spans the globe and ranges from American treasure hunters to Russian mobsters to his own dear brother, with their mother's consent if not her explicit…


Book cover of The Master Executioner

Tom Grace Author Of The Secret Cardinal

From my list on thrillers to keep you awake at night.

Who am I?

I am an avid reader and devour books of all types, but for pure entertainment I love a good thriller. These are the kind of books I read on planes and at the beach, and these are the kinds of books I shared with my late father. I contributed a piece on Rudyard Kipling’s Kim to the collection Thrillers: 100 Must Reads and am a member of the International Thriller Writers. While I write thrillers professionally, I remain a passionate reader of the genre and love to share the brilliant stories that kept me reading late into the night.

Tom's book list on thrillers to keep you awake at night

Tom Grace Why did Tom love this book?

While not technically a fast-paced thriller, The Master Executioner is the compelling story of a young Civil War veteran who evolves into a methodical, professional hangman in the old West. After completing a carpentry apprenticeship, Oscar Stone goes west to seek his fortunes in the frontier. Finding construction work scarce, he accepts a commission to build the gallows for a hanging and his career plans find a new trajectory. Stone is as exacting as a hangman as he was a carpentry, from the quality of the rope to the length of the drop he strives to provide the condemned a quick and painless death. Estleman’s prose is exceptional, his dialog crisp, and his storytelling lean and well-paced. The pages of The Master Executioner fly.

By Loren D. Estleman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ordinary people do not understand Oscar Stone. Everything he does, he does impeccably. He is a profound student of his art, completely versed in its traditions over the centuries. He is a student of ropes and their properties, a master of the latest scientific knowledge about the human neck, a careful calculator of weights and drops, and an exacting observer of results. Far more than a quarter of a century he has worked to create a reputation as a man peerless in his craft: the master executioner. Yet he is utterly alone: His devotion to his work costs him his…


Book cover of Class Conflict, Slavery, and the United States Constitution: Ten Essays

Leonard L. Richards Author Of The Slave Power: The Free North and Southern Domination, 1780--1860

From my list on why slaveholders once dominated American politics.

Who am I?

I'm now retired. But like many historians of my generation, I've been lucky. Having gone to the University of California when there was no tuition and got through graduate school thanks to the GI Bill, I then taught history for five decades, briefly at San Francisco State College and the University of Hawaii, and for a long stretch at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. During those years, I wrote eight books, one was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1987, and three won prizes—the Albert J. Beverage Award in 1970, the second-place Lincoln Prize in 2001, and the Langum Trust Prize in 2015. All but one deal with slavery and power.

Leonard's book list on why slaveholders once dominated American politics

Leonard L. Richards Why did Leonard love this book?

This book is a corrective. For over two hundred years Americans have been taught that enlightened slaveholders—and especially Jefferson and Madison—were initially the main champions of liberty and equality. But was that truly what happened? This book offers a different take on that story, and in my mind it deserves more attention than it has received.

By Staughton Lynd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Class Conflict, Slavery, and the United States Constitution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

We sell Rare, out-of-print, uncommon, & used BOOKS, PRINTS, MAPS, DOCUMENTS, AND EPHEMERA. We do not sell ebooks, print on demand, or other reproduced materials. Each item you see here is individually described and imaged. We welcome further inquiries.


Book cover of "Most Blessed of the Patriarchs": Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination

Edward G. Gray Author Of Tom Paine's Iron Bridge: Building a United States

From my list on ingenuity and innovation in the American Revolution.

Who am I?

My interest in the American Revolution began with a college course on the French Revolution. I was enthralled by the drama of it all. Being the impressionable late adolescent that I was, I naturally explained to my professor, a famous French historian of the French Revolution, that I wanted to dedicate my life to the study of this fascinating historical period. My professor urged me to reconsider. He suggested I look at a less well-known Revolution, the one British colonists undertook a decade earlier. I started reading books about the American Revolution. Now, forty years on, I’m still enthralled by the astonishing creative energy of this period in American history. 

Edward's book list on ingenuity and innovation in the American Revolution

Edward G. Gray Why did Edward love this book?

Next to Franklin, Thomas Jefferson is surely the most inventive, innovative member of the American Revolutionary pantheon. He is known for his powerful formulations of revolutionary ideas—in the Declaration of Independence, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and his inaugural address as third President of the United States. These contributions rested on deep and disciplined study in the human sciences, including history, geography, ethnography, political economy, as well as applied sciences such as horticulture, viticulture, and architecture. In their learned meditation on the life and thought of this most learned of American founders, Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter Onuf offer a fresh perspective on Jefferson.

In so many ways, he embodied the cutting-edge values of the American Revolution, but Jefferson also embodied the contradictions of the Revolution—particularly as they related to the institution of slavery. Rather than dismiss him as a hypocrite, Gordon-Reed and Onuf set out to explain Jefferson. For…

By Annette Gordon-Reed, Peter S. Onuf,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked "Most Blessed of the Patriarchs" as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Thomas Jefferson is still presented today as an enigmatic figure, despite being written about more than any other Founding Father. Lauded as the most articulate voice of American freedom, even as he held people in bondage, Jefferson is variably described as a hypocrite, an atheist and a simple-minded proponent of limited government. Now, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and leading Jefferson scholar team up to present an absorbing and revealing character study that finally clarifies the philosophy of Jefferson. The authors explore what they call the "empire" of Jefferson's imagination-his expansive state of mind born of the intellectual influences and life…


Book cover of American Honor: The Creation of the Nation's Ideals during the Revolutionary Era

David Head Author Of A Crisis of Peace: George Washington, the Newburgh Conspiracy, and the Fate of the American Revolution

From my list on what made American Revolution soldiers tick.

Who am I?

I’m a historian who loves watching the Founding Fathers do not-so-Founding-Fatherish things, like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson bonding over how awful Alexander Hamilton was, James Madison reporting how the king of Spain liked to relieve himself daily by the same oak tree, and George Washington losing his temper, asking his cousin to look for the teeth he just knew he’d left in his desk drawer, or spinning out a conspiracy theory. It’s details like this that reveal that even the most revealed figures were real people, like us but often very different. Figuring out how it all makes sense is a challenge I enjoy. 

David's book list on what made American Revolution soldiers tick

David Head Why did David love this book?

Mention “honor” in an 18th-century context, and most people think of dueling. Honor was about dueling, but it was also about much more. As Smith shows, a sense of honored suffused the 18th-century world. Different understandings of what honor meant helped propel the separation between Britain and its colonies. Smith takes the Founders' ideals seriously. Though they often fell short, knowing what they aimed for provides key insight into the mental universe they inhabited—and the legacy the left the new nation.

By Craig Bruce Smith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The American Revolution was not only a revolution for liberty and freedom, it was also a revolution of ethics, reshaping what colonial Americans understood as "honor" and "virtue." As Craig Bruce Smith demonstrates, these concepts were crucial aspects of Revolutionary Americans' ideological break from Europe and shared by all ranks of society. Focusing his study primarily on prominent Americans who came of age before and during the Revolution - notably John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington - Smith shows how a colonial ethical transformation caused and became inseparable from the American Revolution, creating an ethical ideology that…


Book cover of Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library

Beth Anderson Author Of Cloaked in Courage: Uncovering Deborah Sampson, Patriot Soldier

From my list on children’s stories on the American Revolution.

Who am I?

As an educator, I’ve experienced the power of true stories to engage readers, widen their world, spur thinking, and support content areas. I’ve learned plenty from these books, too! As an author, I’m fascinated with many aspects of the American Revolution that I never learned about as a student. Researching this time period has revealed much more than men at war. The revolution affected every aspect of life—a “world turned upside-down.” Today, we’re fortunate to have a range of stories that help kids understand that history is about people much like them facing the challenges of their time and place. 

Beth's book list on children’s stories on the American Revolution

Beth Anderson Why did Beth love this book?

I’m a fan of this book for several reasons. Like all of us, the founders of the United States were complicated people, and I love books that reveal the person inside.

As an author who writes about American history, I am constantly grateful for the immense resources of the Library of Congress, the institution that preserves our history. And thirdly, I’m a fan of author Barb Rosenstock—everything she writes is special!

This story shares Jefferson’s love of books and reading, his interest in absolutely every subject, and how his massive book collection helped build the Library of Congress. 

By Barb Rosenstock, John O'Brien (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

Young readers of all ages will love this story about President Thomas Jefferson, who found his passion as soon as he learned to read: books, books, and more books!

Before, during, and after the American Revolution, Jefferson collected thousands of books on hundreds of subjects. In fact, his massive collection eventually helped rebuild the Library of Congress—now the largest library in the world.

Author Barb Rosenstock's rhythmic words and illustrator John O'Brien's whimsical illustrations capture Jefferson's zeal for the written word as well as little-known details about book collecting. An author's note, bibliography, and source notes for quotations are also…


Book cover of Founding Friendships: Friendships Between Men and Women in the Early American Republic

Alexis Coe Author Of You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington

From my list on George Washington.

Who am I?

Alexis Coe is a presidential historian and the New York Times bestselling author of You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington, which was also Audible’s best history book of 2020 and Barnes and Nobel's nonfiction Book of the Month. She was a producer and appeared in Doris Kearns Goodwin's Washington series on the History Channel.

Alexis' book list on George Washington

Alexis Coe Why did Alexis love this book?

“I am always yours” was not George Washington’s usual signoff. It was reserved for Elizabeth Willing Powel, a dear friend who often gets short shrift in Washington biographies. Cassandra Good’s book isn’t devoted to the General, but what's there can't be found anywhere else.

By Cassandra A. Good,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"When Harry Met Sally" is only the most iconic of popular American movies, books, and articles that pose the question of whether friendships between men and women are possible. In Founding Friendships, Cassandra A. Good shows that this question was embedded in and debated as far back as the birth of the American nation. Indeed, many of the nation's founding fathers had female friends but popular rhetoric held that these relationships were fraught with
social danger, if not impossible.

Elite men and women formed loving, politically significant friendships in the early national period that were crucial to the individuals' lives…


Book cover of Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

Dennis C. Rasmussen Author Of Fears of a Setting Sun: The Disillusionment of America's Founders

From my list on American founders from a political theorist.

Who am I?

I’m a political theorist at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. I spent the first fifteen years or so of my career working on the Scottish and French Enlightenments (Adam Smith, David Hume, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Montesquieu, Voltaire), but in recent years I’ve been drawn more and more to the American founding. In addition to Fears of a Setting Sun, I’m also the author of The Constitution’s Penman: Gouverneur Morris and the Creation of America’s Basic Charter, which explores the constitutional vision of the immensely colorful individual who—unbeknownst to most Americans—wrote the US Constitution.

Dennis' book list on American founders from a political theorist

Dennis C. Rasmussen Why did Dennis love this book?

Gordon Wood is often described as the dean of historians of the American founding, and all of his books are eminently worth reading. I was lucky enough, as a postdoc at Brown University, to sit in on the last course that he taught on the American Revolution before his retirement. Of the many volumes that Wood has written, I picked this dual biography of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson not only because it’s a delightful read, but also because it’s the book that I was reading when the idea for my book struck me.

By Gordon S. Wood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 2017

From the great historian of the American Revolution, New York Times-bestselling and Pulitzer-winning Gordon Wood, comes a majestic dual biography of two of America's most enduringly fascinating figures, whose partnership helped birth a nation, and whose subsequent falling out did much to fix its course.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams could scarcely have come from more different worlds, or been more different in temperament. Jefferson, the optimist with enough faith in the innate goodness of his fellow man to be democracy's champion, was an aristocratic Southern slaveowner, while Adams, the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and the Constitution of the United States?

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