10 books like The King's Last Song

By Geoff Ryman,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The King's Last Song. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

The Singapore Grip

By J.G. Farrell,

Book cover of The Singapore Grip

I love how this novel veers between the comic (the preening self-importance of a British family that runs a trading company) and the tragic (death and mayhem as Japanese troops set Singapore on fire in 1942). Father cynically manipulates markets; daughter carries on with unsuitable men; approved suitor arrives from Europe to reveal himself as an idealist who spouts praise for the League of Nations. You’ll learn a thing or two about how colonial companies of the time built enormous wealth by squeezing it from impoverished plantation workers, and how the war turned everything upside down.

The Singapore Grip

By J.G. Farrell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NOW A MAJOR ITV DRAMA, THE SINGAPORE GRIP IS A MODERN CLASSIC FROM THE BOOKER-PRIZE WINNING J.G. FARRELL

'Brilliant, richly absurd, melancholy' Observer

'Enjoyable on many different levels' Sunday Times

'One of the most outstanding novelists of his generation' Spectator

Singapore, 1939: Walter Blackett, ruthless rubber merchant, is head of British Singapore's oldest and most powerful firm. And his family's prosperous world of tennis parties, cocktails and deferential servants seems unchanging. No one suspects it - but this world is poised on the edge of the abyss. This is the eve of the Fall of Singapore.

A love story and…


The Lost Executioner

By Nic Dunlop,

Book cover of The Lost Executioner: The Story of Comrade Duch and the Khmer Rouge

Between 1975 and 1979, the Khmer Rouge communist-ruled Cambodia and drove its population onto rural communes where millions perished from murder and malnutrition. Countless well-researched books have been written on the subject. The Lost Executioner stands out for the commitment of its author. For years, photographer Nic Dunlop carried a photograph of Comrade Duch in his pocket as he traveled through post-war Cambodia, trying to understand the horrors inflicted on its population until he came face to face to face with the head of the Khmer Rouge secret police who was responsible for some 20.000 deaths. The Lost Executioner not only dissects the horror of recent Cambodian politics but also asks pertinent questions about the role of journalists in conflict zones.

The Lost Executioner

By Nic Dunlop,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Between 1975 and 1979 the seemingly peaceful nation of Cambodia succumbed to one of the most bloodthirsty revolutions in modern history. Nearly two million people were killed. As head of the Khmer Rouge's secret police, Comrade Duch was responsible for the murder of more than 20,000 of them. Twenty years later, not one member of the Khmer Rouge had been held accountable for what had happened, and Comrade Duch had disappeared. Photographer Nic Dunlop became obsessed with the idea of finding Duch, and shedding light on a secret and brutal world that had been sealed off to outsiders. Then, by…


Cambodia's Curse

By Joel Brinkley,

Book cover of Cambodia's Curse: The Modern History of a Troubled Land

Cambodia, Joel Brinkley writes, is the most dangerous country in the world. The first one falls in love with it, then it breaks one’s heart. Cambodia’s Curse is a book of two tales. Brinkley’s retelling of the war years is a little revisionist but the chapters on the post-war reconstruction, the dirty politics, the lack of opportunities for ordinary people, and the venality of the government that remains in place to this day rightly and masterfully lay the blame for countless missed opportunities to create a more equitable society both into the hands of the international community’s attempts to create ‘democracy’ and Hun Sen’s regime.

Cambodia's Curse

By Joel Brinkley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A generation after the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia shows every sign of having overcome its history- the streets of Phnom Penh are paved skyscrapers dot the skyline. But under this facade lies a country still haunted by its years of terror. Joel Brinkley won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting in Cambodia on the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime that killed one quarter of the nation's population during its years in power. In 1992, the world came together to help pull the small nation out of the mire. Cambodia became a United Nations protectorate- the first and only time the…


Carrying Cambodia

By Hans Kemp, Conor Wall,

Book cover of Carrying Cambodia

Books on Cambodia predominantly cover the communist revolution and genocide. Carrying Cambodia is a different proposition, a photo book that depicts the resourcefulness of ordinary Cambodians in the post-war era. The two authors/photographers spent considerable time on the back of motorbikes cruising the highways and by-ways of Cambodia to capture the incredible efforts its people have to make to get from A to B. Images of trucks, bikes, tuk-tuks, and cyclos unbelievably overloaded with people and produce give a candid impression of the daily struggle of citizens living in unjust, broken societies, but also celebrates a resurging Khmer spirit in the face of incredible challenges.

Carrying Cambodia

By Hans Kemp, Conor Wall,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Unbelievable feats of transportation are an everyday occurrence on the streets of Cambodia. Tuk-tuks, cyclos, cars, trucks, motorbikes and bicycles transport loads that defy your wildest imagination. Tuk-tuks crammed to the roof with fruit and veg, beaten-up old taxis transporting pigs bigger than people, beds bigger than pigs and water tanks bigger than beds! Six people on one small motorbike, and 67 people standing on the back of a flatbed lorry.

Photographers Hans Kemp and Conor Wall spent hundreds of long, painful hours on the back of motorbikes documenting this unique street culture, resulting in this amazing book loaded with…


Ghost Money

By Andrew Nette,

Book cover of Ghost Money

Ghost Money is a gripping thriller set in late 90s Cambodia, as the country lurches violently out of its long-running civil war. Vietnamese-Australian ex-cop Max Quinlan has been hired to find businessmen Charles Avery who has disappeared in the chaos. Teaming up with a Cambodian journalist, Quinlan leaves the freewheeling capital Phnom Penh to the battle-scarred border to Thailand. As the political temperature soars, Quinlan is slowly drawn into a mystery that reaches back into Cambodia's bloody history. Ghost Money is a story about what happens to people trapped between the past and the present, the choices they make, and what they do to survive.

Ghost Money

By Andrew Nette,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Cambodia, 1996, the long-running Khmer Rouge insurgency is fragmenting, competing factions of the unstable government scrambling to gain the upper hand. Missing in the chaos is businessmen Charles Avery. Hired to find him is Vietnamese Australian ex-cop Max Quinlan. But Avery has made dangerous enemies and Quinlan is not the only one looking. Teaming up a Cambodian journalist, Quinlan's search takes him from the freewheeling capital Phnom Penh to the battle scarred western borderlands. As the political temperature soars, he is slowly drawn into a mystery that plunges him into the heart of Cambodia's bloody past. Ghost Money is a…


The Jewel in the Crown

By Paul Scott,

Book cover of The Jewel in the Crown: The Raj Quartet, Volume 1

This first volume—with the other threeis, I think, the best book ever written about the British in India and their leaving of it. The whole story is rooted in a rape that happens to a young Englishwoman, whose lover is accused of the crime. I first read this when it came out in 1980, before the amazingly good TV series. There are so many unforgettable characters in itthe women, trying to survive with husbands and fathers away in the army, the missionaries and nuns, as well as the men. Scott does not in any way idealize the Britishrather the oppositeand it is a feast of detail of the time and moving human stories. I have re-read it and will no doubt do so again. 

The Jewel in the Crown

By Paul Scott,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Jewel in the Crown as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This first volume opens in 1942 as the British fear both Japanese invasion and Indian demands for self-rule. Daphne Manners, daughter of the province governor, is running at night through the Mayapore gardens, away from her Indian lover, who will soon be arrested for her alleged rape.


Prisna

By Princess Vibhavadi Rangsit, Tulachandra (translator),

Book cover of Prisna

Life and love among the Siamese well-off in the late 1930s. Broken hearts, vacations at the beach, flirtation on a tennis court. The story is driven by the return of a sister (Prisna) who has grown up in America and acquired shocking cosmopolitan ways—wearing shorts to the movies, for instance. It’s an entertaining read, yet deep in its own way, a favorite for someone (me) who lived in Thailand for six years. The book is well known there, but hardly gets noticed abroad. Prisna was written by a member of the Thai royal family, drawing from the world she inhabited. You should always be careful comparing things to Jane Austen, but this has many of the same classic attributes: a domestic focus, the search for a husband, characters drawn with poise and sympathy, prose that never contains a word more than needed.

Prisna

By Princess Vibhavadi Rangsit, Tulachandra (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Prisna Volume 1 and Volume 2 take place in 1938 in Phra Nakhon, Thailand, during a time when men and women were not equals. Marriage for women meant security, not love. Prisna is the youngest daughter among four girls and was the only one raised in America by their uncle. She is outgoing, cheerful, and pretty, but at the same time, she is also headstrong, intelligent, and opinionated. She returns to Siam after living in America for 12 years and is once again reunited with her family. Prisna, whose name means “mystery, a puzzle/ riddle,” causes quite a stir in…


Bangkok Wakes to Rain

By Pitchaya Sudbanthad,

Book cover of Bangkok Wakes to Rain

I lived in Bangkok for six years. This is the rare novel that captures the sounds, the smells, the spirit, and spirituality of the place. Bangkok in fact is the main character, with supporting roles by humans who make their lives there, from the nineteenth century to the present and into the not-so-distant future, when water lays permanent claim to a city built more or less at sea level. You can expect lyrical writing and engaging characters, whether human or urban. 

Bangkok Wakes to Rain

By Pitchaya Sudbanthad,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bangkok Wakes to Rain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Recreates the experience of living in Thailand's aqueous climate so viscerally that you can feel the water rising around your ankles." —Ron Charles, Washington Post

"Important, ambitious, and accomplished." —Mohsin Hamid, New York Times bestselling author of Exit West

A missionary doctor pines for his native New England even as he succumbs to the vibrant chaos of nineteenth-century Siam. A post-World War II society woman marries, mothers, and holds court, little suspecting her solitary fate. A jazz pianist in the age of rock, haunted by his own ghosts, is summoned to appease the house's resident spirits. In the present, a…


And Only to Deceive

By Tasha Alexander,

Book cover of And Only to Deceive

I adore Tasha Alexander’s books for their elegance and suspense but most of all for her fabulous heroine, Lady Emily Ashton. I always recommend beginning with And Only to Deceive. Lady Emily isn’t yet twenty when her Viscount husband dies on an African safari in 1887. Having married him only to escape her mother—one of her many questionable decisions—Emily doesn’t grieve. But when she reads his journals, to her surprise, she falls in love with him—after his death, which is a cool twist. With keen intelligence and amazing resolve, she solves the mystery of what really happened on his fatal trip. When she stands up to her mother, declaring she values her freedom too much to marry again, I cheer her on. Yes, she changes her mind.

And Only to Deceive

By Tasha Alexander,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked And Only to Deceive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From New York Times bestselling author Tasha Alexander comes a stunning novel of historical suspense set in Victorian England, meticulously researched and with a twisty plot that involves stolen antiquities, betrayal, and murder

Lady Emily's first mystery . . .

For Emily, accepting the proposal of Philip, the Viscount Ashton, was just an easy way to escape her stifling home life and overbearing mother. So when her new husband dies on safari soon after the wedding, she feels little grief. After all, she barely knew the man.

Now, nearly two years later, she discovers that Philip was a far different…


Loot

By Sharon Waxman,

Book cover of Loot: The Battle Over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World

The long history of pillage as an act of colonial conquest – Napoleon looting Egypt, Britain looting Greece, among many others – is well-told in this solid, historically grounded account. Why are so many of the world’s great museums filled with treasures from ancient civilizations? This book tells you how it happened, while also showing why countries stripped of their heritage are demanding it back. There are a few books out there entitled Loot: this is the one to read. 

Loot

By Sharon Waxman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For the past two centuries, the West has plundered the treasures of the ancient world to fill its great museums, but in recent years the countries where ancient civilizations originated have begun to push back, taking museums to court, prosecuting curators, and threatening to force the return of these priceless objects. Sharon Waxman brings us inside this high-stakes conflict, from the great cities of the West to Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and Italy, as these countries face down the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum, the British Museum, and the J. Paul Getty Museum. She shows how the actions of a few determined…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in kidnapping, Cambodia, and the Khmer Rouge?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about kidnapping, Cambodia, and the Khmer Rouge.

Kidnapping Explore 73 books about kidnapping
Cambodia Explore 19 books about Cambodia
The Khmer Rouge Explore 10 books about the Khmer Rouge