100 books like The Last Kingdom

By Bernard Cornwell,

Here are 100 books that The Last Kingdom fans have personally recommended if you like The Last Kingdom. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Winter King

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 because this is how historical adventure is done. Cornwell brilliantly creates authentic characters, setting, dialogue, plot, and conflict.

The Winter King is the first book of the Warlord Trilogy, which is the best retelling of the Arthur legend I’ve ever encountered, but this could be about any of his novels and series. He’s written about the Stone Age, the Dark Ages, Henry V, Alfred the Great, and the Napoleonic wars. He even took on Shakespeare with Fools and Mortals.

Cornwell’s battle sequences are the best in the business, his storylines are compelling, his characters are memorable, his pacing is perfect, and his worlds are immersive. Cornwell is the acknowledged master of the genre.

By Bernard Cornwell,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Winter King as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Uther, the High King of Britain, has died, leaving the infant Mordred as his only heir. His uncle, the loyal and gifted warlord Arthur, now rules as caretaker for a country which has fallen into chaos - threats emerge from within the British kingdoms while vicious Saxon armies stand ready to invade. As he struggles to unite Britain and hold back the Saxon enemy, Arthur is embroiled in a doomed romance with beautiful Guinevere.


Book cover of The Killer Angels

Rebecca Branch Author Of The Summer of '71: A Romance of Youth in Timeless Rome

From my list on adventure, love, lust, and life’s lessons through time.

Who am I?

I am all the characters in this and every book I have written. I grew up in Rome, teach Roman art and architectural history, and am a practicing architect. My books are suffused with the things I love, from culture to cuisine, pace of life, love of consort, affection for children and animals, to the adventures I have been so fortunate to enjoy through my fifties. Reading has been a big part of my education. I have many interests and loves to share. These five book recommendations are but the tip of the iceberg. I became an author so I could write what remains unwritten and read the stories I wish to tell.

Rebecca's book list on adventure, love, lust, and life’s lessons through time

Rebecca Branch Why did Rebecca love this book?

I have never been brought so close to a battle and a battlefield experience as when reading this book.

The horror, tension, excitement, valor, and regret of warfare are clearly depicted. The motivations for fighting for a terrible cause are examined. The determination to see things through to the bitter end is in evidence. It is a blueprint for writing warfare and helps the reader understand the excitement and tension in leading troops to the fear and futility of being on the line.

Best of all, Shaara has been able to bring life to Lee, who so often is referred to as a marble man. Here, he’s been humanized, and this alone makes our reading of history so much more personal and relevant.

By Michael Shaara,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The Killer Angels as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“My favorite historical novel . . . a superb re-creation of the Battle of Gettysburg, but its real importance is its insight into what the war was about, and what it meant.”—James M. McPherson
 
In the four most bloody and courageous days of our nation’s history, two armies fought for two conflicting dreams. One dreamed of freedom, the other of a way of life. Far more than rifles and bullets were carried into battle. There were memories. There were promises. There was love. And far more than men fell on those Pennsylvania fields. Bright futures, untested innocence, and pristine beauty…


Book cover of Wolf Hall

Charlotte Gray Author Of Passionate Mothers, Powerful Sons: The Lives of Jennie Jerome Churchill and Sara Delano Roosevelt

From my list on history books by women.

Who am I?

I recall my younger self looking at the reading lists on Oxford University history courses, and asking, “Where are all the women?” I have always wanted to know what it was like to be there, in any century up to the present. How did families form and pass on their values, what did people wear and eat, when (and if) children learned to read, and what were people’s daily routines? Political, military, and economic history is important, but I have flourished in the social history trenches. I discovered women writers and historians have more acute antennae for the details I wanted, even when writing about wars and dynasties.

Charlotte's book list on history books by women

Charlotte Gray Why did Charlotte love this book?

Yes, I know this is a novel, but Mantel’s historical research is impeccable and no one has done more to bring to light the shadowy, intrigue-filled court of Henry VIII. Mantel explores the intersection of political power and personal ambition as she traces the career of Thomas Cromwell, a rags-to-riches courtier.

I could almost taste the food, smell the decay, and touch the damp walls of the buildings. She took me deep into the consciousness of the unlikeable yet sympathetic and lonely main character, as he serves his monarch and defeats his enemies.

The drama is gripping.

By Hilary Mantel,

Why should I read it?

19 authors picked Wolf Hall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Man Booker Prize Shortlisted for the the Orange Prize Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award

`Dizzyingly, dazzlingly good' Daily Mail

'Our most brilliant English writer' Guardian

England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey's clerk, and later his successor.

Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with…


Dinner with Churchill

By Robin Hawdon,

Book cover of Dinner with Churchill

Robin Hawdon Author Of Number Ten

New book alert!

Who am I?

My writing is eclectic and covers many topics. However, all my books tend to have a thriller element to them. Perhaps it's my career as an actor and playwright which has instilled the need to create suspense in all my writings. I sometimes feel that distinguished authors can get so carried away with their literary descriptions and philosophical insights that they forget to keep the story going! It is the need to know what happens next that keeps the reader turning the pages. Perhaps in achieving that some subtlety has to be sacrificed, but, hey, you don't read a political thriller to study the philosophical problems of governing nations!

Robin's book list on lone heroes and threats to national security

What is my book about?

This is a new novel by one of the UK's most prolific writers. It is based around an extraordinary true incident at the start of World War II when fierce political opponents Winston Churchill and Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain encountered each other at a famous dinner party. Seen from the perspective of Lucy Armitage, a young girl suddenly conscripted by a strange stroke of fate into Churchill's overworked but adoring team of secretaries.

As Churchill prepares to take over the leadership of the nation, Lucy finds herself increasingly involved in her famous employer's phenomenal work output and eccentric habits. When romance and the world of espionage impinge on her life, she becomes a vital part of the eternal struggle between good and evil regimes that still exists today.

Dinner with Churchill

By Robin Hawdon,

What is this book about?

It is on historical record that, on the evening of October 13th 1939, six weeks after war had been declared on Hitler's Germany, Winston Churchill and Neville Chamberlain, fierce and implacable opponents for years over the appeasement issue, met together with their two wives, Clementine and Anne, for a private dinner at Admiralty House, and event which caused ripples throughout Westminster.

Chamberlain was still Prime Minister, but had seen all his efforts to negotiate peace with Hitler shattered. Churchill had been recalled to the cabinet after ten years 'in the wilderness', his dire warnings of the Nazi threat vindicated.

Lucy…


Book cover of Hamnet

Celia Jeffries Author Of Blue Desert

From my list on historical fiction that sweeps you into a captivating time and place.

Who am I?

I am fascinated by the question, “Where is home?” Is it the place you were born, among the people who raised you? Or is it the place you most come alive? Growing up, fiction taught me there were other worlds than the one I inhabited, and historical fiction taught me how they came to be. Travels in England, Europe, Africa, and South America opened up worlds and cultures I had only read about and drove me to write a novel about how one may find "home" in the most unlikely times and places. 

Celia's book list on historical fiction that sweeps you into a captivating time and place

Celia Jeffries Why did Celia love this book?

I read my fair share of Shakespeare in school and learned that he left his "second best bed" to his wife, but nothing prepared me for the reality of the Black Death, his life as a young Latin tutor who fell in love with an older woman, and the loss of his son. I love O’Farrell’s writing, beautiful atmospheric prose, and a deep study of what can fracture a family.

I could not put this book down.

By Maggie O'Farrell,

Why should I read it?

31 authors picked Hamnet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE 2020 WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION - THE NO. 1 BESTSELLER 2021
'Richly sensuous... something special' The Sunday Times
'A thing of shimmering wonder' David Mitchell

TWO EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE. A LOVE THAT DRAWS THEM TOGETHER. A LOSS THAT THREATENS TO TEAR THEM APART.

On a summer's day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a sudden fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home?

Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London.

Neither…


Book cover of Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae

Andrew Lubin Author Of Charlie Battery: A Marine Artillery Unit in Iraq

From my list on famous battles that make you want to be there.

Who am I?

When reading about famous battles such as Thermopylae, Tarawa, the Chosin Reservoir, or Taffy-3’s gallantry off Samar: have you ever wondered “what makes young men fight against such overwhelming odds?” Or a more important question: “would I do the same?” I know I wondered. Both my mom and dad were WW2 Marines, and I was raised with the stories of the Marines at Tarawa wading a half-mile ashore against horrific Japanese fire, along with their epic Korean War 79-mile fighting retreat in -50’F bitter cold and snow while grossly outnumbered by the Chinese army; these were often our dinnertime discussions and impromptu leadership lessons.

Andrew's book list on famous battles that make you want to be there

Andrew Lubin Why did Andrew love this book?

We all know the story of Thermopylae: 300 Spartans fight heroically for three days against an overwhelming Persian force, with the Spartans all killed during the three-day fight as Greece used their lives to buy time to successfully defend itself. But historical fiction Gates of Fire adds a new twist: as the Persians are pulling the bodies off the battlefield, they find a sole wounded Spartan, and after nursing him back to health, have him recount the battle from the Spartan viewpoint.

Author Steven Pressfield, a former Marine, is a superb storyteller as he describes the battle – and Spartan training - in a gripping blend of courage, humor, ethics, and brilliant historical research. Xeones, the survivor, was a squire to the Spartans, and had trained with them. “War is work,” he explains, “with conditions contrived to make the exercise as close as possible to the actual campaign.” “Shared misery…

By Steven Pressfield,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the Sunday Times bestseller Gates of Fire, Steven Pressfield tells the breathtaking story of the legendary Spartans: the men and women who helped shaped our history and have themselves become as immortal as their gods.

'Breathtakingly brilliant . . . this is a work of rare genius. Savour it!' DAVID GEMMELL

'A tale worthy of Homer, a timeless epic of man and war, exquisitely researched and boldy written. Pressfield has created a new classic' STEPHEN COONTS

'A really impressive book - imaginatively framed, historically detailed and a really gripping narrative' ***** Reader review

'Beautifully written and a great joy…


Book cover of Warriors of God: Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third Crusade

Daniel Greene Author Of Northern Wolf

From my list on military history fiction books set in the pre-1900s.

Who am I?

History was one of my majors in college and it’s something that I’ve always gravitated back to despite venturing off into various non-history-related careers. When I chose to become an author, it was only natural that I would find myself writing in the military historical fiction genre. I found these works not only inspiring, but both time and money well spent. While they range widely outside of modern conflicts, they shine a light on the grim times and places of long ago. I believe my award-winning Northern Wolf Series will do the same for you as its cavalry-focused novels bring to life lesser-known engagements of the American Civil War.

Daniel's book list on military history fiction books set in the pre-1900s

Daniel Greene Why did Daniel love this book?

Warriors of God is an up-close and very personal deep dive with two legendary players during the Third Crusade, Richard the Lionheart and Saladin as they battle for the Holy Land. We dive headfirst into each ruler’s accession to power and how they clashed over the sands of the Levant. The novel is as gripping as it is profound, and I would highly recommend it to anyone seeking to further their knowledge and understanding of the crusades and their impact on our world today. However, it should be noted that while “history” tends to cross the line into fiction at times. Warriors of God is the only non-fiction history novel on this list. I feel that the narrative and story are strong enough to be read for knowledge and entertainment.

By James Reston,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The story of the Third Crusade, and the two men who dictated its outcome: Saladin, hero of the Islamic world and Richard the Lionheart. Richard and the King of France led a European army of several hundred thousand warriors, but Saladin's manoeuvres resulted in the crusaders retreat and the demise of the Third Crusade,


Book cover of Blood Eye

Daniel Greene Author Of Northern Wolf

From my list on military history fiction books set in the pre-1900s.

Who am I?

History was one of my majors in college and it’s something that I’ve always gravitated back to despite venturing off into various non-history-related careers. When I chose to become an author, it was only natural that I would find myself writing in the military historical fiction genre. I found these works not only inspiring, but both time and money well spent. While they range widely outside of modern conflicts, they shine a light on the grim times and places of long ago. I believe my award-winning Northern Wolf Series will do the same for you as its cavalry-focused novels bring to life lesser-known engagements of the American Civil War.

Daniel's book list on military history fiction books set in the pre-1900s

Daniel Greene Why did Daniel love this book?

While written in a similar vein as The Last Kingdom, Kristian has a knack for making his writing come to life in a very Anglo-Saxon epic poem kind of way. In this novel, we follow an orphan of sorts, Raven, as he joins a rapacious band of Norsemen embarking on a violent quest. Kristian is a relative newcomer compared to the others on this list, but he does not disappoint and will take the reader on a grand adventure.

By Giles Kristian,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For two years Osric has lived a simple life, apprentice to the mute old carpenter who took him in when others would have him cast out. But when Norsemen from across the sea burn his village they also destroy his new life, and Osric finds himself a prisoner of these warriors. Their chief, Sigurd the Lucky, believes the Norns have woven this strange boy's fate together with his own, and Osric begins to sense glorious purpose among this Fellowship of warriors.Immersed in the Norsemen's world and driven by their lust for adventure, Osric proves a natural warrior and forges a…


Book cover of The Iliad & The Odyssey

Shweta Mahendra Author Of Many Visions, Many Worlds: Musings on the past and future of human civilization

From my list on connecting past, present and future civilization.

Who am I?

I have been a dreamer since my childhood and chasing my dream is the goal of my life. Dreams do not have a visible purpose the destiny is hidden behind dreams. While following my dreams, I had started searching for my origin, because I felt connected to some unknown place. I travelled to various ancient sites of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Indus civilizations and explored that these civilizations were very disciplined and advanced. Still, we are not able to unfold so many mysteries. I see the future in the past and present is just a stem in between, this inspired me to write a book.

Shweta's book list on connecting past, present and future civilization

Shweta Mahendra Why did Shweta love this book?

This epic by Homer has a great impact on epic culture.

Writing such an epic in the 700-800 BC era is mind-blowing, War of Troy which we used to read in comic books and movies has so well narrated citing the bravery of Greek and Trojan Heroes in the Iliad.

Everyone should read about the heroes of Iliad epic King Agamemnon, warrior Achilles and Odyssey’s Greek hero Odysseus, king of Ithaca and his return journey about the Trojan War. Greek mythology is always a great source of information about the ancient time wars and treaties.

Book cover of Mr. Midshipman Hornblower

Sean Gabhann Author Of Harper's Donelson

From my list on heroic epics escaping into conflicts of the past.

Who am I?

Epic war novels follow traditions that trace to the earliest civilizations. An amateur historian since high school, I would nook away for hours reading the great campaigns of the past. As a combat veteran, I still love diving into a lengthy tome about Caesar versus the Gauls or the heroic Russian stand at Borodino. Retirement provided the time to indulge this passion by concentrating on the Western Theater of the American Civil War (ACW), an interest I have researched since the ACW Centennial. I enjoy writing rigorously researched stories to give more accurate descriptions of the events, attitudes, prejudices, and consequences of this critical period in American history.

Sean's book list on heroic epics escaping into conflicts of the past

Sean Gabhann Why did Sean love this book?

This was the first series of heroic historical fiction I ever read. Forester’s narratives had the power to pull me into the stories as if I was serving alongside Horatio Hornblower.

The series follows the exploits of seventeen-year-old Midshipman Hornblower in 1794 as he rises in rank and responsibilities to flag rank by 1815. During the course of the series, we watch Hornblower mature from an unsure, bookish teenager to become a self-confident and bold commander. Forester’s ability to meld true historical events and personages into his narratives captured me from the start and is a quality that I strive to accomplish in my own writing. I read these books decades ago and still keep them on my bookshelf for when I need inspiration or want to understand how Forester resolved certain authorly issues.

By C. S. Forester,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Mr. Midshipman Hornblower as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Join young Horatio Hornblower in the thrilling naval adventure from the author of The Good Shepherd, now a major-motion picture starring Tom Hanks

'A joyous creation, a perfection in words. Young Hornblower is, simply, one of the most complete creations of character in fiction' Conn Iggulden, The Independent
_______

1793, the eve of the Napoleonic Wars, and Midshipman Horatio Hornblower receives his first command . . .

As a seventeen-year-old with a touch of sea sickness, young Horatio Hornblower hardly cuts a dash in His Majesty's navy.

Yet from the moment he is ordered to board a French merchant ship…


Book cover of The Pillars of the Earth

Markus Raffel Author Of The Flying Man: Otto Lilienthal-History, Flights and Photographs

From my list on daring adventures with historical content.

Who am I?

I am working and lecturing on experimental aerodynamics since decades and started flying hang gliders and powered aircraft long ago. And the older I got, the more I became fascinated by daring adventures with historical content, especially related to the history of flight and the early aeronautical pioneers. But the most I was fascinated by Otto Lilienthal, the man who worked systematically towards flight before and finally succeeded flying with nothing else than willow wood, fabric, and steel wires, materials that existed already long before. Inspired by his attitude and courage I started investigating and flying museum made authentic replicas in California to prove their flying qualities a second time.

Markus' book list on daring adventures with historical content

Markus Raffel Why did Markus love this book?

A great book that is captivating throughout. The Pillars of the Earth is about the Priory of Kingsbridge in England, which grows from a small village at the beginning to a vibrant and lively city.

At the center of the story is the building of the cathedral, where all the major characters gather. The story tells of the main characters' attempts to find happiness. Whether they succeed in the end is not revealed, because these 1300 pages must be read. But they are worth it. You hardly want to put the book down.

Ken Follett manages to take the reader back in time and not let him leave. Once the book is finished, you feel a sense of loss and want to read the next volume as soon as possible. Great writing and very well researched historically.

By Ken Follett,

Why should I read it?

15 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…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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