100 books like The Lone Samurai

By William Scott Wilson,

Here are 100 books that The Lone Samurai fans have personally recommended if you like The Lone Samurai. 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 The Tale of Genji

S.E. Sasaki Author Of Welcome to the Madhouse

From my list on sci-fi/fantasy historically written by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been reading science fiction since the age of seven, when I first read Madaleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. Then it was Podkayne of Mars by Robert Heinlein, A Rite of Passage by Alexei Panshin, Dune by Frank Herbert, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, etc. My list is in honour of Women’s History Month and to recognize the gifted female writers of the past who faced discrimination in the publishing world and yet still triumphed. When I started writing fiction, with my medical background, it had to be about medicine. Thus The Grace Lord series was born. My protagonist, Dr. Grace Lord, is a fearless and compassionate combat surgeon.

S.E.'s book list on sci-fi/fantasy historically written by women

S.E. Sasaki Why did S.E. love this book?

Murasaki Shikibu was a lady of the Heian Court of Japan in the eleventh century and has been credited with creating the first novel ever written.

The Tale of Genji has stood the test of centuries. It reveals a world of political machinations, danger, passionate intrigue, and forbidden love in an exotic setting of a time long forgotten. Genji is the son of an emperor and, once you read him, you will understand why his tale is still so popular today.

By Murasaki Shikibu, Edward G. Seidensticker (translator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Tale of Genji as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

 

In the early eleventh century Murasaki Shikibu, a lady in the Heian court of Japan, wrote what many consider to be the world’s first novel, more than three centuries before Chaucer. The Heian era (794—1185) is recognized as one of the very greatest periods in Japanese literature, and The Tale of Genji is not only the unquestioned prose masterpiece of that period but also the most lively and absorbing account we have of the intricate, exquisite, highly ordered court culture that made such a masterpiece possible.

 

Genji is the favorite son of the emperor but also a man of dangerously…


Book cover of The Tale of Murasaki

Pamela S. Turner Author Of Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune

From my list on pre-modern Japan.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write books for young readers about history, science, and nature. I lived in Japan for six years and became fascinated with Japanese history—particularly the late 12th-century civil war recounted in the medieval classic The Tale of the Heike. I especially loved stories about Minamoto Yoshitsune, the warrior who won the war but was destroyed by his elder brother Yoritomo, who became the first Shogun and kicked off the 700-year reign of the samurai. I spent two years researching Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune and loved every minute of it. I’m also a second-degree black belt in kendo (Japanese sword fighting).

Pamela's book list on pre-modern Japan

Pamela S. Turner Why did Pamela love this book?

The perfect companion piece to The Tale of Genji, The Tale of Murasaki is a modern historical novel about Murasaki Shikibu (author of The Tale of Genji). Author Liza Dalby is a scholar of Japanese culture as well as the only Westerner ever to become a geisha. A meticulously researched, evocative window into Heian Japan.

By Liza Dalby,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Tale of Murasaki is an elegant and brilliantly authentic historical novel by the author of Geisha and the only Westerner ever to have become a geisha.

In the eleventh century Murasaki Shikibu wrote the world’s first novel, The Tale of Genji, the most popular work in the history of Japanese literature. In The Tale of Murasaki, Liza Dalby has created a breathtaking fictionalized narrative of the life of this timeless poet–a lonely girl who becomes such a compelling storyteller that she is invited to regale the empress with her tales. The Tale of Murasakiis the story of an enchanting…


Book cover of The Tale of the Heike

Thomas D. Conlan Author Of Weapons & Fighting Techniques of the Samurai Warrior 1200-1877 AD

From my list on medieval European history to Japanese literature.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated with history in general, and the history of Japan, since I was in junior high when I read a book on the samurai. After attending summer school at Harvard in 1985, I resolved to devote myself to the study of Japan. Since then, I have studied at Michigan, Stanford, and Kyoto before teaching Japanese history at first Bowdoin College and now, Princeton University. Although I primarily research Japanese history, I find scholarship pertaining to medieval and early modern Europe to be fascinating as well. 

Thomas' book list on medieval European history to Japanese literature

Thomas D. Conlan Why did Thomas love this book?

A masterpiece. Royall Tyler translates this tale, which had been recited orally by blind monks in the fourteenth century, into beautiful English; the rhythms of the language, its beauty, tragedy, and poetry become accessible to an English-speaking audience for the first time. One of the greatest accomplishments in translation and a must-read for all interested in medieval Japanese warfare and epic war tales.

By Royall Tyler (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Tale of the Heike is Japan's great martial epic: a masterpiece of world literature and the progenitor of all samurai stories. This major and groundbreaking new Penguin translation is by Royall Tyler, acclaimed translator of The Tale of Genji.

First assembled from scattered oral poems in the early fourteenth century, The Tale of the Heike is Japan's Iliad - a grand-scale depiction of the wars between the Heike and Genji clans. Legendary for its magnificent and vivid set battle scenes, it is also a work filled with intimate human dramas and emotions, contemplating Buddhist themes of suffering and separation,…


Book cover of The Nobility of Failure: Tragic Heroes in the History of Japan

Pamela S. Turner Author Of Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune

From my list on pre-modern Japan.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write books for young readers about history, science, and nature. I lived in Japan for six years and became fascinated with Japanese history—particularly the late 12th-century civil war recounted in the medieval classic The Tale of the Heike. I especially loved stories about Minamoto Yoshitsune, the warrior who won the war but was destroyed by his elder brother Yoritomo, who became the first Shogun and kicked off the 700-year reign of the samurai. I spent two years researching Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune and loved every minute of it. I’m also a second-degree black belt in kendo (Japanese sword fighting).

Pamela's book list on pre-modern Japan

Pamela S. Turner Why did Pamela love this book?

The Japanese love underdogs. Ten are portrayed here, ranging from the 4th to the 20th centuries, with storylines that Shakespeare would’ve stolen if only he’d known about them. A terrific round-up that will inspire you to delve deeper into Japanese history.

By Ivan Morris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Alexander, Robin Hood, Wellington, George Washington... The Western literatures are packed with the stories—real and otherwise—of diverse heroes, but most of them share the common element of victory. Many of them died heroically to achieve their goals.

In Japan, however, many of the most revered heroes lost their lives without achieving their goals, and in many cases fought their battles in full realization that they would end in abject defeat and death.

This cultural background remains a bedrock underlying the modern Japanese psyche, and continues to shape the Japanese as individuals and a society even today, unconsciously, in the same…


Book cover of Musashi: An Epic Novel Of The Samurai Era

PJ Caldas Author Of The Girl from Wudang: A Novel About Artificial Intelligence, Martial Arts and Immortality

From my list on the beauty, madness, and humor behind violence.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a nerd who fights. Started my professional life as a programmer, then switched to telling stories in advertising and entertainment. But my passion for technology and martial arts have always played a role in my life. Influenced by my father’s stories about judo, I studied a lot of styles of fighting, including kung fu, karate, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and also dabbled with boxing, Muay Thai, capoeira, taichi, bagua, Silat, and judo. Along that journey, one of my favorite ways to learn was by watching my female training partners, and how they had to develop a much more nuanced and sophisticated technique. An experience that would later inspire the birth of The Girl from Wudang.

PJ's book list on the beauty, madness, and humor behind violence

PJ Caldas Why did PJ love this book?

This is my favorite book, ever. In part because it’s the story of the greatest of all Samurai. But there’s more to that.

In the long run, martial arts are an exercise of self-development. Of tapping into your inner beast, setting it free, then controlling it back. No book ever written tells that journey as beautifully as Musashi, by Eiji Yoshikawa.

Often called “Japan’s Gone with the Wind,” the book marches from cliffhanger to cliffhanger through the glorious life of the protagonist, although for me its mark was deeper than any of these electrical moments of adventure. For my eyes, once I crossed the last words of the book, what was left was the realization of how long and chained true change really is.

By Eiji Yoshikawa, Charles Terry (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The classic samurai novel about the real exploits of the most famous swordsman. The classic samurai novel about the real exploits of the most famous swordsman. Miyamoto Musashi was the child of an era when Japan was emerging from decades of civil strife. Lured to the great Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 by the hope of becoming a samurai-without really knowing what it meant-he regains consciousness after the battle to find himself lying defeated, dazed and wounded among thousands of the dead and dying. On his way home, he commits a rash act, becomes a fugitive and brings life in


Book cover of Inuyasha, Vol. 1

Janelle McCurdy Author Of The Lightcasters

From my list on for gamers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've always been a gamer, even now that passion burns bright. My favourite genres being FPS, Horror, Fighting, and adventure games. There's nothing like delving into a new game and feeling the adrenaline that comes with slaying beasts and leveling up, or getting emotional during a cinematic movie-like horror game. I've been gaming since I was a child all the way up until today. Gaming has always had my heart, which has led to me writing books inspired by gaming as well as being a gaming content creator, posting reviews on my website and social media. I love the fast-paced feeling you get whilst gaming and wanted to echo that in my storytelling.

Janelle's book list on for gamers

Janelle McCurdy Why did Janelle love this book?

One of the first manga books I ever read and one of the reasons I fell in love with the fantasy genre as a whole which then spread into gaming.

Set in Feudal Japan, a school girl named Kagome one day falls in a well and finds herself in a completely different timezone, where there are demons, priestess, and a particular dog eared half demon named Inuyasha...

It's a rollercoaster ride of emotions and heart, and this one I actually wished had been turned into a game as it would have been so much fun.

By Rumiko Takahashi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Rumiko Takahashi's manga epic in its original format - historical action and romance from one of Japan's most beloved creators.

Kagome is a modern Japanese high school girl. Never the type to believe in myths and legends, her world view dramatically changes when, one day, she's pulled out of her own time and into another! There, in Japan's ancient past, Kagome discovers more than a few of those dusty old legends are true, and that her destiny is linked to one legendary creature in particular - he dog like half-demon called Inuyasha! That same trick of fate also ties them…


Book cover of The Alchemist of Souls

Caitlin Sumner Author Of Alexander's Lost General

From my list on historical fiction you can't put down.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was in 6th grade, and homeschooling, I discovered Ancient Egypt. That year I had some health problems, which ended up essentially cancelling school for that year, and I was allowed to do whatever I wanted. I spent the entire year studying Egypt. My passion for history spiralled from there, and I've spent the interveaning years studying periods of history from Ancient Egypt to the Italian Rennaisance. I always wanted to be a writer and discovering that Historical Fiction as a genre was eye-opening for me. Since then I hardly read anything else (except fantasy) and all my personal works are Historical Fiction. 

Caitlin's book list on historical fiction you can't put down

Caitlin Sumner Why did Caitlin love this book?

As with most of my books, I came across these entirely by accident. I don't remember how or where, but I picked one up and then I was on the hunt for the other two. These books are fun, historical with a twist of the fantastic, with secrets, intrigue, and some very interesting and subtle romantic plotlines woven in. I've read these a couple of times now and whenever I glance at my shelf I remember that I want to read them again, to see if I can find something new once more.

By Anne Lyle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Tudor explorers returned from the New World, they brought back a name out of half-forgotten Viking legend: skraylings. Red-sailed ships followed in the explorers' wake, bringing Native American goods--and a skrayling ambassador--to London. But what do these seemingly magical beings really want in Elizabeth I's capital?

Mal Catlyn, a down-at-heel swordsman, is seconded to the ambassador's bodyguard, but assassination attempts are the least of his problems. What he learns about the skraylings and their unholy powers could cost England her new ally--and Mal his soul.

File Under: Fantasy [ Midsummer Magic | Skraylings | Double Trouble | Comedy of…


Book cover of The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane

Ty'Ron W. C. Robinson II Author Of Lost in Shadows: Remastered

From my list on dark fantasy books that fascinate the minds of storytellers and their craft.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m passionate about dark fantasy stories due to the fact of their characters and worlds. The eeriness of their landscapes can tell a tale of their own. Dark fantasy has always been a drawing interest for me when it comes to telling stories. I read these books mainly because of their dark fantasy worlds. The stories and characters which come to life as I read them only captivated my creativity to tell my own stories. It is my sincere desire that you take a look into these books on this list and have your creativity sparked just as my own to craft your own dark fantasy stories.

Ty'Ron's book list on dark fantasy books that fascinate the minds of storytellers and their craft

Ty'Ron W. C. Robinson II Why did Ty'Ron love this book?

I was drawn to the character Solomon Kane, a Puritan traveling the lands of this world only to seek out evil and to slay it. It didn’t matter of the evil in his sight were monstrous or human, he would extinguish it.

How can anyone not be drawn into the stories of Solomon Kane and not find them impressive. I wasn’t aware of the classic pulp tales of the early 1900s until I stumbled upon Solomon Kane. My introduction to him led me to countless other pulps which still hold up to today and should be enjoyed by readers everywhere.

By Robert E. Howard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With Conan the Cimmerian, Robert E. Howard created more than the greatest action hero of the twentieth century—he also launched a genre that came to be known as sword and sorcery. But Conan wasn’t the first archetypal adventurer to spring from Howard’s fertile imagination.

“He was . . . a strange blending of Puritan and Cavalier, with a touch of the ancient philosopher, and more than a touch of the pagan. . . . A hunger in his soul drove him on and on, an urge to right all wrongs, protect all weaker things. . . . Wayward and restless…


Book cover of The Three Musketeers

Amelia Vergara Author Of Firefax

From my list on fiction full of intrigue, danger, and high adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a physician assistant and paramedic with ten brothers and sisters, an all-consuming love of the outdoors and adventure, and a fascination with history, particularly early US history. I love reading and writing the kind of books that I would like to read. My debut novel, Firefax, was written in large part as an escape from the horrors of serving in the hospital as a physician assistant during the delta wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope it provides my readers with an escape from their own struggles as well. 

Amelia's book list on fiction full of intrigue, danger, and high adventure

Amelia Vergara Why did Amelia love this book?

The action in this book just keeps pumping.

Each of the heroes is a deep, fully realized person, plagued with flaws, some of them almost unforgiveable. Each character must face their own demons in this fast-paced, mysterious adventure. This book has espionage, swordplay, constant danger, friendship, even romance, everything you could wish for.

It is a swashbuckling tale following the impetuous and brave-to-a-fault D’Artagnan as he grows from an idealistic boy to a man, chasing his calling to fight among the hallowed ranks of the King’s musketeers. 

By Alexandre Dumas,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Three Musketeers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"We read The Three Musketeers to experience a sense of romance and for the sheer excitement of the story," reflected Clifton Fadiman. "In these violent pages all is action, intrigue, suspense, surprise--an almost endless chain of duels, murders, love affairs, unmaskings, ambushes, hairbreadth escapes, wild rides. It is all impossible and it is all magnificent."

First published in 1844, Alexandre Dumas's swashbuckling epic chronicles the adventures of D'Artagnan, a gallant young nobleman who journeys to Paris in 1625 hoping to join the ranks of musketeers guarding Louis XIII. He soon finds himself fighting alongside three heroic comrades--Athos, Porthos, and Aramis--who…


Book cover of Elric of Melniboné

JR Konkol Author Of Citadel of the Fallen

From my list on fantasy to draw you into a dark, dangerous world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I came of age in the early 80s, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, not very far from where Gary Gygax and others invented Dungeons and Dragons. I grew up playing role-playing games. When other kids were running around, we were gathered around huge tables, rolling dice, and having fun. But that wasn’t enough. I went on to invent my own games, and build my own worlds. Over the decades, we wove rich tapestries of adventures together into intricate stories that beg to be told. So, seeing no other option, I became an author.

JR's book list on fantasy to draw you into a dark, dangerous world

JR Konkol Why did JR love this book?

This was the first fantasy series I read, and it changed my life. Elric of Melniboné is a glorious blend of Grimdark and Sword and Sorcery, that starts a satisfying series, which, in and of itself, is the cornerstone of a larger collection of fantasy works.

So many works have borrowed from Elric, you really owe it to yourself to read the original. The books are short, and read quite quickly. There is incredible pathos within the story arc, and a deep, dark creativity to the worldbuilding.

By Michael Moorcock,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Elric of Melniboné as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award winner Michael Moorcock comes the first book in his famous Elric of Melniboné series, brought to vivid new life with stunning illustrations.

In one of the most well-known and well-loved fantasy epics of the 20th century, Elric is the brooding, albino emperor of the dying Kingdom of Melnibone. With Melnibone’s years of grandeur and decadence long since passed, Elric’s amoral cousin Yrkoon sets his eyes on the throne. Elric, realizing he is his country’s best hope, must face his nefarious cousin in an epic battle for the right to rule.

Elric of Melnibone is…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Japan, Samurais, and Tokyo?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Japan, Samurais, and Tokyo.

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