10 books like The Magus

By John Fowles,

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

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The Winter King

By Bernard Cornwell,

Book cover of The Winter King

This trilogy presents a clever reimagination of the Arthurian legend which I found delightful, of irreverent. It presents Arthur as a talented warlord protector of the infant King Mordred. Successful at first, Arthur devolves into an anti-hero when he is betrayed by power-hungry Guinevere and Lancelot, and again when Mordred comes of age. Merlin’s magic appears as a combination of plausible manipulation of the physical and the metaphysical with a healthy dose of credulity among the populace.

The pure creativity in this series makes it a keeper and I often refer to these pages for inspiration when writing. The author once declared that this was his personal favorite of the several series he has in publication, and as a fellow author, I can understand why.

The Winter King

By Bernard Cornwell,

Why should I read it?

7 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.


Jane Eyre

By Charlotte Brontë, Charlotte Brontë,

Book cover of Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre is a book I read and teach at least once a year. Its early section about childhood is, for me, the archetype of all impossible childhoods. Jane is orphaned, misunderstood, oppressed by the awful relatives who take her in, and abused by officials of Lowood School, the institution they palm her off on. Deprivation and hunger are the daily facts of her life. Humiliation, physical “punishment,” and the threat of hell are used to control her fellow wards. She is not so easily controlled. She watches while some of her fellow children, including her beloved friend Helen Burns, die because of infections caused by unhygienic conditions and malnutrition.

Despite it all, she retains an authenticity, a sense of herself that she refuses to violate to curry favor or reduce the harshness of her treatment. She remains a truth-teller, a natural detector of the pompous and hypocritical. She questions…

Jane Eyre

By Charlotte Brontë, Charlotte Brontë,

Why should I read it?

24 authors picked Jane Eyre as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Introduction and Notes by Dr Sally Minogue, Canterbury Christ Church University College.

Jane Eyre ranks as one of the greatest and most perennially popular works of English fiction. Although the poor but plucky heroine is outwardly of plain appearance, she possesses an indomitable spirit, a sharp wit and great courage.

She is forced to battle against the exigencies of a cruel guardian, a harsh employer and a rigid social order. All of which circumscribe her life and position when she becomes governess to the daughter of the mysterious, sardonic and attractive Mr Rochester.

However, there is great kindness and warmth…


Hero of Rome

By Douglas Jackson,

Book cover of Hero of Rome

Another book that inspires a strong memory of where I was when I read it. This time I was on a winter holiday in Scotland with my family and certain scenes are burned into my mind, so expertly were they written. This novel has a superb hero, great setting in Roman Britain, and the legendary warrior-queen, Boudicca. What more could you ask for? Hero of Rome is full of action and adventure and kicks off an excellent series that really doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

Hero of Rome

By Douglas Jackson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Roman grip on Britain is weakening. Emperor Nero has turned his face away from this far-flung outpost. The Druids are on the rise, spreading seeds of rebellion among the British tribes. Roman cruelty and exploitation has angered their British subjects. The warrior queen Boudicca will lead the tribes to war. Standing against the rising tide of Boudicca's rebellion is Roman Tribune, Gaius Valerius Verrens, Commander of the veteran legions at Colonia. Valerius leads the veterans in a last stand against the unstoppable horde of Boudicca's rebel army. Step by step, the bloodied survivors are forced back into the Temple…


A Day of Fire

By Vicky Alvear Shecter, E. Knight, Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn

Book cover of A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii

A collection of interlinked short stories about the volcanic destruction of Pompeii which works better than I thought it would. A lot better, as this is one of the most moving books I’ve ever read, bringing me to tears in places. Six authors, all looking at the doom of quite different characters, from gladiators to senators to a pregnant woman and more, you expect the whole thing to be utterly depressing but, somehow, it isn’t. I must admit I read this when I was in a very fragile state of mind having just suffered a terrible tragedy of my own, so it’s possible that affected my reading of A Day of Fire and how I responded to it, but I know it was extremely well written and I was so glad to have read it. I think you should too.

A Day of Fire

By Vicky Alvear Shecter, E. Knight, Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens died in the chaos, some escaped the mountain's wrath . . . and these are their stories: A boy loses his innocence in Pompeii's flourishing streets. An heiress dreads her wedding day, not knowing it will be swallowed by fire. An ex-legionary stakes his entire future on a gladiator bout destined never to be finished. A crippled senator welcomes death, until…


Robinson Crusoe

By Daniel Defoe,

Book cover of Robinson Crusoe

This book was the granddaddy of the adventure genre. Writing in the 1700s, Defoe provided all the touch-points that have dominated the genre to the present day – desert island, castaway, man Friday, fear of man-eating beasts – almost all of which I have used in a book written in the 2020s (although my Alix did not find a man Friday). As possibly the first fictional story of human survival it created a template for all that followed. Each of the books I have mentioned, including my own, have to deal with endless problems from the mundane (what can I eat?) to the sublime (what am I here for?) and despite some occasional sermonising, Defoe showed us how to do it. I have just reread it for the fourth time, and yes, I skipped some passages, but nonetheless, it’s a rollicking good read.

You may be shocked by some of…

Robinson Crusoe

By Daniel Defoe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Robinson Crusoe has a universal appeal, a story that goes right to the core of existence' Simon Armitage

Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, regarded by many to be first novel in English, is also the original tale of a castaway struggling to survive on a remote desert island.

The sole survivor of a shipwreck, Robinson Crusoe is washed up on a desert island. In his journal he chronicles his daily battle to stay alive, as he conquers isolation, fashions shelter and clothes, enlists the help of a native islander who he names 'Friday', and fights off cannibals and mutineers. Written in…


Lolita

By Vladimir Nabokov,

Book cover of Lolita

This book is an astounding and disturbing look into the mind and heart of a pedophile. Humbert Humbert, with his pretensions of literary brilliance, his ornate use of the French language, and his justification of his illegal and immoral actions, will fascinate the reader. What makes a man make terrible choices? Why can’t he fit into the mold of human respectability? And the victim, Lolita, what makes her go along with his depravity? Written in 1958, Lolita is heavy with internal ramblings but still fascinating.

Lolita

By Vladimir Nabokov,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of my tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.'

Humbert Humbert is a middle-aged, frustrated college professor. In love with his landlady's twelve-year-old daughter Lolita, he'll do anything to possess her. Unable and unwilling to stop himself, he is prepared to commit any crime to get what he wants.

Is he in love or insane? A silver-tongued poet or a pervert? A tortured soul or a monster? Or is he all…


Treasure Island

By Robert Louis Stevenson,

Book cover of Treasure Island

Treasure Island is my favourite childhood story. I used to dream of finding hidden treasure on some distant tropical island. My mother would wax lyrical about the Isle of Man, she had many holidays there in the 1920s and 1930s. She called it her ‘treasure island’ and told me about its clear harbour water and golden sands. Well, for those who don’t know, the IOM is a small island in the middle of the cold Irish Sea. Talk about a disappointment when I visited the island. It was freezing cold, wet, dismal, and its capital city Douglas was in the advanced stages of decline—a long way from Stevenson’s version of the Hispaniola and pirates of the Spanish Main. However, I still enjoy reading about Black Dog, Billy Bones, Dr. Livesey, Long John Silver, and the cabin boy Jim Hawkins and at the age of 79 I can still dream of…

Treasure Island

By Robert Louis Stevenson,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Treasure Island as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Penguin presents the audio CD edition of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Following the demise of bloodthirsty buccaneer Captain Flint, young Jim Hawkins finds himself with the key to a fortune. For he has discovered a map that will lead him to the fabled Treasure Island. But a host of villains, wild beasts and deadly savages stand between him and the stash of gold. Not to mention the most infamous pirate ever to sail the high seas . . .


The Bourne Identity

By Robert Ludlum,

Book cover of The Bourne Identity

I think of Ludlum as the master of page-turner suspense at its simplest. This thriller spawned a franchise that’s still going strong after more than four decades, an accomplishment I greatly respect.

While Jason Bourne is not an ordinary man, he is seriously handicapped by total amnesia. This clever invention of vulnerability taught me something important as a writer—be inventive, color outside the lines, keep the reader guessing, and keep the writing sharp!

For me, The Bourne Identity is the best study guide for writing thrillers, and an exciting ride as a reader.

The Bourne Identity

By Robert Ludlum,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Bourne Identity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jason Bourne is back in the forthcoming major motion picture starring Matt Damon and Alicia Vikander. Go back to where it all began for Bourne in his first adventure - The Bourne Identity

'Watch your back 007 - Bourne is out to get you' - Sunday Times

He was dragged from the sea, his body riddled with bullets. There are a few clues: a frame of microfilm surgically implanted beneath the skin of his hip; evidence that plastic surgery has altered his face; strange things he says in his delirium, which could be code words. And a number on the…


Deliverance

By James Dickey,

Book cover of Deliverance

I love to travel and frequently wonder how I’d react if an ordinary trip suddenly turned dangerous. In this novel, I learned that survival could mean being forever haunted by the experience.

Instead of a beer swilling weekend and white-water recreation, four suburbanites endure a Homeric odyssey into malevolent American darkness. Dickey’s story chronicles more than a dangerous adventure. It is extreme. It can be so extreme it challenges the reader’s tolerance.

And that gave me a powerful lesson in storytelling: do not shy away from breaking the boundaries of readerly comfort.

Deliverance

By James Dickey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“You're hooked, you feel every cut, grope up every cliff, swallow water with every spill of the canoe, sweat with every draw of the bowstring. Wholly absorbing [and] dramatic.”—Harper's Magazine

The setting is the Georgia wilderness, where the states most remote white-water river awaits. In the thundering froth of that river, in its echoing stone canyons, four men on a canoe trip discover a freedom and exhilaration beyond compare. And then, in a moment of horror, the adventure turns into a struggle for survival as one man becomes a human hunter who is offered his own harrowing deliverance.

Praise for…


Carrie

By Stephen King,

Book cover of Carrie

Most horror fans have either seen or heard about the movie Carrie, and are aware of the final blood-soaked scene. However, the movie is far less graphic than the novel. Carrie White goes through a lot of physical trauma and mental torture, not only by her abusive mother but also her sadistic classmates, until she finally snaps – exacting revenge on those who tormented her by using her newly found telekinetic powers.

Stephen King’s description of Carrie’s tormentors and his in-depth character development of the repressed, friendless Carrie makes for an intense read, and really makes you want her to exact bloody revenge on all of those who have wronged her. The book, during the 1990s, was often banned in schools around the United States because of its violence, profanity, underage sex, and negative view of religion. This still stands up today as one powerful horror revenge book and…

Carrie

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Stephen King's legendary debut, about a teenage outcast and the revenge she enacts on her classmates, is a Classic. CARRIE is the novel which set him on the road to the Number One bestselling author King is today.

Carrie White is no ordinary girl.

Carrie White has the gift of telekinesis.

To be invited to Prom Night by Tommy Ross is a dream come true for Carrie - the first
step towards social acceptance by her high school colleagues.

But events will take a decidedly macabre turn on that horrifying and endless night as she
is forced to exercise her…


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