10 books like The Patient Assassin

By Anita Anand,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Patient Assassin. 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).

Anabasis (The Persian Expedition)

By Xenophon,

Book cover of Anabasis (The Persian Expedition)

There’s no substitute for reading about events by someone who was there. This book is about a largely forgotten incident, when 10,000 Greek mercenaries became involved in an attempt by Cyrus the Great to seize control of the Persian Empire from his brother. When Cyrus’ bid failed, the Greeks found themselves far from home and surrounded by foes; they then marched through Mesopotamia and modern-day Turkey to the Black Sea coast, where they were able to find ships that took them home to Greece.

It’s a tale of adventure and struggle, and sheer determination not to give in. It’s also a great example of how the author of such a work can find themselves faced with the difficult task of describing their own role in events. In the second half of the work, Xenophon gives increasing prominence to his personal leadership and suggestions. Regardless of any elements of self-promotion, it’s…

Anabasis (The Persian Expedition)

By Xenophon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Anabasis (The Persian Expedition) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Widely considered the most famous work of the professional soldier and writer Xenophon, “Anabasis” is a true tale of dangerous adventure in ancient Greece. Though advised not to join the army of 10,000 by his friend Socrates, Xenophon does set out with Cyrus the Great in that man’s attempt to gain the empire of Persia from his brother. When this leader is killed in battle, however, the army loses cause and direction, and the result is a ‘marching republic’ in which the remainder of the army must fight their way home. Through endless miles of hostile territory where their foes…


Eleanor of Aquitaine

By Alison Weir,

Book cover of Eleanor of Aquitaine

History rarely gives a prominent place to women, and this is perhaps particularly true of medieval history. To have left such a huge mark, Eleanor must have been a truly extraordinary woman. It is the combination of her formidable nature with the equally formidable Henry II that makes her marriage to the great Plantagenet ruler such a remarkable story. Alison Weir’s book is a treasure, full of interesting anecdotes that bring the star-studded cast of Eleanor, Henry, and their sons Henry, Richard, Geoffrey, and John to life.

This book is an outstanding introduction to a fascinating period of English history, as an impatient, innovative king – sometimes aided by, and often hindered by, his wife – attempted to impose his will upon a stubborn and obstructive church and his rebellious sons.

Eleanor of Aquitaine

By Alison Weir,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this beautifully written biography, Alison Weir paints a vibrant portrait of a truly exceptional woman and provides new insights into her intimate world. 

Renowned in her time for being the most beautiful woman in Europe, the wife of two kings and mother of three, Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of the great heroines of the Middle Ages. At a time when women were regarded as little more than chattel, Eleanor managed to defy convention as she exercised power in the political sphere and crucial influence over her husbands and sons.

Eleanor of Aquitaine lived a long life of many…


This Hallowed Ground

By Bruce Catton,

Book cover of This Hallowed Ground: A History of the Civil War

I picked up this book while on a study course in the United States – I was based in Washington DC and intended to visit some of the nearby Civil War battlefields, and decided that I needed to know more about the conflict. It was perhaps the first American history book I had read, and immediately I was struck by the very different style of writing when compared with European works.

For a single-volume account of a terrible conflict that did so much to shape the United States, this is probably unmatched. The people involved, from those in high-level political positions to the men and women caught up in the fighting, are brought to life in an unforgettable way.

This Hallowed Ground

By Bruce Catton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The classic one-volume history of the American Civil War simultaneously captures the dramatic scope and intimate experience of that epic struggle, by Pulitzer Prize-winner Bruce Catton.
 
Covering events from the prelude of the conflict to the death of Lincoln, Catton blends a gripping narrative with deep, yet unassuming, scholarship to bring the war alive on the page in an almost novelistic way. It is this gift for narrative that led contemporary critics to compare this book to War and Peace, and call it a “modern Iliad.” Now over fifty years old, This Hallowed Ground remains one of the best-loved and…


Sunlight at Midnight

By W. Bruce Lincoln,

Book cover of Sunlight at Midnight: St. Petersburg and the Rise of Modern Russia

This is an unusual book, in that it is effectively a biography of a city – known through the years first as St Petersburg, then Petrograd, then Leningrad, and now once more St Petersburg. As he tells the story of the city that Peter the Great built in a desolate swamp, Lincoln brings together many of the different strands of Russian history and the strong-willed people who tried, with varying degrees of success, to direct that history in directions of their choosing. For anyone intending to visit St Petersburg, reading this book beforehand is an absolute must – it will make the experience of being there so much more valuable. If there is a flaw, it is that Lincoln sadly died when St Petersburg was perhaps at its lowest ebb following the end of the Soviet Union; it would be fascinating to know how he would have assessed the city…

Sunlight at Midnight

By W. Bruce Lincoln,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For Russians, St.Petersburg has embodied power, heroism and fortitude. It has encompassed all the things that the Russians are and that they hope to become. Opulence and artistic brilliance blend with images of suffering on a monumental scale to make up the historic persona the late W. Bruce Lincoln's lavish biography of this mysterious, complex city. Climate and comfort were not what Tsar Peter the Great had in mind when he decided to build a new capital in the muddy marshes of the Neva River delta. Located 500 miles below the Arctic Circle, this area, with its foul weather, bad…


Maya

By C.W. Huntington Jr.,

Book cover of Maya: A Novel

Sometimes fiction speaks truer than facts. This adventure set in India in the 1970s brings to life what it means to balance yogic ideas with a Western mindset. It's a mixture of hippie idealism, academic disillusionment, and searches for meaning as things fall apart. Beautifully written and wise, it evokes the common ground between yoga and Buddhism—particularly on causes of suffering and how to transcend it. 

Maya

By C.W. Huntington Jr.,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A stunning debut novel on sex, loss, and redemption.

It is 1975 and India is in turmoil. American Stanley Harrington arrives to study Sanskrit philosophy and escape his failing marriage. When he finds himself witness to a violent accident, he begins to question his grip on reality.

Maya introduces us to an entertaining cast of hippies, expats, and Indians of all walks of life. From a hermit hiding in the Himalayan jungle since the days of the British Raj, to an accountant at the Bank of India with a passion for Sanskrit poetry, to the last in a line of…


The Life and Teaching of Naropa

By Herbert V. Guenther,

Book cover of The Life and Teaching of Naropa

Naropa was an important figure in Indian Tantric Buddhism whose lineages gained great popularity in Tibet. His life story beautifully embodies many archetypal elements of the spiritual journey in a way that has proved compelling, inspiring, and educational for Buddhist practitioners for well over a millenium. He goes from being a great scholar to a seeker who bears many hardships to an enlightened master. If you yourself are someone deeply committed to a spiritual journey, then it's likely that you'll find moments of your own experience reflected back for you in his remarkable story.

The Life and Teaching of Naropa

By Herbert V. Guenther,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the history of Tibetan Buddhism, the eleventh-century Indian mystic Nâropa occupies an unusual position, for his life and teachings mark both the end of a long tradition and the beginning of a new and rich era in Buddhist thought. Nâropa's biography, translated by the world-renowned Buddhist scholar Herbert V. Guenther from hitherto unknown sources, describes with great psychological insight the spiritual development of this scholar-saint. It is unique in that it also contains a detailed analysis of his teaching that has been authoritative for the whole of Tantric Buddhism.

This modern translation is accompanied by a commentary that relates…


Bengal Journey

By Rumer Godden,

Book cover of Bengal Journey

Rumer Godden is a favourite novelist of mine, but this is non-fiction. Godden was born in India and only left after Independence. Towards the end of World War Two, she made a long journey to document the work done by women volunteers in the Bengal region of India during the war, travelling huge distances, crossing many rivers, to remote places. The book, with photographs, includes the work of both European and Indian volunteers in a huge number of organizations, ranging from the Red Cross, hospital trains, and dispatch riders to the ARP and mobile canteens. Best of all are the descriptions Godden gives us in this wonderful book as she turns her novelist's eye on all these people and places of work and brings them all to life.

Bengal Journey

By Rumer Godden,

Why should I read it?

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


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.


The Argumentative Indian

By Amartya Sen,

Book cover of The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity

This may seem a niche choice for India-geeks only, but that just doesn't do justice to the scope of this book from a Nobel Prize in Economy winner. While working in zero-tourist rural India for a local NGO, this book was the Bible that kept me going. Sen helped me to make sense of “it all” and gave me depth, hope, and mindblowing insights about what I have come to see as a shared history we Europeans have with Indians, since he goes 1000s of years back. Hence, even if you're only vaguely interested in the culture, identity, and politics of what is soon the most populous country in the world: you'll get to learn a lot about a massive part of humanity.

The Argumentative Indian

By Amartya Sen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From Nobel prize-winning economist Amartya Sen, The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian Culture, History and Identity brings together an illuminating selection of writings on contemporary India.

India is an immensely diverse country with many distinct pursuits, vastly different convictions, widely divergent customs and a veritable feast of viewpoints.

Out of these conflicting views spring a rich tradition of skeptical argument and cultural achievement which is critically important, argues Amartya Sen, for the success of India's democracy, the defence of its secular politics, the removal of inequalities related to class, caste, gender and community, and the pursuit of sub-continental peace.

'Profound…


Tibetan Foothold

By Dervla Murphy,

Book cover of Tibetan Foothold

Dervla Murphy truly showed up as a voluntourist before the term even existed. Her 1966 account of volunteering in an orphanage in a Tibetan refugee camp in India inspired me to look for an opportunity to help children in need in a developing country. Her bravery in the face of incredible discomfort and profound sadness at the plight of children suffering from not only a lack of education but more urgently from hunger and disease influenced my future travel decisions. Dervla’s perseverance and tenacity against all odds in this desolate camp and support of Tibetan refugees warmed my heart and strengthened my resolve to make a difference in the lives of others. Her courage helped me overcome my fears of solo travel to remote areas.

Tibetan Foothold

By Dervla Murphy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The moving tale of Dervla Murphy's experiences working in the Tibetan refugee camps of Northern India in the sixties.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in India, the British Raj, and Mumbai?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about India, the British Raj, and Mumbai.

India Explore 333 books about India
The British Raj Explore 20 books about the British Raj
Mumbai Explore 23 books about Mumbai