100 books like The Quest of the Holy Grail

By Unknown, Pauline M. Matarasso (translator),

Here are 100 books that The Quest of the Holy Grail fans have personally recommended if you like The Quest of the Holy Grail. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Robert B. Marks Author Of Re: Apotheosis

From my list on writing for new (and even established) fiction writers.

Who am I?

Writing is in my blood – my grandmother wrote poetry, my mother writes novels, and over the last twenty-plus years I’ve written just about everything (and now I teach writing at my local university). I’ve loved stories for as long as I can remember. While my fiction career may be newly revived, I spent over 20 years as a pop culture commentator, poking at the minutia of the stories I love. I think stories may be one of the most important things in our culture – they inspire us, they brighten our day, they bring us to tears, and sometimes when we are lost they show us the way.

Robert's book list on writing for new (and even established) fiction writers

Robert B. Marks Why did Robert love this book?

This will be one of my more controversial picks – there are plenty of people who disagree with Campbell as a folklorist, a mythographer, and with his depiction of the Hero’s Journey. But, what is important about Campbell is his exploration of why the elements that appear in stories have the impact they do on our psyche, and how they fit together. One may not agree with all of Campbell’s conclusions, but I don’t think there’s a writer out there who won’t benefit from his exploration of the subject. I know I did.

By Joseph Campbell,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Hero with a Thousand Faces as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Joseph Campbell's classic cross-cultural study of the hero's journey has inspired millions and opened up new areas of research and exploration. Originally published in 1949, the book hit the New York Times best-seller list in 1988 when it became the subject of The Power of Myth, a PBS television special. The first popular work to combine the spiritual and psychological insights of modern psychoanalysis with the archetypes of world mythology, the book creates a roadmap for navigating the frustrating path of contemporary life. Examining heroic myths in the light of modern psychology, it considers not only the patterns and stages…


Book cover of Myth: A Biography of Belief

Graeme Davis Author Of Thor: Viking God of Thunder

From my list on mythology and its impact on the world.

Who am I?

Graeme Davis has been fascinated by myth and folklore ever since he saw Ray Harryhausen’s creatures in Jason and the Argonauts as a child. While studying archaeology at Durham University, he became far too involved with a new game called Dungeons & Dragons and went on to a career in fantasy games. He has written game sourcebooks on various ancient cultures and their myths, and worked as a researcher and consultant on multiple video games with historical and mythological settings.

Graeme's book list on mythology and its impact on the world

Graeme Davis Why did Graeme love this book?

This short book takes a deep dive into the nature of mythology and its relationship to the human mind. As well as the mythologies of past civilizations, Leeming examines modern-day myths and cultural beliefs and shows how myths are living and evolving things that serve a human need to understand the universe. If you have ever wondered what makes a myth a myth, or why everyone seems to have them, this book has some interesting answers.

By David Leeming,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Joseph Campbell wrote that mythology is "the wonderful song of the soul's high adventure." In Myth, David Leeming considers the role this "wonderful song" has to play in a world increasingly dependent on scientific and technical information.
Exploring classic works such as the Song of Songs, the Tao Te Ching, the Rg Veda, the New Testament, and the Indonesian myth of Hainuwele, Myth reveals the cultural energies that ancient "mythmakers" sought to corral in their creations. Leeming argues that myths are, by definition, evolving creations that live on in the work of modern-day "mythmakers" such as W.B. Yeats, Virginia Woolf,…


Book cover of The History of the Kings of Britain

Nicholas J. Higham Author Of King Arthur: The Making of the Legend

From my list on the origins of King Arthur.

Who am I?

As a university historian and archaeologist my focus has been the Early Middle Ages. In the 1990s I wrote several books about the fifth and sixth centuries which barely mentioned Arthur but popular histories and films based on his story just kept coming, so I decided to look again at his story and work out how and why it developed as it did. I have published three well-received books on the subject, each of which builds on the one before, plus articles that have been invited to be included in edited volumes. I disagree with much in the five books above but collectively they reflect the debate across my lifetime. It is a great debate, I hope you enjoy it. 

Nicholas' book list on the origins of King Arthur

Nicholas J. Higham Why did Nicholas love this book?

Geoffrey’s History of the Kings is the work that picked Arthur up from the somewhat obscure backwater of Welsh story-telling and launched him onto the European stage, in the process creating a story that had an enormous influence on how the insular past was understood across the rest of the Middle Ages. Geoffrey was writing for the new Norman elite, who welcomed a view of the past which downplayed the Anglo-Saxons and centred instead on their rivals for control of ancient Britain, the Britons. He based his magnificent new work on the Historia Brittonum, a set of Welsh genealogies and various stories, all of which he embroidered from his own fertile imagination to construct a complex vision of insular history no closer to what had really happened than modern works such as Lord of the Rings or Star Wars

But by tapping into political and cultural needs in…

By Geoffrey of Monmouth, Neil Wright (translator), Michael D. Reeve (editor)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This imaginative history of the Britons, written in the twelfth century, is the first work to recount the woes of Lear and the glittering career of Arthur. It rapidly became a bestseller in the British Isles and Francophone Europe, with over 200 manuscripts surviving. Here, an authoritative version of the text is presented with a facing translation, prepared especially for the volume. It also contains a full introduction and notes.

MICHAEL REEVEis Kennedy Professor of Latin Emeritus at the Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge; Dr NEIL WRIGHT is a Senior Language Teaching Officer at the Faculty of History, University…


Book cover of Holy Blood, Holy Grail

Karen Martin Author Of The Bringer of Happiness

From my list on writing about death, religion, and spirituality.

Who am I?

Our history is spoken through the voice of the conqueror – notably white male. My work seeks to balance our narratives through insight from women’s perspectives. I support my creative writing with extensive research in history, archeology, and myths, and include in situ interpretations of the relevant landscape. There are many truths to be told, not simply one ordained story and I wish to shine the light on stories that have been hidden and/or silenced. The themed series title, Women Unveiled, pertains to this.

Karen's book list on writing about death, religion, and spirituality

Karen Martin Why did Karen love this book?

I first read this book while at university. I re-read it after touring the Langue d’Òc region of France focusing on the folklore surrounding Mary Magdalene. This book advances the hypothesis that the historical Jesus married Mary Magdalene and travelled to the south of France, where their children married into nobility and established what became known as the Merovingian dynasty. This book provided a source of information as well as support, given my subject matter and the two entwining histories: the biblical era of Jesus and the 13th C siege of Montsegur. Its extensive bibliography provided a rich source of research, including academic articles, essays, and books.

By Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, Henry Lincoln

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Holy Blood, Holy Grail as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Is the traditional, accepted view of the life of Christ in some way incomplete?

• Is it possible Christ did not die on the cross?
• Is it possible Jesus was married, a father, and that his bloodline still exists?
• Is it possible that parchments found in the South of France a century ago reveal one of the best-kept secrets of Christendom?
• Is it possible that these parchments contain the very heart of the mystery of the Holy Grail?

According to the authors of this extraordinarily provocative, meticulously researched book, not only are these things possible — they…


Book cover of War in Heaven

Stephen Hayes Author Of The Enchanted Grove

From my list on set in this world with relics from the past.

Who am I?

I have degrees in history and Christian theology, and enjoy science fiction and fantasy stories, whether set on earth, or in other worlds, whether real (other planets of our solar system), hypothetical (possible planets in other galaxies), or imaginary (Narnia, Wonderland). But I like those set in this world best, and value them especially for the insights they give into life, the universe, and everything. As C.S. Lewis once said to his friend J.R.R. Tolkien, if we want more of the kind of stories we like, we shall have to write them ourselves. The books I’ve recommended are the kind I like, and I’ve tried to write a few more. 

Stephen's book list on set in this world with relics from the past

Stephen Hayes Why did Stephen love this book?

Charles Williams’s books have been described as “supernatural thrillers.” Many later authors have tried to use the theme of a recently-rediscovered ancient holy relic, which various people want to get hold of for good or evil purposes, in this case the Holy Grail or Graal, but few have done it as well as Charles Williams. I’ve read it at least five times, and I also think it has one of the most attention-grabbing opening lines in fiction: “The telephone bell was ringing wildly, but without result, since there was no-one in the room but the corpse.”

By Charles Williams,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"War in Heaven" is a horrific romance, with many mythical creatures present. Instead of creating a unique secondary fantasy world or switching between two universes, Williams allows the supernatural to invade his modern world. This allows him to explore the influence of another reality on different characters. The object that guides the supernatural to the natural in this novel is the Holy Grail


Book cover of The Art of Memoir

Helena de Bres Author Of Artful Truths: The Philosophy of Memoir

From my list on to read if you're thinking of writing a memoir.

Who am I?

I’m a philosophy professor who started writing memoir in her mid-thirties. I love the similarities and the differences between memoir and philosophy (to sum it up: both are ways of making sense of your experience, but memoirists are allowed to tell stories, make jokes and break your heart.) On the trail of my obsession with the two, I’ve written a book on the philosophy of memoir and a memoir about philosophy. My sister calls them “your weird book twins.” Whatever! The whole experience has felt like falling in love, and I now want to encourage everyone to give personal writing a shot. 

Helena's book list on to read if you're thinking of writing a memoir

Helena de Bres Why did Helena love this book?

This book is a blast to read and also packed with insight (the Holy Grail, no?) It’s a collection of short chapters on a wide range of questions that either a baby or seasoned memoirist might ask. How do I find my voice? How do I organize my material? Am I betraying my family? (When Karr asked her own mom if she minded being outed as a knife-wielding alcoholic who set her children’s toys on fire, Mrs. Karr apparently replied: “Oh hell, the whole town knew about that.”) Karr draws on her extensive experience as a best-selling memoirist and teacher of memoir, serving up hard-won wisdom and concrete practical advice. Reading The Art of Memoir is like trapping a celebrity genius in a hotel bar and getting the unvarnished version. You’ll love it.

By Mary Karr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Credited with sparking the current memoir explosion, Mary Karr's The Liars' Club spent more than a year at the top of the New York Times list. She followed with two other smash bestsellers: Cherry and Lit, which were critical hits as well. For thirty years Karr has also taught the form, winning teaching prizes at Syracuse. (The writing program there produced such acclaimed authors as Cheryl Strayed, Keith Gessen, and Koren Zailckas.) In The Art of Memoir, she synthesizes her expertise as professor and therapy patient, writer and spiritual seeker, recovered alcoholic and "black belt sinner," providing a unique window…


Book cover of Merlin and the Grail: The Trilogy of Arthurian Prose Romances attributed to Robert de Boron

Anne Lawrence-Mathers Author Of The True History of Merlin the Magician

From my list on Merlin and magic.

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by magic and its history since I was at school. One of my first Saturday jobs was as a shelf stacker in Portsmouth Central Library, and I was delighted to discover that the library had a special collection on the occult and magic. I spent as much time dipping into the books as I did shelving them! That interest was sharpened by holiday visits to places with links to magical people and events in the past – and I am very grateful for the patience of my family. I now research and teach medieval magic at Reading University and enjoy discussing spells and instruction manuals on various types of magic.  

Anne's book list on Merlin and magic

Anne Lawrence-Mathers Why did Anne love this book?

Merlin as the Antichrist?! 

Robert de Boron was a medieval French writer of romances who made Merlin a central figure in the story of the Arthurian world and almost the inventor of the quest for the Holy Grail.

Medieval romances are a bit of a niche read, but I want to tell everyone about this version of Merlin. The Romance of Merlin actually starts in Hell, with the demons plotting to win the ongoing battle against God by bringing about the birth of Antichrist. 

The chosen demon expresses squeamishness at the idea of seducing a human woman but does his duty – and the result is Merlin! 

These stories helped make Merlin the time-travelling superhero of later romances, and the prophet who influenced Joseph of Arimathea’s decision to come to Britain with the Grail.  

By Robert de Boron, Nigel Bryant (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This trilogy establishes a provenance for the Holy Grail and, through the figure of Merlin, links Joseph of Arimathea with mythical British history and with the knightly adventures of Perceval's Grail quest.

It is hard to overstate the importance of this trilogy of prose romances in the development of the legend of the Holy Grail and in the evolution of Arthurian literature as a whole. They give a crucial new impetus to the story of the Grail by establishing a provenance for the sacred vessel - and for the Round Table itself - in the Biblical past; and through the…


Book cover of The Da Vinci Code

John Houle Author Of The Siberian Candidate

From my list on political thrillers that teach you about real world events.

Who am I?

I was a political consultant for much of the first half of my nearly 30-year career in communications. Having run statewide and local political campaigns, I experienced many of the personalities I write about today. What is behind the political decisions elected leaders make? Can you truly be a dedicated public servant in politics today? If you only play to win, how do you keep from becoming your own worst enemy? My writing and the works I gravitate towards explore these challenging issues, which are as prevalent today as they were analyzed by the Greeks, Shakespeare, and 20th-century writers.

John's book list on political thrillers that teach you about real world events

John Houle Why did John love this book?

When a book opens a whole new perspective, and turns your world upside down, that’s a great work. Such is the case with The Da Vinci Code for me.

When any work of fiction can make such a compelling argument in a fast-paced thriller format, it is truly masterful. So much of my writing style I can attribute to Dan Brown, who may go down as one of the greatest thriller writers of all time.

By Dan Brown,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Da Vinci Code as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Harvard professor Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night phone call while on business in Paris: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been brutally murdered inside the museum. Alongside the body, police have found a series of baffling codes.

As Langdon and a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, begin to sort through the bizarre riddles, they are stunned to find a trail that leads to the works of Leonardo Da Vinci - and suggests the answer to a mystery that stretches deep into the vault of history.

Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine code and quickly assemble the…


Book cover of The Thistle and the Grail

Stephen Morrow Author Of The People's Game? Football, Finance and Society

From my list on football as a game, as business, and as community.

Who am I?

Growing up I was fanatical about football - playing, watching, reading and talking about it. I was also a little obsessed with its numbers, and apparently liked to recalculate league tables and goal differences in my head as the results came in on the BBC vidiprinter. Fast forward to University in the 1980s - a time when studying football’s business aspects was not common - I wrote my dissertation on the ‘Capital structure of Scottish football’. A Scottish perspective has remained present in much of my work, and I hope it also allows a little more distance when reflecting on the success and challenges faced by football in England.

Stephen's book list on football as a game, as business, and as community

Stephen Morrow Why did Stephen love this book?

This novel gets to the heart of football’s importance to communities, in this case a small Scottish industrial town beset by poverty and unemployment in the 1950s.

In this comic novel Jenkins writes simply but evocatively about football, about its emotion, and its beauty.

But perhaps more importantly, his writing focuses on the town’s people and their relationships, with each other and with the town’s Junior football team as they dream of winning the Scottish Junior Cup.

While it would be unwise to overly romanticize how football was in the past, at the same time looking back does make you question whether everything about the modern game should be interpreted as progress.

By Robin Jenkins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Within the severe and depressed slums of Drumsagart, rife with unemployment and discontent, the members of Thistle cling to their game as an escape. And when they actually start winning, a momentum grows up in the community around them, as they come to represent ambition and hope. The Holy Grail of football, the Scottish Junior Cup, glitters at the end of a string of matches and suddenly the entire town of Drumsagart is depending on it...


Book cover of Skin Game

Wayne Thomas Batson Author Of Dreamtreaders

From my list on fantasy with a unique ingredient or twist.

Who am I?

I believe with all of my heart that each one of us was created with two achingly powerful inner drives: 1) the longing for new worlds and 2) the desperate urge to do something meaningful. I simply could never believe that human beings are all simply cosmic accidents produced by some sort of cosmic casino. I believe God created people and gave us each an instinct to seek our true home. The books I write—all 22 of them—are tales of flawed individuals, thrown into unexpected, life-changing events, and given the chance to journey through many astoundingly lush worlds, all in an effort to do the seemingly impossible.

Wayne's book list on fantasy with a unique ingredient or twist

Wayne Thomas Batson Why did Wayne love this book?

Harry Dresden is a detective in modern day Chicago. He’s also a wizard.

Jim Butcher twists the fantasy genre by setting the story in modern times but creating an international subculture of vampires, Sidhe, archangels, demons, bigfoot, and pretty much any other mysterious bit of folklore. Heck, you’ll even meet Hades!

This series has hooked me from the beginning but not just because of all the mystical, cool, fantasy, creepy, awesomeness. It’s the cast of characters that connect so deeply with me. In Skin Game, Harry begins to fear that the use of his power is changing him, turning him into something of a monster. In a sense, he’s questioning his humanity and his heart.

I have gone through this self-exploration so many times. When I read Skin Games, I found myself in tears because Harry’s plight so closely connected with my own. It was deeply encouraging. Oh, and by…

By Jim Butcher,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day. As Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it's something awful.

This time, it's worse than that. Mab's involved Harry in a smash-and-grab heist run by one of his most despised enemies to recover the literal Holy Grail from the vaults of the greatest treasure horde in the world - which belongs to the one and only Hades, Lord of the Underworld.

Dresden's always been tricky, but he's going to have…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Holy Grail, allegory, and myth?

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