10 books like The Song of Achilles

By Madeline Miller,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Song of Achilles. Shepherd is a community of 8,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported.
We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund the project for readers and authors along with our membership program.

The Glamour Boys

By Chris Bryant,

Book cover of The Glamour Boys: The Secret Story of the Rebels who Fought for Britain to Defeat Hitler

David C. Dawson Author Of A Death in Berlin

From the list on historical gay heroes.

Who am I?

I’ve read a lot of books that feature gay characters. These characters often partition into two main groups: angsty men who are victims of oppression or illness, or camp stereotypes who provide the light relief. I prefer to read about heroes who happen to be gay. That’s why I started writing novels. My recent books are historical novels inspired by real gay heroes. The feedback I get from readers indicates that there are a lot of people who want the same as I do.

David's book list on historical gay heroes

Discover why each book is one of David's favorite books.

Why did David love this book?

The untold true story of how a group of gay MPs lobbied the British government to stop its policy of appeasing Hitler in the run up to WWII. It’s a book about patriotic heroes who are criminals in their own land because of their sexuality. It moved me deeply and inspired my own fictional thriller set in Berlin in 1933.

The Glamour Boys

By Chris Bryant,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A STORY OF UNSUNG BRAVERY AT A DEFINING MOMENT IN BRITAIN'S HISTORY

'Superb' Stephen Fry
'Thrillingly told' Dan Jones
'Fascinating' Neil MacGregor
'Astonishing' Peter Frankopan

We like to think we know the story of how Britain went to war with Germany in 1939, but there is one chapter that has never been told. In the early 1930s, a group of young, queer British MPs visited Berlin on a series of trips that would change the course of the Second World War.

Having witnessed the Nazis' brutality first-hand, these men were some of the first to warn Britain about Hitler, repeatedly…


Alan Turing

By Andrew Hodges,

Book cover of Alan Turing: The Enigma

C.A. Farlow Author Of A Quantum Singularity: Book Three in The Nexus Series

From the list on mixing science, fiction, and adventure.

Who am I?

I grew up in farm country of central Indiana. But spent my summers on an island in northern Ontario with my grandparents. My grandfather was a self-taught naturalist and shared his love and fascination of the world around us with me. I went on to become a geologist and traveled the globe exploring for natural resources. My love of nature and science is the foundation for the science fiction I write. Whether a proven theory, a fantastical hypothesis, or true science fiction, it’s all based on science fact. It allows everyone to learn about a world built in science fiction which one day may exist in science fact.

C.A.'s book list on mixing science, fiction, and adventure

Discover why each book is one of C.A.'s favorite books.

Why did C.A. love this book?

This is a book that is at once a biography, a testament to human genius in the face of imminent danger, and a story of human injustice. Alan Turing had an idea about a ‘universal machine’. A machine, when built at Bletchley Park, allowed the Allies in World War II to crack the German Enigma ciphers. This universal machine laid the foundations for modern computing and all the amazing advances we enjoy today. But at a price for Turing, he fought inner demons about his homosexuality and eventually paid the ultimate price.

I marveled at his genius, cheered his cryptographic successes with each cipher cracked, shouted against the tragedy of his arrest, cried at his untimely death. A death at his own hand at the age of 41. The world lost a genius due to a society’s labelling of homosexuality as a crime.

We still live in this world of…

Alan Turing

By Andrew Hodges,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Alan Turing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER The official book behind the Academy Award-winning film The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the British mathematician Alan Turing (1912-1954) saved the Allies from the Nazis, invented the computer and artificial intelligence, and anticipated gay liberation by decades--all before his suicide at age forty-one. This New York Times-bestselling biography of the founder of computer science, with a new preface by the author that addresses Turing's royal pardon in 2013, is the definitive account of an extraordinary mind and life. Capturing both the inner…


Norse Mythology

By Neil Gaiman,

Book cover of Norse Mythology

L. Becker Author Of Angel's Gate

From the list on fantasy with a healthy dose of myth.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by folklore and religious myth. A passion further inspired by my path as an Eclectic Pagan, and my pursuit of a Masters in Mythological Studies. My interest in mythology was first inspired by my mother as she told us bedtime stories filled with the exploits of heroes, of gods, and angels. My upbringing in Christianity introduced me to the mythologies of Judaism, which eventually led me into the greater world of Paganism and an entire universe filled with a multitude of pantheons filled with their own gods, heroes, and legends. 

L.'s book list on fantasy with a healthy dose of myth

Discover why each book is one of L.'s favorite books.

Why did L. love this book?

I’ve always been enthralled by the myths and legends of the north. In this collection we get a deep and richly woven retelling of the famous and infamous heroes and gods of Norse mythology. Told in the narrative of a storyteller, Neil Gaiman brings these ancient legends into glorious life with his flowing and dynamic prose.

Norse Mythology

By Neil Gaiman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Neil Gaiman, long inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction, presents a bravura rendition of the Norse gods and their world from their origin though their upheaval in Ragnarok.

In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin's son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki-son of a giant-blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.

Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the…


Entangled Life

By Merlin Sheldrake,

Book cover of Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures

Julian Caldecott Author Of Water: Life in Every Drop

From the list on building peace with nature.

Who am I?

I started off studying tropical rainforest creatures and saw the catastrophic impacts of modern humanity on nature and indigenous peoples. My work then focused on how to resolve conflicts between people and nature, at first in and around national parks and then more widely. I became quite good at dissecting environmental aid portfolios, and writing up what I had found in a series of books. I was also drawn into the great climate protests of 2019 and 2020, and now I'm working on pulling it all together into a book on Restoring Peace with Nature.

Julian's book list on building peace with nature

Discover why each book is one of Julian's favorite books.

Why did Julian love this book?

While studying wildlife, I often slept on a polythene sheet on the floor of a tropical rainforest. In the velvet blackness, I would look down on the tracery of glowing fungal threads everywhere in the leaf litter of the forest floor. In my memory they blend with night flights over human cities: bright trunk roads and byways among the packed ranks of houses, all in a wide and sparkling network. And so it is with the fungal kingdom described here. A vast aspect of life on Earth is revealed that is almost entirely invisible to the naked eye, yet makes life work in all its parts, including us. It's the rich but easy-read kind of book that makes you say, 'well I never!' on every page, from sheer wonder at seeing how fungi join things up in a living world of near-infinite complexity.

Entangled Life

By Merlin Sheldrake,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Entangled Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A “brilliant [and] entrancing” (The Guardian) journey into the hidden lives of fungi—the great connectors of the living world—and their astonishing and intimate roles in human life, with the power to heal our bodies, expand our minds, and help us address our most urgent environmental problems.

“Grand and dizzying in how thoroughly it recalibrates our understanding of the natural world.”—Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitudes

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR—Time, BBC Science Focus, The Daily Mail, Geographical, The Times, The Telegraph, New Statesman, London Evening Standard, Science Friday

When we think…


Book cover of The Once and Future King

Blake Renworth Author Of The Exiled Seven

From the list on where the narrator speaks directly to the reader.

Who am I?

After reading The Princess Bride, I fell in love with William Goldman’s style of narration, with his frequent interjections, clarifications, and asides. The feel I got from the author speaking directly to me transformed simple third-person narration into engaging storytelling. From then on, I sought out books using this style and have built a small library in all genres deploying this unique voice. I’ve found it most common (and most effectively deployed) in fantasy, but there are also numerous examples elsewhere in the literary world.

Blake's book list on where the narrator speaks directly to the reader

Discover why each book is one of Blake's favorite books.

Why did Blake love this book?

Also a twist on a classic tale, The Once and Future King delves into Arthurian legends and forms the basis of many more recent interpretations in film and television.

Often speaking affectionately to the reader, White decidedly takes the role of a wizened elder recounting important stories of ages gone by to the younger generation.

The Once and Future King

By T. H. White,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Voyager Classics - timeless masterworks of science fiction and fantasy.

A beautiful clothbound edition of The Once and Future King, White's masterful retelling of the Arthurian legend.

T.H. White's masterful retelling of the Arthurian legend is an abiding classic. Here all five volumes that make up the story are published together in a single volume, as White himself always wished.

Here is King Arthur and his shining Camelot, beasts who talk and men who fly; knights, wizardry and war. It is the book of all things lost and wonderful and sad; the masterpiece of fantasy by which all others are…


Circe

By Madeline Miller,

Book cover of Circe

Margaret McNellis Author Of The Red Fletch

From the list on a female protagonist claiming her agency.

Who am I?

Identity, agency, belonging, and transformation…these are the themes which drive me to write. I love historical fiction and historical fantasy because for female characters, the past was rife with oppression, which creates an even greater barrier to self-actualization and personal alchemy. There are still barriers for females in our present world, but setting a story in the past can more clearly call out those barriers and the ways females bust through them. We finally live in a world where historians and storytellers are unearthing the untold tales of the past. No longer are the narratives in the sole control of the victors and oppressors. 

Margaret's book list on a female protagonist claiming her agency

Discover why each book is one of Margaret's favorite books.

Why did Margaret love this book?

A family friend recommended this book at a party and then I saw it in a bookstore window and had to have it. I love retellings, and Miller’s retelling of Circe, the sorceress of Homer’s Odyssey, is smart, heart-wrenching, and wonderfully executed. Circe’s voice is what captivated me most, but the story is likewise engaging. Miller builds a vibrant world retelling a character who has long been vilified and perhaps misunderstood. Readers who enjoy female characters striving to achieve agency will cheer for Circe throughout.

Circe

By Madeline Miller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The international Number One bestseller from the author of The Song of Achilles, shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction

Woman. Witch. Myth. Mortal. Outcast. Lover. Destroyer. Survivor. CIRCE.

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. Circe is a strange child - not powerful and terrible, like her father, nor gorgeous and mercenary like her mother. Scorned and rejected, Circe grows up in the shadows, at home in neither the world of gods or mortals. But Circe has a dark power of her own: witchcraft. When her gift threatens…


The King Must Die

By Mary Renault,

Book cover of The King Must Die

Emily Mitchell Author Of The Last Summer of the World

From the list on reminding you how strange the past really was.

Who am I?

I’ve always been interested in history. I grew up in London, where there's a lot of it. But what made me want to write fiction about the past was experiences of imaginative affinity for certain other times and places. My first book is set during World War One. I've always felt connected to the change in sensibility that many people went through then, from an optimistic, moralistic, Victorian outlook, in which, to quote Paul Fussell from The Great War and Modern Memory, people “believed in Progress and Art and in no way doubted the benignity even of technology” to an understanding that human beings and our societies contained deeper, more persistent shadows. 

Emily's book list on reminding you how strange the past really was

Discover why each book is one of Emily's favorite books.

Why did Emily love this book?

The challenge of writing historical fiction set in the distant past is bridging the vast gap between our modern understanding of the world and that of our distant forebears, since even our most basic assumptions and values undergo enormous changes over time. Those who love Renault’s works about classical antiquity relish the ability of her novels to truly carry us into another world, to make it felt and intelligible. This novel follows the fortunes of the mythic hero Theseus, from his origins in Troizen to his departure for Athens to find his father, his achievement of the kingship of Eleusis, his voluntary enslavement in Crete as a bull-dancer, an acrobat who vaults over living animals for spectacle, his confrontation with the minotaur and his eventual return home, older and more baffled by existence. It gives dimension to the mythic hero, a complexity that is at once familiar and profoundly, unsettlingly…

The King Must Die

By Mary Renault,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Theseus is the grandson of the King of Troizen, but his paternity is shrouded in mystery - can he really be the son of the god Poseidon? When he discovers his father's sword beneath a rock, his mother must reveal his true identity: Theseus is the son of Aegeus, King of Athens, and is his only heir. So begins Theseus's perilous journey to his father's palace to claim his birth right, escaping bandits and ritual king sacrifice in Eleusis, to slaying the Minotaur in Crete. Renault reimagines the Theseus myth, creating an original, exciting story.


The Lord of the Rings

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Book cover of The Lord of the Rings

D. J. Williams Author Of Hunt for Eden's Star

From the list on “OG” YA fantasy and dystopian.

Who am I?

Since finishing The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe at ten years old I’ve been drawn to inspiring and unforgettable stories whether through music, film, or in print. I’m a storyteller at heart who is fortunate to have built a career through capturing compelling stories, including those that have swirled in my imagination. From espionage thrillers to YA fantasy, I’m drawn to great characters and epic adventures. Now that I’m writing my own YA fantasy series, Beacon Hill, I have a firsthand glimpse of the commitment to world building within the pages that stand the test of time. It’s been a great challenge, inspired by even greater storytellers.

D. J.'s book list on “OG” YA fantasy and dystopian

Discover why each book is one of D. J.'s favorite books.

Why did D. J. love this book?

The Lord of the Rings is a deep dive into the expansive world of Middle-earth in unwavering great detail.

While it can be a challenge to read the entire volume all at once, it is well worth the effort as JRR Tolkien brings Frodo, the Shire, orcs, elves, dwarves, and the Fellowship vividly to life. It is one of the greatest epic tales of all time, both within the pages and on the screen.

For me, I was captured by the themes of friendship, sacrifice, love, loss, redemption, and the darkness of envy and power. As an author, it was also a masterclass in world building that has stood the test of time.

The Lord of the Rings

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Why should I read it?

51 authors picked The Lord of the Rings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

From Sauron's fastness in the Dark Tower of…


Mythos

By Stephen Fry,

Book cover of Mythos

Jordanna Max Brodsky Author Of The Immortals

From the list on inspired by Greek mythology.

Who am I?

Jordanna Max Brodsky is the author of the Olympus Bound trilogy and The Wolf in the Whale, a sweeping epic of the Norse and Inuit. Jordanna holds a degree in History and Literature from Harvard University, but she maintains that scholarship is no substitute for lived experience. Her research has taken her from the summit of Mount Olympus to the frozen tundra of Nunavut, and from the Viking ruins of Norway to Artemis’s temples in Turkey.

Jordanna's book list on inspired by Greek mythology

Discover why each book is one of Jordanna's favorite books.

Why did Jordanna love this book?

For those who find Edith Hamilton’s Mythology a bit dry for the modern day, Stephen Fry’s Mythos: The Greek Myths Reimagined presents a comprehensive anthology of the major myths, retold with verve and humor for an adult audience. Fry may be best known as a humorist and actor, but he’s also got serious classical chops. He interweaves his immensely readable myths with thoughtful analysis, the occasional scholarly footnote, and helpful illustrations. An excellent resource and a great read.  

Mythos

By Stephen Fry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

STEP INTO ANOTHER WORLD - OF MAGIC, MAYHEM, MONSTERS AND MANIACAL GODS - IN STEPHEN FRY'S MOMENTOUS SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER, MYTHOS

'A romp through the lives of ancient Greek gods. Fry is at his story-telling best . . . the gods will be pleased' Times
___________

No one loves and quarrels, desires and deceives as boldly or brilliantly as Greek gods and goddesses.

In Stephen Fry's vivid retelling, we gaze in wonder as wise Athena is born from the cracking open of the great head of Zeus and follow doomed Persephone into the dark and lonely realm of the Underworld.…


Fables

By Bill Willingham,

Book cover of Fables

Lisa Preziosi Author Of The Ice Maiden's Tale

From the list on when you have a soft spot for fairy tales.

Who am I?

Since I can remember, I’ve loved fairy tales. Stories that start once upon a time, somewhere far, far away. Those words are both comforting and exciting. I am fascinated by their evolution and prevalence in different cultures and genres. That same story can be told in a million different ways that are familiar, and completely new. I used a fairy tale to complete my writing minor, then submitted that same story for a Masters writing program, transforming it into my thesis, which became my first published book. I’ve spent a career reading and writing fairy tales, and I hope this list helps you love them as much as I do.

Lisa's book list on when you have a soft spot for fairy tales

Discover why each book is one of Lisa's favorite books.

Why did Lisa love this book?

Ever wonder what would happen if you mixed up traditional fairy tales with noir fiction? This graphic novel series answers that question, as it moves those familiar fairy tale characters from the storybook forest to a gritty urban landscape called Fabletown. Now, you’ll follow a reformed Big “Bad” Wolf as he tries to solve the murder of Snow White’s party girl sister, Rose Red. It’s a fun read with compelling illustrations and an unexpected twist on both the fairy tale and detective genres.

Fables

By Bill Willingham,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When a savage creature, known only as the Adversary, conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, the famous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the normal citizens of a modern New York, these magical characters created their own peaceful and secret society, which they called Fabletown. But when Snow White's party-girl sister, Rose Red, is apparently murdered, it's up to Fabletown's sheriff -- the reformed Big Bad Wolf, Bigby -- to find the killer. Meanwhile, trouble of a different sort brews at the Fables' upstate farm, where non-human inhabitants are preaching revolution...and threatening the carefully…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Troy, Greece, and Ancient Greece?

8,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Troy, Greece, and Ancient Greece.

Troy Explore 10 books about Troy
Greece Explore 116 books about Greece
Ancient Greece Explore 107 books about Ancient Greece