62 books like The Song of Heledd

By Judith Arnopp,

Here are 62 books that The Song of Heledd fans have personally recommended if you like The Song of Heledd. 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 King in the North: The Life and Times of Oswald of Northumbria

Theresa Tomlinson Author Of A Swarming of Bees

From my list on throwing light into the Dark Ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent much of my childhood living close to Whitby Abbey and heard many stories of the famous Saint Hilda. As a mother of three, I began writing stories, initially to entertain my children, and eventually published many historical stories for children and young adults – twice shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. I moved back to the Whitby area in my 60s determined to write for an older age group and indulge my lifelong fascination for the Anglo-Saxon period. I took the half pagan Fridgyth character from my Young Adult adventure mystery – Wolfgirl - and developed her role as a warm, curious, flawed, investigator. I'm working on a third Fridgyth the Herbwife novel.

Theresa's book list on throwing light into the Dark Ages

Theresa Tomlinson Why did Theresa love this book?

Good research is so important to me and this is the historical study that I’d recommend to anyone who wants to know more about the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria. Max Adams has studied the period in detail, but his style of writing is easy to read and sometimes exciting, so much so that I almost felt that I was reading a novel. I love the way Max Adams suggests various possible scenarios, from the written evidence, studies, and archaeology that we have. This is a perfect research book for a novelist, wanting to bring the time period to life. I found that I couldn’t put the book down, once I’d started reading it.

By Max Adams, Max Adams,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A triumph - a Game of Thrones in the Dark Ages' TOM HOLLAND.

The magisterial biography of Oswald Whiteblade, exiled prince of Northumbria, who returned in blood and glory to reclaim his birthright.

A charismatic leader, a warrior whose prowess in battle earned him the epithet Whiteblade, an exiled prince who returned to claim his birthright, the inspiration for Tolkein's Aragorn.

Oswald of Northumbria was the first great English monarch, yet today this legendary figure is all but forgotten. In this panoramic portrait of Dark Age Britain, archaeologist and biographer Max Adams returns the king in the North to his…


Book cover of Absolution by Murder

Theresa Tomlinson Author Of A Swarming of Bees

From my list on throwing light into the Dark Ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent much of my childhood living close to Whitby Abbey and heard many stories of the famous Saint Hilda. As a mother of three, I began writing stories, initially to entertain my children, and eventually published many historical stories for children and young adults – twice shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. I moved back to the Whitby area in my 60s determined to write for an older age group and indulge my lifelong fascination for the Anglo-Saxon period. I took the half pagan Fridgyth character from my Young Adult adventure mystery – Wolfgirl - and developed her role as a warm, curious, flawed, investigator. I'm working on a third Fridgyth the Herbwife novel.

Theresa's book list on throwing light into the Dark Ages

Theresa Tomlinson Why did Theresa love this book?

I read this book many years ago - loved the strong female protagonist and was impressed by the writer’s detailed knowledge of the period, which must have come from vast research. The setting was familiar to me, as I had spent much of my childhood within view of Whitby Abbey. Though utterly fascinated by the story, I had a somewhat different take on what might have happened there in the year 664 and felt inspired to try my own hand at a historical murder mystery.

By Peter Tremayne,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The King of Northumbria has requested the services of a wise counsel to decide the people's religious future. Among the select priests, elders, and scholars from Ireland and Rome is Sister Fidelma of Kildare. Trained as an advocate of the courts, she was expecting to rule on issues of law. Instead she was plunged into unholy murder.

Dead was the Abbess Etain, a leading Celtic speaker, her throat slashed. With the counsel in an uproar and civil war threatening, the desperate king has turned to the sharp-witted Sister Fidelma for help. With the aide of her dear friend Brother Eadulf…


Book cover of Peace-Weavers and Shield Maidens: Women in Early English Society

Theresa Tomlinson Author Of A Swarming of Bees

From my list on throwing light into the Dark Ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent much of my childhood living close to Whitby Abbey and heard many stories of the famous Saint Hilda. As a mother of three, I began writing stories, initially to entertain my children, and eventually published many historical stories for children and young adults – twice shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. I moved back to the Whitby area in my 60s determined to write for an older age group and indulge my lifelong fascination for the Anglo-Saxon period. I took the half pagan Fridgyth character from my Young Adult adventure mystery – Wolfgirl - and developed her role as a warm, curious, flawed, investigator. I'm working on a third Fridgyth the Herbwife novel.

Theresa's book list on throwing light into the Dark Ages

Theresa Tomlinson Why did Theresa love this book?

I first came across this short book when researching for stories set in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria. Kathleen Herbert, (herself a historical novelist) provided not only excellent information, but also a practical vision of the period specifically from a woman’s point of view. It is easy to read and presents the information in an accessible way; perhaps one of the earliest books focussed on women’s history.

By Kathleen Herbert,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Peace-Weavers and Shield Maidens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An account of the earliest Englishwomen; the part they played in the making of England, what they did in peace and war, the impressions they left in Britain and on the continent, how they were recorded in chronicles and how they come alive in heroic verse and jokes.


Book cover of The Sins of the Father

Theresa Tomlinson Author Of A Swarming of Bees

From my list on throwing light into the Dark Ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent much of my childhood living close to Whitby Abbey and heard many stories of the famous Saint Hilda. As a mother of three, I began writing stories, initially to entertain my children, and eventually published many historical stories for children and young adults – twice shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. I moved back to the Whitby area in my 60s determined to write for an older age group and indulge my lifelong fascination for the Anglo-Saxon period. I took the half pagan Fridgyth character from my Young Adult adventure mystery – Wolfgirl - and developed her role as a warm, curious, flawed, investigator. I'm working on a third Fridgyth the Herbwife novel.

Theresa's book list on throwing light into the Dark Ages

Theresa Tomlinson Why did Theresa love this book?

This is the second book in an exciting series. I loved the first book, which told the story of the fierce Mercian King Penda! The Sins of the Father focuses on the life of Penda’s more sensitive, less warlike son, Ethelred. Annie Whitehead (who is also a respected historian) brings vibrantly to life many of the people and places that I’m interested in, more from the point of view of the ancient Kingdom of Mercia, rather than Northumbria. Familiar characters appear and I find it so interesting to view them from a different angle. These books are not murder mysteries, but utterly fascinating historical novels, which vividly capture both the humanity and battles for power in the ancient kingdoms.

By Annie Whitehead,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A father's legacy can be a blessing or a curse...
AD658: The sons of Penda of Mercia have come of age. Ethelred, the youngest, recalls little of past wars while Wulf is determined to emulate their father, whose quest to avenge his betrayed kinswomen drew him to battle three successive Northumbrian kings.
Ecgfrith of Northumbria is more hostile towards the Mercians than his father was. His sister Ositha, thwarted in her marriage plans, seeks to make her mark in other ways, but can she, when called upon, do her brother's murderous bidding?
Ethelred finds love with a woman who is…


Book cover of The Valley of Lost Secrets

Kate Albus Author Of A Place to Hang the Moon

From my list on England’s World War II evacuations.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by England’s World War II evacuations since I was a child. Appropriately enough, I first learned of this extraordinary historical event in a story: it’s the reason the Pevensies are sent to the Professor’s house in C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. In the dark days of World War II, more than a million English children boarded trains, buses, and ships, to be picked up and cared for by strangers, in some cases for the duration of the war. It’s a historical event that is as astonishing to me now as it was when I first read of it all those years ago. 

Kate's book list on England’s World War II evacuations

Kate Albus Why did Kate love this book?

Not only is this a heartfelt evacuee story, it’s also a brilliant mystery. When Jimmy and his brother, Ronnie, are sent to the Welsh countryside to escape the bombings, Jimmy is angry at the adults responsible – “They think they know everything but all they do is leave or make wars or send their children away.” The boys eventually warm to their kind foster parents, but some of the villagers aren’t so welcoming. When Jimmy finds a skull in a hollow tree, he has no idea how it’s tied to an unsolved mystery, and the reader has no idea how it will figure in this story’s gripping, satisfying, and emotional conclusion. 

By Lesley Parr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Beautifully told. This appealing book is about losses healed, lies uncovered, cruelty defeated and goodness rewarded." The Sunday Times

September 1939.

When Jimmy is evacuated to a small village in Wales, it couldn't be more different from London. Green, quiet and full of strangers, he instantly feels out of place.

But then he finds a skull hidden in a tree, and suddenly the valley is more frightening than the war. Who can Jimmy trust? His brother is too little; his best friend has changed.

Finding an ally in someone he never expects, they set out together to uncover the secrets…


Book cover of The Long Field

Kyoko Mori Author Of The Dream of Water: A Memoir

From my list on travel memoirs for those who love to wander.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although two of my nonfiction books—The Dream of Water and Polite Lies—are about traveling from the American Midwest to my native country of Japan, I'm not a traveler by temperament. I long to stay put in one place. Chimney swifts cover the distance between North America and the Amazon basin every fall and spring. I love to stand in the driveway of my brownstone to watch them. That was the last thing Katherine Russell Rich and I did together in what turned out to be the last autumn of her life before the cancer she’d been fighting came back. Her book, Dreaming in Hindi, along with the four other books I’m recommending, expresses an indomitable spirit of adventure. 

Kyoko's book list on travel memoirs for those who love to wander

Kyoko Mori Why did Kyoko love this book?

When Pamela Petro traveled to Lampeter, Wales for the first time to enroll in a year-long master’s degree program, she had no idea that the open vista of sheep pastures and low hills around the town would strike a chord in her—she found herself nodding as if she was in agreement with the landscape—or that she would spend the rest of her life returning to Wales from the various American cities where she made a life as a writer and a teacher. The Long Field takes us on a journey through time and ideas as well as of places. 

The book masterfully weaves together the accounts of various trips to Wales and elsewhere, the childhood spent in suburban New Jersey where, in spite of the family she loved and was loved by, Ms. Petro was overcome by a desire not to stay in one place, and most important of all,…

By Pamela Petro,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Long Field burrows deep into the Welsh countryside to tell how this small country became a big part of an American writer's life. Petro, author of Travels in an Old Tongue, twines her story around that of Wales by viewing both through the lens of hiraeth, a quintessential Welsh word famously hard to translate. It literally means "long field," but is also more than the English approximation of "homesickness." It's a name for the bone-deep longing felt for someone or something--a home, culture, language, a younger self--that you've lost or left behind. Hiraeth is embodied by Arthur, King of…


Book cover of The History of Wales in Twelve Poems

Helen Fulton Author Of The Cambridge History of Welsh Literature

From my list on Wales and Welsh culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was lucky enough to be introduced to medieval Welsh literature when I was an undergraduate, and the Welsh language mesmerised me. It is so unlike any other language that I had come across and translating texts from Welsh into English was as absorbing as code-cracking. My apprenticeship as a scholar was long and hard and I soon realised that my particular contribution was to make Welsh literature accessible to non-Welsh speakers, not simply through translations, but by aligning the Welsh tradition with the wider literary cultures of Europe. I want Wales and its two literatures to take their place as two of the great literatures of Europe.

Helen's book list on Wales and Welsh culture

Helen Fulton Why did Helen love this book?

M. Wynn Thomas is the foremost literary critic writing in Wales today, and a writer I particularly admire.

He pioneered the concept of ‘Welsh writing in English’ as distinct from ‘Welsh writing’ (in Welsh), honouring the bilingual culture of Wales. Thomas’s twelve poems are selected from three key periods of Welsh history, the Middle Ages, the pre-modern period, and our own time.

Each poem is read in the context of its social and political background, educating us about the politics of Welshness, the cultural assumptions written into the literature, and above all what it means to be Welsh in a nation that is not a state.

This is such an elegant and original way to foreground the creativity of Welsh poets alongside the cultural forces that shaped them.

By M. Wynn Thomas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The History of Wales in Twelve Poems as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Down the centuries, poets have provided Wales with a window onto its own distinctive world. This book gives the general reader a sense of the view to be seen through that special window in twelve illustrated poems, each bringing very different periods and aspects of the Welsh past into focus. Together, the poems give the flavour of a poetic tradition, both ancient and modern, that is internationally renowned for its distinction, demonstrating how Wales boast one of the oldest and yet continuing vibrant poetic traditions, the former in the Welsh language and the latter in English and bilingually.


Book cover of The Revolt of Owain Glyn Dwr

David Green Author Of The Hundred Years War: A People's History

From my list on the late medieval crisis: war and plague in Britain and France.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was drawn into the study of medieval history through an interest in chivalry and this led to a PhD and various publications on the career and household of Edward the Black Prince (1330-76). He lived through the heart of what’s become known as the late medieval crisis: a period which many contemporaries thought was a prelude to the apocalypse. I’ve been teaching and writing about this period for more than 20 years now and remain fascinated by the contrasts between creativity and utter devastation that characterise the later middle ages.

David's book list on the late medieval crisis: war and plague in Britain and France

David Green Why did David love this book?

Rees Davies was one of the first historians to seek to explore the histories of Britain and Ireland as both unique and intertwined narratives. Although this book focuses on the Welsh revolt of the early 15th century it shows the author’s formidable understanding of the relationship between England and Wales in the century after the Edwardian conquest. An object lesson in academic history written with the general reader in mind.

By R.R. Davies,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Revolt of Owain Glyn Dwr as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Owain Glyn Dwr is arguably the most famous figure in the history of Wales. His revolt (1400-1409) was the last major Welsh rebellion against English rule. It established a measure of unity such as Wales had never previously experienced and generated a remarkable vision of Wales as an independent country with its own native prince, its own church, and its own universities. In the event, Owain's rebellion was defeated or, perhaps more correctly, burnt itself out. But
Owain himself was not captured; and soon after his death he became a legendary hero among the Welsh people. In more recent times…


Book cover of Sunken Cities. Some Legends of the Coast and Lakes of Wales

Patrick Nunn Author Of Worlds in Shadow: Submerged Lands in Science, Memory and Myth

From my list on submerged lands.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in post-WWII Europe, young people’s anxiety was often channelled into searching for ‘lost worlds’, places hope could be nurtured and ancient solutions revived. So I encountered Atlantis and Lemuria and other imagined places but also learned, from training as a geologist, that once-populated lands had actually been submerged. Myths and legends often contain grains of observational truth at their heart. The more ‘submergence stories’ I research, from Australia through India and across northwest Europe, the more I realize how much we have forgotten about undersea human pasts. And how our navigation of the future could be improved by understanding them.

Patrick's book list on submerged lands

Patrick Nunn Why did Patrick love this book?

Written in the 1950s by a museum curator-geologist, Sunken Cities is one of the earliest expositions of ‘myth and legend’ and their plausible geological meanings. The author marries his deep knowledge of Welsh traditions about submerged places with contemporary geological understandings. Of course, geology was transformed the following decade but North’s book remains insightful and grounded in ways that many more recent accounts are not. If I lived in Wales, I would be off every weekend with it in hand!

Book cover of The Eyre Affair

J.J. Cagney Author Of A Pilgrimage to Death

From my list on mystery for Agatha Christie readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started reading mysteries in elementary school: Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie, and Stephen King fed my thirst for story, puzzles, and the “super-psychological.” There’s so much about the mind we don’t understand—including our relationships with animals (like an octopus detective)—or the bond between twins (like the one in my Cici series). When I worked with Irene Webb as an associate literary agent in the 2000s, my fascination with the written word and “super-psychological” blossomed. I enjoy connecting motivations, secrets, and passions into a tapestry of humanity. At their core, stories teach us how to be more human, and I want to be part of that lesson. Please enjoy this book list I’ve curated for you.

J.J.'s book list on mystery for Agatha Christie readers

J.J. Cagney Why did J.J. love this book?

A friend recommended this series to me and, because we both enjoy British literature, I knew I’d give it a go.

What I didn’t expect was to be so utterly charmed, not just by the Britishism, but by the premise: literary detectives must stop her former professor before he can murder Jane Eyre…and have the heroine disappear from literature forever.

The alternative reality is a surreal, quirky 1985 that I reveled in (who wouldn’t want a pet dodo, airships, literary detectors, or a Prose Portal?), but it’s Thursday Next’s insights into her own mistakes, human motivation, and the beauty of the written word that gripped me until I’d finished the last page.

By Jasper Fforde,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Meet Thursday Next, literary detective without equal, fear or boyfriend

Jasper Fforde's beloved New York Times bestselling novel introduces literary detective Thursday Next and her alternate reality of literature-obsessed England-from the author of The Constant Rabbit

Fans of Douglas Adams and P. G. Wodehouse will love visiting Jasper Fforde's Great Britain, circa 1985, when time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously: it's a bibliophile's dream. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem and forging Byronic…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Wales, the Dark Ages, and London?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Wales, the Dark Ages, and London.

Wales Explore 51 books about Wales
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