92 books like The Steel Bonnets

By George MacDonald Fraser,

Here are 92 books that The Steel Bonnets fans have personally recommended if you like The Steel Bonnets. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Witch Wood

Ursula Buchan Author Of Beyond the Thirty-Nine Steps: A Life of John Buchan

From my list on Scottish historical fiction from the 20th century.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an award-winning author and journalist, specialising in social history and gardening. I have an M.A. in Modern History from Cambridge University and a Diploma of Horticulture from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. I have written for many British newspapers and magazines, most notably The Spectator, The Observer, The Independent, The Sunday Telegraph, The Daily Telegraphand The Garden.

Ursula's book list on Scottish historical fiction from the 20th century

Ursula Buchan Why did Ursula love this book?

Witch Wood tells the story of a high-minded, ardent and scholarly young Presbyterian minister, David Sempill, who is called to a benighted Tweeddale parish in 1645 at the time of the War of Three Kingdoms, and how his desire to root out covert witchcraft amongst some of his most ‘devout’ parishioners at a time of civil war and plague leads to tragedy and exile. The Marquis of Montrose, on whose biography John Buchan was working at the same time, has a walk-on part in the story. John Buchan considered this his best work of fiction, and I agree.

By John Buchan, John Buchan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Buchan's favourite of all his novels, Witch Wood deals with the hypocrisy that can lie beneath god-fearing respectability.

The book is set in the terrifying times of the first half of the seventeenth century when the Church of Scotland unleashed a wave of cruelty and intolerance. Minister Sempill witnesses devil worship in the 'Witch Wood' and is persecuted. It comes with an introduction by Allan Massie.


Book cover of The Debatable Land: The Lost World Between Scotland and England

Andrew Greig Author Of Rose Nicolson: Memoir of William Fowler of Edinburgh

From my list on the wild side of the Scotland-England borderlands.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in rural Bannockburn in Scotland, two fields from the site of the famous Battle (a rare victory over England) of 1314. From the start, the Past has always been very present to me. I have written 22 books: novels, non-fiction memoir, and poetry. In differing ways they all explore aspects of Scotland and being Scottish – our landscape, geology, history, culture, and psyche. I was brought up in East Fife, near St Andrews, and live in Edinburgh and Orkney; my mother was English, as is my wife, novelist Lesley Glaister. Which is by way of saying I am interested in writing the joys, aches, and complexities of being human, in the universal and the local, in our present and the Past that shapes it.

Andrew's book list on the wild side of the Scotland-England borderlands

Andrew Greig Why did Andrew love this book?

 I love this as something quite different – essentially a close encounter with the Border by bicycle. He knows his history, writes well, and brings it all down to ground level, and conveys the lasting atmosphere (lovely, bleak, ruinous, enduring) of these Debatable Lands. A fine piece of historical travel writing by a deeply knowledgeable and astute writer. Makes you want to go and experience for yourself – if you do, take this book in your pannier (preferably waterproof).

By Graham Robb,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An oft-overlooked region lies at the heart of British national history: the Debatable Land. The oldest detectable territorial division in Great Britain, the Debatable Land once served as a buffer between England and Scotland. It was once the bloodiest region in the country, fought over by Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, and James V. After most of its population was slaughtered or deported, it became the last part of Great Britain to be brought under the control of the state. Today, its boundaries have vanished from the map and are matters of myth and generational memories. In The Debatable Land, historian…


Book cover of Kidnapped

David Cairns Author Of The Case of the Wandering Corpse

From my list on 19th century murder, mystery and mayhem.

Why am I passionate about this?

History has always been a captivating adventure for me, a stage to rekindle the echoes of times long past. My journey began amid musty archives in Hobart, where I stumbled upon a handwritten prison record about my wife's feisty ancestor, transported in the 1830s. There and then, I resolved to breathe life into the fading embers of her existence, and after extensive research, I wrote my first novel, a tapestry of historical events intertwined with the resurrection of long-forgotten souls. Since then, I've applied lessons from masters like Conan Doyle to create exciting, atmospheric stories that turn us all into time travelers on an exhilarating voyage.

David's book list on 19th century murder, mystery and mayhem

David Cairns Why did David love this book?

This is an enthralling adventure story that drags the reader across the rugged mountains, glens, and cities of 18th-century Scotland as the hero seeks to recover his stolen inheritance.

The story gallops along with vivid descriptions that transport the reader back to a time when loyalty and honour were really cherished. The character development, as David Balfour and Alan Breck risk all amongst the failed Jacobite uprising, is exceptional. This is another timeless classic that transports the reader to another age.

I love the interplay of real characters and real events with the underlying story, a technique that I use fully in my novels; it adds depth, veracity, and interest. Stevenson’s prose is also exceptional, creating images that make this a compelling and memorable adventure story.

By Robert Louis Stevenson,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Kidnapped as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12.

What is this book about?

Robert Louis Stevenson's classic, swashbuckling novel about a young boy who is forced to go to sea and who is then caught up in high drama, daring adventure and political intrigue.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket-sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition is introduced by Louise Welsh and features black and white illustrations.

Headstrong David Balfour, orphaned at seventeen, sets out from the Scottish Lowlands to seek his fortune in Edinburgh. Betrayed by his wealthy Uncle…


Call Me Stan: A Tragedy in Three Millennia

By K.R. Wilson,

Book cover of Call Me Stan: A Tragedy in Three Millennia

K.R. Wilson Author Of Call Me Stan: A Tragedy in Three Millennia

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Novelist Reader History enthusiast Occasional composer Sometime chorister

K.R.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

When King Priam's pregnant daughter was fleeing the sack of Troy, Stan was there. When Jesus of Nazareth was beaten and crucified, Stan was there - one crossover. He’s been a Hittite warrior, a Silk Road mercenary, a reluctant rebel in the Peasant’s Revolt of 1381, and an information peddler in the cabarets of post-war Berlin. Stan doesn't die, and he doesn't know why. And now he's being investigated for a horrific crime.

As Stan tells his story, from his origins as an Anatolian sheep farmer to his custody in a Toronto police interview room, he brings a wry, anachronistic perspective to three thousand years of Western history. Call Me Stan is a Biblical epic from the bleachers, a gender fluid operatic love quadrangle, and a touching exploration of what it is to outlive everyone you love.

Or almost everyone.

Call Me Stan: A Tragedy in Three Millennia

By K.R. Wilson,

What is this book about?

Long-listed for the 2022 Leacock Medal for Humour

When King Priam's pregnant daughter was fleeing the sack of Troy, Stan was there. When Jesus of Nazareth was beaten and crucified, Stan was there - one cross over. Stan has been a Hittite warrior, a Roman legionnaire, a mercenary for the caravans of the Silk Road and a Great War German grunt. He’s been a toymaker in a time of plague, a reluctant rebel in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, and an information peddler in the cabarets of post-war Berlin. Stan doesn't die, and he doesn't know why. And now he's…


Book cover of John Knox

Andrew Greig Author Of Rose Nicolson: Memoir of William Fowler of Edinburgh

From my list on the wild side of the Scotland-England borderlands.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in rural Bannockburn in Scotland, two fields from the site of the famous Battle (a rare victory over England) of 1314. From the start, the Past has always been very present to me. I have written 22 books: novels, non-fiction memoir, and poetry. In differing ways they all explore aspects of Scotland and being Scottish – our landscape, geology, history, culture, and psyche. I was brought up in East Fife, near St Andrews, and live in Edinburgh and Orkney; my mother was English, as is my wife, novelist Lesley Glaister. Which is by way of saying I am interested in writing the joys, aches, and complexities of being human, in the universal and the local, in our present and the Past that shapes it.

Andrew's book list on the wild side of the Scotland-England borderlands

Andrew Greig Why did Andrew love this book?

So it is not a novel, but might as well be for its twists, turns, and transformations. Edinburgh in 1572 was a small town of some 3,000 families, so my real-life narrator William Fowler would know and meet one of its most notable citizens, Preacher John Knox of Haddington, along with his young and socially aristocratic second wife (the latter attribute was more a matter of gossip and criticism than the thirty-seven years age gap), and witnessed him being helped up into the pulpit at St Giles to give his congregation a last good talking to. This is the most recent (drawing on a major new cache of letters), and highly readable, life of the man who pushed Scotland towards a Presbyterian Calvinist form of Protestantism – crucially distinct from that evolving in England under the Auld Hag aka Elizabeth I. He is revealed as a much more complex and…

By Jane Dawson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The definitive biography of John Knox, a leader of the Protestant Reformation in sixteenth-century Scotland

"Never before has there been such a thoroughly and sympathetically critical treatment of the 16th-century Scottish reformer's thought and times. . . . A joy to read and a book to value."-Sean Michael Lucas, Gospel Coalition

Based in large part on previously unavailable sources, including the recently discovered papers of John Knox's close friend and colleague Christopher Goodman, this biography challenges the traditionally held stereotype of the founder of the Presbyterian denomination as a strident and misogynist religious reformer whose influence rarely extended beyond Scotland.…


Book cover of When the Scoundrel Sins

Nicole Neiswanger Author Of Thundering Meadows

From my list on marriage of convenience binding two souls for life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved to read from the moment I discovered I could, going to the library and checking out the max number I was allowed every week. When I discovered romance novels, I’d hide the covers so no one knew what I was reading but I could never stop. My favorites were the ones focusing on marriage of convenience. They have multiple layers of conflict and the happily ever after never comes easy. There is something about forcing two unwilling souls together that makes for some interesting, complicated, explosive, delightful, and heartwarming storylines. No matter the time frame, two people fighting their attraction but ultimately loving hard is worth the read.

Nicole's book list on marriage of convenience binding two souls for life

Nicole Neiswanger Why did Nicole love this book?

Who doesn’t love a hero who fights his attraction and love for a woman until it’s almost too late?

Annabelle requires a husband before she turns twenty-five in just four weeks. A marriage of convenience is all she needs in order to keep her beloved home. When her aunt enlists the help of Quinn who caused Annabelle’s fall from grace six years prior, Annabelle is furious but goes along with the plan albeit reluctantly.

As Quinn sends suitor after suitor away, the time grows short and she still doesn’t have a potential husband outside of Sir Harold who only wants the money that comes with her land. When Quinn finally realizes what he might lose, it could be just a moment too late. A swoon-worthy book everyone should read.

By Anna Harrington,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Six years ago, a childish prank perpetrated by the reckless Quinton Carlisle ruined Annabelle Greene's reputation and any chance she had at securing a successful marriage. Incensed, she moved to her beloved estate on the Scottish border and has reveled in the solitude...until now when the contents of a family will are revealed. Suddenly, Belle's single status may cost her the only home she's ever known. Now, with her only marital prospect a horribly greedy and completely undesirable man, Belle knows just the person to rescue her-the one person who owes her for his bad behavior...

There's nothing Quinn Carlisle…


Book cover of From Pictland to Alba: Scotland, 789-1070

Rory Naismith Author Of Early Medieval Britain

From my list on Britain in the Early Middle Ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Professor of Early Medieval English History at the University of Cambridge. I also work on relations with the rest of Britain, and between Britain and its European neighbours, especially from an economic and social point of view. My interest in early medieval history arose from the jigsaw puzzle approach that it requires: even more so than for other periods, sources are few and often challenging, so need to be seen together and interpreted imaginatively. 

Rory's book list on Britain in the Early Middle Ages

Rory Naismith Why did Rory love this book?

This book is not just about Scotland, despite the title. It is a very rich and imaginative study that is both helped and hindered by its remit being modern Scotland, which was never a single political or cultural entity in the early Middle Ages. That means the author has to look at several distinct groups: the English of Northumbria, the Britons of Strathclyde in the southwest, and the Vikings of the north and west, as well as the ‘Scots’ themselves of central Scotland (whose collective identity as Scots was taking shape at this time). All of this is done with insight, imagination, and command of the complicated sources. It is a lesson in how wide-ranging histories of Britain should be written.

By Alex Woolf,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From Pictland to Alba as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the 780s northern Britain was dominated by two great kingdoms; Pictavia, centred in north-eastern Scotland and Northumbria which straddled the modern Anglo-Scottish border. Within a hundred years both of these kingdoms had been thrown into chaos by the onslaught of the Vikings and within two hundred years they had become distant memories. This book charts the transformation of the political landscape of northern Britain between the eighth and the eleventh centuries. Central to this narrative is the mysterious disappearance of the Picts and their language and the sudden rise to prominence of the Gaelic-speaking Scots who would replace them…


Book cover of Whiteout

Debra Hinkley Author Of What Goes Around

From my list on for a roller coaster, binge read.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a published author, Debra’s passion for fast-paced, unputdownable novels is unquenchable. She can be ruthless in her criticism, applying the rule, “three strikes and you’re out!”  A firm believer that life is too short to read mediocre books, if she isn’t grabbed by chapter 3, she puts the book down and moves on. She wants a book to make her life better, she wants to feel excitement at picking it back up again, and burying herself in the characters and moods, twists and turns, of a great story. Her writing reflects this same trait, if her words won’t keep the reader totally engrossed, then she won’t write them.

Debra's book list on for a roller coaster, binge read

Debra Hinkley Why did Debra love this book?

One of my all-time favourites I’ve read this book 3 times now and, after this review, I’m sure I’ll be tempted to indulge myself for a fourth time. Follett is the master of knife-edge thrillers, if you’ve never read him, start now. Full of treachery and violence, twists and revelations. It’s a scary, but utterly brilliant read.

By Ken Follett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Everyone likes a page-turner, and Follett is the best." -The Philadelphia Inquirer

"A hell of a storyteller" (Entertainment Weekly), #1 New York Times bestselling author Ken Follett reinvents the thriller with each new novel. But nothing matches the intricate knife-edge drama of Whiteout. . . .

A missing canister of a deadly virus. A lab technician bleeding from the eyes. Toni Gallo, the security director of a Scottish medical research firm, knows she has problems, but she has no idea of the nightmare to come.

As a Christmas Eve blizzard whips out of the north, several people, Toni among them,…


Book cover of The Mark of the Horse Lord

Wendy J. Dunn Author Of The Light in the Labyrinth

From my list on Rosemary Sutcliff for history loving teenagers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an Australian author passionate about history. Alas, not Australian history. That would make my life so much easier. As a child, I loved tales of ancient Greece. That love took me in two directions—Ancient Egypt and Ancient Rome—Ancient Rome introduced me to Roman Britain, and the Roman Britain novels of Rosemary Sutcliff. My love of history probably explains why a childhood friend gave me a child’s book of English history for my tenth birthday. One of the book’s chapters told the story of Elizabeth I. As she wont to do in her own times, Elizabeth hooked me, keeping me captured ever since, and enslaved to writing and learning more about Tudors.

Wendy's book list on Rosemary Sutcliff for history loving teenagers

Wendy J. Dunn Why did Wendy love this book?

This novel reminds the reader that humans have carried certain truths from the dawn of time. It tells the story of Phaedrus, a slave from birth. When he gains his wooden-foil of freedom in the gladiatorial arena, he finds his life suddenly empty, and without purpose. This results in him agreeing to assume another’s identity. Not simply ‘another’s identity’ but to become a ‘king’ of the Dal Riada people of Scotland. Phaedrus, to his surprise, discovers leadership gives his life true purpose, friendship, and love. But the time comes when he must show himself worthy of the Mark of the Horse Lord. Beautifully told, the novel speaks of how sacredness and self-sacrifice intertwine for those who truly rule. 

By Rosemary Sutcliff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mark of the Horse Lord 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?

'Take my place, Phaedrus, and with it, take my vengeance . . .'

Phaedrus the gladiator wins his freedom after years of bloody battles in the arena. Soon he finds himself riding north towards the wilds of Caledonia on a strange mission. He is to assume the identity of Midir, Lord of the Horse People, to seek vengeance against the treacherous Liadhan, who has usurped the throne.

Ahead of him lies more adventure and more danger than he had ever known in the arena . . .


Book cover of Cold Granite

Graham Smith Author Of The Flood

From my list on where the weather is a character and a foe.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a novelist with a passion for reading and it is this which I feel qualifies me to speak on this topic. My reading is eclectic across the crime/mystery genre and there’s nothing I love more than a book that sucks me right into the same world its characters inhabit, something all five of my choices did. As a novelist I appreciate the way these novels all use the weather conditions to add an extra layer of threat to the protagonists and it’s something I’ve always wanted to emulate.

Graham's book list on where the weather is a character and a foe

Graham Smith Why did Graham love this book?

MacBride’s seminal debut introduces readers not only to an erstwhile hero and a stunning ensemble of secondary characters, but also his wonderful descriptions of a foul Aberdeen winter.

Scattered in among the narrative are little vignettes that elevate the whole story with his excellent turn of phrase. Since reading this novel, his books have become must reads for me, even if the Aberdeen Tourist Board don’t have him on their Christmas card list.

By Stuart MacBride,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The very first Logan McRae novel

Stuart MacBride's Number One bestselling crime series opens with this award-winning debut. DS Logan McRae and the police in Aberdeen hunt a child killer who stalks the frozen streets.

Winter in Aberdeen: murder, mayhem and terrible weather...

It's DS Logan McRae's first day back on the job after a year off on the sick, and it couldn't get much worse. Three-year-old David Reid's body is discovered in a ditch: strangled, mutilated and a long time dead. And he's only the first. There's a serial killer stalking the Granite City and the local media are…


Book cover of An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Mythical Creatures

Lindsay Littleson Author Of Guardians of the Wild Unicorns

From my list on mythical creatures.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Scottish writer and have an interest in Scotland’s many mythical creatures. My home country is inhabited by a myriad of mythical creatures, including kelpies, bogles, and mysterious Highland merfolk and I’m sure the natural environment plays a part. The inspiration behind my children’s fantasy novel Guardians of the Wild Unicorns was the fact that the unicorn is Scotland’s national animal. It seemed bizarre that Scotland opted for a mythical creature as a national animal, but when I started to do research into why, all became clear. People in the past believed unicorns were real. Unicorns have a long and proud history in Scotland and were chosen as a symbol of strength, independence, and dignity.

Lindsay's book list on mythical creatures

Lindsay Littleson Why did Lindsay love this book?

I thought this book was absolutely brilliant. It is a treasure trove of stories and I am sure will be loved by children everywhere! Kate Leiper’s artwork is stunning and the stories are fascinating and populated by Scottish mythical creatures from Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster to the beautiful selkies. Before reading this book I’d never heard of the half-man, half-wolf Shetland Wulver. A kind and generous mythical creature is a rare beast and I’d love to read more stories about Wulvers!

By Theresa Breslin, Kate Leiper (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Mythical Creatures as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mysterious selkies, bad-tempered giants, devious fairies and even Loch Ness's most famous resident -- these are the mythical beasts of Scottish folklore.

In the highly anticipated companion volume to the much-loved An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales, award-winning children's author Theresa Breslin brings together a stunning collection of tales from across Scotland.

Alternately humorous, poignant and thrilling, each story is brought to life with exquisite illustrations by Scottish fine artist Kate Leiper.

A wonderful gift, this is a truly stunning book to be treasured for a lifetime and will be enjoyed by parents and grandparents as well…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Scotland, presidential biography, and the Scottish Highlands?

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