64 books like The Walrus Mutterer

By Mandy Haggith,

Here are 64 books that The Walrus Mutterer fans have personally recommended if you like The Walrus Mutterer. 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 Middle Passage

Emily Mitchell Author Of The Last Summer of the World

From my 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

Emily Mitchell Why did Emily love this book?

The question of how to portray a historical atrocity like slavery in a work of fiction is obviously monumental. Toni Morrison, Gayl Jones, Colson Whitehead, and John Keene have approached this with consummate brilliance by writing the experience and subjectivity of enslaved and formerly-enslaved people. Johnson, however, focuses on the perpetrators: the men who engage in and profit from the capture and trafficking of other human beings. As in Mantel’s novel, the choice of the protagonist is key. Rutherford Calhoun is a ne’er-do-well free Black man from New Orleans who runs away on a ship to escape debts and engagement to a woman whose love he hasn’t done much to deserve. It turns out this ship is bound for Africa to collect a cargo of people, members of the Allmuseri tribe, an ethnicity Johnson invented for his fiction. But along with the people, they are also collecting something much more…

By Charles Johnson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Celebrating Fifty Years of Picador Books

Winner of the National Book Award 1990

The Apocalypse would definitely put a crimp in my career plans.

Rutherford Calhoun, a puckish rogue and newly freed slave, spends his days loitering around the docks of New Orleans, dodging debt collectors, gangsters, and Isadora Bailey, a prim and frugal woman who seeks to marry him and curb his mischievous instincts. When the heat from these respective pursuers becomes too much to bear, he cons his way on to the next ship leaving the dock: the Republic. Upon boarding, to his horror he discovers that he…


Book cover of The Sea Road

Nikki Marmery Author Of On Wilder Seas: The Woman on the Golden Hind

From my list on historical sea voyages.

Who am I?

I am a historical fiction writer living in a landlocked village in the Chilterns, UK. I became obsessed with long sea voyages while researching my debut novel, On Wilder Seas, which is inspired by the true story of Maria, the only woman aboard the Golden Hind during Francis Drake’s circumnavigation voyage in 1577-1580. I immersed myself in the literature of the sea, in early modern sailors’ accounts of their terrifying voyages, in their wills and diaries, in maps and sea-logs. A ship is the perfect setting for a novel: the confined space, the impossibility of escape, the ever-present danger – and the hostile, unforgiving sea is the ultimate antagonist.

Nikki's book list on historical sea voyages

Nikki Marmery Why did Nikki love this book?

The ‘sea-fiction’ literary canon is very male-focused. But in the real world, women put to sea too, and were sometimes at the forefront of exploration. Maria, the heroine of my novel, was the first non-native woman to set foot on the northwest coast of America, when she arrived with Francis Drake during his circumnavigation voyage in the summer of 1579. Five hundred years earlier, on the other side of the continent, another female pioneer, Gudrid Thorbjarnardóttir, explored and settled the Newfoundland coast. 

Gudrid, the ‘Far Travelled’ of Icelandic sagas, is brought to life in this beautifully written and vividly imagined novel. Rich in historical detail and steeped in the mythology and worldview of the Vikings, it’s a thoroughly convincing portrait of an extraordinary woman at the edge of the known world.

By Margaret Elphinstone,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A haunting, compelling historical novel, The Sea Road is a daring re-telling of the 11th-century Viking exploration of the North Atlantic from the viewpoint of one extraordinary woman. Gudrid lives at the remote edge of the known world, in a starkly beautiful landscape where the sea is the only connection to the shores beyond. It is a world where the old Norse gods are still invoked, even as Christianity gains favour, where the spirits of the dead roam the vast northern ice-fields, tormenting the living, and Viking explorers plunder foreign shores.

Taking the accidental discovery of North America as its…


Book cover of Rites of Passage

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by "sea stories" since I could read, maybe before. I was born in Liverpool, my dad was in the navy, my family ran an 18th-century inn named the Turk’s Head after a nautical knot, and I’ve directed or written more than twenty films, plays, and novels with the sea as their setting. But they’re not really about the sea. For me, the sea is a mirror to reflect the human condition, a theatre for all the human dramas I can imagine. More importantly, I’ve read over a hundred sea stories for research and pleasure, and those I’ve chosen for you are the five I liked best.

Seth's book list on books about the sea that aren’t just about sailing on it, or fighting on it, or drowning in it, but are really about the human condition

Seth Hunter Why did Seth love this book?

Golding will forever be remembered for Lord of the Flies, but I think this is better (and so did he, apparently, a lot better).

It’s the story of people on a seemingly endless voyage from England to Australia in the 19th century, but for me, it’s like a spaceship on a voyage to another planet, like the spaceship in Alien with its own monsters aboard, the social mores, the injustices, the class privileges and prejudices, the sexual hangups, and the guilty secrets they carry with them. Pity poor Australia!

For me, it demonstrates that the sea can be a metaphor for reading (and writing). You embark on a journey, and you want to get to the end, but in a way, you want it to last forever.

By William Golding,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Rites of Passage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Sailing to Australia in the early years of the nineteenth century, Edmund Talbot keeps a journal to amuse his godfather back in England. Full of wit and disdain, he records the mounting tensions on the ancient, stinking warship, where officers, sailors, soldiers and emigrants jostle in the crammed spaces below decks.Then a single passenger, the obsequious Reverend Colley, attracts the animosity of the sailors, and in the seclusion of the fo'castle something happens to bring him into a 'hell of self-degradation', where shame is a force deadlier than the sea itself.


Book cover of The Mighty Dead: Why Homer Matters

Nikki Marmery Author Of On Wilder Seas: The Woman on the Golden Hind

From my list on historical sea voyages.

Who am I?

I am a historical fiction writer living in a landlocked village in the Chilterns, UK. I became obsessed with long sea voyages while researching my debut novel, On Wilder Seas, which is inspired by the true story of Maria, the only woman aboard the Golden Hind during Francis Drake’s circumnavigation voyage in 1577-1580. I immersed myself in the literature of the sea, in early modern sailors’ accounts of their terrifying voyages, in their wills and diaries, in maps and sea-logs. A ship is the perfect setting for a novel: the confined space, the impossibility of escape, the ever-present danger – and the hostile, unforgiving sea is the ultimate antagonist.

Nikki's book list on historical sea voyages

Nikki Marmery Why did Nikki love this book?

Not a novel, but it reads like one, as Nicolson tells the story of how the greatest sea voyage tale of all time – The Odyssey, and its sister epic The Iliad – came to be, with a cast of characters including the Greek heroes, gods and goddesses crossing the land and seascapes of Ancient Greece. 

Nicolson argues that these poems emerged not in the 8th century BC, when they were first written down, but a thousand years earlier in the oral tradition. In them, he sees the origin myths of the people who became the Greeks – the fusion of the native people of the Eastern Mediterranean and invaders from the northern steppes. 

But it is Nicolson’s personal investment in his subject that is so beguiling. A sailor himself, he brings his deep knowledge of the sea, of sailing, navigation, the capriciousness of wind, the knife-edge between…

By Adam Nicolson, Adam Nicolson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Complex, personal, and profound ... a brash and brave piece of writing ... filled with the swords and spears that inflict the carnage of the Iliad." -The Wall Street Journal

Why Homer Matters is a magical journey of discovery across wide stretches of the past, sewn together by the Iliad and the Odyssey and their metaphors of life and trouble. Homer's poems-transmitted orally across the generations, shaped and reshaped in a living, self-renewing tradition-occupy, as Adam Nicolson writes "a third space" in the way we relate to the past: not as memory, which lasts no more than three generations, nor…


Book cover of Wild Horses of the Summer Sun: A Memoir of Iceland

Candace Wade Author Of Horse Sluts: The Saga of Two Women on the Trail of Their Yeehaw

From my list on horse journeys not to be missed.

Who am I?

The me of me is a “late in life rider” and freelance writer—with an edge. I learned to ride horses in my ‘40s when we left the wonders of California for sweet tea, okra, and equine “yard art” of Tennessee. Horses and writing mixed to create Horse Sluts. My political bent led me to craft an exposé on the brutal “training” of Big Lick TN Walking Horses. I still ride and explore the more humorous sides of aging and riding. A stickler for "writing worth reading,” I eschew self-conscious, wandering-lost writing. The books I recommended are well crafted.

Candace's book list on horse journeys not to be missed

Candace Wade Why did Candace love this book?

Tory Bilski hooked me with her first line. I searched riding trips sites by the end of the paragraph. Wild Horses of the Summer Sun is a crafted odyssey. The book gifts us with Icelandic horses, foreign travel exploration, and the human (and herd) dynamic of a group of women who crave to “be Iceland.”

Tory is a writer in all that the craft implies. Her storytelling speaks to the explorer in us. She guides us around each mystical curve and through a physical (and emotional) blinding fog. She swims us across a (gulp) deep lake. We encounter “Tippi Hedren-esk” killer birds and truculent bulls. We hunger for the “gifts of the earth” meals and well-earned, decadent desserts. Ancient Nordic Sagas of trolls, ghosts and a fatal love affair spice the travelogue.

By Tory Bilski,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wild Horses of the Summer Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Blame it or praise it, there is no denying the wild horse in us.' Virginia Woolf

What if you could steal time out just for yourself each year, a brief reprieve from ordinary life and its responsibilities? Wild Horses of the Summer Sun is author Tory Bilski's witty, sometimes poignant, account of her annual 'horse sabbaticals' to Iceland. She and her travelling companions exhilarate in their freedom, the spectacular scenery, the midnight sun energy and the Icelandic horses that connect deeply to the soul. Each year brings a new discovery about Iceland, about herself and about her relationships with the…


Book cover of Dark Matter

Sharon J. Bolton Author Of The Split: A Novel

From my list on spine-tingling thrillers set on remote islands.

Who am I?

I love dark, creepy stories set on remote islands; I love writing them and I love reading them. There is something about an island that lends itself so well to the thriller. A closed community with its own set of rules, a far-flung location, probably at the vagaries of oceanic weather, poor communications, local people whose loyalties can’t always be trusted, few places to hide. When the sun goes down on an island there is often, quite literally, no way of escape. I’ve set some of my best books on islands (Sacrifice, Little Black Lies, The Split) and love all of the ones on this list. I hope you do too. 

Sharon's book list on spine-tingling thrillers set on remote islands

Sharon J. Bolton Why did Sharon love this book?

In 1937, 28-year-old Jack volunteers for a remote expedition to Gruhuken, the former whaling station on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. He, his four companions, and eight huskies journey north through the brief Arctic summer, their spirits high. At first. As winter approaches, Jack’s companions are forced to leave, until he is utterly alone in a land of never-ending darkness. Bad enough, you might think, but as Jack learns, another presence shares his claustrophobic world of night-time, and the sea is icing over. Soon, it will be impossible to leave. Part horror, part ghost story, this is one of the creepiest tales I’ve ever read.  

By Michelle Paver,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Dark Matter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'What is it? What does it want? Why is it angry with me?'

January 1937.

Clouds of war are gathering over a fogbound London. Twenty-eight year old Jack is poor, lonely and desperate to change his life. So when he's offered the chance to be the wireless operator on an Arctic expedition, he jumps at it.
Spirits are high as the ship leaves Norway: five men and eight huskies, crossing the Barents Sea by the light of the midnight sun. At last they reach the remote, uninhabited bay where they will camp for the next year. Gruhuken.
But the Arctic…


Book cover of The Last Imaginary Place: A Human History of the Arctic World

Gordon Campbell Author Of Norse America: The Story of a Founding Myth

From my list on the Norse in Canada.

Who am I?

I live in England but grew up in Canada, where my Grade 5 Social Studies teacher filled my head with stories of people and places, including the Vikings. In the early 1960s, I learned about the excavations at L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland featured in Canadian newspapers. My first job was in Denmark, and I subsequently travelled in the Nordic homelands and settlement areas, including the Faeroes, Iceland, and Greenland, visiting museums and archaeological sites at every opportunity. Norse America is my 26th book, but it is both the one with the deepest roots in my own past and the one most engaged with contemporary concerns about race.

Gordon's book list on the Norse in Canada

Gordon Campbell Why did Gordon love this book?

This book by a distinguished Canadian archaeologist is the finest overview of the human history of the circumpolar region. Its twin concerns are the indigenous peoples of the Arctic and the impact of intruders from the south. It is unusual in its coverage of the Russian and Scandinavian Arctic. The excellent account of the Norse colonies in Greenland feeds into a compelling analysis (through the prism of trade goods) of Norse penetration into the territories of the Dorset and Thule peoples. 

By Robert McGhee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Arctic of towering icebergs and midnight sun, of flaming auroras and endless winter nights, has long provoked flights of the imagination. Now, in "The Last Imaginary Place", renowned archaeologist, Robert McGhee lifts the veil to reveal the true Arctic world. Based on thirty years of work with native peoples of the Arctic and travel in the region, McGhee's account dispels notions of the frozen land as an exotic, remote world that exists apart from civilization. Between the frigid reality and lurid fantasy lies McGhee's true interest, the people who throughout human history have called the Arctic home. He paints…


Book cover of Women's Lives in Biblical Times

Oded Borowski Author Of Daily Life in Biblical Times

From my list on life in biblical times.

Who am I?

As an archaeologist for over 50 years, I specialized in Household Archaeology, the branch of archaeology that investigates daily life. I was born and spent my childhood in British Mandatorial Palestine and then grew up to adulthood in Israel after it was founded. I spent many years as a kibbutz member in the Northern Negev living near the Bedouin. These experiences brought me close to pre-industrial societies. All my life I was surrounded by archaeological sites, taught biblical archaeology for over 40 years in college and wrote several books and articles on subjects related to daily life in biblical times.

Oded's book list on life in biblical times

Oded Borowski Why did Oded love this book?

Women played an important role in daily life of biblical Israel, but not much has been written about them. This book uses a fictional character to describe the lifecycle events and daily life activities experienced by girls and women in ancient Israel using archaeological, iconographic, and ethnographic information. Each chapter is devoted to a major event in the life of the character, from birth to death, describing in a story-telling manner how women coped, focusing on the specific events, customs, crafts, technologies, and other activities in which an Israelite female would have participated on a daily basis.

By Jennie R. Ebeling,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Women's Lives in Biblical Times as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This volume describes the lifecycle events and daily life activities experienced by girls and women in ancient Israel examining recent biblical scholarship and other textual evidence from the ancient Near East and Egypt including archaeological, iconographic and ethnographic data. From this Ebeling creates a detailed, accessible description of the lives of women living in the central highland villages of Iron Age I (ca. 1200-1000 BCE) Israel. The book opens with an introduction that provides a brief historical survey of Iron Age (ca. 1200-586 BCE) Israel, a discussion of the problems involved in using the Hebrew Bible as a source, a…


Book cover of Britain and the Celtic Iron Age

Sheila Finch Author Of A Villa Far From Rome

From my list on Roman Britain and the Celts.

Who am I?

Sheila Finch is best known as a Nebula-winning author of science fiction, but on a visit back to her first alma mater in Chichester, UK, she encountered a mystery that wouldn’t let her go. Who built the nearby magnificent Roman palace that was just now being excavated at Fishbourne, and why? Months of research later, she came up with a possible explanation that involved a sixteen-year-old Roman mother, a middle-aged Celtic king of a small tribe, and Emperor Nero’s secret plans:

Sheila's book list on Roman Britain and the Celts

Sheila Finch Why did Sheila love this book?

Another, more popularly oriented (and much shorter) discussion of Celtic life by Simon James (with Valerie Rigby), has a different focus: Britain and the Celtic Iron Age. Like the longer, less specific to Britain version by this author, this one gave me a much greater “feel” for the life of my characters before and after the Roman conquest. It’s full of photos and illustrations of Celtic artifacts, many of them collected by the British Museum.

By Simon James,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Britain and the Celtic Iron Age as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Celts are seen as a family of European peoples who spoke related languages and shared many things in common, from art to aspects of religion and social organization. Was the British Iron Age simply part of this supposedly uniform, Celtic world, or was it something much more distinctive, complex, strange and fascinating than we have been led to believe? New research is promoting reappraisals of Britain's prehistory, in ways which challenge many ideas, such as that of a familiar Celtic past. This work discusses the many facets of the lives of Iron Age Britons, drawing on the wealth of…


Book cover of Skin

D.M. Cameron Author Of Beneath the Mother Tree

From my list on literary novels with elements of fantasy.

Who am I?

I hold a master's in writing modern stories based on ancient myth and have always been fascinated by the power of mythology and the idea of the archetypal subconscious, combine this with the wonders of the natural world and beautifully constructed sentences, and you have my dream read. All the books on this list, even though two are historical, have a modern sensibility, all celebrate the power of nature, and all are masterful in their execution. Enjoy!

D.M.'s book list on literary novels with elements of fantasy

D.M. Cameron Why did D.M. love this book?

This beautifully written debut, set in Iron-Age Britain on the cusp of the Roman invasion explores connection to country through the magical lens of druidism. Not only that, it is a page-turner and a love story and left me wanting more…which was good, because Tampke followed up with a sequel—Songwoman. If you are of Celtic heritage, this is a must-read.

By Ilka Tampke,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A visceral tale of ritual, magic and violence' - The Sunday Times

Imagine a world where everyone is born with a 'skin' name. Without skin you cannot learn, you are not permitted to marry, and you grow up an outsider amongst your own people.

This is no future dystopia. This is Celtic Britain.

It is AD 43. For the Caer Cad, 'skin' name determines lineage and identity. Ailia does not have skin; despite this, she is a remarkable young woman, intelligent, curious and brave. As a dark threat grows on the horizon - the aggressive expansion of the Roman Empire…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Iron Age, Iceland, and murder?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Iron Age, Iceland, and murder.

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