100 books like Winters in the World

By Eleanor Parker,

Here are 100 books that Winters in the World fans have personally recommended if you like Winters in the World. 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 Queen Emma and Queen Edith: Queenship and Women's Power in Eleventh-Century England

David Woodman Author Of Edward the Confessor: The Sainted King

From my list on early medieval Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an Associate Professor of medieval history at Robinson College in the University of Cambridge. One exciting aspect of research about early medieval Britain is that there is always more to discover and understand, whether from artefacts being uncovered in archaeological excavations (like the Staffordshire Hoard), or from manuscripts that languish in archives and libraries across Britain without a modern translation and commentary. The books on this list—which offer insights into different aspects of early British life—are some of those that have captivated me most over my years of reading.

David's book list on early medieval Britain

David Woodman Why did David love this book?

Queen Emma, wife to both Æthelred the ‘Unready’ (d. 1016) and then to Cnut (d. 1035), and Queen Edith, wife to Edward the Confessor (d. 1066), lived through some of the most turbulent and interesting politics of the early medieval period.

We are permitted unusual access to their lives through eleventh-century texts either directly about them (the Encomium Emmae) or commissioned by them (the Vita Edwardi). Stafford wonderfully brings to the fore their pivotal roles in English politics across the eleventh century, and, in doing so, shines the spotlight on the position of women in medieval society more generally. 

By Pauline Stafford,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Queen Emma and Queen Edith as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Through detailed study of these women the author demonstrates the integral place of royal queens in the rule of the English kingdom and in the process of unification by which England was made.


Book cover of Bloodfeud: Murder and Revenge in Anglo-Saxon England

David Woodman Author Of Edward the Confessor: The Sainted King

From my list on early medieval Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an Associate Professor of medieval history at Robinson College in the University of Cambridge. One exciting aspect of research about early medieval Britain is that there is always more to discover and understand, whether from artefacts being uncovered in archaeological excavations (like the Staffordshire Hoard), or from manuscripts that languish in archives and libraries across Britain without a modern translation and commentary. The books on this list—which offer insights into different aspects of early British life—are some of those that have captivated me most over my years of reading.

David's book list on early medieval Britain

David Woodman Why did David love this book?

I first read this book as a student and found it utterly enthralling.

Having grown up in Durham myself, I’ve long been interested in the history of the north of England. Bloodfeud vividly portrays early eleventh-century Northumbria, at a time when King Cnut had just taken control and was trying to impose his authority.

The book plunges you into the politics of the Northumbrian aristocracy and some of the ways in which Cnut approached the governance of this part of the English kingdom. The sources on which Fletcher relies are scanty and complex, but he masterfully brings them to life. 

By Richard Fletcher,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On a gusty March day in 1016, as King Canute was completing his subjugation of the north of England, he commanded the appearance of teh greatest of his northern subjects, Earl Uhtred of Northumbria, at a place called Wiheal, probably near Tadcaster in Yorkshire. Uhtred had been loyal to Canute's predecessor, Ethelred the Unready, but realized that Canute had an overwhelming upper hand, and came with forty retainers to Wiheal to make his submission. However, as Richard Fletcher recounts in his opening to this book, "Treachery was afoot". Uhtred and his men were ambushed and slaughtered by an old enemy…


Book cover of Alfred the Great: Asser's Life of King Alfred and Other Contemporary Sources

David Woodman Author Of Edward the Confessor: The Sainted King

From my list on early medieval Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an Associate Professor of medieval history at Robinson College in the University of Cambridge. One exciting aspect of research about early medieval Britain is that there is always more to discover and understand, whether from artefacts being uncovered in archaeological excavations (like the Staffordshire Hoard), or from manuscripts that languish in archives and libraries across Britain without a modern translation and commentary. The books on this list—which offer insights into different aspects of early British life—are some of those that have captivated me most over my years of reading.

David's book list on early medieval Britain

David Woodman Why did David love this book?

This book provides an accessible translation of one of the most important texts to have survived from the reign of King Alfred the Great.

Having acceded in 871, Alfred’s early reign was beset by Viking raids before a military victory in 878 afforded the king some respite in the 880s. But peace was shattered in the early 890s with the return of the Vikings from their raids on the continent. It was at this point, in 893, that Asser, a Welsh cleric in service at Alfred’s court, first published his account of Alfred’s life.

Asser takes us to the heart of Alfred’s court at a period of high political tension with details about Alfred’s life and his abilities, all with one principal aim in mind: to win over his readers (particularly the Welsh) to Alfred’s cause, and thus to save the kingdom from further Viking inroads.

By Asser, Simon Keynes (translator), Michael Lapidge (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Asser's Life of King Alfred, written in 893, is a revealing account of one of the greatest of medieval kings. Composed by a monk of St David's in Wales who became Bishop of Sherborne in Alfred's service and worked with him in his efforts to revive religion and learning in his kingdom, this life is among the earliest surviving royal biographies. It is an admiring account of King Alfred's life, written in absorbing detail - chronicling his battles against Viking invaders and his struggle to increase the strength and knowledge of his people, and to unite his people at a…


Book cover of Making Money in the Early Middle Ages

David Woodman Author Of Edward the Confessor: The Sainted King

From my list on early medieval Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an Associate Professor of medieval history at Robinson College in the University of Cambridge. One exciting aspect of research about early medieval Britain is that there is always more to discover and understand, whether from artefacts being uncovered in archaeological excavations (like the Staffordshire Hoard), or from manuscripts that languish in archives and libraries across Britain without a modern translation and commentary. The books on this list—which offer insights into different aspects of early British life—are some of those that have captivated me most over my years of reading.

David's book list on early medieval Britain

David Woodman Why did David love this book?

It is electrifying to handle a coin from the early medieval period.

A typical coin from late tenth-century England will be made of silver, will have the king’s name, title, and bust imprinted on one side, and the name of the moneyer and of the mint on the other. These details alone raise questions: how was the coin used and by how many people? Where was it accepted and what kind of goods could it buy?

Rory Naismith, a leading historian and numismatist, provides answers to these questions and illuminates the development of the coinage system from the fall of Rome in the fifth century right through to the twelfth century. And his focus is exceptionally broad, taking in much of north-western Europe. It is an invaluable account that transforms our understanding of how money was actually used in the early medieval period.   

By Rory Naismith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Making Money in the Early Middle Ages as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An examination of coined money and its significance to rulers, aristocrats and peasants in early medieval Europe

Between the end of the Roman Empire in the fifth century and the economic transformations of the twelfth, coined money in western Europe was scarce and high in value, difficult for the majority of the population to make use of. And yet, as Rory Naismith shows in this illuminating study, coined money was made and used throughout early medieval Europe. It was, he argues, a powerful tool for articulating people's place in economic and social structures and an important gauge for levels of…


Book cover of The Times of Bede: Studies in Early English Christian Society and its Historian

Richard Shaw Author Of How, When and Why did Bede Write his Ecclesiastical History?

From my list on Bede and his Ecclesiastical History.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Professor of History at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Canada. Previously a journalist and a diplomat serving in the Middle East, since returning to academia I have published several books and a wide variety of academic articles – winning the 2014 Eusebius Essay Prize. My work is focused on source analysis and the use of sources to reconstruct the truth of the past – especially in the early Middle Ages: as a result, I have been able to discover the date of Augustine of Canterbury’s death; the underlying reasons behind the need to appoint Theodore of Tarsus as bishop; and the essential story of how Bede produced his Ecclesiastical History.

Richard's book list on Bede and his Ecclesiastical History

Richard Shaw Why did Richard love this book?

Patrick Wormald’s early death was a tragedy for early medieval studies as a whole.

Thankfully his former student, Stephen Baxter – an exceptional scholar in his own right – had the energy to carry some of his mentor’s projects over the line, including this collection of some of Wormald’s best essays, articles, and book chapters relating to Bede and his world.

Patrick was also my tutor for several undergraduate courses at Oxford as well as being the supervisor for my Master's Thesis and I too owe him a great debt. This edited collection – with the advantage of updated references and comments – showcases the searing brilliance which made Wormald such a prized commentator on everything connected to the early Middle Ages.

Coupled with Campbell's Essays in Anglo-Saxon History, readers will quickly gain nuanced perspectives on elements and themes crucial in comprehending the conversion of the early English.

By Patrick Wormald, Stephen Baxter (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Written by the late Patrick Wormald, one of the leading authorities on Bede's life and work over a 30-year period, this book is a collection of studies on Bede and early English Christian society. A collection of studies on Bede, the greatest historian of the English Middle Ages, and the early English church. Integrates the religious, intellectual, political and social history of the English in their first Christian centuries. Looks at how Bede and other writers charted the establishment of a Christian community within a warrior society. Features the first map of all known or likely early Christian communities in…


Book cover of The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles

Matthew Harffy Author Of A Time for Swords

From my list on the world of Anglo-Saxon Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Matthew Harffy is the author of ten novels set in the early medieval world. His Bernicia Chronicles, follow the saga of Beobrand as he moves through the echelons of Anglo-Saxon society, fighting in many battles and dealing with the intrigues of the ever-increasingly powerful men and women with whom he mixes. Recently, with Wolf of Wessex and the A Time for the Swords series, Harffy has covered the early Viking Age with his usual eye for detail, historical realism and a gripping plot.

Matthew's book list on the world of Anglo-Saxon Britain

Matthew Harffy Why did Matthew love this book?

This book covers the entirety of the history of the Anglo-Saxons in their own words. Like Bede’s History, it suffers from bias, depending on the scribe writing each section and what kingdom they inhabited, but it is a fascinating year-by-year account of the rise and fall of kings and clergy, and of the battles and natural phenomena faced by the people of early medieval Britain.

By Anne Savage,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The authentic voices of England, from the time of Julius Caesar to the coronation of Henry 2nd.


Book cover of Aethelstan: The First King of England

MJ Porter Author Of Son of Mercia

From my list on that led to my obsession with Saxon England.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer of novels set in Saxon England. I studied the era at both undergraduate and graduate levels and never meant to become a historical fiction writer. But I developed a passion to tell the story of the last century of Early England through the eyes of the earls of Mercia, as opposed to the more well-known, Earl Godwin. I’m still writing that series but venture further back in time as well. I might have a bit of an obsession with the Saxon kingdom of Mercia. I’m fascinated by the whole near-enough six hundred years of Saxon England before the watershed moment of 1066, after which, quite frankly, everything went a bit downhill. 

MJ's book list on that led to my obsession with Saxon England

MJ Porter Why did MJ love this book?

Aethelstan is an engrossing account of king Aethelstan, lauded as the first crowned king of ‘England,’ something his father, and more importantly, his grandfather, King Alfred, was unable to lay claim to. It’s a thorough examination of all that’s known about Aethelstan during his reign. It’s rare to get a book dedicated to any one single king before the reign of Æthelred II, who was Aethelstan’s great, great-nephew, and reigned thirty years later. The work shows just how much can be gleaned about historical figures during this period by experts in the field, who know how to unpick all the complicated details and present them to readers in an engaging format.

By Sarah Foot,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"AEthelstan was perhaps the most important king of tenth-century England, but we know very little about him, and he has no modern biography. Sarah Foot triumphantly fills this gap, and adds to the richness of our understanding of the period in a way that few others have managed."-Chris Wickham, author of The Inheritance Of Rome

The powerful and innovative King AEthelstan reigned only briefly (924-939), yet his achievements during those eventful fifteen years changed the course of English history. He won spectacular military victories (most notably at Brunanburh), forged unprecedented political connections across Europe, and succeeded in creating the first…


Book cover of By Force Alone

RJ Hore Author Of The Dark Lady

From my list on fantasy with a touch of darkness in its soul.

Why am I passionate about this?

An avid reader, and a spec-fiction/fantasy reviewer for CM Canada online, I’ve wanted to tell stories for as long as I can remember. I write “pantser-style” and let the characters run loose, looking at their motivation to steer the tale, often starting with little more than an idea and, if lucky, a character or two. My love of history led me to writing mediaeval or historical fantasy, as my first group of published novels attest, but to avoid stagnation added science fiction and a fantasy detective series of novellas. To date have fourteen novels and three anthologies of my novellas published and have appeared on panels at several cons.

RJ's book list on fantasy with a touch of darkness in its soul

RJ Hore Why did RJ love this book?

A brutal re-telling of the King Arthur legend, this novel reimagines the familiar story, retaining the feeling of weird magic, while pulling no punches about the characters. Arthur is a thug, Guinevere is no better, Merlin is a frustrated sprite beset by his female counterparts, and Britain is best described as a “clogged sewer that Rome abandoned just as soon as it could.”

The first of a five-book planned series to tell the story of the Matter of Britain, this is a ruthless and dark take that grabbed me from the beginning. I’ve always loved history, even a warped version like this. It left me eager for more and set me tracking down what else this author had written. I was not disappointed.

By Lavie Tidhar,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

There is a legend...

Britannia, AD 535

The Romans have gone. While their libraries smoulder, roads decay and cities crumble, men with swords pick over civilisation's carcass, slaughtering and being slaughtered in turn.

This is the story of just such a man. Like the others, he had a sword. He slew until slain. Unlike the others, we remember him. We remember King Arthur.

This is the story of a land neither green nor pleasant. An eldritch isle of deep forest and dark fell haunted by swaithes, boggarts and tod-lowries, Robin-Goodfellows and Jenny Greenteeths, and predators of rarer appetite yet.

This…


Book cover of Anglo-Saxon England

Matthew Harffy Author Of A Time for Swords

From my list on the world of Anglo-Saxon Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Matthew Harffy is the author of ten novels set in the early medieval world. His Bernicia Chronicles, follow the saga of Beobrand as he moves through the echelons of Anglo-Saxon society, fighting in many battles and dealing with the intrigues of the ever-increasingly powerful men and women with whom he mixes. Recently, with Wolf of Wessex and the A Time for the Swords series, Harffy has covered the early Viking Age with his usual eye for detail, historical realism and a gripping plot.

Matthew's book list on the world of Anglo-Saxon Britain

Matthew Harffy Why did Matthew love this book?

This is the granddaddy of history books about the Anglo-Saxons. Much of the history has evolved and moved on since its original publication in the 1940s, but Sir Frank Stenton is comprehensive and thorough and the resulting tome is jam-packed with information.

By Frank Stenton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Anglo-Saxon England as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discussing the development of English society, from the growth of royal power to the establishment of feudalism after the Norman Conquest, this book focuses on the emergence of the earliest English kingdoms and the Anglo-Norman monarchy in 1087. It also describes the chief phases in the history of the Anglo-Saxon church, drawing on many diverse examples; the result is a fascinating insight into this period of English history.


Book cover of Wolf of Wessex

J. K. Swift Author Of Acre

From my list on with realistic fight scenes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love a good fight scene! It doesn’t need to be long and gruesome, but it must be visceral and make me nervous for those involved. Don’t get me wrong, I also love a good first-kiss scene but unfortunately, my past has made me more adept at recognizing and writing one over the other. I started training in martial arts at the age of nine and continued for thirty years. I don’t train much these days but I took up bowmaking a few years back and now spend a lot of time carving English longbows and First Nations’ bows. I recently also took up Chinese archery.

J. K.'s book list on with realistic fight scenes

J. K. Swift Why did J. K. love this book?

Mathew Harffy has a lot going for him in the historical fiction world. His fight scenes are not overly technical and are easy to follow. They have just the right amount of blood and gore to make you believe the characters are really in danger but are not simply gratuitous violence. What I really love about this book is his voice when he writes descriptions of the forest and the people who live in it. I grew up in the woods of a small town in Canada, and I know how the forest can be a peaceful, tranquil setting one moment and then suddenly transform into a place of shadows and dread. Judging by the cover of this book, I think Harffy knows this as well.

By Matthew Harffy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Harffy's Dunston is a fantastic creation - old, creaking and misanthropic. The forest is beautifully evoked. A treat of a book' The Times.

AD 838. Deep in the forests of Wessex, Dunston's solitary existence is shattered when he stumbles on a mutilated corpse.

Accused of the murder, Dunston must clear his name and keep the dead man's daughter alive in the face of savage pursuers desperate to prevent a terrible secret from being revealed.

Rushing headlong through Wessex, Dunston will need to use all the skills of survival garnered from a lifetime in the wilderness. And if he has any…


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