The most recommended books about blood feuds

Who picked these books? Meet our 20 experts.

20 authors created a book list connected to blood feuds, and here are their favorite blood feud books.
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What type of blood feud book?


Jade City

By Fonda Lee,

Book cover of Jade City

Matt Weber Author Of Brimstone Slipstream

From Matt's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Data scientist Dad Comics reader Gamer

Matt's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Matt's 7, 10, and 12-year-old's favorite books.

Why did Matt love this book?

It’s everything I loved about Game of Thrones—a sprawling family saga, a web of intrigue between warring houses, a nation on the brink of revolution, a complex world where trade and politics are cutthroat—but with wuxia and gangsters.

The first book is laser-focused on the conflict between two warrior clans fighting for control of the nation of Kekon’s capital city, but the aperture widens across the series to encompass the major powers (of which Kekon isn’t one)… and as we spend time with the members of the Kaul family, it’s impossible not to see how the dynamics of the family and the war feed into one another. Just excellently crafted fantasy.

By Fonda Lee,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Jade City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'An epic drama reminiscent of the best classic Hong Kong gangster films but set in a fantasy metropolis so gritty and well-imagined that you'll forget you're reading a book' KEN LIU

'Gripping!' ANN LECKIE, author of Ancillary Justice and The Raven Tower

'Lee's astute worldbuilding raises the stakes for her vivid and tautly-described action scenes' SCOTT LYNCH, author of The Lies of Locke Lamora

*****Shortlisted for the Nebula Awards, the Locus Awards, the Aurora Awards, the Sunburst Awards and an Best Book of the Month*****


In Fury Born

By David Weber,

Book cover of In Fury Born

W. C. Bauers Author Of Unbreakable

From the list on war stories to wreck a boring weekend.

Who am I?

I sell books for a living, raise three boys on my own, serve in my local church, and write on the side. I love stories about people doing hard things. If it’s not hard, why bother? People who serve do hard things for a career, and that inspires me. I also love the stars. So. Many. Stars. As author Jack McDevitt once said, and I’ll paraphrase him here, the canvas is just too big to have been made just for us [humans]. There’s more out there. I know it. So, put hard things like military service and vast things like space together and you end up with a love for military fiction and war stories.

W. C.'s book list on war stories to wreck a boring weekend

Why did W. C. love this book?

Published in one volume, The Furies Series is perhaps the best example of mechsuited combat in the known ‘verse. Vengeance, planet-wrecking pirates, and a death-to-life story that nearly defies description. The read is frenetic, and the weapons and AIs are the best in the business. Of course, the author, David Weber, is one of the great ones. He’s a rare talent, and his penchant for penning war is unrivaled, save perhaps for Patrick O'Brian’s outstanding wet navy fiction. You’re welcome. 

Days of Darkness

By John Ed Pearce,

Book cover of Days of Darkness: The Feuds of Eastern Kentucky

Lisa Alther Author Of Blood Feud: The Hatfields and the McCoys: The Epic Story of Murder and Vengeance

From the list on the Hatfield–McCoy feud.

Who am I?

My father’s favorite first cousin Ava married Homer McCoy, a direct descendant of the Fighting McCoys. Homer’s aunt married a Hatfield, so my family is distantly related by marriage to both the Hatfields and McCoys. As a girl, Ava witnessed the aftermath of the feud: The elders in her household froze whenever they heard pounding hoofbeats in the night. She assured me that the reasons for the feud were far more complicated than escaped hogs or the derring-do of sociopathic veterans nostalgic for the bloodbaths of the Civil War. I started reading whatever I could find and visiting feud sites, trying to understand what had really gone on and why.

Lisa's book list on the Hatfield–McCoy feud

Why did Lisa love this book?

This book by a Kentucky journalist, based on the sparse court records and on interviews with descendants of the feudists, helped me understand that the Hatfield-McCoy feud was not an isolated occurrence. In addition to the Hatfield-McCoy feud, it describes five other feuds being conducted in Kentucky at the same time. There appear to be similar patterns governing the combustion and ferocity of all these feuds, having to do with a struggle for control over the shifting social, economic, and political hierarchies following the upheavals of the Civil War and the invasions launched by lumber and coal companies.

By John Ed Pearce,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Among the darkest corners of Kentucky's past are the grisly feuds that tore apart the hills of eastern Kentucky from the late nineteenth century until well into the twentieth. Now, from the tangled threads of conflicting testimony, John Ed Pearce weaves engrossing accounts of six of the most notorious feuds -- those in Breathitt, Clay, Harlan, Perry, Pike, and Rowan counties. What caused the feuds that left Kentucky with its lingering reputation for violence? Who were the feudists, and what forces -- social, political, financial -- caused the conflicts? For years, Pearce has interviewed descendants of feuding families and examined…

Julie and Romeo

By Jeanne Ray,

Book cover of Julie and Romeo: A Novel

Marilyn Brant Author Of According to Jane

From the list on romance inspired by British classics.

Who am I?

I was born a bookworm. As a kid, I’d read daily—for hours and with wild abandon—across authors and genres. But I always had a special love of British classics: Shakespeare, Forster, the Brontës, tales featuring lords, ladies, and English heroes like the Scarlet Pimpernel. When I first encountered Jane Austen, I was a high-school freshman. Her writing forever changed my perspective and, thus, my life. I went on to devour all of her books, and later, to study her work for a summer at Oxford University. I visited her old haunts, too, like Bath and Chawton, and remain charmed by her stories and inspired by her when I write my novels.

Marilyn's book list on romance inspired by British classics

Why did Marilyn love this book?

There simply aren’t enough romances that focus on older main characters, so I particularly loved that this funny, Shakespeare-inspired love story had a 60-year-old divorced heroine and an equally mature widower hero. The protagonists are rival florists in Boston, and their families have been embroiled in a feud that has spanned several generations. Watching the way this novel played out—especially with so many meddling family members!—was great fun. And if, like me, you always wished the original Romeo and Juliet could have, maybe, been transformed into a comedy with a happier ending, Jeanne Ray’s light, modern romance just might be for you.

By Jeanne Ray,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Romeo Cacciamani and Julie Roseman are rival florists whose families have hated each other for as long as anyone can remember, yet no one can remember why. When the two meet at a small business owners' seminar, an intense and unwavering attraction blooms between them. Unsure of what fate has in store, but deeply in love, Julie and Romeo are not about to let something as silly as a generations-long feud stand in their way. That is, until Romeo's octogenarian mother, Julie's meddling ex-husband, and a cast of grown Cacciamani and Roseman children begin to intervene with a passionate hatred…

Street Justice

By Bruce A. Jacobs, Richard Wright,

Book cover of Street Justice: Retaliation in the Criminal Underworld

Jill Leovy Author Of Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America

From the list on escaping the true-crime rut.

Who am I?

Jill Leovy, author of Ghettoside, is a journalist and independent researcher who covered the Los Angeles Police Department and homicide for fifteen years, and who is currently working on a book dealing with murder and feud in human history. She has covered hundreds of street homicides and shadowed patrol cops, and she spent several years embedded in homicide detective units. More recently, she has been a Harvard sociology fellow and a featured speaker on Homer and violence at St. John's College, New Mexico. She is a senior fellow at the USC Center on Communication Leadership and Policy.

Jill's book list on escaping the true-crime rut

Why did Jill love this book?

Street Justice is a terrific ethnography on an issue too seldom talked about in criminal justice textbooks, namely, payback in the context of drug dealing.

Jacobs and Wright did not set out here for any new philosophical insights about revenge. Instead, they are interested in its reality. What emerges from this study is a stark catalog of how retaliation actually works, among real people, in a real American city, and what a chilling picture it is.

Based on interviews with actual St. Louis offenders who related their personal experiences with loss, pain, humiliation, and anger, Street Justice is an eye-opener even for those of us who thought we knew something about this topic.

Read this book if you a cop. If you are just interested in law and violence, as I am, read this one alongside Miller, Gould, and a few of the Icelandic Sagas, and I guarantee you will…

By Bruce A. Jacobs, Richard Wright,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Street criminals live in a dangerous world, but they cannot realistically rely on the criminal justice system to protect them from predation by fellow lawbreakers; they are on their own when it comes to dealing with crimes perpetrated against them and often use retaliation as a mechanism for deterring and responding to victimization. Although retaliation lies at the heart of much of the violence that plagues many inner-city neighborhoods across the United States, it has received scant attention from criminologists. As a result, the structure, process, and forms of retaliation in the real world setting of urban America remain poorly…

The Moon-Spinners

By Mary Stewart,

Book cover of The Moon-Spinners

Pauline Baird Jones Author Of Relatively Risky

From the list on thrilling, chilling, romantic, blush-free reads.

Who am I?

I feel like I’ve read all of my life—though I know at some point someone had to teach me—but stories and storytelling are in my DNA. The first four books were my writing “primers.” I learned more about storytelling from them than any how-to book. They also fueled my passion to write in different genres. You will notice the words “blush free” in some of my recommendations. That is because I love well-told stories that live between prim and steamy, books where I don’t have to flip past the steamy stuff to get back to the story. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

Pauline's book list on thrilling, chilling, romantic, blush-free reads

Why did Pauline love this book?

I found The Moon-Spiners through a Disney movie of the same name (book was better). When I found out it was also a book, I went hunting at my local library and fell in love with the way Stewart immediately pulled me into her stories, evoking awe, fear, laughter ,and romance. She wafted me away to exotic places, and into exciting and romantic adventures with strong female characters. I went on to read all her books, even the Arthurian ones, but her romantic suspense books remain my favorites and the ones I turn to when I need a comfortable visit with old fictional friends. 

By Mary Stewart,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Moon-Spinners as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Impetuous and attractive, Nicola Ferris has just arrived in Crete for a holiday when she sees an egret fly out of a lemon grove. On impulse, she follows the bird’s path into the White Mountains. There she discovers a young Englishman who, hiding out in the hills and less than pleased to have been discovered, sends Nicola packing with the order to keep out of his affairs. This, of course, Nicola is unable to do, and before long events lead to a stunning climax among the fishing boats of Agios Georgios Bay.

            In this bestselling novel, first published in 1963…


By ND Stevenson,

Book cover of Nimona

A.F.E. Smith Author Of Dawn Rising

From the list on starring fierce girls who never give up.

Who am I?

When I was growing up, I cared far too much about what other people thought of me. I was afraid to reveal my unabashedly dorky self – the one who loved reading fantasy and dreamed of being an author herself someday – for fear of being laughed at. As a result, my favorite protagonists were always the obstinate girls. The passionate girls. The girls who kept trying, no matter how hard things got; who fought to protect themselves and the people they loved. I wanted to be more like them. I still do. But if that isn’t possible, at least I can write them.

A.F.E.'s book list on starring fierce girls who never give up

Why did A.F.E. love this book?

Graphic novels are a source of wonder to me, mainly because I long to be good enough at drawing to create my own. Indeed, my greatest ambition is for an artist to love one of my books enough to adapt it. So I can’t write a list of fierce-girl books without mentioning Nimona: a shapeshifter who thrives on mayhem and will literally set the board on fire if you beat her at fantasy-world Monopoly. Nimona proves how much emotion and humor it’s possible to pack into a relatively slight number of pages, and also that girls don’t have to be good to be lovable.

By ND Stevenson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Indies Choice Book of the Year * National Book Award Finalist * New York Times Bestseller * New York Times Notable Book * Kirkus Best Book * School Library Journal Best Book * Publishers Weekly Best Book * NPR Best Book * New York Public Library Best Book * Chicago Public Library Best Book The New York Times bestselling graphic novel sensation from Noelle Stevenson, based on her beloved and critically acclaimed web comic. Kirkus says, "If you're going to read one graphic novel this year, make it this one." Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in…

The Weight of Feathers

By Anna-Marie McLemore,

Book cover of The Weight of Feathers

E.G. Radcliff Author Of The Wild Court: A Celtic Fae-Inspired Fantasy Novel

From the list on not-exactly-young-adult fantasy for worldbuilding.

Who am I?

I am a part-time pooka and native of the Unseelie Court. I collect acorns, glass beads, and pretty rocks, and the crows outside my house know me as She Who Has Bread. My fantasy novels are crafted in the dead of night after offering sacrifices of almonds and red wine to the writing-block deities. You can reach me by scrying bowl, carrier pigeon, or @egradcliff on social media. If I can’t describe myself in fantastical terms, why take me seriously as a fantasy author and recommender?

E.G.'s book list on not-exactly-young-adult fantasy for worldbuilding

Why did E.G. love this book?

Another book remarkable for its descriptions, The Weight of Feathers combines the real world with enough distance and faint magic to make everything in it shimmer. Not everything makes perfect sense, and not everything needs to, because in Anne-Marie McLemore’s rewriting of the classic Romeo and Juliet love story, the taste of aguas frescas and the clinking of wind chimes make the otherworldly seem perfectly plausible. The Weight of Feathers is the sort of book that made me want to live in its world, to be privy to the hidden magic. The love story unfolds gradually as the deep cultures and subtle, colorful fantasy steal away the senses.

By Anna-Marie McLemore,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Palomas and the Corbeaus have long been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows. The Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find. Lace Paloma may be new to her family's show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she's been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small…

Mad Blood Stirring

By Edward Muir,

Book cover of Mad Blood Stirring: Vendetta and Factions in Friuli During the Renaissance

Celeste McNamara Author Of The Bishop's Burden: Reforming the Catholic Church in Early Modern Italy

From the list on Renaissance Italy.

Who am I?

I teach medieval and early modern European history at Dublin City University, with a particular interest in 16th-18th century Italian history. My own research focuses on the religious, legal, and popular culture of northern Italy, particularly Venice and the Veneto region. I became fascinated with Renaissance Italian history as an undergraduate at the College of William and Mary, and then went on to do a masters and a PhD at Northwestern University. I have taught at Northwestern, the College of William and Mary, the University of Warwick/Warwick in Venice, and the State University of New York at Cortland.

Celeste's book list on Renaissance Italy

Why did Celeste love this book?

We often think of the Renaissance as a time of intellectual and artistic advances, elite cultural experiences, and royal courts or sober republican governments. It was also a time of violence – and attempts to control that violence. Muir focuses on a violent riot known as the Cruel Carnival of 1511, which took place in the remote Friuli region of northern Italy, then under the control of the Republic of Venice. He uses this event to explore vendetta conflict, factional violence, and peasant culture, showing a very different side of Renaissance Italy. This book is a fascinating exploration of ritualized violence and its meanings and makes a compelling case for its gradual control – or at least redirection – as dueling became the ritual of choice to maintain or restore honor.

By Edward Muir,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Nobles were slaughtered and their castles looted or destroyed, bodies were dismembered and corpses fed to animals-the Udine carnival massacre of 1511 was the most extensive and damaging popular revolt in Renaissance Italy (and the basis for the story of Romeo and Juliet). Mad Blood Stirring is a gripping account and analysis of this event, as well as the social structures and historical conflicts preceding it and the subtle shifts in the mentality of revenge it introduced. This new reader's edition offers students and general readers an abridged version of this classic work which shifts the focus from specialized scholarly…

The Little White Horse

By Elizabeth Goudge,

Book cover of The Little White Horse

Natasha Lowe Author Of The Courage of Cat Campbell (Poppy Pendle)

From the list on quirky fantasies with feisty “take charge” girls.

Who am I?

I write books about feisty girls who follow their dreams and don’t let fear stand in their way. Growing up in London I was an extremely shy child with a full-blown fantasy life, but at eighteen decided it was time to channel my inner “feisty girl”, take charge of my destiny, and travel to America to pursue my dream of becoming a writer. Now, many years later I am the proud author of five middle-grade novels, and the mother of four amazing children who are all off following their own dreams. When I’m not writing books about feisty girls, I’m reading other people's. Here are some of my favorites.

Natasha's book list on quirky fantasies with feisty “take charge” girls

Why did Natasha love this book?

Okay, this is an old-fashioned book with some old-fashioned views, but it was my childhood favorite, so I had to include it! Orphaned Maria is sent to live with a distant relative at Moonacre Manor, but all is not as perfect as it seems, and it isn’t long before Maria discovers a world of hidden secrets and ancient feuds. It can’t have been easy growing up a feisty girl in Victorian England, but Maria Merryweather manages it, and I love that about her. She is stubborn, brave, and inquisitive, refusing to let anything dampen her spirit. As well as a passion for life Maria also has a passion for good food, (like me) so eat a snack while you read this because the descriptions will make you hungry!  A perfect balance of mystery, magic, and teatime treats.

By Elizabeth Goudge,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The Little White Horse was my favourite childhood book. I absolutely adored it. It had a cracking plot. It was scary and romantic in parts and had a feisty heroine.' - JK Rowling - The Bookseller

Winner of the Carnegie Medal in 1946 and J.K. Rowling's favourite childhood book. This bestselling favourite fantasy classic is 'one of the most of the most magical stories in the world.' - The Independent. This is the story of a thirteen-year-old orphan, a Moon Princess, and a mysterious white horse.

Maria Merryweather, a plain London orphan, is sent to Moonacre Manor to live with…

The Perils of Pleasure

By Julie Anne Long,

Book cover of The Perils of Pleasure

Jeri Black Author Of The Dangers of Loving a Rogue

From the list on lively characters and witty banter.

Who am I?

I love to laugh. I don’t think there’s anything better than the sound of laughter. I’m originally from the Midwest and we tend to have a self-deprecating sense of humor—we like to laugh at ourselves. I’ve been in love with romance novels since I read my first Kathleen Woodiwiss book in my twenties. Although there are many sub-genres within romance, I prefer historical and contemporary (which I also write). My favorite stories have entertaining characters, witty banter, and lots of humor. For me, reading is like taking a vacation to the world within the pages of a book, and I want my vacation to be fun!

Jeri's book list on lively characters and witty banter

Why did Jeri love this book?

This first book in Long’s Pennyroyal Green Regency series involves Colin Eversea, an innocent man about to hang, and Madeline Greenway, the woman hired to liberate him. Instead of receiving her fee for saving the most popular rogue in London, someone tries to kill Madeline. The couple embarks on a convoluted journey to unravel the truth with entertaining characters, interesting twists, and an uncomfortable discovery of self and one another. Long is one of the best at sexual tension, characterization, and setting. Her scenes are so very alive and active and full of humor. The Perils of Pleasure is a really fun read. 

By Julie Anne Long,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ancient secrets and grudges bind the wealthy Eversea and Redmond families of Pennyroyal Green, Sussex, so when handsome, reckless, fatally charming black-sheep Colin Eversea, the youngest of the clan, is framed for killing a Redmond cousin in a London pub brawl and sentenced to hang, no one seems to think it's a coincidence that the only witness to the crime has disappeared. Then again, throughout history, Everseas have always managed to cheat fate in style: much to his own astonishment, Colin is snatched from the gallows by a beautiful, clever mercenary.Inured to danger by life in the London rookeries, Madeleine…