The most recommended Delphi books

Who picked these books? Meet our 9 experts.

9 authors created a book list connected to Delphi, and here are their favorite Delphi books.
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Book cover of See Delphi and Die: A Marcus Didius Falco Mystery

Julie Anderson Author Of Oracle

From my list on Delphi and its oracle.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a crime writer and my latest novel is set in Delphi, Greece at the Temple of Apollo: it interweaves a modern murder mystery with perennial themes like justice, retribution and law so the cradle of law and democracy was an ideal setting, especially Delphi, which the Greeks believed to be the centre of the world. I visited there at the turn of the millennium and it has always stayed with me. Since childhood, I have been fascinated, like many, with the stories of ancient Greece, its gods, myths, and legends, and the genesis of so many of the ideas which underpin western society and thought. I've taught Classics in the past, but these books will give the reader joy as well as improving their knowledge.

Julie's book list on Delphi and its oracle

Julie Anderson Why did Julie love this book?

This one's a bit of a cheat, but fun. It's one of the hugely successful Marcus Didius Falco series by Lindsay Davis, set in Flavian Rome (first century), in which she recounts the adventures of the disreputable private investigator Falco as he walks the mean streets of Rome in search of truth, a denarius or two and a loose woman (though not in this book, he's well and truly hitched by then). Raymond Chandler meets Robert Graves. The first in the series The Silver Pigs won the Author's Club First Novel Award in 1989 and it's easy to see why. It spawned twenty more. Delphi is the seventeenth and our heroes only get to the shrine in Part Four. Their passage up the Sacred Way, as they try to rid themselves of a limpet like freelance guide is one of the funniest descriptions I've read of arriving the Temple (and…

By Lindsey Davis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It's A.D. 76 during the reign of Vespasian, and Marcus Didius Falco, a Roman "informer," has achieved much in his life. He's joined the equestrian rank, allowing him to marry Helena Justina, the Senator's beloved daughter. But now he's just been hired to undergo a dangerous mission: to pry his brother-in-law Aulus, a scholar on the way to study in Athens, away from a murder investigation involving two dead women at the ancient site of the Olympic Games. Traveling to Greece under the guise of being tourists, Falco and Helena visit the country's classic sites in order to investigate the…


Book cover of Oresteia

Fiona McHardy Author Of Revenge and Gender in Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance Literature

From my list on women and revenge in Greek tragedy.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for Greek literature began as a child when I was captivated by Greek myths and epic tales. As a student, I became fascinated with tragic revenge plots involving women, especially mothers who kill their children, and since then, I have published extensively on gender and violence in ancient Greek literature and life. I speak modern Greek and love thinking about these topics in traditional Greek folk poetry and literature as well, especially works like Alexandros Papadiamantis’ The Murderess and Pantelis Prevelakis’ The Sun of Death.

Fiona's book list on women and revenge in Greek tragedy

Fiona McHardy Why did Fiona love this book?

My journey to specialising in gender and revenge in ancient Athens began when I read this trilogy of tragedies by Aeschylus in the original ancient Greek. These plays captivated me because of their stunningly powerful and breathtakingly beautiful use of imagery and language.

The characters are equally striking, especially the clever and determined queen Clytemnestra, a ruthless and duplicitous killer who murders her husband in the bath. In turn, her son Orestes is faced with the dreadful prospect of killing his own mother to avenge the death of his father. Performing matricide brings forth the terrifying Erinyes, goddesses of vengeance, who demand that Orestes pay the price.

The powerful female characters and the dilemmas of the revenge plot are what make this trilogy one I return to time and time again.

By Aeschylus, Christopher Collard (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Agamemnon *Libation Bearers *Eumenides Aeschylus' Oresteia is the only trilogy to survive from Greek tragedy, and the religious and moral ideas it enacts afterwards influenced a great dramatic genre, as well as giving its three plays their lasting significance. In this family history, Fate and the gods decree that each generation will repeat the crimes and endure the suffering of their forebears. When Agamemnon is murdered by his wife, Clytemnestra, their son Orestes must avenge his father's death. Only Orestes' appeal to the goddess Athena saves him from his mother's Furies, breaking the bloody chain; together gods and humans inaugurate…


Book cover of Delphi: A History of the Center of the Ancient World

Julie Anderson Author Of Oracle

From my list on Delphi and its oracle.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a crime writer and my latest novel is set in Delphi, Greece at the Temple of Apollo: it interweaves a modern murder mystery with perennial themes like justice, retribution and law so the cradle of law and democracy was an ideal setting, especially Delphi, which the Greeks believed to be the centre of the world. I visited there at the turn of the millennium and it has always stayed with me. Since childhood, I have been fascinated, like many, with the stories of ancient Greece, its gods, myths, and legends, and the genesis of so many of the ideas which underpin western society and thought. I've taught Classics in the past, but these books will give the reader joy as well as improving their knowledge.

Julie's book list on Delphi and its oracle

Julie Anderson Why did Julie love this book?

Scott is an associate professor of classics and ancient history at the University of Warwick and his erudition shines through this comprehensive study of Delphi and, at its heart, the Oracle and Temple of Apollo. Yet this is never a dull, academic book, Scott's obvious love for the place and its history prevents that, as he chronicles the wars and disputes, the judgements and prophesies, as well as how the Oracle, the female Pythia, was set at the very centre of the ancient world. He evokes the place brilliantly, with its spectacular setting, and brings the history up to date with the rediscovery of the ancient site and its re-emergence from the mountainside. It was inestimably useful to me when I wrote Oracle, but it also reinforced my desire to return to what is a very special place.

By Michael Scott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The oracle and sanctuary of the Greek god Apollo at Delphi were known as the "omphalos"--the "center" or "navel"--of the ancient world for more than 1000 years. Individuals, city leaders, and kings came from all over the Mediterranean and beyond to consult Delphi's oracular priestess; to set up monuments to the gods; and to take part in competitions. In this richly illustrated account, Michael Scott covers the history and nature of Delphi, from the literary and archaeological evidence surrounding the site, to its rise as a center of worship, to the constant appeal of the oracle despite her cryptic prophecies.…


Book cover of The Bacchae and Other Plays

Julie Anderson Author Of Oracle

From my list on Delphi and its oracle.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a crime writer and my latest novel is set in Delphi, Greece at the Temple of Apollo: it interweaves a modern murder mystery with perennial themes like justice, retribution and law so the cradle of law and democracy was an ideal setting, especially Delphi, which the Greeks believed to be the centre of the world. I visited there at the turn of the millennium and it has always stayed with me. Since childhood, I have been fascinated, like many, with the stories of ancient Greece, its gods, myths, and legends, and the genesis of so many of the ideas which underpin western society and thought. I've taught Classics in the past, but these books will give the reader joy as well as improving their knowledge.

Julie's book list on Delphi and its oracle

Julie Anderson Why did Julie love this book?

Euripides is the Greek tragedian who, in my humble opinion, appeals most to the modern sensibility. Even in his own time (5th century Athens, BCE) he was regarded as an innovator who questioned the certainties of previous ages. The Bacchae is probably his greatest play, but Ion is the play set in Delphi. It includes the oracle (the Priestess of Apollo), as well as Apollo and Athena, as characters and, in it, the playwright begins to question the legitimacy of the gods themselves. Ion is the result of a divine rape, taken from his mortal mother at birth. The son of Apollo, he believes his parents abandoned him and works as a dogs-body and general helper in Apollo's Temple in Delphi. Then his mother and her husband, childless, arrive for a consultation...

By Euripides, Philip Vellacott (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The plays of Euripides have stimulated audiences since the fifth century BC. This volume, containing Phoenician Women, Bacchae, Iphigenia at Aulis, Orestes, and Rhesuscompletes the new editions of Euripides in Penguin Classics.


Book cover of The Mask of Apollo

Edoardo Albert Author Of Edwin

From my list on overlooked or largely forgotten historical fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer and historian, specialising in the early-Medieval period and the fractious but fruitful encounter between the Christian and Islamic worlds. My fiction is informed by my non-fiction work: it’s a great help to have written actual histories of Northumbria in collaboration with some of the foremost archaeologists working on the period. I regard my work as the imaginative application of what we can learn through history to stories and the books I have selected all do this through the extraordinarily varied talents of their authors. I hope you will enjoy them!

Edoardo's book list on overlooked or largely forgotten historical fiction

Edoardo Albert Why did Edoardo love this book?

The final sentence of The Mask of Apollo has haunted me for decades since I first read the book in my teens. When I read it again, many years later, I discovered that the story is as moving as I remembered. Renault weaves a fascinating re-creation of classical Greek theatre with Plato’s attempt to tutor a true philosopher king in the kingdom of Syracuse. But it’s the final chapter, after Plato’s death, that raises the book to the level of tragedy. For then we meet the young Alexander, already almost god-like in his charisma, a fire seeking fuel for its burning. Alexander burns through the world seeking it, but what he is looking for in the world has already left it: a broken Plato has already died.

By Mary Renault,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Mask of Apollo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Set in fourth-century B.C. Greece, The Mask of Apollo is narrated by Nikeratos, a tragic actor who takes with him on all his travels a gold mask of Apollo, a relic of the theatre's golden age, which is now past. At first his mascot, the mask gradually becomes his conscience, and he refers to it his gravest decisions, when he finds himself at the centre of a political crisis in which the philosopher Plato is also involved. Much of the action is set in Syracuse, where Plato's friend Dion is trying to persuade the young tyrant Dionysios the Younger to…


Book cover of Guide to Greece: Volume 1

Tony Spawforth Author Of What the Greeks Did for Us

From my list on travel in Greece, ancient and modern.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became passionate about ancient Greece as a teenager when I studied the ancient languages and history at school. I was also lapping up ancient Greece on film—back then the so-so Burton-Taylor Cleopatra really impressed. I got enthused by historical novels too, Mary Renault’s especially. My first visit to Greece as a university student hooked me on modern Greece as well. Since then, I’ve become a professional academic specialising in ancient Greece and have been lucky enough to develop a lifelong relationship with modern as well as ancient Greeks. I lived in Greece for six years in my twenties, and have gone back repeatedly ever since. I’ve published widely on Greece’s ancient history and archaeology.

Tony's book list on travel in Greece, ancient and modern

Tony Spawforth Why did Tony love this book?

This is the daddy of travel books about Greece, penned by a Greek from western Turkey who toured the sights during the pax Romana (2nd century AD).

Catching ancient Greece before it fell into ruin, he enthusiastically wrote up the buildings and artworks and the local history of places both famous and obscure. My own copy, decidedly battered, has been a companion of my academic career since my twenties.

You can still follow Pausanias on certain archaeological sites, like Delphi or Olympia. On others it’s fascinating, after visiting them, to turn to this ancient guide to read how he described the same places when they were intact.

Peter Levi’s translation is highly readable and well equipped, but not overladen, with footnotes.  

By Pausanias, Peter Levi (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Guide to Greece as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written in the second century AD by a Greek traveller for a predominantly Roman audience, Pausanias' Guide to Greece is an extraordinarily literate and well-informed guidebook. A study of buildings, traditions and myth, it describes with precision and eloquence the glory of classical Greece shortly before its ultimate decline in the third century. This volume, the first of two, concerns the five provinces of central Greece, with an account of cities including Athens, Corinth and Thebes and a compelling depiction of the Oracle at Delphi. Along the way, Pausanias recounts Greek legends that are unknown from any other source and…


Book cover of The Moon-Spinners

Pauline Baird Jones Author Of Relatively Risky

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

Why am I passionate about this?

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

Pauline Baird Jones 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…


Book cover of Wolf Girl

Jennifer Snyder Author Of Marked

From my list on YA with werewolves.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been an avid reader since I was a kid. Werewolf books have always called to me, and so has the moon—but that’s another story. Ha! In all honestly, I love the sense of loyalty and family that comes with werewolves and their packs. Family means a lot to me, and that bleeds over into the type of stories I write. I’ve been an Indie Author for over 10 years now with 50+ books under my belt. I have a passion for writing about shifters of all types (including werewolves), small towns, and romance. 

Jennifer's book list on YA with werewolves

Jennifer Snyder Why did Jennifer love this book?

Wolf Girl reminded me of a Werewolf Bachelor. One guy. Lots of women. All of them werewolves. This story was unique and unlike anything I’d ever read before. I loved Demi’s sassiness and Sawyer was definitely swoony. I’m warning you beforehand though, it does have a hellacious cliffhanger.

By Leia Stone,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When my parents were banished from Wolf City before I was born, I thought there was no way I would ever live in a pack again. Cuffed, with my shifter magic bound, I was forced to go to school with witches in order to keep my true nature from coming out.

Then I met him.

Sawyer Hudson.

The Alpha's son was visiting Delphi Witches' College and spotted me. He took one look at me, and an hour later, I was being pulled out of school, taken into Wolf City and leaving my parents and everything I knew behind.

It's the…