The most recommended books about Edward III of England

Who picked these books? Meet our 29 experts.

29 authors created a book list connected to Edward III of England, and here are their favorite Edward III of England books.
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Book cover of The Archer's Tale

J. K. Swift Author Of Acre

From my list on with realistic fight scenes.

Who am I?

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?

Bernard Cornwell’s fight scenes are what I would call emotional rather than technical. You feel his fights, the vibration of sword against shield, the panic of your feet slipping in the mud, the fear rising up in your guts that will allow only a half-crazed scream to come out of your mouth. If you’re looking for a manual on sword fighting, Cornwell is not your man. But if you want to be put in a character’s armor while someone is trying to skewer him with a spear, no one does it better. I was drawn to this book because it was about an archer, and I know how hard it is to write fight scenes with archers in them. I am an amateur bowyer and having made more than a few bows I know how much skill it takes to make and use these weapons. Cornwell did a lot of…

By Bernard Cornwell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Archer's Tale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Harlequins are lost souls, so loved by the devil that he would not take them to hell, but left them to roam the earth. In French the word is hellequin - the name given to the English archers who crossed the Channel to lay a country to waste.

Thomas of Hookton is one of those archers. When his village is sacked by French raiders, he makes a promise to God: to retrieve the relic stolen from Hookton's church. Escaping his father's ambitions, he becomes a wild youth who delights in the life of an army on the warpath.

Driven by…


Book cover of The Queen and the Mistress: The Women of Edward III

Sharon Bennett Connolly Author Of King John's Right Hand Lady: The Story of Nicholaa de la Haye

From Sharon's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Historian Historian of women’s history Medievalist Fellow of the Royal Historical Society Yorkshire lass

Sharon's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Sharon Bennett Connolly Why did Sharon love this book?

As a non-fiction author, I also read a lot of non-fiction, and cannot write a Best Books of 2023 without including my favourite non-fiction book of the last few years. 

So much detail! The Queen and the Mistress is illuminating. A truly remarkable dual biography of the two very different women who held Edward III's affections; his queen, Philippa of Hainault and his mistress, Alice Perrers. Gemma Hollman delves deep into the lives of both to paint vivid portraits of these amazing women.

The beauty of this book is not just in the incredible story but in the depths of research and attention to detail that shines a light into the darkest corners of the lives of these two fascinating women: the consummate queen and the savvy businesswoman.

Gemma Hollman challenges much of the misinformation and misconceptions which have surrounded both women for centuries; she draws the veil from across…

By Gemma Hollman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The riveting story of two women whose divergent personalities and positions impacted the court of Edward III, one of medieval England's greatest kings.

There were two women in Edward III's life: Philippa of Hainault, his wife of forty years and bearer of twelve children, and his mistress, Alice Perrers, the twenty-year-old who took the king's fancy as his ageing wife grew sick. After Philippa's death Alice began to dominate court, amassing a fortune and persuading the elderly Edward to promote her friends and punish her enemies.

In The Queen and the Mistress, Gemma Hollman brings the story of these two…


Book cover of Katherine

Linda O'Byrne Author Of Cassandra

From my list on fiction that doesn’t want to teach you history.

Who am I?

I write romantic historical fiction and am a lifelong lover of the works of Jane Austen. I am English, love historical novels but dislike books that give you “great lumps of facts” that slow up the storyline. I like stories and characters that capture your attention and your heart. Plots and backgrounds that make you think about what it might really have been like to live in those times.

Linda's book list on fiction that doesn’t want to teach you history

Linda O'Byrne Why did Linda love this book?

A glimpse into medieval times. It’s a sumptuous tale of passion and danger.

Katherine comes to the court of Edward III aged fifteen and turns the head of the King’s favourite son, John of Gaunt.  But their paths in life pull them apart until their love forces them back together. This is a wonderful book by a writer who manages to make you experience life as it was then, but without trying to teach you, and asks, ‘how much would you give up for love?’

By Anya Seton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Exhilarating, exuberant, and rich," Katherine is an epic novel of a love affair that changed history—that of Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, the ancestors of most of the British royal family (Austin Chronicle).

Set in the vibrant fourteenth century of Chaucer and the Black Death, the story features knights fighting in battle, serfs struggling in poverty, and the magnificent Plantagenets—Edward III, the Black Prince, and Richard II—who rule despotically over a court rotten with intrigue. Within this era of danger and romance, John of Gaunt, the king’s son, falls passionately in love with the already-married Katherine.…


Book cover of The Bookseller's Tale

Toni Mount Author Of The Colour of Bone

From my list on murder mysteries to challenge your brain cells.

Who am I?

Many years ago, when I’d read my first medieval mystery, I decided I wanted to write my own. But mine would be as realistic as I could manage; I wanted the reader to smell medieval London and to be there with me. A lot had been written about Kings and Queens but not much about ordinary life so that became the center of my academic study leading eventually to my Master's Degree in medieval medicine. As well as my novels I now write popular factual books and I’m pleased to say people have taken the time to say how much they enjoy the fine details I share.

Toni's book list on murder mysteries to challenge your brain cells

Toni Mount Why did Toni love this book?

Again, we are in the fourteenth century, in Oxford, but following the first terrible onslaught of the Black Death. The title made this a must-read for me because my own sleuth, Seb Foxley, is involved with the making and selling of books, just like Ann Swinfen’s hero, Nicholas Elyot. I wasn’t disappointed.

The characters came alive for me and I too was sad when a good student was found drowned in the river. But the bookseller is suspicious and uncovers a villainous plot, putting him, his family and friends in danger.

A beautifully-woven medieval mystery; I had to read it in one go – forget the washing up. Fortunately, this is book 1 of the Oxford Medieval Mysteries so there’s more fun to come.

By Ann Swinfen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bookseller's Tale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Oxford, Spring 1353. When young bookseller Nicholas Elyot discovers the body of student William Farringdon floating in the river Cherwell, it looks like a drowning. Soon, however, Nicholas finds evidence of murder. Who could have wanted to kill this promising student? As Nicholas and his scholar friend Jordain try to unravel what lies behind William’s death, they learn that he was innocently caught up in a criminal plot. When their investigations begin to involve town, university, and abbey, Nicholas takes a risky gamble – and puts his family in terrible danger.


Book cover of The Three Edwards

Mary Ellen Johnson Author Of The Lion and the Leopard

From my list on why the 14th century mirrors our ideals.

Who am I?

In junior high, I happened across a picture of an armor-plated knight being raised by a winch to sit astride his destrier. What a ridiculous time period, I thought. After raiding every related book in the school library,  I changed my opinion from “ridiculous” to “fascinating.” Particularly when deciding that periods such as the fourteenth century, with its plagues, wars, political upheavals, and climate change were pretty much a distorted mirror of our own. Throughout my life as wife, mother, novelist, and social justice advocate, I’ve held medieval England close to my heart. I remain forever grateful I’ve been able to explore it both in my writing and in several treks across the pond.  

Mary's book list on why the 14th century mirrors our ideals

Mary Ellen Johnson Why did Mary love this book?

Thomas Costain’s series introduced me to a fascinating world of castles and cathedrals, of tournaments where mounted knights broke lances on behalf of their ladies, where courtly love and chivalry ruled the day. (In theory. Seldom in practice.) How strange, my preteen self thought. How enchanting! I was particularly fascinated by The Three Edwards, which recounts the reign of one of England’s worst kings sandwiched between two of its greatest. With the eye of a natural storyteller, Costain intersperses tales of wars, rebellions, and political machinations with myths such as Arthur and Guinevere’s tombs being “discovered” in Glastonbury and the possible origins of Robin Hood. While there are newer series mining the same period, Costain’s research remains relatively solid, and his prose retains its powerful simplicity.  

By Thomas B. Costain,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE THREE EDWARDS covers the years between 1272 and 1377 when three Edwards ruled England. Edward I brought England out of the Middle Ages. Edward II had a tragic reign but gave his country Edward III, who ruled gloriously, if violently.
"A thrilling narrative... history told with all the interest found only in a great novel." (Salt Lake City Tribune)


Book cover of The Irish Parliament In The Middle Ages

Coleman A. Dennehy Author Of The Irish Parliament, 1613–89: The evolution of a colonial institution

From my list on how parliaments worked.

Who am I?

I am a historian of early modern law and parliaments in Ireland and Britain, having written several books and articles on the topic, and am also a criminologist. I have had an interest in the history of parliaments for many years, in particular the manner in how they operate, how they were staffed, and how they worked (or in some cases didn’t work). Although political histories are interesting and sometimes important, parliamentary political history does not interest me as much. I love the practical application of how institutions operated and what they can tell us that conventional histories of political development and parliamentary politics can not.   

Coleman's book list on how parliaments worked

Coleman A. Dennehy Why did Coleman love this book?

Although it sometimes changes, if I were forced to choose, this is probably my most favourite history book. Even though it is now seventy years old, it still reads remarkably up-to-date. Like many of the other books on this list, it eschews the political history of parliament in order to focus on the institutional and developmental history of the medieval Irish assembly. Whilst a book with chapters on medieval taxation and the feudal state might not seem to many as being as fascinating, the passion and drive that is clearly evident in the authors is something that immediately infects the reader. The argument is jumping off the page and slapping you across the face. More than proficient in English medieval history too, they are somewhat of a rarity in written history of the islands in that they seamlessly slide from one to the other. The fact that it was a…

By H. G. Richardson, G. O. Sayles,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Irish Parliament In The Middle Ages as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Based largely on manuscript material, this comprehensive account of the Irish Parliament in the Middle Ages shows that early Irish parliaments cannot be identified either in form or function with their modern namesake and, consequently, demonstrates that the concept of governmental democracy had a much slower, more gradual development than historians have heretofore believed.
The history of the Irish Parliaments proper begins with that held at Castledermot in mid-June 1264. During the reign of Edward II and the early years of Edward III significant changes took place-changes, the authors, point out, similar to those taking place in the development of…


Book cover of A Plague on Both Your Houses

Felicity Pulman Author Of Blood Oath

From my list on medieval murders and mysteries.

Who am I?

After enjoying Josephine Tey’s wonderful Daughter of Time, in which she exonerates Richard III from the crime of murdering the princes in the tower, followed by the Brother Cadfael mysteries, I became hooked on historical crimes and decided to try writing them myself! It was quite a challenge researching both the history and the settings from Australia, but the novels became a wonderful excuse for lengthy visits to travel around Great Britain and France. As well as writing the Janna Chronicles, my passion for history has also prompted several other published novels and series, including the Shalott trilogy.

Felicity's book list on medieval murders and mysteries

Felicity Pulman Why did Felicity love this book?

Set in Cambridge in the 14th century, Matthew Bartholomew is a doctor trying to instill knowledge into his students while surviving the rigours of life in an under-funded college, and the censure of fellow physicians who still believe in astrological charts, and who dismiss Matthew’s new-fangled notions of cleanliness. Although keen to focus on his students and his studies, Matthew invariably becomes involved in the town vs gown troubles, along with murders and mysteries when his help is invoked by the Proctor, Brother Michael. Great reads about life in a university town along with medieval medical practice.

By Susanna Gregory,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Plague on Both Your Houses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For the twentieth anniversary of the Matthew Bartholomew series, Sphere is delighted to reissue the first three books with beautiful new series-style covers. Matthew Bartholomew, unorthodox but effective physician to Michaelhouse college in medieval Cambridge, is as worried as anyone about the pestilence that is ravaging Europe and seems to be approaching England. But he is distracted by the sudden and inexplicable death of the Master of Michaelhouse - a death the University authorities do not want investigated. But Matt is determined to get to the truth, leading him into a tangle of lies and intrigue that cause him to…


Book cover of War, Politics and Finance in Late Medieval English Towns: Bristol, York and the Crown, 1350-1400

Candace Robb Author Of The Riverwoman's Dragon

From my list on medieval York.

Who am I?

I have been writing the Owen Archer mysteries, set in and around the city of York in the late 14th century, for 30 years, ever since falling in love with the city of York on a visit. As I studied medieval literature and culture in graduate school, with a special interest in Chaucer, I’ve focused my research on the period in which he lived. I’ve spent months walking the streets of the city, hiking through the countryside, and meeting with local historians. Besides the 13 Owen Archer mysteries I’ve also published 3 Kate Clifford mysteries covering Richard II’s downfall, both series grounded in the politics and culture of medieval York and Yorkshire. 

Candace's book list on medieval York

Candace Robb Why did Candace love this book?

Why would this 50 year period be so interesting in these two cities? In these years Bristol and York were second only to London in influence and growth within the realm, and as the rising merchant class accrued wealth they used it to make agreements with the crown—to their advantage, of course. With King Edward III it was all about his war with France; with his grandson and successor King Richard II it was about gaining charters that made them more independent of royal interference as well as negotiating their way between the political factions within the nobility.

Richard’s reign was a dangerous time, especially at the end when York merchants chose to loan money to Henry Bolingbroke’s uprising against his cousin the king.  The stakes were high and the personalities larger than life.

By Christian D. Liddy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked War, Politics and Finance in Late Medieval English Towns as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The strengthening of ties between crown and locality in the fourteenth century is epitomised by the relationships between York and Bristol (then amongst the largest and wealthiest urban communities in England) and the crown. Thisbook combines a detailed study of the individuals who ruled Bristol and York at the time with a close analysis of the texts which illustrate the relationship between the two cities and the king, thus offering a new perspective onrelations between town and crown in late medieval England.
Beginning with an analysis of the various demands, financial, political and commercial, made upon the towns by the…


Book cover of The Stone Rose

Lee Swanson Author Of Her Dangerous Journey Home

From my list on medieval fiction with fierce female protagonists.

Who am I?

My first recollection of a fascination with medieval history occurred while watching Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood. I soon exhausted our school library’s limited selection of tales of kings and castles. Much later, a history degree and decades spent in Germany and England allowed me to delve deeply into historical research, gaining a specialized knowledge into the areas in which I was most interested. I am particularly fascinated with the lives of women, most of whom medieval chroniclers relegate to a brief mention as wives and mothers. There are clearly stories here yet to be told and I am always excited to learn of new scholarship.

Lee's book list on medieval fiction with fierce female protagonists

Lee Swanson Why did Lee love this book?

How can I write about fierce women of the Middle Ages and not include the woman referred to by the sobriquet She-Wolf of France?

Carol McGrath’s The Stone Rose presents the story of Queen Isabella’s strength and determination framed around her ill-fated marriage to King Edward II in a beautiful tapestry threaded with both painstakingly researched historical fact and masterfully imaginative fiction.

The author’s extensive knowledge of the time period is evidenced by the accuracy of detail that is interwoven into the narrative. Since Edward’s reign forms the backdrop for my series, my own interest is obvious; however, the tale of Isabella’s struggle to protect herself and those she loves in the face of rampant intrigue and treachery will appeal to all.

By Carol McGrath,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A real tour de force of gripping writing, rich historical detail and complex, fascinating characters. Superb!' NICOLA CORNICK on The Stone Rose
_________________

EARLY READERS ARE GRIPPED BY THE STONE ROSE!

* 'Springs to vivid life for the reader . . . A compulsive read' ANNE O'BRIEN

* 'An enticing and intriguing tale of a woman who is driven to desperate and ruthless lengths to protect those she loves' ALEXANDRA WALSH

* 'Carol McGrath really got into Isabella's head . . . Enlightening' SHARON BENNETT CONNOLLY

* 'Bold and compelling' JENNY BARDEN

* 'A novel that's a definite page-turner' LIZ…


Book cover of The Apothecary Rose

Rosie Lear Author Of A Quenchless Fire: The Second Sherborne Medieval Mystery

From my list on historical detectives exploring fact and fiction.

Who am I?

As a great reader from birth, I love books. I am a retired teacher of English literature and love history, particularly the medieval period, inspired by my love of Chaucer. I found my chosen authors entertaining, informative, and able to lead me into my happy place, unaware of my surroundings whilst reading. I read very fast, however, and none of them write fast enough for me so I started to write my own books. Words have the power to move, to excite, to console, to entertain. I hope anyone reading my chosen list will enjoy and may feel like exploring my own books.

Rosie's book list on historical detectives exploring fact and fiction

Rosie Lear Why did Rosie love this book?

Set in Medieval York I loved the detail of life in this book. The passion of Lucie Wilton, the apothecary’s wife is apparent and very real. Her anguish at his death and her guilt over her love for Owen Archer, her assistant incite pity and hunger in the reader. It taught me to try and include small details in my own writing and to make my characters come alive as Candace Robb does. I was truly hungry for the next book...and the next...and the next!

Owen Archer became a real fictional hero of mine.

By Candace Robb,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This mystery in medieval England is “suspenseful, historically accurate, and blessed with a wonderful cast of characters . . . An absolute delight” (Charles de Lint, author of the Newford Series).
 
It is Christmastide, 1363, and two suspicious deaths in the infirmary of St. Mary’s Abbey catch the attention of the powerful John Thoresby, Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of York. One victim is a pilgrim, while the second is Thoresby’s ne’er-do-well ward, both apparently poisoned by a physic supplied by Master Apothecary Nicholas Wilton.
 
In the wake of these deaths, the archbishop dispatches one-eyed spy Owen Archer to…