The best Richard III books

8 authors have picked their favorite books about Richard III of England and why they recommend each book.

Soon, you will be able to filter by genre, age group, and more. Sign up here to follow our story as we build a better way to explore books.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

Under the Hog

By Patrick Carleton,

Book cover of Under the Hog: A Novel of Richard III

Academic books too dry? Primary sources too intimidating? Find a copy of Under the Hog, a historical novel set in the War of the Roses in 15th century England that is perhaps the best historical novel ever — certainly the best written by a pseudonymous author! It gives a variety of close-up views of medieval combat, politics, and culture, and is a favorite among folks who think that king Richard III of England (yes, the evil hunchback of Shakespeare’s depiction) got a reputational raw deal from the Bard. 


Who am I?

I fell in love with medieval military history in high school, and have been studying and writing about it as an undergraduate at Harvard, as a graduate student at Oxford, and as a professor of history ever since, eventually bringing the comparative methods and urge to generalize of a world historian to the task. I’ve written ten books and numerous articles. Good history gives me the thrill of time travel without the risk of the bubonic plague, and it has spawned related interests in sword and sorcery fantasy lit and wargaming, alongside my interests in painting, cartooning, and cooking the food of my native New Orleans. My motto: Have fun!


I wrote...

War and Conflict in the Middle Ages: A Global Perspective.

By Stephen Morillo,

Book cover of War and Conflict in the Middle Ages: A Global Perspective.

What is my book about?

This book offers the first global history of armed conflict between 400 and 1500 (or 1800?), an age shaped by climate change and pandemics at both ends. Examining armed conflict at all levels, and ranging from China and the Central Asian steppes to western Europe and beyond, it explores the technological, social, and cultural determinants of warfare and the tools and tactics used by warriors on land and at sea.

Armed conflict played a central role in the making of the medieval world, and medieval people used war and conflict to create, expand, and defend their communities and identities. Broad in its scope and rich in detail, this is a go-to guide for students and aficionados of military history, medieval history, and global history.

Coming in August 2022

The Daughter of Time

By Josephine Tey,

Book cover of The Daughter of Time

In Josephine Tey’s classic novel, Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, recuperating from a broken leg, becomes fascinated with a contemporary portrait of Richard III. Grant determines to find out who Richard III really was and who killed the Princes in the Tower. Published in 1951, Tey’s novel is a page-turner of the highest order and has never been out of print. 


Who am I?

I am a British writer/producer with a 30-year interest in Richard III (1452-1485). A visit to Bosworth Field, the penultimate battle of the Wars of the Roses changed my life irrevocably. This haunting place captured my imagination and with it the story of the last Plantagenet monarch who died fighting in this small corner of Leicestershire for crown and country.


I wrote...

The Lost King: The Search for Richard III

By Philippa Langley, Michael Jones,

Book cover of The Lost King: The Search for Richard III

What is my book about?

Whilst researching Richard III for a biographical screenplay, in 2004 Philippa Langley visited the site of the Greyfriars precinct in Leicester. Here King Richard had been buried after Bosworth. Fifty years later, at the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the grave was lost and the king’s remains believed to have been thrown into a nearby river. 

Following an intuitive experience in a car park in the Greyfriars precinct, The Lost King tells the story of Langley’s years of research and belief that she would find the church and grave in this exact spot, as historian Michael Jones tells of Richard's 15th-century life and death. The Lost King is now a major motion picture starring Sally Hawkins and Steve Coogan. (Previously titled: The King’s Grave: The Search for Richard III)

Richard III

By Matthew Lewis,

Book cover of Richard III: Loyalty Binds Me

Matt Lewis is a brilliant historian and writer. This biography of Richard III is beautifully written. Matt takes us through Richard’s life from his time as a young boy to his death at Bosworth. Matt’s passion for this monarch is clear, and he makes a very strong case for why he believes the crown was stolen out from under him. Well done, Matt.


Who am I?

I have always been fascinated by the history of medicine, particularly the more macabre details. While researching my family lineage, I became especially interested in medieval medicine and the lives of English monarchs. I was honored to be asked to write a book on medicine in the middle ages, and I dove into the research head first. I have been lucky enough to write for several other publications, and I have self-published on Amazon. I enjoy writing historical fiction and my novel, Sleeping with the Impaler, was a book I truly enjoyed writing. I hope the books I recommended spark your interest as they will stay with me forever.


I wrote...

Medicine in the Middle Ages: Surviving the Times

By Juliana Cummings,

Book cover of Medicine in the Middle Ages: Surviving the Times

What is my book about?

Medicine in the Middle Ages is a fascinating walk through time to the beginnings of European medicine. Learn how the four humors were the concept that medicine revolved around and why bloodletting and purging were common treatments. Get firsthand accounts of the gruesome ordeal of childbirth and the devastation the Black Death had on the world’s population.

Medicine in the Middle Ages is not only a book rich with details of the practice of medicine, but it is a history book that comes alive.

Richard III

By Annette Carson,

Book cover of Richard III: The Maligned King

This is a compelling and comprehensive study of Richard III’s reign. Annette Carson examines the events as they actually happened, based on the evidence of the original sources. In place of assumptions so beloved of traditional historians, she instead dissects motives and actions in light of the historical facts. Carson dares to investigate areas where historians fear to tread, raising many controversial questions and encouraging readers to think again.


Who am I?

I am a British writer/producer with a 30-year interest in Richard III (1452-1485). A visit to Bosworth Field, the penultimate battle of the Wars of the Roses changed my life irrevocably. This haunting place captured my imagination and with it the story of the last Plantagenet monarch who died fighting in this small corner of Leicestershire for crown and country.


I wrote...

The Lost King: The Search for Richard III

By Philippa Langley, Michael Jones,

Book cover of The Lost King: The Search for Richard III

What is my book about?

Whilst researching Richard III for a biographical screenplay, in 2004 Philippa Langley visited the site of the Greyfriars precinct in Leicester. Here King Richard had been buried after Bosworth. Fifty years later, at the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the grave was lost and the king’s remains believed to have been thrown into a nearby river. 

Following an intuitive experience in a car park in the Greyfriars precinct, The Lost King tells the story of Langley’s years of research and belief that she would find the church and grave in this exact spot, as historian Michael Jones tells of Richard's 15th-century life and death. The Lost King is now a major motion picture starring Sally Hawkins and Steve Coogan. (Previously titled: The King’s Grave: The Search for Richard III)

The Secret Queen

By John Ashdown-Hill,

Book cover of The Secret Queen: Eleanor Talbot, the Woman Who Put Richard III on the Throne

Following Edward IV’s death in 1483, his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was found to be bigamous and their children declared illegitimate. The crown then passed to Edward’s younger brother, Richard III, who was elected king. For centuries the story of Edward IV’s bigamy was believed to be a concoction. In this seminal work, John Ashdown-Hill brings to light the story of Eleanor Talbot, Edward IV’s legal wife. 


Who am I?

I am a British writer/producer with a 30-year interest in Richard III (1452-1485). A visit to Bosworth Field, the penultimate battle of the Wars of the Roses changed my life irrevocably. This haunting place captured my imagination and with it the story of the last Plantagenet monarch who died fighting in this small corner of Leicestershire for crown and country.


I wrote...

The Lost King: The Search for Richard III

By Philippa Langley, Michael Jones,

Book cover of The Lost King: The Search for Richard III

What is my book about?

Whilst researching Richard III for a biographical screenplay, in 2004 Philippa Langley visited the site of the Greyfriars precinct in Leicester. Here King Richard had been buried after Bosworth. Fifty years later, at the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the grave was lost and the king’s remains believed to have been thrown into a nearby river. 

Following an intuitive experience in a car park in the Greyfriars precinct, The Lost King tells the story of Langley’s years of research and belief that she would find the church and grave in this exact spot, as historian Michael Jones tells of Richard's 15th-century life and death. The Lost King is now a major motion picture starring Sally Hawkins and Steve Coogan. (Previously titled: The King’s Grave: The Search for Richard III)

Domenico Mancini

By D. Mancini, Annette Carson (translator),

Book cover of Domenico Mancini: De Occupatione Regni Anglie

Domenico Mancini was an Italian visitor to London in 1483 who witnessed Richard III’s rise from Protector to King, and wrote the only genuinely contemporary account. His short narrative, less than 7,000 words, is so important that it’s used and quoted by every commentator who has anything to say about Richard III. This translation renders Mancini up-to-date and accessible for today’s readers. 


Who am I?

I am a British writer/producer with a 30-year interest in Richard III (1452-1485). A visit to Bosworth Field, the penultimate battle of the Wars of the Roses changed my life irrevocably. This haunting place captured my imagination and with it the story of the last Plantagenet monarch who died fighting in this small corner of Leicestershire for crown and country.


I wrote...

The Lost King: The Search for Richard III

By Philippa Langley, Michael Jones,

Book cover of The Lost King: The Search for Richard III

What is my book about?

Whilst researching Richard III for a biographical screenplay, in 2004 Philippa Langley visited the site of the Greyfriars precinct in Leicester. Here King Richard had been buried after Bosworth. Fifty years later, at the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the grave was lost and the king’s remains believed to have been thrown into a nearby river. 

Following an intuitive experience in a car park in the Greyfriars precinct, The Lost King tells the story of Langley’s years of research and belief that she would find the church and grave in this exact spot, as historian Michael Jones tells of Richard's 15th-century life and death. The Lost King is now a major motion picture starring Sally Hawkins and Steve Coogan. (Previously titled: The King’s Grave: The Search for Richard III)

Richard III and the Princes in the Tower

By A.J. Pollard,

Book cover of Richard III and the Princes in the Tower

There are so many books about these two boys that one could be forgiven for not reading any of them. But, if you are going to read one make it this one. Pollard knows what he is talking about because he has a background of authoritative historical study second to none. What you’ll find in this book is as near as anyone is going to get to a balanced account. Forget all the dark myths and whitewashes of Richard III and just read this book.


Who am I?

I write historical fiction some of which is set during the Wars of the Roses - a period that has always fascinated me. My two series, Rebels and Brothers & the Craft of Kings span the whole topic. But underlying the fiction there is a wealth of knowledge because I have studied or taught about this period for the best part of fifty years. I have also produced in recent years over forty podcasts on the subject which have been very well received by listeners – including students currently wrestling with the sometimes labyrinthine complexities of the topic. 


I wrote...

Feud

By Derek Birks,

Book cover of Feud

What is my book about?

As the Wars of the Roses begin, the rule of law breaks down... In 1459 open war breaks out between the Houses of York and Lancaster and a desperate struggle for the crown of England begins. Yet, while the fire of civil war burns, an old local score is being settled in the heart of Yorkshire.

Young and untried knight, Ned Elder, finds himself at the centre of a bitter feud when his father is executed, his brother butchered and his sisters abducted. Ned barely escapes with his life and is pursued across the land with only a few loyal companions. Determined to find his sisters, recover his lands and put an end to the feud, Ned is forced to take sides in the civil war. He soon gains a formidable reputation in the Yorkist army of young Edward, Earl of March, but the path he must follow is brutal for his enemies are relentless and will show no mercy.

Fortune Like the Moon (Hawkenlye Mysteries)

By Alys Clare,

Book cover of Fortune Like the Moon (Hawkenlye Mysteries)

Because my character Janna seeks refuge in an abbey while on her quest to find her father, I found it interesting and instructive to read about Abbess Helewise and life at Hawkenlye Abbey in more detail. I also enjoyed trying to second-guess whodunit as the Abbess and her helpmate, lord of the manor, Josse d’Acquin, solve the many crimes that come their way. And I was intrigued by the supernatural elements introduced by Alys Clare, with the abbey being situated so close to the ancient forest in the Great Weald, and how the two worlds often intertwine. 


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.


I wrote...

Blood Oath: The Janna Chronicles 1

By Felicity Pulman,

Book cover of Blood Oath: The Janna Chronicles 1

What is my book about?

A young woman, alone and on the run in a medieval kingdom at war, goes in search of her unknown father, hoping to avenge her mother’s murder with his help. In this six-book series, Janna follows the clues as she flees from forest to farm, to abbey, Stonehenge, and, finally, to the royal court at Winchester.  Along her journey she solves many crimes and mysteries, including the secrets of her birth, and of her heart. Torn between love and duty, Janna is forced to take sides in the bitter fight for the crown between King Stephen and Empress Matilda: a decision that could keep her safe – but break her heart. 

Henry - Book Three of the Tudor Trilogy

By Tony Riches,

Book cover of Henry - Book Three of the Tudor Trilogy

Henry VII holds a special place in my heart, and I was hooked on Tony’s book immediately. It was so refreshing to read a historical novel on my favorite monarch. Tony truly brought Henry to life. Henry’s love not only for country but for his beloved wife was so beautifully described. I intend to read the rest of the trilogy!


Who am I?

I have always been fascinated by the history of medicine, particularly the more macabre details. While researching my family lineage, I became especially interested in medieval medicine and the lives of English monarchs. I was honored to be asked to write a book on medicine in the middle ages, and I dove into the research head first. I have been lucky enough to write for several other publications, and I have self-published on Amazon. I enjoy writing historical fiction and my novel, Sleeping with the Impaler, was a book I truly enjoyed writing. I hope the books I recommended spark your interest as they will stay with me forever.


I wrote...

Medicine in the Middle Ages: Surviving the Times

By Juliana Cummings,

Book cover of Medicine in the Middle Ages: Surviving the Times

What is my book about?

Medicine in the Middle Ages is a fascinating walk through time to the beginnings of European medicine. Learn how the four humors were the concept that medicine revolved around and why bloodletting and purging were common treatments. Get firsthand accounts of the gruesome ordeal of childbirth and the devastation the Black Death had on the world’s population.

Medicine in the Middle Ages is not only a book rich with details of the practice of medicine, but it is a history book that comes alive.

The Sunne in Splendour

By Sharon Kay Penman,

Book cover of The Sunne in Splendour

Much like Tey’s book, the author raises questions about Richard Plantagenet and whether he was the much-maligned monster of Shakespearean imagining. I love SKP’s books as they draw you into the narrative and keep you entertained for hundreds of pages. 

I started reading every novel of Penman’s I could get my hands on when I was in my PhD. Reading had become a chore – something I did for my research. I had forgotten how to read for fun. My roommate in grad school had been a librarian and reminded me that books weren’t just something you “mine” for information. I am grateful she introduced me to Sharon Kay Penman’s works. 

Both Tey and Penman’s books were published decades before the discovery of Richard III’s body under a Leicester car park in 2012. A detailed autopsy did answer some of our questions about whether he had a misshapen body portrayed…


Who am I?

I'm a History professor at a Canadian university. My research focuses on long-dead English sailors. I’m interested in how they “navigated” the challenges of their lives ashore and afloat. I’ve written a number of books and articles. My first book, Tides in the Affairs of Men: The Social History of Elizabethan Seamen, 1580-1603, examines the lives of seafarers during a period of intense maritime activity. If you want to “meet” those in the maritime community, this is the book for you. Since its publication, I’ve followed many of those sailors from the Elizabethan period into the early seventeenth century. I’m writing a book on diet, disease and disorder in the East India Company.


I wrote...

Tides in the Affairs of Men: The Social History of Elizabethan Seamen, 1580-1603

By Cheryl Fury,

Book cover of Tides in the Affairs of Men: The Social History of Elizabethan Seamen, 1580-1603

What is my book about?

The age of maritime expansion and the Anglo-Spanish War have been analyzed by generations of historians, but nearly all studies have emphasized events and participants at the top. This book examines the lives and experiences of the men of the Elizabethan maritime community during a particularly volatile period of maritime history. The seafaring community had to contend with simultaneous pressures from many different directions. Shipowners and merchants, motivated by profit, hired seamen to sail voyages of ever-increasing distances, which taxed the health and capabilities of 16th-century crews and vessels. International tensions in the last two decades of Elizabeth's reign magnified the risks to all seamen, whether in civilian employment or on warships.

Or, view all 11 books about Richard III of England

New book lists related to Richard III of England

All book lists related to Richard III of England

Bookshelves related to Richard III of England