The most recommended saga books

Who picked these books? Meet our 52 experts.

52 authors created a book list connected to sagas, and here are their favorite saga books.
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Book cover of White Gardenia

Soraya M. Lane Author Of Under a Sky of Memories

From my list on making you fall in love with WWII fiction.

Who am I?

I’ve read WWII fiction since I was a teenager, but it took me a long time to begin writing it! In fact, I started my career writing contemporary fiction, and it wasn’t until I went back to university and completed a Master's degree in Fine Arts (Creative Writing) that I was brave enough to write my first historical fiction novel. I genuinely love the genre, and as a writer I’m passionate about telling the largely untold tales of women from the war – ordinary women doing extraordinary things! I love nothing more than discovering something incredible women did during WWII, and then creating a story around that moment in time. 

Soraya's book list on making you fall in love with WWII fiction

Soraya M. Lane Why did Soraya love this book?

Much like my first pick, this is an incredible novel that has stayed with me for years. It’s another go-to recommendation for me if anyone asks what my all-time favorite WWII novels are. Alexandra is a Russian-born Australian author, and I’m a huge fan of her other books too. Once again, she creates characters that are impossible not to fall in love with, and she’s a natural storyteller who artfully blends historical detail with fiction. 

By Belinda Alexandra,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From internationally bestselling author Belinda Alexandra comes a sweeping, emotional journey that “depicts vividly the powerful lifelong bond between mothers and daughters” (Paullina Simons, author of The Bronze Horseman).

In a district of the city of Harbin, a haven for White Russian families since Russia’s Communist Revolution, Alina Kozlova must make a heartbreaking decision if her only child, Anya, is to survive the final days of World War II.

White Gardenia sweeps across cultures and continents, from the glamorous nightclubs of Shanghai to the austerity of Cold War Soviet Russia in the 1960s, from a desolate island in the Pacific…


Book cover of Cane River

John Paul Godges Author Of Oh, Beautiful: An American Family in the 20th Century

From my list on multigenerational family sagas.

Who am I?

Ever since I was a kid, as the grandson of Italian immigrant farmers and the son of a Polish-immigrant father, I wondered how my family fit into the American story. As I grew older, I learned that the American story could not be limited to a single race, a single religion, or even a single generation. Rather, the essence of any culture lies in the story that gets passed down from one generation to the next. That is where my passion lies: tapping into the essence of multiple cultures by tracing the multigenerational family wisdom that is often imparted quietly, humbly, and painfully, which makes it durable, meaningful, and indelible.

John's book list on multigenerational family sagas

John Paul Godges Why did John love this book?

A chronicle of four generations of women descended from Louisiana slaves. Grapples honestly with the turmoil within America’s Black community over issues of skin color.

This saga shows that while families can be longtime sources of anguish in our communities, they can also be long-term resources—and as I have experienced, sometimes the best and most sustainable resources—for challenging common assumptions about one another and growing beyond them.

By Lalita Tademy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestseller and Oprah's Book Club Pick-the unique and deeply moving saga of four generations of African-American women whose journey from slavery to freedom begins on a Creole plantation in Louisiana.

Beginning with her great-great-great-great grandmother, a slave owned by a Creole family, Lalita Tademy chronicles four generations of strong, determined black women as they battle injustice to unite their family and forge success on their own terms. They are women whose lives begin in slavery, who weather the Civil War, and who grapple with contradictions of emancipation, Jim Crow, and the pre-Civil Rights South. As she…


Book cover of The History of Bees

Chris Wimpress Author Of Weeks in Naviras

From my list on speculative fiction that blew my mind.

Who am I?

I was a political journalist in London for the BBC and HuffPost for many years, so thinking about our current politics, and where we are headed kind of fixates me! From the day I read 1984 as a twelve-year-old, I’ve been obsessed with how novels set in the near future or an alternate past can be intensely political, and instructive. I enjoy sci-fi, but it’s the extrapolation of our world into a similar yet different one that can tell us so much about our own society. 

Chris' book list on speculative fiction that blew my mind

Chris Wimpress Why did Chris love this book?

I’m personally fascinated by bees (there are a few of them that turn up in my own book), so a speculative novel where they play a starring role was always going to be a must-read for me. Lunde’s novel spans 150 years and reminds us that for all our ingenuity and invention, humans are nowhere near as smart as the natural world, and we mess about with it at our peril. For bee aficionados, there’s a great deal of knowledge in these pages. There’s also thoughtful, reasoned speculation about what the 21st Century will mean for China’s place in the world, and a seamless interweaving of narratives. It’s an often sad novel that reminds us that we’re not as powerful as we think we are. 

By Maja Lunde,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Imagine The Leftovers, but with honey” (Elle), and in the spirit of Station Eleven and Never Let Me Go, this “spectacular and deeply moving” (Lisa See, New York Times bestselling author) novel follows three generations of beekeepers from the past, present, and future, weaving a spellbinding story of their relationship to the bees—and to their children and one another—against the backdrop of an urgent, global crisis.

England, 1852. William is a biologist and seed merchant, who sets out to build a new type of beehive—one that will give both him and his children honor and fame.

United States, 2007. George…


Book cover of Roots: The Saga of an American Family

John Paul Godges Author Of Oh, Beautiful: An American Family in the 20th Century

From my list on multigenerational family sagas.

Who am I?

Ever since I was a kid, as the grandson of Italian immigrant farmers and the son of a Polish-immigrant father, I wondered how my family fit into the American story. As I grew older, I learned that the American story could not be limited to a single race, a single religion, or even a single generation. Rather, the essence of any culture lies in the story that gets passed down from one generation to the next. That is where my passion lies: tapping into the essence of multiple cultures by tracing the multigenerational family wisdom that is often imparted quietly, humbly, and painfully, which makes it durable, meaningful, and indelible.

John's book list on multigenerational family sagas

John Paul Godges Why did John love this book?

The gold standard of family sagas. A treasure trove of oral history, indomitable spirit, narrative genius, and breathtaking empathy even for those who might not deserve it. A spellbinding combination of scenery, history, dialogue, emotion, and suspense.

The chapter about the ocean crossing aboard the slave ship shook me physically yet held me firmly in place, for I knew I might never experience literature as muscular as this again.

By Alex Haley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Now a major BBC drama starring Forest Whitaker, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Laurence Fishburne

Tracing his ancestry through six generations - slaves and freedmen, farmers and blacksmiths, lawyers and architects - back to Africa, Alex Haley discovered a sixteen-year-old youth, Kunta Kinte. It was this young man, who had been torn from his homeland and in torment and anguish brought to the slave markets of the New World, who held the key to Haley's deep and distant past.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award


Book cover of A Ritual of Bone

Jamie Edmundson Author Of An Inheritance of Ash and Blood

From my list on dark characters, dark sorcery, or dark age history.

Who am I?

I published my first book in 2017 and I’m currently working on book number 11. In that time, I’ve got to know some great indie authors and read some great indie fantasy. These five titles are a selection. I could easily have done this exercise ten times over with different authors and titles. But if you’re looking to see what indie fantasy has to offer, or simply searching for your next engrossing read, I think these will do the trick.

Jamie's book list on dark characters, dark sorcery, or dark age history

Jamie Edmundson Why did Jamie love this book?

Another fantasy book inspired by dark-age Britain and the Viking world. But this one has zombies, a plague, and as much darkness as you can handle.

The creepy atmosphere was great. I also enjoyed the multiple points of view in this one, as individuals of all backgrounds slowly learn what is happening to their world. As I read, I wondered who would become heroes, and who would succumb.

By Lee C Conley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Only valour and steel can stand against the rising dead'

Arnar is a land of warriors, its people as stalwart as the stones themselves. In a land of dark forests and ancient hill forts, a forgotten evil is awoken by curious minds.
The Great Histories and the Sagas say nothing of this evil, long passed from the memory of even the studious scholars of the College. For centuries, the scholars of Arnar have kept these records and preserved the knowledge and great deeds of a proud people. The story of these peoples forever chronicled in the Sagas of the Great…


Book cover of The Book of Last Letters

Patricia McBride Author Of The Picture House Girls

From my list on WW2 saga books.

Who am I?

I have written one complete WW2 saga series, Lily Baker, and am currently writing a second series, The Library Girls. I am addicted to reading about the period and can lose hours and hours doing factual research as well. My mother was a Cockney, and I became immersed in her wartime stories, mostly about the fun she had but also about her many struggles. I love stories about strong women overcoming adversity, and during WW2, many showed the world how capable and resilient they were. I have a Master's Degree in Professional Writing and write occasional magazine articles.

Patricia's book list on WW2 saga books

Patricia McBride Why did Patricia love this book?

I love books that cover two time periods, and this one did not disappoint.

The WW2 story showed me the importance of ‘last letters’ soldiers wrote home in case they died in action. I found myself immersed not just in the character, Ellie, but the wartime background in which she worked.

It was an emotional read. The present-day half of the book is equally engaging, where we learn about Stephanie’s difficult childhood. Reading it, I was fully engaged in her struggles and rooting for her to succeed.

By Kerry Barrett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Heart-breaking but so uplifting - Kerry really is a hugely talented voice.' Nicola Cornick, author of The Forgotten Sister

Inspired by an incredible true story, this is an unforgettable novel about love, loss and one impossible choice...

London, 1940
When nurse Elsie offers to send a reassuring letter to the family of a patient, she has an idea. She begins a book of last letters: messages to be sent on to wounded soldiers' loved ones should the very worst come to pass, so that no one is left without a final goodbye.

But one message will change Elsie's life forever.…


Book cover of Unsheltered

Liz Faraim Author Of Pinned

From Liz's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Awkward introvert Author with a day job Nature lover

Liz's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Liz Faraim Why did Liz love this book?

Unpopular opinion, but I don’t normally enjoy Barbara Kingsolver’s writing. However, in a moment of being "between books" and needing something to read, I gave it a shot. I enjoyed this story for two reasons.

1) The present-day part of the story was an unvarnished picture of a family truly struggling to get by. Bills, a dilapidated house, a multigenerational living situation, and the overwhelm that comes with those things. It’s not often that fiction books address ‘real’ life.

2) I enjoyed the historical fiction side, which spoke about religious zealotry and resistance to scientific fact, with horrible consequences for those speaking the truth. This story was colorfully written with strong characters and a compelling plot.

By Barbara Kingsolver,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE NEW NOVEL FROM ORANGE PRIZE WINNER AND INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER BARBARA KINGSOLVER

2016 Vineland
Meet Willa Knox, a woman who stands braced against an upended world that seems to hold no mercy for her shattered life and family - or the crumbling house that contains her.

1871 Vineland
Thatcher Greenwood, the new science teacher, is a fervent advocate of the work of Charles Darwin, and he is keen to communicate his ideas to his students. But those in power in Thatcher's small town have no desire for a new world order. Thatcher and his teachings are not welcome.

Both Willa…


Book cover of Prince of Thieves

William J. Warner Author Of Gold Line to Lenox: An Odyssey of Crime, Love & Betrayal

From my list on cops in pursuit of the bad guys.

Who am I?

My passion is writing crime fiction and more. William J. Warner is my name. I am a retired FBI Agent who worked violent crime cases. I developed a wealth of experience interviewing seedy people around the globe. As such, I love writing their dialogue and incorporating it with those of good intentions. I’ve written seven books. My degrees are in business, forensic psychology, and law. My novels include Holdup Number Six, Appalachian Impasse, Gold Line to Lenox, Going Knee to Knee with FBI Polygraph, Ohio Boys, Hoosier Fields, and Jewels In The Sand where I digressed into a love & war saga with a tear-jerking finish.

William's book list on cops in pursuit of the bad guys

William J. Warner Why did William love this book?

Having worked bank robberies as a former FBI Special Agent, I have a keen sense as to what makes these people tick. Most are quite ignorant, however, occasionally clever planning takes place by those as brazen as Hogan has portrayed here. A true masterpiece, Chuck Hogan does a splendid job bringing his characters to life in all the real-life depictions you will enjoy. This is a gut-wrenching roller coaster mixing crime with romantic infatuation to the point you can’t stop reading. I’ll admit, once the movie came out, I had to get the book and now it’s one of my all-time favorite crime thrillers.

By Chuck Hogan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the author of The Strain comes a tense, psychologically gripping, Hammet award-winning thriller.

Four masked men—thieves, rivals, and friends from the tough streets of Charlestown—take on a Boston bank at gunpoint. Holding bank manager Claire Keesey hostage and cleaning out the vault were simple. But career criminal Doug MacRay didn't plan on one thing: falling hard for Claire. When he tracks her down without his mask and gun, their mutual attraction is undeniable. With a tenacious FBI agent following his every move, he imagines a life away from his gritty, dangerous work—a life centered around Claire. But before that…


Book cover of The Saga of the Volsungs: With the Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok

Jackson Crawford Author Of The Wanderer's Havamal

From my list on Norse myths from direct sources.

Who am I?

Jackson Crawford, Ph.D., taught Norse mythology at multiple universities (including UCLA, Berkeley, and Colorado) for over a decade before becoming a full-time public educator on Old Norse myth and language via his translations and Youtube channel in 2020. He is passionate about presenting the authentic, undistorted medieval stories in clear, thrilling, modern English.

Jackson's book list on Norse myths from direct sources

Jackson Crawford Why did Jackson love this book?

The closest thing to a "novel" from medieval Scandinavia, The Saga of the Volsungs was written down in the 1200s in Iceland by an author who knew the poems about the Volsungs in the Poetic Edda, but also knew a vast wealth of additional poems about them that are otherwise lost to us. Rather than transmit the poems directly, this unknown author chose to attempt to put together a cohesive story of the sprawling generations of this family, beginning with the fathering of their first ancestor by the god Odin and continuing through all the events that lead Odin himself to engineer the death of its last generations. Here we have dwarves forging magic swords, dragon-slayers, Valkyries laboring under the weight of ill-considered oaths, and star-crossed lovers seeking bloody revenge. This volume also includes the medieval "fanfic" sequel, The Saga of Ragnar Lothbrók, written shortly after The Saga of the…

By Unknown, Jackson Crawford (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the translator of the bestselling Poetic Edda (Hackett, 2015) comes a gripping new rendering of two of the greatest sagas of Old Norse literature. Together the two sagas recount the story of seven generations of a single legendary heroic family and comprise our best source of traditional lore about its members-including, among others, the dragon-slayer Sigurd, Brynhild the Valkyrie, and the Viking chieftain Ragnar Lothbrok.


Book cover of The Same Country

Kalisha Buckhanon Author Of Running to Fall

From Kalisha's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Bookworm Cinephile

Kalisha's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Kalisha Buckhanon Why did Kalisha love this book?

The Same Country is a gripping story from beginning to end, through the eyes of so many vivid characters, at one of the most explosive times in America for race relations.

The main character Cassie is a white journalist returning home to see the Black Lives Movement play out before her very eyes. A mystery dictates the effects of it on her and all around her and transports back and forth to a past not different but silenced.

Carole Burns makes you feel as if these people from an American cross-section really know each other. Or maybe I, being from a similar American cross-section, just knew them well. I loved this novel.

By Carole Burns,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Same Country is a powerful and thought-provoking story about family, friendship and the risks we take to unravel the truth.

Twenty years ago, Joe was shot dead in the bedroom of his white girlfriend. It was deemed an accident, but now his friend Cassie – a journalist – is not so sure. As racial tension ignites a string of violence across their New England city, secrets are revealed, questions mount and suspicions grow. Will the answers that she is so desperate to find cause everyone's world to shatter?

‘Haunting’ Gene Seymour
‘Compelling’ Margot Livesey