10 books directly related to sieges 📚

All 10 siege books as recommended by authors and experts. Updated weekly.

The Singapore Grip

By J.G. Farrell,

Book cover of The Singapore Grip

Why this book?

I love how this novel veers between the comic (the preening self-importance of a British family that runs a trading company) and the tragic (death and mayhem as Japanese troops set Singapore on fire in 1942). Father cynically manipulates markets; daughter carries on with unsuitable men; approved suitor arrives from Europe to reveal himself as an idealist who spouts praise for the League of Nations. You’ll learn a thing or two about how colonial companies of the time built enormous wealth by squeezing it from impoverished plantation workers, and how the war turned everything upside down.

The Singapore Grip

By J.G. Farrell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NOW A MAJOR ITV DRAMA, THE SINGAPORE GRIP IS A MODERN CLASSIC FROM THE BOOKER-PRIZE WINNING J.G. FARRELL

'Brilliant, richly absurd, melancholy' Observer

'Enjoyable on many different levels' Sunday Times

'One of the most outstanding novelists of his generation' Spectator

Singapore, 1939: Walter Blackett, ruthless rubber merchant, is head of British Singapore's oldest and most powerful firm. And his family's prosperous world of tennis parties, cocktails and deferential servants seems unchanging. No one suspects it - but this world is poised on the edge of the abyss. This is the eve of the Fall of Singapore.

A love story and…


Book cover of Siege Warfare: The Fortress in the Early Modern World 1494-1660

Why this book?

Christopher Duffy is a great go-to author for books on early modern warfare, and this is one of his finest—and most important--contributions to the subject. The transformation of the European landscape from a place littered with castles to one dominated by angular, masonry bastions, is an epic all its own, and here it is in all its complex glory. What emerges is a nuanced, nicely illustrated narrative of one of the greatest arms races in military history: increasingly destructive weapons vs. the fortified structures built to thwart them. There is plenty of action in this book, as well, as Duffy spares nothing in the telling of siege warfare and its grisly idiosyncrasies.

Siege Warfare: The Fortress in the Early Modern World 1494-1660

By Christopher Duffy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hardback went out of print in 1989


Sharpe's Tiger

By Bernard Cornwell,

Book cover of Sharpe's Tiger

Why this book?

This prequel to the Sharpe series covers the eponymous hero’s adventures in India at the siege of Seringapatam before the Peninsular War. For me, Cornwell’s books are a perfect mix of history and breathless action. This one even features a cameo from Wellington. If only they’d let me read this in history at school, I might have stayed awake more often. Cornwell pays great attention to historical detail, and if he messes with it, he does it deliberately. There are sumptuous palaces, epic battle scenes, rockets exploding, and people getting eaten by tigers. There’s also the deliciously nasty Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill. What’s not to love? 

Sharpe's Tiger

By Bernard Cornwell,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Sharpe's Tiger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*The brand new novel, SHARPE'S ASSASSIN, is available to pre-order now*

Sharpe's Tiger is the brilliant beginning of Sharpe's adventures

India, 1799

The citadel of Seringapatam is under siege. Navigating this dangerous kingdom of bejewelled palaces and poverty, Private Richard Sharpe embarks on a rescue mission to save a senior officer from the clutches of the Tippoo of Mysore - and oust the Sultan from his throne.

The fortress of Mysore is considered impregnable, but one of the greatest threats comes from betrayal within the British ranks. And the man to outwit enemies from both sides is Sharpe . .…


Empires of Sand: A Novel

By David W. Ball,

Book cover of Empires of Sand: A Novel

Why this book?

Empires of Sand embodies the grandest tradition of historical fiction—an epic, intricate tale that sweeps from European chateaus to North African dunes. In the late nineteenth century, the French Empire stands on the precipice of collapse and attempts to colonize the Sahara. Cultures collide, the consequences deadly. Cousins Moussa and Paul are raised as brothers in Paris until harrowing events separate them, and they find themselves on opposing sides as battle lines are drawn. I read this novel at a measured pace, partly to absorb the nuances of every scene, partly because I did not want it to end. Empires of Sand captivated me to the point that I missed subway stops during my commute. I reread passages to ingrain them in my mind. David Ball’s mesmerizing, poetic prose serves as evidence that he truly views the world with wonder. The sands of the Sahara beckoned as the story unfolded—so much so, I visited Morocco soon after.

Empires of Sand: A Novel

By David W. Ball,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the mysteriously beautiful, richly hued landscape of the Saharan mountains to the sumptuous splendor of nineteenth-century Paris, Empires of Sand is a novel that takes us on an extraordinary, powerfully emotional journey In a clash between two civilizations, two men of common blood discover that in war, love, and even family, they are both destined to be outsiders....

The year is 1870. The proud Republic of France is crumbling under the onslaught of the Prussian army. Paris is under siege. Too young to understand the shifting fortunes of the empire, two boys forge a bond with their breathless adventures…

The Siege of Krishnapur

By J.G. Farrell,

Book cover of The Siege of Krishnapur

Why this book?

During my student days in the early 1970s, I travelled throughout North India by train and country bus, often staying in the countryside in former colonial rest houses from days of British rule in India. I tried to imagine what it was like for the British East India Company officials before 1857, and then for the British colonial officials who replaced the company officers after the Indian Sepoy Mutiny. The Siege of Krishnapur vividly recreates the 1857 mutiny from the perspective of British company officials and their families trapped by the local soldiers they had employed. 

Farrell used a diary and letters from those besieged in the real city of Lucknow to illustrate the horrors of hunger, impending rape, torture, and eventual death that many of the British faced. The scenes are graphic, and the portrayals of the relationships among those trapped have stayed with me for years. The novel received the Booker Prize in the U.K. and is considered one of the finest British novels of the twentieth century. To me, the novel helps me appreciate the drama of India, from its colonial days to the present.  

The Siege of Krishnapur

By J.G. Farrell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the Spring of 1857, with India on the brink of a violent and bloody mutiny, Krishnapur is a remote town on the vast North Indian plain. For the British there, life is orderly and genteel. Then the sepoys at the nearest military cantonment rise in revolt and the British community retreats with shock into the Residency. They prepare to fight for their lives with what weapons they can muster. As food and ammunition grow short, the Residency, its defences battered by shot and shell and eroded by the rains, becomes ever more vulnerable.

The Siege of Krishnapur is a…


Ninefox Gambit

By Yoon Ha Lee,

Book cover of Ninefox Gambit

Why this book?

Take a deep dive into a universe where calendars and math are key to power. Does it feel surreal and confusing at first? Yes, but that is all part of the new and innovative charm that does away with traditional military sci-fi and reinvents the genre. While the worldbuilding is amazing and mind-boggling, this is a novel driven by its characters. The cast is big and diverse, sporting main characters who are gay, bi and ace, transgender and nonbinary. If you long for a new take on sci-fi, morally ambiguous characters, and kick-ass queers, I recommend this book to you.

Ninefox Gambit

By Yoon Ha Lee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New York Times Best-Selling Author - Nominated for the 2019 Hugo Award for Best Series - Winner of the 2016 Locus Award - Nominated for the Hugo, Nebula and Arthur C. Clarke Awards

When Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for her unconventional tactics, Kel Command gives her a chance to redeem herself, by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles from the heretics. Cheris's career isn't the only thing at stake: if the fortress falls, the hexarchate itself might be next.

Cheris's best hope is to ally with the undead tactician Shuos Jedao. The good news is that…


Money to Burn

By Ricardo Piglia, Amanda Hopkinson,

Book cover of Money to Burn

Why this book?

More about hiding out and the lead-up to the final shoot-out than the bank robbery at the start, this novel is based on a real case from the 1960s. After they rob a bank in the Province of Buenos Aires, Dorda and Brigone, escape with the money over the Rio de la Plata. They find a bolthole in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, a country much like Argentina culturally and historically, but with fewer hysterical tendencies. Not happy about this are the politicians and police officers involved in the robbery and anxious for their cut of the loot. Piglia does a good job of recreating Argentina in the 1960s. Despite some stylistic pretensions and his overwriting of the main characters, the author manages not to get in the way of the story.

Money to Burn

By Ricardo Piglia, Amanda Hopkinson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Based on original reports and witness statements, Money to Burn tells the story of a gang of bandits who, fancying themselves as urban guerillas, raided a bank in downtown Buenos Aires. They escaped with millions of dollars in cash but six weeks later found their hideout surrounded by three hundred military police, journalists and TV cameras. The subsequent siege and its shocking outcome have become a Latin American legend.

The Siege

By Helen Dunmore,

Book cover of The Siege

Why this book?

When I teach creative writing, I often use this excellent historical novel set in the USSR during WW2 as an example. There are scenes from this book seared into my memory—they are so powerful, visceral, and moving.. Helen Dunmore is able to put the reader in the centre of the most harrowing circumstances, where people are starving, freezing, and dying in the thousands, and yet allow us to care about the individual and feel uplifted by their struggle. In Leningrad, Anna has already lost her mother, who died giving birth to her baby brother, Kolya. During the brutal siege of 1941-44, Anna must somehow keep her young brother alive without losing her humanity. A story of one ordinary woman pushed to extraordinary braveryrepresenting so many.

The Siege

By Helen Dunmore,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Called "elegantly, starkly beautiful" by The New York Times Book Review, The Siege is Helen Dunmore's masterpiece. Her canvas is monumental -- the Nazis' 1941 winter siege on Leningrad that killed six hundred thousand -- but her focus is heartrendingly intimate. One family, the Levins, fights to stay alive in their small apartment, held together by the unlikely courage and resourcefulness of twenty-two-year-old Anna. Though she dreams of an artist's life, she must instead forage for food in the ever more desperate city and watch her little brother grow cruelly thin. Their father, a blacklisted writer who once advocated a…

Book cover of Legend: Book One of the Drenai Saga

Why this book?

Legend and the rest of the Drenai saga were required reading for initiation into a fraternity that I joined many years ago. I can say these books were by far and away the most enjoyable required reading that I have ever been assigned. David Gemmell’s greatest strength is his ability to manage a vast cast of characters and keep the reader’s interest maintained in each and every one. He is an author who is lauded by his peers as one of the best to ever write in the epic fantasy genre and rightfully so.

Legend: Book One of the Drenai Saga

By David Gemmell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“David Gemmell tells a tale of very real adventure, the stuff of true epic fantasy.”—R. A. Salvatore

Druss, Captain of the Ax, is the stuff of legends. Tales of his battles are told throughout the land, and the stories expand with each telling. But Druss himself grows older, until finally, the warrior turns his back on glory and retreats to his mountain lair. There he awaits his old enemy: death. 

But far below, the barbarian Nadir hordes are on the march. All that stands between them and the Drenai people is a mighty six-walled fortress, Dros Delnoch—a great citadel that…

Book cover of Louisbourg: Key to a Continent

Why this book?

This is the most obscure book on my list. But I truly enjoyed reading it. Not only was it utterly informative about the town and fortress of Louisbourg, the largest fort outside of Europe in its day, but Mr. Downey wrote his work in an almost beautiful way. He made countless references and drew many parallels to other eras and conflicts. After reading, I better understood what it was like to be trapped inside those walls during a siege. Likewise, I shivered as I considered the conditions suffered by the besiegers outside.

Louisbourg: Key to a Continent

By Fairfax Downey,

Why should I read it?

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