Must-Read Historical Novels

Must-Read Historical Novels

By Walden Pond Books
The Long Ships

The Long Ships

Frans G. Bengtsson

$19.95 $18.55

The best Viking novel ever written. Period. If this is your first encounter with the 10th century adventures of Red Orm, we envy you - you are about to discover one of the "great reads" of all time in any fiction genre.

The King Must Die; The Bull from the Sea: Introduction by Daniel Mendelsohn

The King Must Die; The Bull from the Sea: Introduction by Daniel Mendelsohn

Mary Renault

$35.00 $32.55

Any mythological or historical novel set in ancient Greece will always be measured against Mary Renault's thrilling retelling of the adventures of the legendary Theseus. This recently released Everyman's Library omnibus edition includes both "The King Must Die" and its sequel, "The Bull from the Sea". A must-have volume for any library of the best historical fiction!

Circe

Circe

Madeline Miller

$18.99 $17.66

Perhaps the only recent work of mythological/historical fiction that matches Mary Renault's "The King Must Die". The infamous sorceress from Homer's "Odyssey" is cast as the heroine in this epic story of a woman defending herself and her island against the transgressions of both gods and mortals.

Prince of Foxes: The Best-Selling Historical Epic

Prince of Foxes: The Best-Selling Historical Epic

Samuel Shellabarger

$18.95

Samuel Shellabarger's novel of the career of Andrea Orsini - diplomat, secret agent, and swordsman for Cesare Borgia - masterfully brings to life the personalities behind the intrigues, assassinations, and warfare of 16th century Renaissance Italy. A crafty, dashing hero, a wonderfully memorable heroine, and a supremely cruel villain all play their parts as the novel thunders towards the siege of Citta del Monte - one of the most riveting climaxes in historical fiction. (An acclaimed historian, Shellabarger was one of the most lauded 20th century American authors of historical novels. Yet inexplicably, only two of his masterpieces remain in print.)

Captain From Castile: The Best-Selling Historical Epic

Captain From Castile: The Best-Selling Historical Epic

Samuel Shellabarger

$24.95

The other Samuel Shellabarger novel still in print - A young Spanish cavalier evades the clutches of the Inquisition and enlists in an army of adventurers determined to invade Mexico. This is historical swashbuckling at its finest! (Out of print and also highly recommended are Shellabarger's "Lord Vanity", and "The King's Cavalier".)

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

David Mitchell

$19.00 $17.67

A young Dutch merchant throws caution and profits to the wind and instead opts for adventure and romance in late 18th century Japan. A totally immersive novel by one of the finest authors in modern fiction that contains prose so seductive that the reader may well immediately re-read sections just to savor the author's powers of description. Worthy of note is the adrenaline-inducing account of an attempted assassination by masked black-clad warriors capable of superhuman agility which doesn't once use the word "ninja".

Captain Blood

Captain Blood

Rafael Sabatini

$16.00 $14.88

The doctor who became a traitor. . . The traitor who became a slave. . . The slave who became the most feared buccaneer of the Spanish Main! Still the best pirate novel ever written. Sea battles, dastardly plots, duels, hateful villains, romance, revenge. . . "Captain Blood" has it all!

The King at the Edge of the World

The King at the Edge of the World

Arthur Phillips

$17.00 $15.81

A Muslim physician stranded in Elizabethan England becomes a crucial pawn as Tudor spymasters scheme to determine the successor to the English throne. Beautifully written, masterfully plotted, and perfectly paced, this novel sets a new standard for historical espionage fiction.

The Englishman's Boy

The Englishman's Boy

Guy Vanderhaeghe

$14.00 $13.02

Set in the late nineteenth-century Canadian and American West (via flashbacks from 1920s Hollywood), an unforgettable page-turner of a novel about power, greed, and survival. At its center is the story of a young drifter - "the Englishman's boy" - haunted by his role in one of the most brutal events of the period - the Cypress Hills Massacre. This is the first book of Guy Vanderhaeghe's multi-award-winning epic Frontier Trilogy (followed by "The Last Crossing" and "A Good Man"). All three can be read as stand-alone novels and rival - perhaps exceed - the best Westerns of Cormac McCarthy and Larry McMurtry.

The First Man in Rome

The First Man in Rome

Colleen McCullough

$19.99

In the final century of the Roman Republic a crafty general builds on his military prowess and manipulates his way to absolute political power. (And Julius Caesar hasn't even been born yet.) This first title in the seven-book "Masters of Rome" series begins one of the two most addictive binge reads to be found in historical fiction.

Niccolo Rising: Book One of the House of Niccolo

Niccolo Rising: Book One of the House of Niccolo

Dorothy Dunnett

$20.00

The first book in the OTHER most addictive binge-read series in historical fiction launches the saga of a young dye merchant's apprentice whose charisma and intelligence loft him to the heights of wealth and power in the 15th century. This eight-book series is an astounding feat of amazingly skillful character development and plotting.

Little Big Man

Little Big Man

Thomas Berger

$17.00 $15.81

Thomas Berger's spellbinding account of Jack Crabb's journey through a century of history is hailed as one of the finest novels of the American West ever written. And justly so!

Aztec

Aztec

Gary Jennings

$21.99 $20.45

Set at the height of the Aztec Empire's dominance over Mexico - and climaxing with the invasion of Hernan Cortez and his conquistadores - this is one of the most immersive reads in historical fiction. (There are sequels, but none that achieve the brilliance of this gem.)

A Close Run Thing: A Novel of Wellington's Army of 1815

A Close Run Thing: A Novel of Wellington's Army of 1815

Allan Mallinson

$19.00

This first novel in an absolutely stellar series featuring Matthew Hervey, a young British Army cavalry officer, includes the most stirring account in fiction of the Battle of Waterloo. Thankfully, the next novel in the series ("Honorable Company") is also available to American readers. Sadly, many of the twelve other books in the series are not currently in print in the U.S.

Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome

Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome

Robert Harris

$17.99 $16.73

The first in a riveting trilogy (followed by "Conspirata" and "Dictator") charting the fascinating career of Marcus Tullius Cicero, the spellbinding orator and cunning statesman who challenged the most powerful political and military figures of ancient Rome.

Kept

Kept

D. J. Taylor

$15.99 $14.87

Madness, greed, love, obsession, Machiavellian schemes, and a great train robbery - all are interwoven in this wonderfully imaginative novel that immerses the reader in Victorian life and passions with dazzling skill and wit.

Beat to Quarters

Beat to Quarters

C. S. Forester

$18.99 $17.66

Set in 1808 during the Napoleonic Wars, this is the novel that launched the Hornblower series - one of the greatest series (11 books) of historical novels in all of maritime fiction. As alliances between England, Spain, and France shift, Captain Horatio Hornblower must pit his 36-gun English frigate against both a murderous Nicaraguan dictator and a 50-gun Spanish warship. Follow this title with "A Ship of the Line" (1810), and then "Flying Colors" (1811). Or start with "Mr. Midshipman Hornblower" (1793) if you want to read the series in historical chronological order.

The Cloister and the Hearth

The Cloister and the Hearth

Charles Reade

$11.99

Set amidst the glory and squalor of medieval Europe, this is one of the "forgotten" masterpieces of 19th century British fiction. Star-crossed lovers, family intrigue, sword fights, religious persecution, betrayal, narrow escapes. . . for sheer adventure and melodrama, Charles Reade's novel rivals the best of Charles Dickens.