If you're into history and need a new book to dive into, then you've come to the right place. We've pulled together the best historical fiction books out there for you to add to your reading list.
2012 | Hilary Mantel
A two-ebook edition of Hilary Mantel' s bestselling novels: Wolf Hall, winner of the Man Booker Prize 2009, and Bring Up the Bodies, winner of the Man Booker Prize 2012. Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, the first two instalments in Hilary Mantel' s Tudor trilogy, have gathered readers and praise in equal and enormous measure. They have been credited with elevating historical fiction to new heights and animating a period of history many thought too well known to be made fresh. Through the eyes and ears of Thomas Cromwell, the books' narrative prism, we are shown Tudor England, the court of King Henry VIII. Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. In Wolf Hall we witness Cromwell' s rise, beginning as clerk to Cardinal Wolsey, Henry' s chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. He is soon to become his successor. By 1535, when the action of Bring Up the Bodies begins, Cromwell is Chief Minister to Henry, his fortunes having risen with those of Anne Boleyn, Henry' s second wife. Anne' s days, though, are marked. Cromwell watches as the king falls in love with silent, plain Jane Seymour, sensing what Henry' s affection will mean for his queen, for England, and for himself.
1977 | Colleen McCullough
Alternate Cover Edition ISBN 0380018179 (ISBN13: 9780380018178) The Thorn Birds is a robust, romantic saga of a singular family, the Clearys. It begins in the early part of this century, when Paddy Cleary moves his wife, Fiona, and their seven children to Drogheda, the vast Australian sheep station owned by his autocratic and childless older sister; and it ends more than half a century later, when the only survivor of the third generation, the brilliant actress Justine O'Neill, sets a course of life and love halfway around the world from her roots. The central figures in this enthralling story are the indomitable Meggie, the only Cleary daughter, and the one man she truly loves, the stunningly handsome and ambitious priest Ralph de Bricassart. Ralph's course moves him a long way indeed, from a remote Outback parish to the halls of the Vatican; and Meggie's except for a brief and miserable marriage elsewhere, is fixed to the Drogheda that is part of her bones - but distance does not dim their feelings though it shapes their lives. Wonderful characters people this book; strong and gentle, Paddy, hiding a private memory; dutiful Fiona, holding back love because it once betrayed her, violent, tormented Frank, and the other hardworking Cleary sons who give the boundless lands of Drogheda the energy and devotion most men save for women; Meggie; Ralph; and Meggie's children, Justine and Dane. And the land itself; stark, relentless in its demands, brilliant in its flowering, prey to gigantic cycles of drought and flood, rich when nature is bountiful, surreal like no other place on earth. (First Edition Jacket)
2014 | Anthony Doerr
An alternate cover for this ISBN can be found here From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the stunningly beautiful instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel. In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.
2010 | David Mitchell
The year is 1799, the place Dejima in Nagasaki Harbor, the “high-walled, fan-shaped artificial island” that is the Japanese Empire’s single port and sole window onto the world, designed to keep the West at bay; the farthest outpost of the war-ravaged Dutch East Indies Company; and a de facto prison for the dozen foreigners permitted to live and work there. To this place of devious merchants, deceitful interpreters, costly courtesans, earthquakes, and typhoons comes Jacob de Zoet, a devout and resourceful young clerk who has five years in the East to earn a fortune of sufficient size to win the hand of his wealthy fiancée back in Holland. But Jacob’s original intentions are eclipsed after a chance encounter with Orito Aibagawa, the disfigured daughter of a samurai doctor and midwife to the city’s powerful magistrate. The borders between propriety, profit, and pleasure blur until Jacob finds his vision clouded, one rash promise made and then fatefully broken. The consequences will extend beyond Jacob’s worst imaginings. As one cynical colleague asks, “Who ain’t a gambler in the glorious Orient, with his very life?” A magnificent mix of luminous writing, prodigious research, and heedless imagination, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is the most impressive achievement of its eminent author.
1844 | Alexandre Dumas
Alexandre Dumas’s most famous tale— and possibly the most famous historical novel of all time— in a handsome hardcover volume. This swashbuckling epic of chivalry, honor, and derring-do, set in France during the 1620s, is richly populated with romantic heroes, unattainable heroines, kings, queens, cavaliers, and criminals in a whirl of adventure, espionage, conspiracy, murder, vengeance, love, scandal, and suspense. Dumas transforms minor historical figures into larger- than-life characters: the Comte d’Artagnan, an impetuous young man in pursuit of glory; the beguilingly evil seductress “Milady”; the powerful and devious Cardinal Richelieu; the weak King Louis XIII and his unhappy queen—and, of course, the three musketeers themselves, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, whose motto “all for one, one for all” has come to epitomize devoted friendship. With a plot that delivers stolen diamonds, masked balls, purloined letters, and, of course, great bouts of swordplay, The Three Musketeers is eternally entertaining.