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Historical Fiction Set in the Middle Ages

Favorite Books in Medieval Historical Fiction

The Middle Ages

Historical Fiction set in the Middle Ages

About 400 historical novels set in the Middle Ages. Young peoples’ books are included.

‘Collections’ take longer to appear on your screen than single books.  On a phone, only about 25 books in a collection may appear.

Middle Ages Fiction – Collection

About 230 free books set in the Middle Ages. A somewhat different collection than the previous entry. Some authors: Marguerite De Angeli, Karen Cushman, Kevin Crossley-Holland, David Clement-Davies, Michelle Willingham, James Aitcheson, Edith Pargeter, Sherryl Jordan, Jay Ruud. Middle Ages Novels free.

The Clerkenwell Tales

Ackroyd, Peter
2005

“‘I am sister to the day and night. I am sister to the woods.’ Sister Clarisse, a nun in the House of St Mary at Clerkenwell, experiences visions. She dreams of the English King. Are her prophecies the babblings of the crazed? Or can she ‘see’ a future in which Henry Bolingbroke overthrows Richard II? This clever and colourful novel begins with The Nun’s Tale, and continues with The Friar’s Tale, The Merchant’s Tale and The Clerk’s Tale-. Thus, story by story, Peter Ackroyd builds his portrait of medieval London.”

Gildenford

Anand, Valerie
1977

Based on the lives of Earl Godwin of Wessex and his family.

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The House of Allerbrook

Anand, Valerie
2009

“Lady-in-waiting Jane Sweetwater’s resistance to the legendary attentions of Henry VIII may have saved her pretty neck, but her reward is a forced and unhappy marriage with a much older man and a harsh life on his farm. Her only consolation is that she still lives upon her beloved Exmoor, the bleak yet beautiful land that cradles Allerbrook House, her family home.”

Kingdom of the Grail

Attanasio, A. A.
1994

“A dying Welsh baroness on a twelfth-century crusade to the Holy Land recruits a young Jewish girl to impersonate her, rule Wales, and take revenge on her enemies, in this story involving the legend of the Holy Grail.”

The Long Ships

Bengtsson, Frans G.
1955

“Set in the tenth century, when Vikings roamed and rampaged from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean. A boy abducted by the Vikings from his Danish home is made to take his place at the oars of their ships. Later, he is captured by the Moors in Spain and, escaping from captivity, washes up in Ireland, where he marvels at the Christian monks. Eventually, he contributes to the Viking defeat of the army of the king of England, and returns home a Christian and a very rich man.”

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Count Bohemond

Duggan, Alfred
1965

“Count Bohemond was a Norman adventurer. History records his meteoric progress from junior member of a Norman warlord’s household in Sicily to his conquests in the Middle East. Alfred Duggan’s historical novel reveals how Count Bohemond challenged the Byzantine Empire, first defeating then allying himself with the wily Emperor Alexius. And how Bohemond outwits the high-born, wealthy Crusader leaders who would have led the Crusade to disaster. It is an unrivalled depiction of medieval warfare, from the tactics of cavalry charges to the religious and philosophical beliefs that brought forth the Crusaders.”

The Lady for Ransom

Duggan, Alfred
2006

“The Emperor in Constantinople is hiring mercenaries to repel the infidel. The ruthless Norman nobleman Roussel de Balliol and his wife Lady Matilda are all to keen to seize the opportunity. Roussel’s obligations sit lightly upon him; his first priority is to seize a chunk of Turkish land for himself. Only land will give him the wealth, status and power he desires. But in the blazing Asiatic heat, Roussel learns that the politics of the Empire are imbued with treachery, intrigue and deceit, and he see his chance of personal rule slipping away from him.”

The Game of Kings

Dunnett, Dorothy
1991

“In 1547 Scotland has been humiliated by an English invasion and is threatened by machinations elsewhere beyond its borders, but it is still free. Paradoxically, her freedom may depend on a man who stands accused of treason. He is Francis Crawford of Lymond, a scapegoat nobleman of crooked felicities and murderous talents, possessed of scholar’s erudition and a tongue as wicked as a rapier. In The Game of Kings this extraordinary antihero returns to the country that has outlawed him – to redeem his reputation even at the risk of his life.” 1st volume in the Lymond Saga series.

King Hereafter

Dunnett, Dorothy
1998

“Back in print by popular demand–“A stunning revelation of the historical Macbeth, harsh and brutal and eloquent.” –Washington Post Book World. With the same meticulous scholarship and narrative legerdemain she brought to her hugely popular Lymond Chronicles, our foremost historical novelist travels further into the past. InKing Hereafter, Dorothy Dunnett’s stage is the wild, half-pagan country of eleventh-century Scotland. Her hero is an ungainly young earl with a lowering brow and a taste for intrigue. He calls himself Thorfinn but his Christian name is Macbeth. Dunnett depicts Macbeth’s transformation from an angry boy who refuses to accept his meager share of the Orkney Islands to a suavely accomplished warrior who seizes an empire with the help of a wife as shrewd and valiant as himself.”

The Name of the Rose

Eco, Umberto
1983

“In 1327, finding his sensitive mission at an Italian abbey further complicated by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William of Baskerville turns detective.”

The Pillars of the Earth

Follett, Ken
1999

“In a time of civil war, famine, religious strife and war, there rises a magnificent Cathedral in Kingsbridge. Against this backdrop, lives entwine: Tom, the master builder, Aliena, the noblewoman, Philip, the prior of Kingsbridge, Jack, the artist in stone and Ellen, the woman from the forest who casts a curse.”

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World Without End

Follett, Ken
2012

“In the town of Kingsbridge, a Gothic cathedral and the priory are at the center of a web of love and hate, greed and pride, ambition and revenge. Proponents of the old ways fiercely battle those with progressive minds, as the Black Death captures the city.”

Fool’s Tale

Galland, Nicole
2005

“Wales, 1198. A time of treachery, passion, and uncertainty. King Maelgwyn ap Cadwallon, known as Noble, struggles to protect his small kingdom from foes outside and inside his borders. Pressured into a marriage of political convenience, he takes as his bride the young, headstrong Isabel Mortimer, niece of his powerful English nemesis. Through strength of character, Isabel wins her husband’s grudging respect, but finds the Welsh court backward and barbaric, and is soon engaged in a battle of wills against Gwirion, the king’s oldest, oddest, and most trusted friend.”

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In a Dark Wood Wandering

Haasse, Hella S.
1991

“In this novel, set in the 15th century during the Hundred Years War between France and England, Hella Haasse brilliantly captures all the drama of one of the great ages of history.”

We Speak No Treason

Jarman, Rosemary Hawley
1971

Based on the life of Richard III.

Bring Up the Bodies

Mantel, Hilary
2013

“Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice. At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down.”

Wolf Hall

Mantel, Hilary
2015

“Assuming the power recently lost by the disgraced Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas Cromwell counsels a mercurial Henry VIII on the latter’s efforts to marry Anne Boleyn against the wishes of Rome, a successful endeavor that comes with a dangerous price.”

The Cornerstone

Oldenbourg, Zoe
1955

“The author of The World Is Not Enough paints a vivid tale of chivalry, passion, and ruthlessness in 13th-century France, in the dramatic story of the struggle of the Medieval man for his soul, and of ultimate self-sacrifice for spiritual goals.”

The Scarlet Seed

Pargeter, Edith
1999

“In the castle of Parfois, glaring down over the debated lands of the Welsh border, young Harry Talvace is held prisoner by his father’s sometime patron and later destroyer, Ralph Isambard. Captive and captor, bound together by implacable hatred and reluctant affection, seem doomed to stalemate. Then the threat of civil war in England lays Isambard open to his enemies, and Harry abruptly reaches self-knowledge and maturity.” The author also writes as Ellis Peters.

Here Be Dragons

Penman, Sharon K.
1985

“An absorbing historical novel of power and betrayal, loyalty and political intrigue in thirteenth-century England, Wales and France, centring on King John of England, younger brother to the brilliant Richard Lionheart, Joanna, his illegitimate but recognised daughter and Llewellyn Ab Iowerth, Prince of Gwynedd, a bitter opponent of English ways, laws and encroachment into Wales who becomes Joanna’s husband.”

The Sunne in Splendour

Penman, Sharon K.
1990

“Richard, last-born son of the Duke of York, was seven months short of his nineteenth birthday when he bloodied himself at the battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury, earning his legendary reputation as a battle commander and ending the Lancastrian line of succession. Filled with the sights and sounds of battle, the customs and love of daily life, the rigours and dangers of Court politics and the touching concerns of very real men and women, The Sunne in Splendour is a richly coloured tapestry of medieval England.”

Brother Cadfael’s Penance: The Twentieth Chronicle of Brother Cadfael

Peters, Ellis
1994

“In 12th Century Britain, Brother Cadfael searches for his son, Olivier de Bretagne, taken prisoner in a war between the grandchildren of William the Conqueror. In the process he discovers intrigue and murder. By the author of The Holy Thief.”

A Morbid Taste for Bones

Peters, Ellis
1994

In 1137 the ambitious head of Shrewsbury Abbey has decided to acquire the remains of Saint Winifred for his Benedictine order. Brother Cadfael is part of the expedition sent to her final resting place in Wales, where they find the villagers passionately divided by the Benedictines’ offer for the saint’s relics. Canny, wise and all too worldly, Cadfael isn’t surprised when this taste for bones leads to bloody murder.

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

Pyle, Howard
1883

“Recounts the legend of Robin Hood, who plundered the king’s purse and poached his deer and whose generosity endeared him to the poor.”

A Poultice for a Healer

Roe, Caroline
2004

“Isaac of Girona returns in the two-time Anthony Award-nominated series. Isaac’s duty to the ailing Bishop postpones his daughter’s wedding. But murder can’t be rescheduled when a wounded messenger dies before delivering an urgent missive for the Bishop.”

Remedy for Treason

Roe, Caroline
1998

“Girona, Spain. 1353.Struggling to save his patients from the plague, and avoiding the even greater danger of his wife’s temper, Isaac discovers that pestilence isn’t the city’s only killer. A nun dies in the public baths. Then it is revealed that she is not a nun at all, but an attendant to the queen in nun’s disguise.The Bishop of Girona calls upon Isaac to help determine the strange circumstance of her death–and the purpose of her deception. But Isaac soon finds himself and his family caught in a tightening web of royal intrigue designed to destroy the Spanish monarchy–and whoever else gets in the way… ?”

Ivanhoe

Scott, Sir Walter
1819

Relates the adventures of the Saxon knight Ivanhoe in 1194, the year of Richard the Lion-Hearted’s return from the Third Crusade.

The Black Arrow

Stevenson, Robert Louis
1883

A young Englishman, seeking to avenge the death of his father, becomes involved in the band of the Black Arrow and the events of the War of the Roses.

Kristin Labransdatter

Undset, Sigrid
1995

“Panorama of Norwegian life in the first half of the 14th century and the tumultous life of a woman, traces Kristin’s life from childhood to death. The author won the Nobel Prize for Literature.”

The Master of Hestviken

Undset, Sigrid
1978

“Set in thirteenth-century Norway, a land racked by political turmoil and bloody family vendettas, The Axe is the first volume in Sigrid Undset’s epic tetralogy, The Master of Hestviken. In it we meet Olav Audunsson and Ingunn Steinfinnsdatter, who were betrothed as children and raised as brother and sister. Now, in the heedlessness of youth, they become lovers, unaware that their ardor will forge the first link in a chain of murder, exile, and disgrace.” All 4 volumes are here. The author won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Morality Play

Unsworth, Barry
1995

“The time is the fourteenth century. The place is a small town in rural England, and the setting a snow-laden winter. A small troupe of actors accompanied by Nicholas Barber, a young renegade priest, prepare to play the drama of their lives. Breaking the longstanding tradition of only performing religious plays, the groups leader, Martin, wants them to enact the murder that is foremost in the townspeoples minds.”

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