If you like The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, try . . .

Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell

One of England’s most dramatic victories, the battle of Agincourt is more than just history; it was immortalized by Shakespeare in “Henry V.” Cornwell, the greatest writer of historical adventures today (“Washington Post”) tackles this most thrilling and rich subject.

The Jester by James Patterson

With the unstoppable pace and plot of his page-turning thrillers, “The Jester” is a breathtakingly romantic, pulse-pounding adventure set in the Middle Ages–one that could only be conjured by the mind of international bestselling author Patterson.

Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd

A masterpiece that is breathtaking in its scope, Sarum is an epic novel that traces the entire turbulent course of English history. This rich tapesty weaves a compelling saga of five families who preserve their own particular characteristics over the centuries, and offer a fascinating glimpse into the future.

The Unburied by Charles Palliser

In Victorian England, Dr. Courtine is invited to spend the days before Christmas with a friend from his youth. Courtine finds himself drawn into a haunting world of avarice, skullduggery, and exceptional evil stemming from a 200-year-old murder.

When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman

“A.D. 1135. As church bells tolled for the death of England’s King Henry I, his barons faced the unwelcome prospect of being ruled by a woman: Henry’s beautiful daughter Maude, Countess of Anjou. But before Maude could claim her throne, her cousin Stephen seized it. In their long and bitter struggle, all of England bled and burned” (Goodreads summary).

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII’s court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king’s favor and ascend to the heights of political power. England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years, and marry Anne Boleyn. The pope and most of Europe opposes him. The quest for the king’s freedom destroys his adviser, the brilliant Cardinal Wolsey, and leaves a power vacuum.

Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell. Cromwell is a wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, astute in reading people and a demon of energy: he is also a consummate politician, hardened by his personal losses, implacable in his ambition. But Henry is volatile: one day tender, one day murderous. Cromwell helps him break the opposition, but what will be the price of his triumph?

The Heaven Tree Trilogy by Edith Pargeter

“A trilogy of novels set in twelfth-century England and Wales–The Heaven Tree, The Green Branch, and The Scarlet Seed–chronicles the adventures of master stone carver Harry Talvace; Ralf Isambard, Lord of Parfois; and their two sons,” (Goodreads summary).

Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin

In medieval Cambridge, England, Adelia, a female forensics expert, is summoned by King Henry II to investigate a series of gruesome murders that has wrongly implicated the Jewish population, yielding even more tragic results. As Adelia’s investigation takes her behind the closed doors of the country’s churches, the killer prepares to strike again.

The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Novel of Michealangelo by Irving Stone

“This novel offers a compelling portrait of Michelangelo’s dangerous, impassioned loves, and the God-driven fury from which he wrested the greatest art the world has ever known,” (Goodreads summary).

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

“The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon–all sharpened to a glistening edge by wry humor and a ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey, where ‘the most interesting things happen at night,'” (Goodreads summary).


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