Recommended historical fantasy / alternate history books
Historical fantasy takes a period of history from this world's past and introduces fantasy elements to it. Alternate history or alternative history is a genre of fiction consisting of stories that are set in worlds in which history has diverged from the actual history of the world.
Set in a beleaguered land caught in a web of tyranny, Tigana is the deeply moving story of a people struggling to be free. A people so cursed by the dark sorceries of the tyrant King Brandin that even the very name of their once beautiful land cannot be spoken or remembered. But not everyone has forgotten. A handful of men and women, driven...
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Two magicians shall appear in England. The first shall fear me; the second shall long to behold me The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, a...
A Christmas Carol
It is Christmas Eve in Victorian London, and all around the snow-covered city people are rushing home to be with their families. All except one man, that is: Ebenezer Scroo...
The Once And Future King
Once upon a time, a young boy called “Wart” was tutored by a magician named Merlyn in preparation for a future he couldn’t possibly imagine. A future in w...
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Handsome Dorian Gray has found the secret of eternal youth. As those around him age, Gray remains young and beautiful. Knowing his actions have no consequences he lives a w...
When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula with the purchase of a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries about his client and his castle. Soon af...
The Stress of Her Regard
When Michael Crawford discovers his bride brutally murdered in their wedding bed, he is forced to flee not only to prove his innocence, but to avoid the deadly embrace of a...
The Master and Margarita
Moscow, 1929: a city that has lost its way amid corruption and fear, inhabited by people who have abandoned their morals and forsaken spirituality. But when a mysterious st...
Gareth L Powell
In 1944, as waves of German ninjas parachute into Kent, Britain’s best hopes for victory lie with a Spitfire pilot codenamed ‘Ack-Ack Macaque’. The troubl...
Catherynne M Valente
Child of the revolution, maiden of myth, bride of darkness. A handsome young man arrives in St Petersburg at the house of Marya Morevna. He is Koschei, the Tsar of Life, an...
Sailing to Sarantium
Guy Gavriel Kay
Rumoured to be responsible for the ascension of the previous Emperor, his uncle, amid fire and blood, Valerius the Trakesian has himself now risen to the Golden Throne of t...
In the winter of his eleventh year, Little Hawk goes deep into the forest, where he must endure a three-month test of solitude and survival which will turn him into a man. ...
Only five still guard the borders between the worlds. Only five hold back what waits on the other side. Once the Oversight, the secret society that polices the lines betwee...
The Gamehouse is an unusual institution. Many know it as the place where fortunes can be made and lost through games of Chess, Backgammon - every game under the sun. But a ...
The Bear and the Nightingale
In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, a stranger with piercing blue eyes pres...
Chronicles of Ancient Darkness
Thousands of years ago the land is one dark forest. Its people are hunter-gatherers. They know every tree and herb and they know how to survive in a time of enchantment and...
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Robert Louis Stevenson
Murder and monstrosity on the streets of Victorian London. Nineteenth century London can be a very dangerous place. Beneath the prim and proper morals of Victorian society ...
Anno Dracula series
It is 1888 and Queen Victoria has remarried, taking as her new consort Vlad Tepes, the Wallachian Prince infamously known as Count Dracula. Peppered with familiar character...
Set in the 5th century AD, Azazeel is the tale of a Coptic monk's journey from Upper Egypt to Alexandria and then Syria during a time of massive upheaval in the early C...
As they approach adulthood, Cat Barahal and her cousin Bee think they understand the society they live in and their place within it. At a select academy they study new airs...
Nights at the Circus
Is Sophie Fevvers, toast of Europe's capitals, part swan... or all fake? Courted by the Prince of Wales and painted by Toulouse-Lautrec, she is an aerialiste extraordin...
The Moon and the Sun
Vonda N McIntyre
Louis XIV, the Sun King, rules the Western World from the Chateau at Versailles. Marie- Josèphe de la Croix looks forward to assisting her brother in the scientific ...
In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and amongst the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers – the keepers of thi...
Come one come all to greatest city in the world. In London, all men are free, the streets are lined with gold and the naughty ladies are friendly to all. In London there ar...
The Wardstone Chronicles
Thomas Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son and has been apprenticed to the local Spook. The job is hard, the Spook is distant and many apprentices have failed before T...
The Gentleman Bastard Sequence
They say that the Thorn of Camorr can beat anyone in a fight. They say he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. They say he's part man, part myth, and mostly stre...
The Feathered Man
Jeremy de Quidt
In a German town, long ago, lives a tooth-puller’s boy called Klaus. It isn’t Klaus’s fault that he sees his master steal a diamond from the mouth of a de...
A modern Britain. An age-old cruelty. Britain's magically skilled aristocracy compels all commoners to serve them for ten years - and now it's the Hadleys' turn...
Who or what is Endymion Spring? A power for good, or for evil... A legendary book that holds the secret to a world of knowledge... A young boy without a voice - whose five-...
Tales of Terror from the Tunnel's Mouth
A boy is put on a train by his stepmother to make his first journey on his own. But soon that journey turns out to be more of a challenge than anyone could have imagined as...
This Dark Endeavour
In this prequel to Mary Shelley's gothic classic, Frankenstein, 16-year-old Victor Frankenstein begins a dark journey that will change his life forever. Victor's tw...
When Grendel is drawn up from the caves under the mere, where he lives with his bloated, inarticulate hag of a mother, into the fresh night air, it is to lay waste Hrothgar...
The Golem and the Djinni
Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master, the husband who commissioned her, di...
1910. A cabin north of the Arctic Circle. Fifteen-year-old Sig Andersson is alone. Alone, except for the corpse of his father, who died earlier that day after falling throu...
Under the harsh regime of an ambitious master, Eon is training to become a Dragoneye - a powerful Lord able to command wind and water to nurture and protect the land. But E...
Land of Hope and Glory
It is 1852. The Indian empire of Rajthana has ruled Europe for more than a hundred years. With their vast armies, steam-and-sorcery technology and mastery of the mysterious...
One Hundred Years of Vicissitude
"First up, a disclaimer. I suspect I am a dead man. I have meagre proof, no framed- up certification, nothing to toss in a court of law as evidence of a rapid departur...
A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences
Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
Evil is most assuredly afoot - and Britain’s fate rests in the hands of an alluring renegade... and a librarian. These are dark days indeed in Victoria’s Englan...
Jeremy de Quidt
What good is a toy that will wind down? What if you could put a heart in one? A real heart. One that beat and beat and didn't stop. What couldn't you do if you coul...
It was a time of legend, when the last shadows of the mighty Roman conqueror faded from the captured Isle of Britain. While across a vast sea, bloody war shattered a peace ...
Dreaming Of Zhou Gong
The Wu have been living in isolation for decades while the Shang Emperor and his enchantress have ruled the land. It has been a terrible time for the common people and the ...
Those Poor, Poor Bastards
The year is 1868... In the Sierra Nevada, during the expansion of the Central Pacific Railroad, Nina Weaver and her pa, Lincoln, trundle into Coburn Station with a wagonful...
Ninja: Death Touch
Taka has proven his worth as a ninja warrior, but now he must prepare for an attack by the samurai leader Lord Oda....
The Language of Stones
The Realm is poised for war. Its weak king – Hal, grandson of a usurper – is dominated by his beautiful wife and her lover. Against them stands Duke Richard of ...
The Eagle Series
It is 42 AD, and Quintus Licinius Cato has just arrived in Germany as a new recruit to the Second Legion, the toughest in the Roman army. If adjusting to the rigours of mil...
The House of Shattered Wings
Aliette de Bodard
Paris in the aftermath of the Great Magicians War. Its streets are lined with haunted ruins, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine runs black, thick with ashes and...
Kepler is like you, but not like you. With a simple touch, Kepler can move into any body, live any life - for a moment, a day or for years. And your life could be next. SOM...
On a dark road in the middle of the night, a car plunges into a ravine. The driver survives the crash, but his injuries confine him to a hospital burn unit. There the myste...
The House of Binding Thorns
Aliette de Bodard
As the city rebuilds from the onslaught of sorcery that nearly destroyed it, the great Houses of Paris, ruled by fallen angels, still contest one another for control over t...
The Bookseller's Tale
Oxford, Spring 1353. When young bookseller Nicholas Elyot discovers the body of student William Farringdon floating in the river Cherwell, it looks like a drowning. Soon, h...
River of Teeth
In the early 20th Century, the United States government concocted a plan to import hippopotamuses into the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternat...
Sebastien de Castell
Falcio val Mond, First Cantor of the Greatcoats, is on the brink of fulfilling his dead King's dream: Aline is about to take the throne and restore the rule of law once...
The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart
Edinburgh, 1874. On the coldest night the world has ever seen, Little Jack is born with a frozen heart and immediately undergoes a life-saving operation. But Dr Madeleine i...
The Winter Palace
When Vavara, a young Polish orphan, arrives at the glittering, dangerous court of the Empress Elizabeth in St Petersburg, she is schooled in skills ranging from lock-pickin...
1915. As the second battle of the Isonzo Front rages on the Italian Austro-Hungarian border, war threatens to engulf the Inquisition and dark forces muster amongst the most...
A Star Shall Fall
The Royal Society of London plays home to the greatest minds of England. It has revolutionized philosophy and scientific knowledge. Its fellows map out the laws of the natu...
Of Bone and Thunder
Chris Evans’ Of Bone Thunder is a fantasy tale heavily influenced by the Vietnam War. Set in a jungle world inhabited by, amongst others, humans, dwarves, dragons and...
Recommended reads by sub-genre
Select a sub-genre below to see which books which highly recommend.
Fantasy set in an alternative, fictional world
Fantasy with epic characters, themes, and plot
Heroic / Sword and Sorcery
Fantasy with heroic adventures
Fantasy narrative with an urban setting
Historical fantasy / fiction
Historical fiction with fantasy elements
Fantasy set in parallel worlds
Science / Speculative
Draws elements from both science fiction and fantasy
Fantasy for ages up to 12
Fantasy for ages 12+
Fantasy for ages 18+
Dystopian / Post-Apocalyptic
Fiction set in dark, nightmarish worlds
Monarchy / Empire
Fantasy books with empires at their core
Fiction with elements of fear, horror, death, gloom and romance
Fiction with vampiric characters
Fiction with werewolf characters
Fiction with steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology
Fiction with the legendary, scaled, fire-breathing creatures
Wizards / Magicians
Fantasy with wizards, witches, magicians, sorceresses...
Lore, Legend and Mythology
Inspired by ancient folklore and mythology
Fantasy books focusing on mailtary life
Roman historical fiction
Explore the ancient Roman Empire
Books exploring the galaxy of the ever-popular franchise
Animal fantasy books
Fantasy with sentient animals
The Thief / Assassin
Fantasy books starring the thief or the assassin
Fiction exploring beyond the laws of nature
Japanese comic books and graphic novels
Liked to be scared? These books will do that...
For the reader who loves to laugh
Inspired by Tolkien
Love Lord of the Rings? Now try these...
The best science fiction and fantasy anthlogies