The best historical books about the Middle Ages: list and review

Books about the Middle Ages can be very diverse. Some authors emphasize the realism of events: they show the spirit of the era of knights, tournaments and constant battles. Others fantasize with magic, mix in the fantasy genre, and eventually get their fans. This article has made the most diverse selection of works about this era.

Perfect satire

One of the most famous world books about the Middle Ages is the two-volume Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote. This masterpiece perfectly ridicules the mores of that era in which all events take place. The plot tells about a man of the same name who sincerely wished to become a noble knight in a peaceful period. He enlisted the support of a loyal squire Sancho and went on a quest for adventure. During the trip, Don Quixote managed to get to know many personalities, fight with enemies in the form of windmills and many more times to be noted. The work is read incredibly easy, despite the impressive number of pages.

The most famous chivalric novel

When it comes to books about the Middle Ages, it is simply impossible not to mention Walter Scott and his legendary novel “Aivengo”. If the reader wants to plunge headlong into the atmosphere of knightly fights, to feel the spirit of the era, then this story is an ideal option. The author skillfully twists the plot lines in which he assigns space to a huge number of different characters. The main character in the story does not appear immediately, it is mentioned only in the first ten pages. Further, the story is gaining momentum. All events take place in England, when the Saxons began to oppress the Normans in every possible way. Walter Scott acquaints readers with Richard the Lionheart, often mentions King John and the Liberty Charter, there was a place even for the famous Robin Hood. The novel is not for nothing considered a classic that perfectly demonstrates the Middle Ages. By this he earned himself world fame.

books about fellow travelers in the Middle Ages

Great story

Books about the Middle Ages were written by various authors at all times, but not every one of them received worldwide popularity. The novel "White Detachment" was awarded such an honor, and its author was the master of detectives Arthur Conan Doyle. The creator of Sherlock Holmes also presented the world with a magnificent story that will tell all readers about the Hundred Years War between France and England. The author correctly focuses on the fact that the era of knights in shiny armor is coming to an end. Swords will be replaced by a new, more deadly weapon, because it is already beginning to be used in conflicts. The protagonist Nigel is a simple archer in his squad. It would seem that fate in a big battle little depends on him, but Arthur Conan Doyle refutes this. He shows that even one hero with his skills can change the outcome of a story. The writer managed to create a work that is remembered for a long time, and captures after reading the first few pages.

books about the middle ages

A story with other accents

Among the best books about the Middle Ages are only those works that leave a big mark in the soul of the reader. Such a masterpiece is the novel “Crusaders” by Henryk Sienkiewicz. It was for this work that he was awarded the Nobel Prize. The author originally approached writing. On the one hand, he carefully treated all the details of the era, vividly showed the period when the Poles came into confrontation with the knights that returned from the Crusades. A historical mark is visible everywhere, even in small descriptions of details. If you look from a different angle, then Sienkiewicz does not promote this topic in the novel. It shows the love story of a beautiful Polish young lady and a knight. Here the emphasis is put on the development of their relations, the twists and turns of fate and the influence of the family on a couple. That is why the book gained popularity not only among lovers of the Middle Ages, but also among fans of romance novels.

best books about the middle ages

The ups and downs with the main character

Historical books about the Middle Ages should not monotonously retell all the main events of the era. There is scientific research for this, and novels should have artistic value. This was perfectly understood by Simone Vilar when she created her work under the title “Knight of the Light”. The plot tells the story of the main character Arthur, who was separated from his beloved girl named Mildred. To meet her again, he decides to take the robe of the knight de Breton, who, by the will of fate, died in his arms. Equipment will help him get to the tournament, where Mildred must be. Only now, the prince also wants to get a girl for himself, and his parents have completely different plans for this. Arthur will have to hurry, but another serious barrier appears in the form of the Templars. They consider the main character de Breton, to whom they have their own accounts. The difficult path to love is described by the author according to all the canons, and the novel has gained great popularity among readers.

fantasy books about the middle ages

World classics

If the above-mentioned books about knights, the Middle Ages, love stories and adventures did not fit, then you can look at the classics of the genre. In the first position in this category is William Shakespeare's Hamlet. Events unfold in that era, but the emphasis here is on the tragedy of the young Danish prince. The plot tells about how he lost his throne because of his uncle's wiles when he came from Europe after training. Young Hamlet was filled with progressive ideas on how to make people better. He sincerely wanted to change the whole world, but to do this was impossible. Step by step, he learned more about the courtiers, their manners, interests and was amazed at this. Hamlet was tormented by the desire to strive for ideal and a thirst for revenge in relation to his uncle. The legendary writer William Shakespeare ideally conveyed this tragedy in the pages of his work. It is written so accessible and exciting that it captivates for long hours.

fantasy books about the middle ages

Unexpected trip

Authors paid attention not only to realism when writing works about this era. Books about fellow travelers in the Middle Ages were also used and are very popular. Mark Twain excelled in this genre with the novel The Yankees from Connecticut at the Court of King Arthur. The plot interests readers from the first pages. The main character was an ordinary American citizen until he received a good blow to the head. When he woke up, he was no longer at home. He was transferred in some unknown way to the era of the knights, namely England during the reign of King Arthur. The strangely dressed guy immediately aroused suspicion among the locals. In the first settlement he was taken into slavery, and thus he would go straight to the king. Mark Twain perfectly portrayed the difference between the eras, and also showed the adaptation of the protagonist, who had to feel all the machinations at the royal court. The work causes genuine delight thanks to an unusual adventure.

historical books about the middle ages

World popularity

Because of their unusual nature, books about the Middle Ages in the fantasy genre do not always find a reader, but George Martin, in his cycle “Song of Ice and Fire”, proved the possibility of writing an interesting work. The author created his own universe, which strongly resembles the era of the Middle Ages. There is a lot of attention paid to realism, but there is also room for giants, white walkers, resurrections and dragons. All these elements are combined into a single book, which causes a feeling of delight. The “Song of Ice and Fire” has long become a world masterpiece. Many readers are attracted not only by the setting, but also by the vicissitudes of the struggle for power. There are many houses in this universe that want to get the Iron Throne for themselves. The author skillfully binds readers to heroes, but also suddenly removes characters from the game. This is done so masterfully that readers cannot go away from incredible plot twists for a long time.

books about the middle ages and magic

The dark world with its own rules

Books about the Middle Ages and magic do not always have to affect the real world. Many authors create their own world, which resembles Europe of 11-14 centuries. And so did Andrzej Sapkowski with his cycle The Witcher. The story of Geralt of Rivia, nicknamed the White Wolf, touches to the core. The author expertly twisted the plot, in which there are no unnecessary details. The story touches on global wars, racial conflicts and shows a huge number of characters with their own characters and experiences. A distinctive feature of the entire Witcher saga is that Sapkovsky does not divide everything into good and evil. It shows the real events that take place in that world. Often the hero has to choose between evil and lesser evil. Also in the books you can see the influence of Slavic legends and mythology. The author has created a distinctive world in which it is interesting to dive headlong into the long hours.

Summary list

  1. "Don Quixote".
  2. "Ivanhoe."
  3. "White squad."
  4. The Crusaders.
  5. "Knight of the light."
  6. "Hamlet".
  7. "Yankees from Connecticut at the Court of King Arthur."
  8. "Song of Ice and Fire".
  9. The Witcher.


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