4 Epic Novels for Historical Fiction Fans

For the people you know who love to have their head in history all of the time, here are some great historical fiction novels you can gift them! Each one of these stories would be considered an epic: they’re long, they have a lot of characters, they span a long time, and they’re incredibly immersive.

1. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Ken Follett is the master story teller, and this novel proves it. There’s a reason this was Oprah’s book club pick a while back – it’s EXCELLENT. If you haven’t read this yet, or you know a family member who hasn’t, I’d recommend getting this one for them! Even my dad, who almost exclusively reads political non-fiction, enjoyed this book! It takes place in the 1100s in England.

2. Shogun by James Clavell 

This is the first book in the Asian Saga series that is set in feudal Japan in 1600. Guys, this book is freaking awesome. Sine the story is an epic, it’s bound to appeal to almost any reader. You get all the fighting and violence and torture (oh my!), love stories and prostitution (scandalous!), fascinating cultural details of 1600 Japan, and so much more. The series is 6 books long, but each book can stand alone, so you don’t have to read them all.

3. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy 

Don’t be intimidated by this book’s size or its label as a “classic” It’s incredibly readable and appeals to all varieties of fiction readers: those who enjoy love stories, the war-junkies, and history aficionados. This book takes place between 1805-1812 during the Napoleonic Wars in Russia.

the bronze horseman

4. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

This is a WWII novel that takes place mostly in Leningrad Russia during the infamous Leningrad blockade. It’s a beautifully told love story that is the perfect mix of a heart-wrenching relationship between two flawed characters and historical facts. This is easily one of my favorite reads of all time.


What are some of your favorite historical fiction novels? What would you recommend I read?

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17 comments

  1. I’ve heard really great things about The Bronze Horseman, although I don’t know much about Russian history. Do you think that would be a problem when reading either that book or War and Peace?

    1. Not a problem at all! I don’t know much either (other than what I’ve gathered from historical fiction novels, lol), and it hasn’t been an issue for me!

  2. I love Dana Fuller Ross’ series “Wagons West.” There are some novels named after each state, and then she wrote a series after this. It was because of reading these books I actually became interested in history.

    1. I just looked into those books, and they look awesome! I haven’t read an Western novels, but I feel like they’d be fun to read. I’ll have to check them out. Thanks for the recommendation Karen (:

  3. Oh, my. I hadn’t even heard of the Bronze Horseman but now I HAVE TO read it! Some of my favorite historical novels include The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant, The Red Tent by Anita Diamont, and The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber.

    1. I think everyone who enjoys love stories should read The Bronze Horseman – it’s so intense and wonderful! I’ll be having a full review of it come up in the next week or two… I haven’t heard of all of your recommendations- I’m going to go check those out now. Thank you!

    1. Ahhh I can’t believe someone spoiled it for you! That’s such a bummer. Well luckily there are so many characters and so many things going on in that book there will be lots of surprises still waiting for you at the end when you decide to get back to it!

  4. I’ve heard so much about the Bronze Horseman, I really need to try it one day… One day. Eventually haha.

    I haven’t heard of Shogun before but it has me intrigued because I really like things set in Japan’s feudal period!

    1. OMG if you like feudal Japan, you’ll love Shogun. It’s an older popular series (so a lot of my parents generation are familiar with the series), and it’s just SO GOOD!

    1. YAY!!! I hope you like it! Don’t let the crazy hype get your expectations too far up – but if you like love stories, I think you will enjoy it. Let me know! And if you need someone to talk to about various happenings in the book, my twitter and instagram messaging is always open 😀 (@the_bandar_blog for both!)

  5. I’m not a fan of historical fiction but surprisingly, almost all HF that I’ve read, I loved 🙈 I haven’t heard any of this book (except Leo Tolstoy) buuut this sounds interesting, especially The Bronze Horseman! By any chance, is any of these YA? 😛 I feel like adult HF is a lot more difficult to get to hahaha

    1. None are YA, but they have such fun, immersive stories, that you will be able to get into them no problem. Especially The Bronze Horseman, since you appreciate love stories (: