Historical Novels: Renaissance Europe and Tudor England

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Novels for Young Adults set during the Renaissance

The British Isles in Tudor and Elizabethan Times
Tudor and Elizabethan Mysteries and Thrillers
Reformation and Renaissance Europe: The Continent
Reformation and Renaissance Mysteries and Thrillers

King Henry VIII by Hans Holbein The Renaissance was an exciting time when the struggle for survival became less desperate for many (if not for the wives of a certain monarch), making way for a flowering of art, music and new ideas. Religious reform was among those new ideas, making life more hazardous for some outspoken Protestants and Catholics. For more information, see the Wikipedia article on the Renaissance. England, France and Italy are especially well represented in historical fiction set during this period, but excellent historical novels have also been set in countries ranging from Ireland to Holland.

Because the Renaissance and Reformation changes arose at different times in different places (earlier in Italy, for example, than in Hungary or Poland), it is impossible to set a date for its beginning that works throughout Europe. If you don't find a novel you're looking for on this page, try the Medieval Europe page. Novels set outside Europe (if they feature a non-European point of view) are listed by location.

The British Isles in Tudor and Elizabethan Times

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Anne Merton Abbey, Kathryn: In the Court of Six Queens (1989), about a fictional lady-in-waiting who served all six of Henry VIII's wives. Review

Peter Ackroyd, The House of Doctor Dee (1993), about a modern London man who begins to have mysterious dreams and visions after he inherits a house owned by Dr. Dee, a mathematician, astrologer and philosopher who served as an adviser to Queen Elizabeth. Review


Laura Andersen, The Boleyn King (2013), a novel of alternate history which imagines the life of the son Anne Boleyn might have had, beginning shortly before his eighteenth birthday; #1 in the Boleyn trilogy.

Laura Andersen, The Boleyn Deceit (2013), a novel of alternate history about the reign of Anne Boleyn's son; #2 in the Boleyn trilogy.

Laura Andersen, The Boleyn Reckoning (2014), a novel of alternate history about Anne Boleyn's daughter, Elizabeth, who must make the choice between loyalty to her brother or to her country amid the threat of invasion; #3 in the Boleyn trilogy.

Laura Andersen, The Virgin's Daughter (2015), a novel of alternate history which imagines Queen Elizabeth I married Philip of Spain and gave birth to a daughter; #1 in the Tudor Legacy trilogy, which follows on from the Boleyn trilogy.

Laura Andersen, The Virgin’s Spy (2015), a novel of alternate history in which Queen Elizabeth's daughter by Philip of Spain is Princess of Wales; #2 in the Tudor Legacy trilogy.


Elizabeth Anthony, Elizabeth, about England's Queen Elizabeth I.

Evelyn Anthony, Anne Boleyn, about Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII.

Aileen Armitage, The Tudor Sisters (2005 reissue; originally published 1974 as Court Cadenza under the name Aileen Quigley), about Mary Boleyn, Anne Boleyn's sister, who was the mistress of Henry VIII and bore him a son before he became infatuated with Anne.

Gillian Bagwell, Venus in Winter (2013), about Bess of Hardwick, whose three marriages during the reign of Henry VIII make her a wealthy and powerful woman.

Michael Baldwin, Dark Lady (1998), a novel which imagines that the "dark lady" of Shakespeare's sonnets was the daughter of a witch.

Ros Barber, The Marlowe Papers (2013), a novel in verse form which imagines that Christopher Marlowe faked his death to avoid being convicted of heresy and continued to write plays under Shakespeare's name.

Jenny Barden, The Lost Duchess (2013), about a lady-in-waiting in Queen Elizabeth's court who travels to the New World as part of the Roanoke Colony founded by Sir Walter Raleigh.

Margaret Campbell Barnes, My Lady of Cleves (1946; also titled The King’s Choice), about Anne of Cleves, the intelligent fourth wife of Henry VIII, who managed to survive their marriage by agreeing to a divorce.

Margaret Campbell Barnes, Brief Gaudy Hour, about Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII.

Anne Clinard Barnhill, At the Mercy of the Queen (2012), about Lady Margaret Shelton, a cousin of Anne Boleyn who goes to Henry VIII's court as Anne's lady-in-waiting.

Anne Clinard Barnhill, Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter (2014), about Mary Shelton, a ward of Elizabeth I, who comes into conflict with the queen over her choice of a husband.

E. Barrington, Anne Boleyn (1932; also published under the pen name L. Adams Beck; both Beck and Barrington were pen names for author Eliza Louisa Moresby Beck), about Anne Boleyn.


Fr. Robert Hugh Benson, By What Authority? (1904), about a Catholic lady-in-waiting in the court of Queen Elizabeth I; complete text at Google Books.

Fr. Robert Hugh Benson, The King's Achievement (1905), about a family's difficulties during the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII; a prequel to By What Authority?; complete text at Google Books.

Fr. Robert Hugh Benson, The Queen's Tragedy (1906), a sympathetic novel about Queen Mary Tudor which focuses on the social devastation resulting from the Reformation in England; forms a trilogy with By What Authority? and The Queen's Tragedy; complete text at Google Books.

Fr. Robert Hugh Benson, Come Rack! Come Rope! (1912), about a Catholic family set at odds when the father renounces the Catholic faith and the son becomes an undercover Jesuit priest during the reign of Henry VIII.


Pauline Bentley, Rogues and Players (1992), about a playwright and his troupe of traveling players in Elizabethan England; a sequel, Fallen Angels, is set in seventeenth century England.

Jesse Blackadder, The Raven's Heart (2011), about a young woman raised as a boy who becomes a confidante and spy for Mary, Queen of Scots. Review or Author Interview

D.L. Bogdan, The Sumerton Women (2012), about two young women whose life dreams are shattered when Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn bring religious upheaval to England.

D.L. Bogdan, The Forgotten Queen (2013), about Margaret Tudor, a sister of Henry VIII who married King James IV of Scotland.

Jane Borodale, The Knot (2012), about Henry Lyte, a Somerset man who pursues botany at the expense of his other responsibilities and finds himself unprepared to fight the malevolence of his stepmother after his father dies.

Caryl Brahms, No Bed for Bacon (1941), a satirical novel about Elizabethan England, in which Shakespeare struggles to write "Love's Labours Wunne" and Walter Raleigh worries about the potato he is cooking for the queen.

Charles Brady, Stage of Fools: A Novel of Sir Thomas More (1953), about the man who was executed for opposing King Henry VIII's divorce and his marriage to Anne Boleyn.


Marie Brennan, Midnight Never Come (2008), historical fantasy about the dark, underground faerie court and the emissary it sends to manipulate Queen Elizabeth's spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham; #1 in the Onyx Court series.

Marie Brennan, In Ashes Lie (2009), historical fantasy about the underground faerie court, which must work in tandem with the human world to protect itself during the Great Fire of London in 1666; #2 in the Onyx Court series.

Marie Brennan, A Star Shall Fall (2010), historical fantasy about a human man in love with a faerie, as the return of Halley's Comet threatens the underground faerie kingdom; #3 in the Onyx Court series.

Marie Brennan, With Fate Conspire (2011), historical fantasy about a young woman searching for her friend, kidnapped by the underground faerie court, as the nineteenth-century underground railroad lines threaten the faerie's kingdom; #4 in the Onyx Court series.


Bryher, The Player's Boy (1953; new edition published 2006), about an apprentice actor in the years after the end of Elizabeth I's reign. Review

Anthony Burgess, Nothing Like the Sun, a bawdy literary novel about Shakespeare's love life.

Anthony Burgess, A Dead Man in Deptford, about Christopher Marlowe, the Elizabethan playwright who was Shakespeare's contemporary and may have been a government spy. Review

John Buchan, Blanket of the Dark, about a young man who discovers he is royal and is being used as the pawn of men who wish to overthrow King Henry VIII.

Elizabeth Byrd, Immortal Queen: Mary Queen of Scots (1956), about the sixteenth century Queen of Scotland who was executed for plotting against Queen Elizabeth I.


Sandra Byrd, To Die For (2011), about Meg Wyatt, a friend of Anne Boleyn who goes with her to the court of Henry VIII, having renounced her love for a young man who has joined the priesthood; Christian message.

Sandra Byrd, The Secret Keeper (2012), about a young woman with clairvoyant gifts who goes to court with Kateryn Parr, Henry VIII's sixth queen.

Sandra Byrd, Roses Have Thorns (2013), about Elin von Snakenborg, a Swedish noblewoman in the court of Elizabeth I.


Robert Carter, Armada (1988), about the struggle of Elizabethan England to become a naval power, from the perspective of two seafaring brothers from Devon,

Anne Chambers, The Geraldine Conspiracy, about the 11-year-old boy who was the last surviving heir of the Irish Geraldine dynasty, and the struggle to save him from the murderous agents of King Henry VIII.

Andrea Chapin, The Tutor (2015), about a thirty-one-year-old widow living in a household disrupted by the murder of the family's secret priest and the subsequent arrival of a new schoolmaster, the quick-witted and flirtatious William Shakespeare.

Ella March Chase, The Virgin Queen's Daughter (2008), a novel which imagines that Queen Elizabeth I had an illegitimate daughter.

Ella March Chase, Three Maids for a Crown (2011), about Jane Grey and her sisters, the beautiful Katherine and the disfigured dwarf Mary, whose parents gamble with their lives out of ambition.

Mavis Cheek, Amenable Women (2008), about a widow who, writing a history of the village where Anne of Cleves lived after her divorce from Henry VIII, hears tales of Anne's life from her portrait in the Louvre. Review

Warwick Collins, The Sonnets (2008), about the young Will Shakespeare during the years when he wrote his sonnets, inspired by the "dark lady."

Stephanie Cowell, Nicholas Cooke, about a young actor in Shakespeare's theater company who wants to be a doctor and a priest.

Stephanie Cowell, The Physician of London (1996), about a priest/doctor and his closest friend, who risk their lives fighting for Charles I in the 1640s; sequel to Nicholas Cooke .

Stephanie Cowell, The Players: A Novel of the Young Shakespeare (1997), about a love triangle from Shakespeare's sonnets between Shakespeare, a beautiful Italian musician and a high court nobleman.

Jim Crace, Harvest (2013), about disaster in a rural English village. Review

Josephine Delves-Broughton, Heart of a Queen (1950), about England's Queen Elizabeth I.

Jude Deveraux, A Knight in Shining Armor (1989), historical romance about a modern woman who falls for an Elizabethan knight transported to the present day, and then (near the end of the novel) time-travels back to his time to try to prevent his execution for treason.

Suzannah Dunn, The Queen of Subtleties, about a woman who served as Henry VIII's confectioner, sculpting "subtleties" out of sugar, during the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn.

Suzannah Dunn, The Sixth Wife, about Katherine Parr, the sixth and surviving wife of Henry VIII, whose subsequent marriage to the handsome and ambitious Thomas Seymour held its own risks.

Suzannah Dunn, The Queen's Sorrow (2008), about a Spanish maker of sundials who accompanies Philip of Spain to England when he marries Queen Mary Tudor of England, known to history as "Bloody Mary.

Suzannah Dunn, The Confession of Katherine Howard (2010), about Katherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII.

Suzannah Dunn, The May Bride (2014), about Jane Seymour, whose whose brother's wife is accused of unfaithfulness and set aside, after which Jane is sent to serve Catherine of Aragon, destined to be another wife set aside by her husband.

Suzannah Dunn, The Lady of Misrule (2015), about Elizabeth Tilney, the young Catholic woman who volunteered to serve as Protestant Lady Jane Grey's companion during her imprisonment in the Tower of London.


Dorothy Dunnett, The Game of Kings (1961), about a Scottish swordsman who returns secretly to his homeland in defiance of a treason charge; #1 in the Lymond Chronicles. Review

Dorothy Dunnett, Queens' Play (1964), about a sixteenth-century Scot who goes to France with the covert mission of protecting the child Mary Queen of Scots in the French court; #2 in the Lymond Chronicles. Review

Dorothy Dunnett, The Disorderly Knights (1966), about a Scot who goes to Malta in 1551 to help defend it from a threatened Turkish attack; #3 in the Lymond Chronicles. Review

Dorothy Dunnett, Pawn in Frankincense (1969), about a Scot on a mission to the Ottoman Empire, where he also searches for a missing child; #4 in the Lymond Chronicles. Review

Dorothy Dunnett, The Ringed Castle (1971), about a Scot who becomes an adviser to the Russian tsar Ivan the Terrible; #5 in the Lymond Chronicles. Review

Dorothy Dunnett, Checkmate (1975), about a Scot who goes to France to lead an army against England; #6 in the Lymond Chronicles. Review


Olive Eckerson, My Lord Essex (1955), about the love affair between Queen Elizabeth I and the Earl of Essex.


Kate Emerson, The Pleasure Palace (2009), historical romance about Jane Popyngcourt, a companion of Henry VII's daughters, who becomes the mistress of a French prisoner of war during the reign of Henry VIII; #1 in the Secrets of the Tudor Court series.

Kate Emerson, Between Two Queens (2010), about a lady-in-waiting who catches the eye of Henry VIII after the death of Jane Seymour; #2 in the Secrets of the Tudor Court series.

Kate Emerson, By Royal Decree (2010), about a young woman brought to the court of the aging Henry VIII because of her beauty who falls in love with a divorced man and finds that what the king approves for himself is not necessarily open to others; #3 in the Secrets of the Tudor Court series.

Kate Emerson, At the King’s Pleasure (2011), about the beautiful Anne Stafford, a lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon, and who is already married and in love with another man when King Henry VIII expresses interest in her; #4 in the Secrets of the Tudor Court series.

Kate Emerson, The King’s Damsel (2012), about a young gentlewoman who becomes the mistress of Henry VIII after he marries Anne Boleyn; #5 in the Secrets of the Tudor Court series.

Kate Emerson, Royal Inheritance (2013), about a young woman who has grown up believing herself the illegitimate daughter of the king's tailor but begins to suspect her true father is Henry VIII; #6 in the Secrets of the Tudor Court series.


Carolly Erickson, The Favored Queen (2011), about Jane Seymour, Henry VIII's third wife. Review

Carolly Erickson, Rival to the Queen (2010), about Lettice Knollys, the second wife of Elizabeth I's favorite Robert Dudley. Review or Author Interview

Carolly Erickson, The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots (2009), the story of Mary, Queen of Scots, told in the form of a memoir.

Carolly Erickson, The Unfaithful Queen (2012), about Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of King Henry VIII.

Carolly Erickson, The Spanish Queen (2013), a "historical entertainment" about Catherine of Aragon.


Eleanor Fairburn, The White Seahorse (1966), about the female Irish pirate Gráinne Ní Mháille (Grace O’Malley).

Cerridwen Fallingstar, The Heart of the Fire (1990), about a witch in a sixteenth-century Scottish coven, said by the author to be about a remembered past-life experience.

Marina Fiorato, Beatrice and Benedick (2015), a novel which imagines the younger lives of the witty lovers in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.

Alan Fisk, Forty Testoons, about a young English priest ministering to fishermen in Newfoundland during the winter of 1504.

Ford Madox Ford, The Fifth Queen, a literary novel about Katharine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII.

James Forrester, Sacred Treason (2010), a thriller about Anne Boleyn's first marriage and her interest in Luther's teachings; #1 in the Clarenceux trilogy.

James Forrester, The Roots of Betrayal (2011), a thriller about a Catholic official in Elizabethan England who must recover a dangerous document stolen while it was in his custody; #2 in the Clarenceux trilogy.

James Forrester, The Final Sacrament (2012), about a London man in 1566 who has a politically dangerous document in his possession; #3 in the Clarenceux trilogy.

George MacDonald Fraser, The Candlemass Road (1993), a novella about the violent raiding on the sixteenth century border between England and Scotland.

Elizabeth Fremantle, Queen’s Gambit (2013), about Katharine Parr, the sixth and last wife of Henry VIII; #1 in the Tudor trilogy.

Elizabeth Fremantle, Sisters of Treason (2014), about Lady Jane Grey's sisters during the reigns of Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I; #2 in the Tudor trilogy.

Laurien Gardner, The Spanish Bride: A Novel of Catherine of Aragon, about Henry VIII's first wife, who believed she had married her chivalrous ideal.

Laurien Gardner, A Lady Raised High: A Novel of Anne Boleyn, about Henry VIII's second wife, who held out for marriage when he wanted to make her his mistress.

Laurien Gardner, Plain Jane: A Novel of Jane Seymour (2006), about Henry VIII's third wife, who had no suitors and little hope of marriage before she attracted his attention.

George Garrett, Death of the Fox (1971), a literary novel about Sir Walter Raleigh; #1 in the Elizabethan trilogy.

George Garrett, The Succession, a literary novel about Queen Elizabeth I of England and King James VI of Scotland; #2 in the Elizabethan trilogy.

George Garrett, Entered from the Sun: The Murder of Marlowe, a literary novel about the murder of the Renaissance playwright Christopher Marlowe; #3 in the Elizabethan trilogy.

Ginger Garrett, In the Shadow of Lions (2008), a story narrated by an angel about Anne Boleyn and her efforts to reform the Church, bringing the Protestant revolution to England, and support an English translation of the Bible; Christian message; #1 in the Chronicles of the Scribe series.

Ginger Garrett, In the Arms of Immortals (2008), a story narrated by an angel about the Catholic Church's efforts to prevent the scientific study of medicine amid the disaster of the Black Death epidemic in Italy; Christian message; #2 in the Chronicles of the Scribe series.


Margaret George, The Autobiography of Henry VIII, With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers (1986), a comic literary novel about King Henry VIII.

Margaret George, Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles (1992), about Mary Queen of Scots.

Margaret George, Elizabeth I (2011), a biographical novel about Queen Elizabeth I. Review at the Washington Post


Rosemary Goring, After Flodden (2013), about a Scottish survivor of the Battle of Flodden Field and the woman who asks him to help her find out whether her brother survived the battle.

Rosemary Goring, Dacre's War (2015), about the leader of a Scottish clan who in 1523 seeks revenge on the powerful Englishman who killed his father.

Winston Graham, The Grove of Eagles (1963), about a family defending the coast of Cornwall in the aftermath of the Spanish Armada.


Philippa Gregory, The Other Queen (2008), about Mary Queen of Scots during the years of her imprisonment.

Philippa Gregory, The Other Boleyn Girl, about Mary Boleyn and her more famous sister Anne; gives a different, less sympathetic perspective on Anne than most novels about her life.

Philippa Gregory, The Queen's Fool (2003), about a young woman who dresses as a boy to serve in the Renaissance court of Queen Elizabeth I.

Philippa Gregory, The Virgin's Lover, about Amy Dudley, the wife of Queen Elizabeth's admirer Robert Dudley; shows Queen Elizabeth in a less flattering light than most novels about her.

Philippa Gregory, The Constant Princess, about Katherine of Aragon, King Henry VIII's first wife.

Philippa Gregory, The Boleyn Inheritance, about Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard, the fourth and fifth wives of Henry VIII.

Philippa Gregory, The Wise Woman, about a former nun who must fend for herself after Henry VIII closes her convent.

Philippa Gregory, The White Princess (2013), about Elizabeth of York, the sister of the "Princes in the Tower" and wife of Henry VII, the first Tudor king. Review

Philippa Gregory, The Taming of the Queen (2016), about Kateryn Parr, the sixth and last wife of Henry VIII.


Andrew Greig, Fair Helen (2013), about a man who returns to the Scottish Borderlands to help an old friend who has fallen in love with a young woman also being courted by a violent and powerful man; based on the Scottish ballad "Fair Helen of Kirkconnel Lea."

Sarah Gristwood, The Girl in the Mirror (2011), about an exiled French girl who grows up in London, disguised as a boy, where she finds work as a clerk and during the last years of Elizabeth's reign and becomes drawn into the intrigue surrounding the Earl of Essex; published in the U.K. and not readily available in the U.S.

Francis Hackett, Queen Anne Boleyn (1939), about Anne Bolyen.


Diane Haeger, The Secret Bride, about Mary Tudor, the younger sister of King Henry VIII.

Diane Haeger, The Queen's Mistake (2009), about Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII.

Diane Haeger, The Queen’s Rival (2011), about Elizabeth Blount, an early mistress of Henry VIII who bore him a son during the time he was married to Katherine of Aragon.

Diane Haeger, I, Jane: In the Court of Henry VIII (2012), about Jane Seymour, the third wife of Henry VIII.


Mollie Hardwick, Blood Royal (1988), about Anne Boleyn and her sister Mary.

Deborah Harkness, Shadow of Night (2012), historical fantasy about a witch and a vampire who join Walter Raleigh's "School of Night" group; sequel to A Discovery of Witches, which takes place in the present.


Karen Harper, The Last Boleyn (1983; originally published under the title Passion's Reign), about Mary Boleyn, sister of Anne and a mistress of Henry VIII for a time.

Karen Harper, The Queen's Governess (2010), about Katherine Ashley, the country girl hired by Thomas Cromwell as a spy and lady-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn, who became governess to the future Queen Elizabeth I.

Karen Harper, Mistress Shakespeare (2009), about Anne Whatley, betrothed to William Shakespeare a few days before he was forced to wed the pregnant Anne Hathaway. Review

Karen Harper, The Irish Princess (2011), about "the fair Geraldine," Elizabeth Fitzgerald, an Irish princess whose family is the target of brutal repression by Henry VIII, but who eventually becomes a trusted lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth I.


Pamela Hartshorne, Time's Echo (2012), about a present-day woman who returns to York after her godmother's death and finds herself haunted by a girl drowned as a witch in 1577.

Pamela Hartshorne, The Memory of Midnight (2013), about a woman in Elizabethan York married to the brutal brother of the man she really loves, and a woman in modern-day York who has left her husband and begins having memories of a life in Elizabethan times.

Pamela Hartshorne, House of Shadows (2015), about a woman with amnesia who, as her memory begins to return, can recall only the life of a woman in the time of Elizabeth I.

Alice Harwood, The Star of the Greys (1939), about Jane Grey's younger sister Katherine, who married Edward Seymour, the Earl of Hertford, without royal consent; out of print and not readily available.

Molly Costain Haycraft, The Reluctant Queen (1962), about Henry VIII's sister Mary.

Katie Hickman, The Aviary Gate (2008), about an Englishman in 1599 who discovers evidence that the woman he once loved may now be a captive in the sultan's harem in Constantinople, set within a frame story about a modern researcher who discovers a centuries-old document with the key to the woman's story.

Katie Hickman, The Pindar Diamond (2010), about an English merchant working in Venice who becomes obsessed with acquiring the Sultan's Blue, a gigantic blue diamond; sequel to The Aviary Gate.

Joanna Hickson, The Tudor Bride (2015), about Katherine of Valois, the French bride of King Henry V of England.

Susan Higginbotham, Her Highness, The Traitor (2012), about Lady Jane Grey.

David Wesley Hill, At Drake's Command (2012), about a cook who serves on Francis Drake's ship during his second circumnavigation of the world; self-published.

Pamela Hill, Green Salamander (1977), about Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox, whose son Lord Darnley married Mary Queen of Scots.

Tobias Hill, The Love of Stones, about a modern woman searching for a jewel once owned by Queen Elizabeth I.

Victoria Holt, My Enemy the Queen, about Lettice Knollys, second wife of Queen Elizabeth's favorite, the Earl of Leicester.

Sarah A. Hoyt, No Will But His (2010), about Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII.


C.C. Humphreys, The French Executioner (2001), about a French swordsman hired to behead Anne Boleyn, and his vow to bury her six-fingered hand, symbol of witchcraft, at a crossroads; #1 in the French Executioner series.

C.C. Humphreys, Blood Ties (2003; also titled The Curse of Anne Boleyn ), about the son of the aging French swordsman who beheaded Anne Boleyn, and the Roman cardinal who summons him to find her missing hand; #2 in the French Executioner series.

C.C. Humphreys, Shakespeare's Rebel (2013), about a friend of Shakespeare who hopes to avoid being caught up with the court intrigues and military adventures of the Earl of Essex.


Bruce Hutchison, Love's Labor Lost (2013), a novel about Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, which portrays him as both the father of a secret child of Elizabeth I and the author of Shakepeare's plays; self-published.


Margaret Irwin, Young Bess (1944), about the life of Elizabeth Tudor before she became Queen of England; #1 in the Good Queen Bess trilogy. Review

Margaret Irwin, Elizabeth: Captive Princess (1948), about the life of Elizabeth Tudor before she became Queen of England; #2 in the Good Queen Bess trilogy. Review

Margaret Irwin, Elizabeth and the Prince of Spain (1953), about the complicated relationship between Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip of Spain, the husband of her sister, Queen Mary Tudor; #3 in the Good Queen Bess trilogy. Review

Margaret Irwin, The Galliard: The Great Love of Mary Queen of Scots (1941; originally titled The Gay Galliard), about Mary Queen of Scots and the Earl of Bothwell.


Geoffrey James, Sorcerer: A Novel of Queen Elizabeth's Alchemist (2013), about the flight of Dr. John Dee across Europe in 1584 after he turns from respectable scientific pursuits to forbidden magic.

Kathryn Johnson, The Gentleman Poet (2010), about a maidservant shipwrecked on an island with her demanding mistress and a disguised William Shakespeare. Review or Author Interview

Michele Kallio, Betrayal (2011), about a present-day woman who begins dreaming about a life as a lady's maid to Anne Boleyn and then receives a copy of the maid's diary; self-published.

Susan Kay, Legacy (1985), about Queen Elizabeth I.

Faye Kellerman, The Quality of Mercy (1989), about the daughter of Queen Elizabeth's physician, a Jew who must practice the religion in secret, who meets young Will Shakespeare and goes adventuring with him.

Sarah Kennedy, The Altarpiece (2013), about a prioress's adopted daughter in Yorkshire during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1535; #1 in the Cross and the Crown series.

Sarah Kennedy, City of Ladies (2014), about a former nun evicted from her convent during the Dissolution, who goes to stay with Princess Elizabeth and the displaced Mary Tudor during the reign of Henry VIII; #2 in the Cross and the Crown series.


Barbara Kyle, The Queen's Lady (2008), about a lady-in-waiting to Henry VIII's queen Catherine of Aragon who enlists a roguish sea captain in her risky efforts to aid her mistress; #1 in the Thornleigh Saga series.

Barbara Kyle, The King's Daughter (2009), about a young woman who risks all, enlisting the aid of a Spanish soldier of fortune in her scheme to save her father from the fate of a condemned heretic during the reign of Bloody Mary; #2 in the Thornleigh Saga series.

Barbara Kyle, The Queen's Captive (2010), about a family which returns from exile to help Princess Elizabeth survive and retain her place in the succession during the reign of Bloody Mary; #3 in the Thornleigh Saga series.

Barbara Kyle, The Queen's Gamble (2011), about a Catholic woman who returns to England from Peru after she hears her mother has been charged with murder; #4 in the Thornleigh Saga series.

Barbara Kyle, Blood Between Queens (2013), about a young woman sent to spy on Mary Queen of Scots; #5 in the Thornleigh Saga series.

Barbara Kyle, The Queen's Exiles (2014), about a Scottish woman who makes her living salvaging damaged ships who teams up with an English baron to find his traitorous wife and their children; #6 in the Thornleigh Saga.

Barbara Kyle, The Traitor’s Daughter (2015), about a husband-and-wife team of spies who discover a plot against Queen Elizabeth; #7 in the Thornleigh saga.


Mercedes Lackey and Roberta Gellis, This Scepter'd Isle (2004), historical fantasy about the legendary Sidhe people and their efforts to protect the young Princess Elizabeth so she can grow up to become queen; #1 in the Doubled Edge series.

Mercedes Lackey and Roberta Gellis, Ill Met By Moonlight (2005), historical fantasy about the legendary Sidhe people and their efforts to protect the eight-year-old Princess Elizabeth; #2 in the Doubled Edge series.

Mercedes Lackey and Roberta Gellis, By Slanderous Tongues (2007), historical fantasy about the legendary Sidhe people and their efforts to protect the fourteen-year-old Princess Elizabeth during the reign of her brother; #3 in the Doubled Edge series.

Mercedes Lackey and Roberta Gellis, And Less Than Kind (2008), historical fantasy about the legendary Sidhe people and their efforts to protect Princess Elizabeth as Edward VI lies dying and Princess Mary is groomed to become queen; #4 in the Doubled Edge series.


Dinah Lampitt, Pour the Dark Wine (1989), about the rise and fall of the Seymour family in Tudor England, especially Jane, the third wife of Henry VIII, and Thomas, who married Henry's widow and became close to the young Princess Elizabeth.

Jane Lane, Sow the Tempest (1960), about Anne Boleyn.

Julianne Lee, A Question of Guilt: A Novel of Mary Stuart and the Death of Henry Darnley (2008), about a Scottish-born English merchant's wife who, three days after the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, sets out to prove her innocent by uncovering the real truth, an investigation that plunges her into danger.

Julianne Lee, Her Mother's Daughter (2009), a sympathetic novel about Queen Mary I of England, the daughter of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon, narrated by Mary.

Doris Leslie, The King's Traitor (1958; also titled As the Tree Falls), historical romance about a couple who meet as children in the court of Henry VIII and fall in love during the reign of his son Edward.

Hilda Lewis, I Am Mary Tudor (1971), about Mary Tudor, who became queen of England after the death of her father, Henry VIII.

Hilda Lewis, Rose of England (1977), about Mary Tudor, the youngest sister of Henry VIII.

Hilda Lewis, Heart of a Rose (1978), about Mary Tudor, the youngest sister of Henry VIII.

Freda Lightfoot, The Queen and the Courtesan (2012), about Henriette d'Entragues, the mistress of King Henry IV of France, and her ambition to become queen.

Philip Lindsay, One Dagger For Two (1932), about Christopher Marlowe, the Elizabethan playwright who was Shakespeare's contemporary.

Morgan Llywelyn, The Last Prince of Ireland (1992; also titled O'Sullivan's March), about Donal Cam O'Sullivan and the Battle of Kinsale in 1601, in which England established its sovereignty over Ireland and ended the rule of the Irish kings.

Morgan Llywelyn, Grania: She-King of the Irish Seas, based on the life of a woman pirate in sixteenth century Ireland.


Norah Lofts, Bless This House (1954; also titled Queens House), about the generations of people who live in an English house from the time of Queen Elizabeth through the following centures.

Norah Lofts, The Concubine (1963), about Anne Boleyn's rise to Queen of England and her fall from grace when she fails to give Henry VIII a male heir. Review

Norah Lofts, The King's Pleasure (1969), about Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of King Henry VIII.

Norah Lofts, Here Was a Man (1970), about Sir Walter Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth I.

Norah Lofts, The Old Priory (1981), a family saga beginning in 1590 when a young sailor acquires the ruins of an old priory despite local legends that say it was cursed when King Henry VIII turned out the monks.


Elizabeth Loupas, The Flower Reader (2012), about a Scottish woman who can see the future in flowers and whose husband is murdered shortly after she is given a mysterious casket to deliver to Mary Queen of Scots.

Alison Macleod, The Trusted Servant (1968; also titled The Hireling), about a fictional assassin sent to Italy by Henry VIII to do away with Cardinal Pole.

Marie Macpherson, The First Blast of the Trumpet (2012), about Scottish reformer John Knox from his childhood into his mid-thirties; #1 in a planned trilogy.

Jenny Mandeville, A Crown of Despair (2013), about Katherine Parr, the sixth and last wife of Henry VIII.

Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall (2009), about Thomas Cromwell, who becomes King Henry VIII's adviser after Cardinal Wolsey's downfall due to his failure to help the king end his marriage to Katherine of Aragon so he can wed Anne Boleyn. Review

Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies (2012), about Henry VIII's adviser Thomas Cromwell during the period when Henry becomes disenchanted with Anne Boleyn and enamored of Jane Seymour; sequel to Wolf Hall. Review

D.K. Marley, Blood and Ink (2010), a novel about the playwright Christopher Marlowe which explores the idea that he may have written the plays of Shakespeare.

Rhona Martin, Gallows Wedding (1978), a dark story about a young woman who marries a man condemned to execution.

Rhona Martin, The Unicorn Summer (1984), about an heiress in Elizabethan England who flees her brutal stepfather and finds a haven in the criminal underworld of London.

A.E.W. Mason, Fire Over England (1936), about England under the threat of the Spanish Armada during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

F. van Wyck Mason, Golden Admiral (1953), about Sir Francis Drake and his efforts to defend England against the Spanish Armada.

F. van Wyck Mason, Log Cabin Noble (1973), about an effort to salvage the sixteenth-century Spanish treasure ship Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion.


Robin Maxwell, Virgin: Prelude to the Throne, about young Elizabeth, the future queen.

Robin Maxwell, The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn, a novel about Queen Elizabeth I and her mother, Anne Boleyn.

Robin Maxwell, Mademoiselle Boleyn, about Anne Boleyn and her sister Mary.

Robin Maxwell, The Queen's Bastard, based on the speculation of some historians that Elizabeth I may have had a child by the Earl of Leicester.

Robin Maxwell, The Wild Irish, about Queen Elizabeth I and the Irish pirate Grace O'Malley.


May McGoldrick, Angel of Skye (1996), historical romance about a Highland warrior who rescues a young woman who, unknown to either of them, is the illegitimate daughter of King James IV; #1 in the MacPherson Clan series; self-published.

May McGoldrick, Heart of Gold (1996), historical romance about an artist who falls in love with a Scottish diplomat; #2 in the MacPherson Clan series.

May McGoldrick, The Beauty of the Mist (1997), historical romance about a young woman who flees her betrothal to the next king of Scotland only to fall for the commander of the ship she escapes on; #3 in the MacPherson Clan series.

May McGoldrick, The Intended (1997), about a young Scottish woman in England who has an unexpected opportunity to rekindle the flames of an old romance; #4 in the MacPherson Clan series.

May McGoldrick, Flame (1997), historical romance about a young woman who vows revenge after her parents are killed when their castle burns; #5 in the MacPherson Clan series.


Betty McInnes, The Lady on the Loch (2011), about a seamstress who becomes drawn into a secret plan to provide the imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots with clothing suitable for a queen.

Elisabeth McNeill, Blood Royal (2008), about a pedlar who first sees Mary Queen of Scots as a baby and becomes drawn into her life.

Susan Meissner, Lady in Waiting (2010), about a modern woman whose husband has left her who finds an old ring in a jumble sale which links her life to that of the nine-days-queen, Lady Jane Grey; Christian message.

Rosalind Miles, I, Elizabeth, a straightforward historical novel about Queen Elizabeth I by an author who usually writes in the fantasy genre.

Pérrine Moncrieff, The Rise and Fall of David Riccio (1976), about a fictional secretary to Mary, Queen of Scots; New Zealand publication hard to find outside Australasia.

Nicholas Monsarrat, Running Proud (1978) about an Elizabethan seaman doomed to live and sail the seas until the end of time; #1 in the two-book Master Mariner series, also published in a single volume as The Master Mariner.

Nicholas Monsarrat, Darken Ship: The Unfinished Novel (1980) about an Elizabethan seaman doomed to live and sail the seas until the end of time, with the ending provided via notes and outlines left by the author on his death; #2 in the two-book Master Mariner series, also published in a single volume in 2000 as The Master Mariner.

Fidelis Morgan, My Dark Rosaleen (1994), about an Irish boy during the Renaissance, an Irishwoman during the Easter Rising, and her granddaughter during World War II.

Jude Morgan, The Secret Life of William Shakespeare (2012), about William Shakespeare and his wife Anne Hathaway.


Gilbert Morris, Honor in the Dust (2009), about an impoverished young man given a place at Henry VIII's court who struggles with his conscience when he is asked to deliver Bible translator William Tyndale for execution; Christian message; #1 in the Winslow Breed trilogy.

Gilbert Morris, When the Heavens Fall (2010), about a young man who sinks into vice after being expelled from the army but finds his conscience when he witnesses executions of Protestants during Mary Tudor's reign; Christian message; #2 in the Winslow Breed trilogy.

Gilbert Morris, As the Sparks Fly Upward (2011), about a gentle young man whose career in medicine during the reign of Elizabeth I brings him into contact with high court officials and a role in political intrigue; Christian message; #3 in the Winslow Breed trilogy.


William Napier, The Great Siege (2010), about a sixteen-year-old English boy who fights in the Siege of Malta in 1565; #1 in the Clash of Empires series.

William Napier, The Red Sea (2012; also titled The Blood Red Sea), about two young Englishmen caught up in the Ottoman attack on Cyprus in 1571; #2 in the Clash of Empires series.

William Napier, The Last Crusaders: Ivan the Terrible (2014), about an Englishmen sent on a diplomatic mission to Constantinople and then Russia after the czar proposes marriage to Queen Elizabeth; #3 in the Clash of Empires series.


Harry Nicholson, Tom Fleck (2012), about a farmworker who is also a gifted archer during the years leading up to the Battle of Flodden Field; self-published.

Diana Norman, The Pirate Queen (1991), about Grace O'Malley, an Irishwoman who turned pirate during the reign of Elizabeth I.

Robert Nye, Falstaff (1976), a bawdy novel written in the form of the memoirs of Shakespeare's character Falstaff as an old man.

Robert Nye, Mrs. Shakespeare: The Complete Works (1993), a bawdy novel written in the form of Anne Shakespeare's memoirs.

Robert Nye, The Voyage of the Destiny (2003), about the final voyage of Sir Walter Raleigh.

Jane Oliver, Flame of Fire (1961), about the English Protestant Willam Tyndale, who translated the Bible into English and was burned at the stake after being caught in Catholic Antwerp in 1535.

Jane Oliver, The Lion and the Rose (1958), about Mary Queen of Scots.

Neil Oliver, Master of Shadows (2015), about a boy with an unusual sensory ability who grows up in Scotland and travels to Constantinople, where his life intersects with that of Prince Constantine and a mysterious woman as the Turks plan an assault on the city.

Sally O'Reilly, Dark Aemilia (2014), about Aemilia Bassano, a poet who lived during Shakespeare's time and may have been the "dark lady" of his sonnets.

Sonia Overall, A Likeness (2005), about a humbly born portrait painter struggling to make his fortune in Elizabethan England with the help of a courtesan who likes paint.

Robert Parry, Virgin and the Crab (2009), about John Dee and Elizabeth Tudor during their adolescent years after the death of Henry VIII; self-published.


Maureen Peters, Katheryn the Wanton Queen (1967), about Katherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII.

Maureen Peters, Mary, The Infamous Queen (1968), about Mary Tudor.

Maureen Peters, Anne, The Rose Of Hever (1969), about Anne Boleyn.

Maureen Peters, Princess of Desire (1970), about Mary Tudor, the sister of Henry VIII and wife of Louis XII of France, who following King Louis's death secretly married Charles Brandon, the first Duke of Suffolk, in defiance of her brother's wishes.


Jean Plaidy, St. Thomas's Eve (1954; also titled The King's Confidante), about Sir Thomas More, who was executed for opposing King Henry VIII's divorce and subsequent marriage to Anne Boleyn, and his daughter Margaret Roper.

Jean Plaidy, Katharine, the Virgin Widow (1961), about Katharine of Aragon's brief marriage to Prince Arthur and her fate afterward, which hinged on whether the marriage was consummated; #1 in the Katharine of Aragon trilogy (collected in a single edition as Katharine of Aragon).

Jean Plaidy, The Shadow of the Pomegranate (1962), about the marriage of Katherine of Aragon and King Henry VIII; #2 in the Katharine of Aragon trilogy (collected in a single edition as Katharine of Aragon).

Jean Plaidy, The King's Secret Matter (1962), about Katharine of Aragon's struggle to preserve her marriage after Henry VIII becomes infatuated with Anne Boleyn; #3 in the Katharine of Aragon trilogy (collected in a single edition as Katharine of Aragon).

Jean Plaidy, Katharine of Aragon, a new edition of the Katharine of Aragon trilogy about the first wife of King Henry VIII, with all three novels (see above) collected in a single volume; #1 in the Wives of Henry VIII series.

Jean Plaidy, Murder Most Royal (1949; also titled The King's Pleasure), about Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard.

Jean Plaidy, The Lady in the Tower (1986), about Anne Boleyn; #2 in the Wives of Henry VIII series.

Jean Plaidy, The Rose Without a Thorn (1993), about Katherine Howard; in the Wives of Henry VIII series.

Jean Plaidy, The Sixth Wife (1953), about Katherine Parr; in the Wives of Henry VIII series.

Jean Plaidy, The Thistle and the Rose (1963), about Henry VIII's sister Margaret, the wife of James IV of Scotland.

Jean Plaidy, Mary, Queen of France (1964), about Henry VIII's sister Mary Rose.

Jean Plaidy, The Spanish Bridegroom (1954), about the courtship of Philip of Spain and Mary Tudor.

Jean Plaidy, Gay Lord Robert (1955; titled Lord Robert in more recent editions), about Queen Elizabeth's favorite Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester; when originally published, "gay" simply meant cheerful and fun-loving.

Jean Plaidy, The Royal Road to Fotheringay (1955; also titled Mary, Queen of Scotland: The Triumphant Year), about Mary, Queen of Scots, from her childhood up to her capture and imprisonment at Fotheringay Castle.

Jean Plaidy, The Captive Queen of Scots (1963), about Mary Queen of Scots.

Jean Plaidy, Queen of This Realm (1984), about Queen Elizabeth I.


James Pool, E. Rex: Tudor England's Young King (2010), about Henry VIII's son and heir, Edward, from the age of seven when his training to become king begins; self-published.

H.F.M. (Hilda) Prescott, The Man on a Donkey, Part I and Part II (1952), about the unrest following King Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries.


Brandy Purdy, The Boleyn Wife (2010; previously self-published under the title Vengeance is Mine), about George Boleyn, his sister Anne, and his wife Lady Jane Rochford, whose accusation that Anne and George had committed incest resulted in their executions.

Brandy Purdy, The Tudor Throne (2011; also published in the U.K. as Mary and Elizabeth under the pen name Emily Purdy), about King Henry VIII's daughters Mary and Elizabeth in the years after his death.

Brandy Purdy, The Queen’s Pleasure (2012), about Elizabeth I's favorite Robert Dudley and his wife Amy Robsart, whose death brings him under suspicion.

Brandy Purdy, The Queen’s Rivals (2013), about Lady Jane Grey and her sisters.

Brandy Purdy, The Boleyn Bride (2014), about Elizabeth Boleyn, the mother of Anne and Mary.


Leon Rooke, Shakespeare's Dog, about Shakespeare and his wife, narrated by their dog. Review at The New York Times

Judith Merkle Riley, The Serpent Garden, about a woman miniature-painter in the time of King Henry VIII.

Keith Roberts, Pavane (1968), an alternative history novel which imagines that Queen Elizabeth was assassinated in 1588.

Felicia Rogers, There Your Heart Will Be Also (2011), historical romance about an English lord's daughter who takes measures to keep suitors at bay after her father dies, and a dispossessed Scot who comes to fight for England; Christian message.

Christopher Rush, Will (2007), a bawdy and violent imagining of Shakespeare's life, narrated by the ailing playwright as he dictates his will to his lawyer.

Arliss Ryan, The Secret Confessions of Anne Shakespeare (2010), a novel which imagines that William Shakespeare's wife was his secret collaborator.

Rafael Sabatini, The Sea Hawk, about a sixteenth century Cornishman who joins a group of Barbary pirates.

Judith Saxton, The Bright Day is Done (1974), historical romance about Amy Robsart, the wife of Queen Elizabeth's favorite Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester.

Judith Saxton, The Queen's Corsair (1999), historical romance about Mary Newman, the wife of Sir Francis Drake.

Judith Saxton, Sir Walter’s Lady (2002), historical romance about Bess Throckmorton, who angers Queen Elizabeth by falling in love with and marrying Sir Walter Raleigh.

Simon Scarrow, Sword and Scimitar (2012), about a disgraced knight sent to Malta to recover an important document in 1565 as the Ottoman Siege of Malta is about to begin.

Lawrence Schoonover, To Love a Queen: Walter Raleigh and Elizabeth R. (1973), about Sir Walter Raleigh.

Anya Seton, Green Darkness, about a modern woman who must travel in time to the Tudor period to regain her health.

Mary Sharratt, The Dark Lady’s Mask (2016), a novel which imagines that Aemilia Bassano Lanier, the first professional woman poet in Renaissance England, was the "dark lady" of Shakespeare's sonnet.

Beatrice Small, Blaze Wyndham (1988), historical romance about a young widow who catches the eye of Henry VIII.

Beatrice Small, Love, Remember Me (1994), historical romance about a lady-in-waiting in Henry VIII's court who draws the king's wrath; sequel to Blaze Wyndham.

John Stack, Armada (2012), about a captain in Sir Francis Drake's navy who is a secret Catholic and, when the Spanish Armada attacks, must face his estranged father, who is fighting for the Spanish.

Charlotte St. George, The Most Happy (2012), about Anne Boleyn from her years at the French court to her death; self-published.

Charlotte St. George, The Last Tudor (2012), about Queen Elizabeth I; self-published.

Rosemary Sutcliff, Lady in Waiting (1957), about Bess Throckmorton, the wife of Sir Walter Raleigh.

Beverly Swerling, Bristol House (2013), about a present-day historian researching the Tudor-era "Jew of Holborn" and her ghostly visitor, a Carthusian monk who greatly resembles an investigative reporter who offers help with her quest.

Reay Tannahill, Fatal Majesty: A Novel of Mary Queen of Scots (1998), about the religious conflicts stirred up by the return of the Catholic Mary to Scotland.

Grace Tiffany, My Father Had a Daughter, about William Shakespeare's daughter Judith.

Grace Tiffany, Will, about William Shakespeare's youth.


Nigel Tranter, The Riven Realm (1984), about David Lindsay and David Beaton during the years after the disaster of Flodden Field when King James V inherited the throne as a 17-month-old baby; #1 in the James V trilogy.

Nigel Tranter, James by the Grace of God (1985), about David Lindsay and David Beaton, court officials and advisers to the young King James V; #2 in the James V trilogy.

Nigel Tranter, Rough Wooing (1987), about David Lindsay and David Beaton, court officials and advisers to the promiscuous King James V; #3 in the James V trilogy.

Nigel Tranter, A Stake in the Kingdom (1966), about the sixteenth century Scottish Cardinal David Beaton.

Nigel Tranter, Marie and Mary (2004), about two queens who ruled Scotland during the sixteenth century: Marie de Guise, who succeeded her husband James V, and Mary Queen of Scots.

Nigel Tranter, The Marchman (1997), about John Maxwell, a laird on the western borderlands with England, and supporter of Mary Queen of Scots.

Nigel Tranter, Warden of the Queen's March (1989), about Sir Thomas Kerr, a loyal supporter of Mary Queen of Scots.

Nigel Tranter, The Queen's Grace (1953), about the young Highland laird Patrick Gorden and Mary Queen of Scots.

Nigel Tranter, A Rage of Regents (1996), about the Carmichaels of Lanarkshire during the troubled period after Mary Queen of Scots fled to England and was imprisoned there.

Nigel Tranter, Right Royal Friend (2003), about the young King James VI and his Cupbearer and Master of the Horse David Murray.

Nigel Tranter, Children of the Mist (1992), about the head of the Clan MacGregor and the events leading up to the clan's condemnation and expulsion from their lands.


Judy Turner, Cousin to the Queen: The Story of Lettice Knollys (1972), about Lettice Knollys, a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth, who had an affair with Elizabeth's favorite, the Earl of Leicester, and later married him; Judy Turner is a pen name used by author Judith Saxton, and editions of this novel have been published under both names; out of print and not readily available.


Harry Turtledove, Opening Atlantis (2007), alternative history about the discovery by Europe of an eighth continent, located between Europe and the Americas, in 1452; #1 in the Atlantis series.

Harry Turtledove, The United States of Atlantis (2008), alternative history about the settlers of an eighth continent, located between Europe and the Americas, and their rebellion against England; #2 in the Atlantis series.

Harry Turtledove, Liberating Atlantis (2009), alternative history about a black slave in an eighth continent, located between Europe and the Americas, and the revolution he leads; #3 in the Atlantis series.


Brenda Rickman Vantrease, The Heretic's Wife (2010), about a woman who, with her brother, manages a bookseller's shop selling forbidden translations of the Bible during the time before Henry VIII's marriage to Anne Boleyn makes Reformation sympathies less dangerous.

Peter Walker, The Courier's Tale (2010), about the courier who carries messages to Cardinal Reginald Pole in Rome as Henry VIII contemplates a break with the Catholic Church so he can wed Anne Boleyn. Review

Beryl Walthew, The Queen's Rival (1978), about Lettice Knollys, a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth, who had an affair with Elizabeth's favorite, the Earl of Leicester, and later married him; out of print and not readily available.

Beryl Walthew, Sister to Essex (1979), about Lettice Knollys and her three children; sequel to The Queen's Rival.


Alison Weir, Innocent Traitor (2007), about Lady Jane Grey, who was Queen of England for nine days.

Alison Weir, The Lady Elizabeth (2008), about Elizabeth Tudor before she became Queen of England.

Alison Weir, A Dangerous Inheritance (2012), a novel which imagines that Lady Catherine Grey, while imprisoned in the Tower of London, finds papers that could solve the mystery of the Princes in the Tower.

Alison Weir, The Marriage Game (2015), about the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth and her romance with Robert Dudley as her counselors urge her to make a political marriage and produce an heir.


Jan Westcott, The Border Lord (1946), an adventure novel about the Scot Frances Hepburn, the Earl of Bothwell, which begins with his escape from wrongful imprisonment in 1590.

Jeane Westin, The Virgin's Daughters (2009), about Lady Katherine Grey and Mistress Mary Rogers, ladies-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth I, each of whom had to choose between duty and passion when they became enamored of the queen's favorites.

Jeane Westin, His Last Letter (2010), about Queen Elizabeth and the man she loved, Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester.

Jeane Westin, The Spymaster’s Daughter (2012), a novel which imagines Lady Frances Sidney, the daughter of Elizabeth I's spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham, engaged in code-breaking work which uncovers a conspiracy against the queen.

Charles Gidley Wheeler, Armada (1987), a love story about a seafaring Irishman during the time when the Spanish Armada threatened England.

Phillipa Wiat, Five Gold Rings: An Elizabethan Love Story (1983), about Jane Grey's younger sister Katherine, who married Edward Seymour, the Earl of Hertford, without royal consent.

Virginia Woolf, Orlando (1928), a literary novel about a young man in the Elizabethan age who decides never to grow old and, during a later century, is transformed into a woman.

Sandra Worth, Pale Rose of England (2011), about Lady Catherine Gordon, the wife of Perkin Warbeck, who claimed to be Richard, one of the "Princes in the Tower" and therefore the rightful king of England.


Tudor and Elizabethan Mysteries and Thrillers

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Nancy Bilyeau, The Crown (2012), a thriller about a Dominican novice coerced into searching for the legendary crown of King Athelstan as death begins to haunt her priory; #1 in the Joanna Stafford series. Review

Nancy Bilyeau, The Chalice (2013), about a novice Dominican nun who may be destined to play a role in an unfolding prophecy which threatens Henry VIII; #2 in the Joanna Stafford series. Review

Nancy Bilyeau, The Tapestry (2015), about a former nun who tries to save her friend Catherine Howard from becoming the next victim of Henry VIII; #3 in the Joanna Stafford series.


Fiona Buckley, To Shield the Queen (1997; also titled The Robsart Mystery), about a noblewoman who fails to prevent the death of Amy Dudley, wife of Queen Elizabeth's favorite, after she is sent to watch over Amy and prevent a scandal; #1 in the Ursula Blanchard mystery series; Fiona Buckley is a pen name of Valerie Anand.

Fiona Buckley, The Doublet Affair (1998), about a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth I who worries that some old friends of hers may be involved in a plot against the queen; #2 in the Ursula Blanchard mystery series; Fiona Buckley is a pen name of Valerie Anand.

Fiona Buckley, Queen's Ransom (2000), about a noblewoman sent on a secret mission to Catherine de Medici in France for Queen Elizabeth I; #3 in the Ursula Blanchard mystery series; Fiona Buckley is a pen name of Valerie Anand.

Fiona Buckley, To Ruin a Queen (2000), about a noblewoman loyal to Queen Elizabeth who is living in France with her husband, a supporter of Mary, Queen of Scots, when she learns that the daughter she left at home in England may have been kidnapped; #4 in the Ursula Blanchard mystery series; Fiona Buckley is a pen name of Valerie Anand.

Fiona Buckley, Queen of Ambition (2001), about a noblewoman who goes undercover at a pie shop frequented by students to investigate a possible plot against Queen Elizabeth I; #5 in the Ursula Blanchard mystery series; Fiona Buckley is a pen name of Valerie Anand.

Fiona Buckley, A Pawn for a Queen (2002), about a noblewoman loyal to Queen Elizabeth who must intercept her Catholic cousin before he commits treason by going to Scotland with a list of English supporters of Mary, Queen of Scots; #6 in the Ursula Blanchard mystery series; Fiona Buckley is a pen name of Valerie Anand.

Fiona Buckley, The Fugitive Queen (2004), about a noblewoman sent on a mission to deliver a warning to Mary, Queen of Scots, from Queen Elizabeth I; #7 in the Ursula Blanchard mystery series; Fiona Buckley is a pen name of Valerie Anand.

Fiona Buckley, The Siren Queen (2004), about an illegitimate half-sister to Queen Elizabeth and a letter in code that may be linked to a plot to kill Elizabeth and put Mary, Queen of Scots, on the throne in her place; #8 in the Ursula Blanchard mystery series; Fiona Buckley is a pen name of Valerie Anand.

Fiona Buckley, Queen Without a Crown (2011), about a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth I who investigates a plot to put Mary Queen of Scots on the throne; #9 in the Ursula Blanchard mystery series; Fiona Buckley is a pen name of Valerie Anand.


Amanda Carmack, Murder at Hatfield House (2013), about a musician's daughter who investigates the death of an envoy of Queen Mary on the grounds of the manor house where Princess Elizabeth is confined in 1558.


Mark Chadbourn, The Silver Skull (2009), historical fantasy about a spy for Sir Francis Walsingham who must defeat a plot by a group of faeries out to destroy England ; #1 in the Sword of Albion trilogy.

Mark Chadbourn, The Scar-Crow Men (2011), historical fantasy about a spy who must stay alive as spies across England are being murdered and playwright Kit Marlowe disappears the day his play "Doctor Faustus" opens; #2 in the Sword of Albion trilogy.

Mark Chadbourn, The Devil’s Looking Glass (2012), historical fantasy about a spy who must find Dr. John Dee, who has disappeared with a mirror of great magical power; #3 in the Sword of Albion trilogy.


P.F. Chisholm, A Famine of Horses (1995), about a newly-appointed deputy warden on the Scottish border, who discovers in the course of a murder investigation that a clan uprising may be brewing; P.F. Chisholm is a pen name of Patricia Finney; #1 in the Sir Robert Casey mystery series. Review

P.F. Chisholm, A Season of Knives (1995), about a deputy warden on the Scottish border who finds himself accused of murder; P.F. Chisholm is a pen name of Patricia Finney; #2 in the Sir Robert Casey mystery series.

P.F. Chisholm, A Surfeit of Guns (1997), about an English deputy warden who crosses the Scottish border in pursuit of a stolen gun shipment and risks charges of treason in both countries; P.F. Chisholm is a pen name of Patricia Finney; #3 in the Sir Robert Casey mystery series.

P.F. Chisholm, A Plague of Angels (1998), about a deputy warden on the Scottish border, who returns to London to find himself under accusation in a case of forgery and murder; P.F. Chisholm is a pen name of Patricia Finney; #4 in the Sir Robert Casey mystery series.


Rory Clements, Martyr (2009), a thriller featuring John Shakespeare, Will's elder brother, searching for an assassin believed to have been sent by the Spanish to kill Queen Elizabeth; #1 in the John Shakespeare series. Washington Post review

Rory Clements, Revenger (2010), a thriller in which Will Shakespeare's elder brother, John, while trying to recover papers in the possession of the Earl of Essex, discovers a plot against Queen Elizabeth's life; winner of the 2010 Ellis Peters Historical Award; #2 in the John Shakespeare series.

Rory Clements, Prince (2011), a thriller in which John Shakespeare investigates an outbreak of bombing attacks on Dutch immigrants in London; #3 in the John Shakespeare series.

Rory Clements, Traitor (2012), a thriller in which Will Shakespeare's elder brother, John, must escort Doctor Dee, whose invention the Spanish are keen to acquire, to safety in Scotland amid threats of a new invasion by the Spanish Armada; #4 in the John Shakespeare series.

Rory Clements, The Heretics (2013), a thriller in which Will Shakespeare's elder brother, John, is sent to find out what happened to a young woman who disappeared after a cruel exorcism ritual; #5 in the John Shakespeare series.

Rory Clements, The Queen's Man (2014), a thriller in which Will Shakespeare's elder brother, John, investigates a conspiracy to free the imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots; #6 in the John Shakespeare series.

Rory Clements, Holy Spy (2015), a thriller in which Will Shakespeare's elder brother infiltrates a group of conspirators plotting to assassinate Queen Elizabeth, while also trying to save the woman he loves from a charge of murder; #7 in the John Shakespeare series.


Michael Clynes, The White Rose Murders (1991), an English nobleman solves mysteries during the reign of Henry VIII; #1 in the Sir Roger Shallot series; Michael Clynes is a pen name of Paul (P.C.) Doherty.

Michael Clynes, The Poisoned Chalice (1992), an English nobleman solves mysteries during the reign of Henry VIII; #2 in the Sir Roger Shallot series; Michael Clynes is a pen name of Paul (P.C.) Doherty.

Michael Clynes, The Grail Murders (1993), an English nobleman solves mysteries during the reign of Henry VIII; #3 in the Sir Roger Shallot series; Michael Clynes is a pen name of Paul (P.C.) Doherty.

Michael Clynes, A Brood of Vipers (1994), an English nobleman solves mysteries during the reign of Henry VIII; #4 in the Sir Roger Shallot series; Michael Clynes is a pen name of Paul (P.C.) Doherty.

Michael Clynes, The Gallows Murders (1995), an English nobleman solves mysteries during the reign of Henry VIII; #5 in the Sir Roger Shallot series; Michael Clynes is a pen name of Paul (P.C.) Doherty.

Michael Clynes, The Relic Murders (1996), an English nobleman solves mysteries during the reign of Henry VIII; #6 in the Sir Roger Shallot series; Michael Clynes is a pen name of Paul (P.C.) Doherty.


Iris Collier, Day of Wrath (2001), about an adviser to King Henry VIII who fears the murder of his steward may be related to a plot against the king; #1 in the Lord Nicholas Peverell mystery series.

Iris Collier, Reluctant Spy (2002), about an adviser to King Henry VIII whose investigation of a wool merchant's murder leads to his arrest on charges of treason; #2 in the Lord Nicholas Peverell mystery series.

Iris Collier, Death at Candlemas (2004), about an adviser to King Henry VIII who investigates the murder of a bishop; #3 in the Lord Nicholas Peverell mystery series.

Iris Collier, The Secrets of the Black Canons (2006), about an adviser to King Henry VIII who investigates the drowning death of a young woman; #4 in the Lord Nicholas Peverell mystery series.


Diane Davidson, Feversham (1969), a Renaissance mystery novel based on an actual murder in sixteenth century England.

Jacopo della Quercia, License to Quill (2016), a spy thriller featuring William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe during the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

Phillip DePoy, A Prisoner in Malta (2016), about Christopher Marlowe as a nineteen-year-old, before his career as a playwright, asked by Queen Elizabeth's spymaster, Francis Walsingham, to investigate rumors of a plot against the queen's life.

Michelle Diener, In a Treacherous Court (2011), a thriller which imagines how artist Susanna Horenbout and Henry VIII's courtier John Parker might have met; #1 in the Susanna Horenbout series. Review

Michelle Diener, Keeper of the King’s Secrets (2012), about a Dutch woman painter in the service of Henry VIII who must find a missing diamond with the help of her betrothed after an attempt to kill her; #2 in the Susanna Horenbout series.

Ann Dukthas, A Time for the Death of a King (1994), about a time-traveling Jesuit scholar who investigates the mystery surrounding the death of Lord Darnley, the husband of Mary Queen of Scots; #1 in the Nicholas Segalla series of which #2 and #3 are set in the nineteenth century; Ann Dukthas is a pen name of Paul (P.C.) Doherty.

Ann Dukthas, In the Time of the Poisoned Queen (1998), about a time-traveling Jesuit scholar who investigates the mystery surrounding the death of Queen Mary Tudor; #4 in the Nicholas Segalla series of which #2 and #3 are set in the nineteenth century; Ann Dukthas is a pen name of Paul (P.C.) Doherty.

Kathy Lynn Emerson, Murder in the Queen's Wardrobe (2015), about a woman with a knowledge of ciphers and codes who is recruited by Queen Elizabeth's spymaster to serve as lady-in-waiting to Elizabeth's cousin, who is being courted by Ivan the Terrible of Russia.


Patricia Finney, Firedrake's Eye (1992), a thriller about the mad son of a Catholic family who discovers his brother is plotting to assassinate Queen Elizabeth.

Patricia Finney, Unicorn's Blood (1998), a thriller about the theft of Queen Elizabeth's diary.

Patricia Finney, Gloriana's Torch (2003), a thriller about a spy for Queen Elizabeth who discovers some of the gunpowder from the English arsenal is missing, perhaps diverted to the Spanish Armada.


James Forrester, Sacred Treason (2010), about a Catholic herald who takes charge of a dangerous book and shortly afterward is arrested as Queen Elizabeth's councilors investigate plots against her life.


Philip Gooden, That Sleep of Death (2000), about an aspiring actor who discovers his host's father was murdered in a manner that echoes "Hamlet," Shakespeare's latest play; #1 in the Shakespearean mystery series.

Philip Gooden, Death of Kings (2001), about an aspiring actor forced to work as a government spy; #2 in the Shakespearean mystery series.

Philip Gooden, The Pale Companion (2002), about a young actor whose trip to a country house with his company to perform "A Midsummer Night's Dream" for a wedding turns into a nightmare; #3 in the Shakespearean mystery series.

Philip Gooden, Alms for Oblivion (2003), about a young actor who must prove he is not guilty of murder when the friend he has taken in is found dead in his lodgings; #4 in the Shakespearean mystery series.

Philip Gooden, Mask of Night (2004), about a young actor who goes to Oxford when his theater is shut down because of plague in London, and finds that death is haunting Oxford, too; #5 in the Shakespearean mystery series.

Philip Gooden, An Honorable Murderer (2005), about an actor in Shakespeare's company who needs to find out why so many people are dying as the Spanish negotiate a peace treaty with England; #6 in the Shakespearean mystery series.


C.W. Gortner, The Tudor Secret (2011, a revised version of the 2004 novel The Secret Lion), about a squire who becomes a spy for Princess Elizabeth during the last days of Henry VIII’s young successor, Edward VI. Review or Author Interview

C.W. Gortner, The Tudor Conspiracy (2013), about a squire who spies for Princess Elizabeth while she is held captive during the reign of Mary Tudor; #2 in the Spymaster Chronicles mystery series.

C.W. Gortner, The Tudor Vendetta (2014), about a spy summoned back from exile when Queen Elizabeth ascends the throne, in order to help her find a lady-in-waiting who has disappeared; #3 in the Spymaster Chronicles mystery series.


Karen Harper, The Poyson Garden: A Bess Tudor Mystery (1999), featuring the sleuthing abilities of the future Queen Elizabeth I; #1 in the Bess Tudor mystery series.

Karen Harper, The Tidal Poole (2000), featuring the sleuthing abilities of Queen Elizabeth I; #2 in the Bess Tudor mystery series.

Karen Harper, The Twylight Tower (2001), featuring the sleuthing abilities of Queen Elizabeth I; #3 in the Bess Tudor mystery series.

Karen Harper, The Queene's Cure (2002), featuring the sleuthing abilities of Queen Elizabeth I; #4 in the Bess Tudor mystery series.

Karen Harper, The Thorne Maze (2003), featuring the sleuthing abilities of Queen Elizabeth I; #5 in the Bess Tudor mystery series.

Karen Harper, The Queene's Christmas (2003), featuring the sleuthing abilities of Queen Elizabeth I; #6 in the Bess Tudor mystery series.

Karen Harper, The Fyre Mirror (2005), featuring the sleuthing abilities of Queen Elizabeth I; #7 in the Bess Tudor mystery series.

Karen Harper, The Fatal Fashione (2005), featuring the sleuthing abilities of Queen Elizabeth I; #8 in the Bess Tudor mystery series.

Karen Harper, The Hooded Hawke (2007), featuring the sleuthing abilities of Queen Elizabeth I; #9 in the Bess Tudor mystery series.

Karen Harper, Mistress of Mourning (2012), about a young widow asked by Henry VII's queen to investigate the sudden death of Prince Arthur in 1501.


Peg Herring, Her Highness' First Murder (2011), a mystery which pairs twelve-year-old Princess Elizabeth and a young crippled man as sleuths to investigate a series of murders in which young women are beheaded near the end of Henry VIII's reign; #1 in the Simon and Elizabeth mystery series.

Peg Herring, Poison, Your Grace (2011), a mystery in which Princess Elizabeth and an apothecary's apprentice investigate the poisoning death of an adviser to the young King Edward VI; #2 in the Simon and Elizabeth mystery series.


Victoria Lamb, The Queen's Secret (2012), about a young black singer who, while spying on the Earl of Leicester for Queen Elizabeth, discovers a conspiracy to murder the queen; #1 in the Dark Lady mystery trilogy.

Victoria Lamb, His Dark Lady (2013), a novel which imagines the "dark lady" of Shakespeare's sonnets was a lady-in-waiting at Queen Elizabeth's court who has secrets of her own during the waning days of Elizabeth's reign; #2 in the Dark Lady mystery trilogy.

Victoria Lamb, Her Last Assassin (2014), about a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth who is drawn to William Shakespeare, as the Spanish declare war and send their Armada to attack England; #3 in the Dark Lady mystery trilogy.


Margaret Lawrence, Roanoke (2009), about a man sent by Queen Elizabeth's advisers to the doomed colony of Roanoke to seduce an Indian princess and get information from her about a legendary treasure.

Mary Lawrence, The Alchemist’s Daughter (2015), about an herbalist accused of murder in 1540s London; #1 in the Bianca Goddard mystery series.


Edward Marston, The Queen's Head (1988), a stage manager for an Elizabethan theatre company investigates the murder of one of his players on the eve of a performance in honor of Queen Elizabeth; #1 in the Nicholas Bracewell series.

Edward Marston, The Merry Devils (1989), a stage manager for an Elizabethan theatre company investigates the murder of one of his child actors during a play that Puritans are trying to shut down; #2 in the Nicholas Bracewell series.

Edward Marston, The Trip to Jerusalem (1990), a stage manager for an Elizabethan theatre company takes his players on the road during a London plague epidemic, but one of their players is murdered before they set out, and a rival troupe is stealing from them; #3 in the Nicholas Bracewell series.

Edward Marston, The Nine Giants (1991), a stage manager for an Elizabethan theatre company discovers a drowned corpse in the Thames which may have something to do with the troubles that have been plaguing the company; #4 in the Nicholas Bracewell series.

Edward Marston, The Mad Courtesan (1992), a stage manager for an Elizabethan theatre company investigates the murder of one of his players; #5 in the Nicholas Bracewell series.

Edward Marston, The Silent Woman (1994), a stage manager for an Elizabethan theatre company takes his players on tour after a fire destroys their theatre and a messenger dies of poisoning; #6 in the Nicholas Bracewell series.

Edward Marston, The Roaring Boy (1995), a stage manager for an Elizabethan theatre company has them perform a controversial new play about a recent case of murder which sets off a riot; #7 in the Nicholas Bracewell series.

Edward Marston, The Laughing Hangman (1996), a stage manager for an Elizabethan theatre company discovers the hanged body of the choirmaster for a rival troupe; #8 in the Nicholas Bracewell series.

Edward Marston, The Fair Maid of Bohemia (1997), a stage manager for an Elizabethan theatre company takes the company to Prague during a London plague epidemic, but murder casts a shadow over their trip; #9 in the Nicholas Bracewell series.

Edward Marston, The Wanton Angel (1999), a stage manager for an Elizabethan theatre company investigates a case of murder that disrupts their efforts to find a patron to help them build a new theatre; #10 in the Nicholas Bracewell series.

Edward Marston, The Devil’s Apprentice (2001), catastrophes start to pile up after the stage manager for an Elizabethan theatre company is forced to take on a new apprentice and perform a newly written play; #11 in the Nicholas Bracewell series.

Edward Marston, The Bawdy Basket (2002), a stage manager for an Elizabethan theatre company investigates when a player insists that his father, convicted of murder, was innocent of the crime; #12 in the Nicholas Bracewell series.

Edward Marston, The Vagabond Clown (2003), a stage manager for an Elizabethan theatre company must find out who murdered a member of their audience; #13 in the Nicholas Bracewell series.

Edward Marston, The Counterfeit Crank (2004), a stage manager for an Elizabethan theatre company plagued by troubles discovers a case of fraud; #14 in the Nicholas Bracewell series.

Edward Marston, The Malevolent Comedy (2005), a stage manager for an Elizabethan theatre company must find out who poisoned their obnoxious new playwright onstage; #15 in the Nicholas Bracewell series.

Edward Marston, The Princess of Denmark (2006), a stage manager for an Elizabethan theatre company takes his company to Elsinore, Denmark, when their patron is betrothed to a mysterious princess; #16 in the Nicholas Bracewell series.


Shirley McKay, Hue and Cry (2009), about a young lawyer in the university city of St. Andrews in 1579 who must find out who murdered a thirteen-year-old boy after suspicion falls on one of the university regents; #1 in the Hew Cullan mystery series.

Shirley McKay, Fate and Fortune (2010), about a young lawyer who goes to Edinburgh in 1581 after his father's death and encounters a disturbing case of murder; #2 in the Hew Cullan mystery series.

Shirley McKay, Time and Tide (2011), about a Scottish lawyer who investigates the case of a wrecked ship and the death of the only man aboard when it lands in St. Andrews; #3 in the Hew Cullan mystery series.

Shirley McKay, Friend and Foe (2014), about a Scottish lawyer who investigates the cause of a bishop's illness while James VI is confined at Falkland palace; #4 in the Hew Cullan mystery series.

Shirley McKay, Queen & Country (2015), about a lawyer who returns to Scotland after the death of Mary, Queen of Scots, and is asked to investigate the source of a subversive painting; #5 in the Hew Cullan mystery series.


Audrey Peterson, Murder in Stratford: As Told By Anne Hathaway Shakespeare (2005), a mystery in which Shakespeare's wife turns sleuth to clear him of an accusation of murder.

John Pilkington, Marbeck and the Double Dealer (2012), about an Elizabethan spy who must uncover the identity of a spy working for the Spanish government; #1 in a planned mystery series.

Matthew Reilly, The Tournament (2013), a mystery featuring Princess Elizabeth of England and her tutor Roger Ascham traveling to a chess tournament in Constantinople in 1546 where Ascham is asked to investigate the murder of a guest of the Sultan.

Phil Rickman, The Bones of Avalon (2011), a mystery featuring Queen Elizabeth's astrologer Doctor John Dee as sleuth, teaming up with Robert Dudley to find out what happened to King Arthur's bones after the dissolution of Glastonbury Abbey. Review


C.J. Sansom, Dissolution (2003), about a hunchbacked lawyer in Henry VIII’s court sent to investigate the murder of an official involved in the dissolution of the monasteries; #1 in the Matthew Shardlake mystery series. Review

C.J. Sansom, Dark Fire (2005), about a hunchbacked lawyer in Henry VIII’s court and his efforts to help a friend's niece who has been accused of murder; winner of the 2005 Ellis Peters Historical Award; #2 in the Matthew Shardlake mystery series.

C.J. Sansom, Sovereign (2007), about a hunchbacked lawyer in Henry VIII’s court who discovers that a murder he is investigating could be connected with the royal family; #3 in the Matthew Shardlake mystery series.

C.J. Sansom, Revelation (2008), about a hunchbacked lawyer in Henry VIII's court who discovers links between a case of religious mania and the murder of a friend; #4 in the Matthew Shardlake mystery series.

C.J. Sansom, Heartstone (2010), about a hunchbacked lawyer in Henry VIII's court who travels to Portsmouth to look into the case of a mistreated orphan as the city prepares for a French attack; #5 in the Matthew Shardlake mystery series.

C.J. Sansom, Lamentation (2015), about a hunchbacked lawyer who in the fall of 1546 as Henry VIII is on his deathbed is asked to track down Queen Catherine's dangerous memoir after the London printer it was entrusted to is murdered; #6 in the Matthew Shardlake mystery series.


Lloyd Shepherd, The English Monster (2012), about a Thames River Police officer investigating murders in 1811 which link back to the first English slaving voyage during Elizabeth I's reign in 1564.

Martin Stephen, The Galleons' Grave (2005), a mystery set during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I; #3 in the Henry Gresham mystery series (#1 and #2 are set in the 17th century).

Martin Stephen, The Rebel Heart (2006), a mystery set at the end of Queen Elizabeth’s reign; #4 in the Henry Gresham mystery series.

M.J. Trow, Dark Entry (2011), a mystery featuring the young Christopher Marlowe as sleuth in 1583 as an old friend is discovered dead shortly before Marlowe graduates from university; #1 in the planned Kit Marlowe series.

D.K. Wilson, The First Horseman (2014), about a London goldsmith searching for the killer of his friend Robert Packington, a mercer who was the first man ever murdered by a handgun in London; based on an unsolved historical crime; #1 in the Thomas Treviot mystery series.

D.K. Wilson, The Traitor's Mark (2015), about a London goldsmith who decides to investigate the disappearance of court painter Hans Holbein; #2 in the Thomas Treviot mystery series.


Reformation and Renaissance Europe
The Continent

Click on the title for more information from Powell's Books or another online source, or if you're outside the U.S., try The Book Depository.


Laurie Albanese and Laura Morowitz, The Miracles of Prato (2009), about a young nun who becomes romantically involved with the Renaissance painter and Carmelite monk Fra Filippo Lippi.

Sidney Alexander, Michelangelo the Florentine (1957), about the Renaissance Italian artist; #1 in the Michelangelo trilogy.

Sidney Alexander, The Hand of Michelangelo (1965), about the Renaissance Italian artist; #2 in the Michelangelo trilogy.

Sidney Alexander, Nicodemus: The Roman Years of Michelangelo (1987), about the Renaissance Italian artist; #3 in the Michelangelo trilogy.

Federico Andahazi, The Anatomist (1999), about the sixteenth century Italian scientist who discovered a previously unknown part of a woman's anatomy, "the anatomical cause of love," scandalizing church and state, and was thrown into prison under charges of heresy and Satanism.

Ivo Andrić, The Bridge on the Drina (1945), about a bridge built in sixteenth-century Bosnia and the community of Muslims, Christians and Jews that grows up around it. Review

David Ball, Ironfire (2003; titled The Sword and the Scimitar in the U.K.), about two children in sixteenth century Malta, a brother kidnapped by Muslim pirates and a sister who grows up on Malta, and the siege of Christian-ruled Malta by the Muslim Ottomans.

John Banville, Doctor Copernicus (1976), about the Renaissance astronomer who discovered the earth orbited the sun.

Gioconda Belli, The Scroll of Seduction (2006), about about an art historian and a sixteen-year-old girl who, when he tells her of Philippe the Handsome of Flanders and Juana the Mad of Spain, are compelled to relive their story.

Maria Bellonci, Private Renaissance (English translation published 1989), about a noblewoman related to the Borgias in Renaissance Italy; translated from the Italian.

Maria Bellonci, Lucrezia Borgia (1953), a sympathetic novel about the daughter of Pope Alexander VI and sister of Cesare Borgia.

Pamela Bennetts, The Borgia Prince (1968), about Cesare Borgia.

Adria Bernardi, The Day Laid on the Altar (2000), about three artists in sixteenth century Italy, a rustic shepherd, an aspiring fresco painter, and the famous Titian.

Samuel Black, The Ground is Burning (2011), about Cesare Borgia, Niccolo Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci and political intrigue in 1502 Italy.

Luther Blissett, Q (2000), a thriller about an idealistic radical caught up in the German Reformation and a spy for the Pope, who wants to stamp out Protestant reformers.

Sarah Bower, The Book of Love (2008; also titled Sins of the House of Borgia), about a young Jewish woman who coverts to Christianity and becomes one of Lucrezia Borgia's ladies-in-waiting, where she is drawn into the Borgia family's intrigues.

Jesse Bullington, The Enterprise of Death (2011), darkly humorous historical fantasy about a fifteenth-century Moorish slave who flees her master, a necromancer who has placed a curse on her.

David Bye, Another Way to Heaven (2010), about an Italian woman imprisoned in a convent by the Inquisition.

Orson Scott Card, Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus (1996), about a group of time travelers who attempt to prevent Columbus's discovery of the New World from developing into a conquest.

Linda Carlino, That Other Juana (2007), about Juana of Spain; self-published.


Susan Carroll, The Dark Queen (2005), romantic historical fantasy about a Frenchwoman who possesses magical skills in the time of Catherine de Medici, when such skills were as hazardous as they were useful, who must team up with an attractive but mysterious nobleman to prevent the fulfillment of a dire prophecy; #1 in the Dark Queen series.

Susan Carroll, The Courtesan (2005), romantic historical fantasy about a woman with magical skills who hopes to become the mistress of Henry of Navarre and the power behind the French throne, but who stirs the hatred of Catherine de Medici; #2 in the Dark Queen series.

Susan Carroll, The Silver Rose (2006), romantic historical fantasy about a young woman with magical powers who returns to her island home as a refuge from civil war, but must team up with a man she has good reason to distrust when a mysterious woman threatens the power of Catherine de Medici; #3 in the Dark Queen series.

Susan Carroll, The Huntress (2007), romantic historical fantasy about a Breton woman skilled with weaponry who is sent to Queen Elizabeth's London in 1585 to find and protect a young girl with mystical abilities; #4 in the Dark Queen series.

Susan Carroll, Twilight of a Queen (2008, forthcoming in the U.S. July 2009), romantic historical fantasy about the queen of a magical isle who must choose a successor to her throne in 1588 as the threat of the Spanish Armada looms over England and Catherine de Medici struggles to retain power in France; #5 and last in the Dark Queen series.


Nicholas Carter, Knave of Swords (1998), about a band of English and Scottish mercenaries forced into Italian service during the political and military turmoil of the Renaissance in 1520.

Nicholas Carter, King of Coins (1999), about a band of English and Scottish mercenaries during the turmoil of the early Reformation period.

Edward Charles, Inheritance of Power (2013), about the black slave who was the mother of Cosimo de Medici's son Carlo.

Tracy Chevalier, The Virgin Blue (2003), about a modern woman studying to become a midwife in France who discovers a bond with a sixteenth century French ancestor, also a midwife.

Stuart Clark, The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth (2011), about the struggles of Kepler and Galileo as they begin to realize the earth revolves around the sun rather than the other way around, an insight condemned as heresy by the Catholic Church.


Peter Cooke, The Glass Dagger (2006), about a glassmaker in Murano who falls in love with a noblewoman and uncovers a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I; #1 in the Glassmaker series; self-published.

Peter Cooke, The Crystal Ship (2011), about a Venetian who serves as Elizabeth I's court glassmaker and goes on a secret mission to Venice to thwart a Spanish plot against Queen Elizabeth; #2 in the Glassmaker series; self-published.

Peter Cooke, Blood-Red Goblet (2011), about a Venetian glassmaker who serves under Elizabeth I's spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham; #3 in the Glassmaker series; self-published.


Lynn Cullen, The Creation of Eve (2010), about Sofonisba Anguissola, a sixteenth-century Spanish woman who studies art with Michelangelo until a scandal leads her to flee Rome for an even riskier position at the Spanish court.

Lynn Cullen, Reign of Madness (2011), about Juana of Castile, who unexpectedly succeeds to the Spanish throne amid rumors that she has gone mad.

Carol Damioli, Rogue Angel (1994), about Fra Filippo Lippi, a Florentine monk who painted some of the most beautiful Renaissance works of the fifteenth century, while living a life of adventure and romance unexpected for a monk.

Jack Dann, The Memory Cathedral: A Secret History of Leonardo da Vinci (1995), a dark novel by a science fiction author which imagines that Leonardo built a successful working model of the flying machine sketched in his notebooks, and used it in a war against the Turks.

Miguel Delibes, The Heretic: A Novel of the Inquisition (2006), about a Spaniard born on October 31, 1517, the same day Martin Luther launched the Reformation with his 95 theses.

Michele Desbordes, The Maid's Request (English translation, 2003), about the elderly Leonardo da Vinci and the maidservant who admires him and wishes to continue serving him after death by allowing him to study her body.

Jenny Diski, Apology for the Woman Writing (2008), about Marie de Gournay, who becomes so overwhelmed by Montaigne's essays that she swoons, then arranges to meet him,demonstrate her devotion and persuade him to adopt her as a daughter.


Sarah Dunant, The Birth of Venus (2004), about a young wife in fifteenth-century Florence during the time of Savonarola.

Sarah Dunant, In the Company of the Courtesan (2006), about the adventures of a sixteenth century Venetian courtesan, narrated by her servant, a dwarf.

Sarah Dunant, Sacred Hearts (2009), about a sixteen-year-old girl forced into a convent against her will in 1570 Italy.

Sarah Dunant, Blood and Beauty (2013), about Rodrigo, Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia.


Dorothy Dunnett, Niccolo Rising (1986), about an apprentice in a cloth-dying firm in the Flemish city of Bruges on the eve of the Renaissance; #1 in the House of Niccolo series. Review

Dorothy Dunnett, The Spring of the Ram (1987), about a young merchant from Bruges who travels to Trebizond on a risky trading expedition; #2 in the House of Niccolo series. Review

Dorothy Dunnett, Race of Scorpions (1989), about the misadventures in Cyprus of an upwardly mobile merchant from Flanders; #3 in the House of Niccolo series. Review

Dorothy Dunnett, Scales of Gold (1991), about an upwardly mobile Flemish merchant who travels to Africa in search of treasure; #4 in the House of Niccolo series. Review

Dorothy Dunnett, The Unicorn Hunt (1993), about a Flemish merchant and his hazardous travels, ranging from Scotland to Cairo and Sinai; #5 in the House of Niccolo series. Review

Dorothy Dunnett, To Lie with Lions (1995), about a Flemish merchant and his hazardous travels, ranging from France to Scotland to Iceland; #6 in the House of Niccolo series. Review

Dorothy Dunnett, Caprice and Rondo (1997), about an upwardly mobile merchant from the Renaissance city of Bruges; #7 in the House of Niccolo series.

Dorothy Dunnett, Gemini (2000), about an upwardly mobile merchant from the Renaissance city of Bruges; #8 in the House of Niccolo series.


Nicole Dweck, The Debt of Tamar (2015), about a boy whose family escapes the Spanish Inquisition with the help of Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, and the present-day connection between aa descendant of the boy and the sultan's last living descendant.

Samuel Edwards, Master of Castile (1962), about the rise to power of Alavaro de Luna, a leading fifteenth-century Spanish statesman named by King John II as Chief Constable of Castile; Samuel Edwards is a pen name of Noel B. Gerson.

Peter Elbling, The Foodtaster (2002), a comic novel about a peasant who becomes the foodtaster for an Italian duke.

George Eliot, Romola (originally published as a serial, 1862-63), set in Renaissance Italy during the time of Savonarola.

Kate Emerson, By Royal Decree (2010), about a beautiful young noblewoman in the court of Henry VIII who falls in love with a married man and tries to persuade Henry to grant him a divorce.

Michael Ennis, Duchess of Milan (1992), about two noblewomen battling for power in Renaissance Italy.

Alvaro Enrigue, Sudden Death (2013 in the original Spanish; first English edition 2016), about a fictional sixteenth-century tennis match between Italian artist Caravaggio and Spanish poet Francisco de Quevedo in Rome using a ball made from Anne Boleyn's hair, with a crowd in attendance that includes Galileo, Mary Magdalene and a generation of popes.

Karen Essex, Leonardo’s Swans (2006), about a woman who longs to be painted by Leonardo da Vinci.

Peter Esterhazy, Celestial Harmonies (2000), a literary novel about five centuries of Hungary's aristocratic Esterhazy family, in which the first half is a non-linear melding of many generations into a kaleidoscopic narrative, and the second half is a linear story about the Esterhazys beginning in 1945 when their estate was confiscated by the Communists.

Ildefonso Falcones, The Hand of Fatima (2011), about a muleteer in Granada, the son of an Arab woman and her Christian rapist, who in 1564 sets out to reconcile Muslims and Christians after he learns that the woman he loves has been murdered.

Howard Fast, Torquemada (1966), a sympathetic novel about Thomas de Torquemada, Spain's Grand Inquisitor under Ferdinand and Isabella.

John Faunce, Lucrezia Borgia (2004), a sympathetic novel about the daughter of Pope Alexander VI and sister of Cesare Borgia.

Marthese Fenech, Eight Pointed Cross (2011), about a brother and sister in sixteenth-century Malta as it comes under threat from the Ottoman Turks, and about a young man in Istanbul who longs to join the Sultan's cavalry.


Marina Fiorato, The Madonna of the Almonds (2009), about a young widow in sixteenth-century Tuscany who falls in love with a protegé of Leonardo da Vinci.

Marina Fiorato, The Glassblower of Murano (2008), about a modern London woman who moves to Venice and researches the story of her ancestor, one of the greatest glass artists of the island of Murano.

Marina Fiorato, The Venetian Bargain (2012), about a young Turkish woman with medical skills who flees to Venice in 1576 on a ship carrying bubonic plague.


Alan Fisk, Cupid and the Silent Goddess (2003), a comic novel about the creation of the Renaissance artist Bronzino's allegorical painting "Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time (Exposure of Luxury)."

Kate Forsyth, Bitter Greens (2013), a novel set in Venice and the French court of Louis XIV about the seventeenth-century novelist Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force, who wrote an early version of the Rapunzel story.

Nicole Galland, I, Iago (2012), a retelling of Shakespeare's "Othello" from the perspective of Iago; set in Renaissance Venice.

Géza Gárdonyi, Eclipse of the Crescent Moon (1899), about a Hungarian peasant boy who becomes a hero during the siege of the town of Egér, Hungary, by the Turks in 1552.

Anthony Goodman, Shadow of God (2002), about the Ottoman Turks' 1520 siege of the Greek Island of Rhodes, from which the piratical Knights of St. John have been preying on Muslim ships.

Noah Gordon, The Last Jew (2000), about the son of a silversmith who is determined to honor his family's Jewish heritage after his family is murdered during the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.


C.W. Gortner, The Last Queen (2008), a sympathetic portrayal of Queen Juana of Spain, known as Juana the Mad. Review

C.W. Gortner, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici (2010), a sympathetic portrayal of the infamous sixteenth-century French queen. Review or Author Interview

C.W. Gortner, The Queen's Vow (2012), about Queen Isabella of Castile from childhood through the momentous year 1492. Review or Author Interview

C.W. Gortner, The Vatican Princess (2016), about Lucrezia Borgia, the illegitimate daughter of Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexander VI.


Jon Courtenay Grimwood, The Fallen Blade (2011), a blend of fantasy and alternative history in which a young vampire is apprenticed to an assassin in a Venice ruled by a descendant of Marco Polo; #1 in the planned Vampire Assassin trilogy.

Hella S. Haasse, The Scarlet City (1952; English translation, 1990), about a young man in sixteenth-century Italy who bears the notorious name of Borgia but doesn't know who his parents were.

Diane Haeger, The Ruby Ring (2005), set in 16th century Rome, about the mistress of the artist Raphael.

Diane Haeger, Courtesan (1993), set in 16th century France, about Diane de Poitiers, the mistress of King Henri II.

Jeffrey Hantover, The Jewel Trader of Pegu (2008), about a sixteenth century Jewish merchant from Venice in Burma. Review

Zsolt de Harsanyi, The Star-Gazer, A Novel of the Life of Galileo (1939), about the Renaissance Italian scientist.

Jody Hedlund, Luther and Katharina (2016), about Katharina von Bora, the nun who would escape her convent and become the wife of Martin Luther.

George Herman, Carnival of Saints (1994), about the original players of the Commedia dell'Arte: Harlequin, Colombina and their compatriots in Renaissance Italy.

Myrlin A. Hermes, The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet (2010), a comedic prequel to Shakespeare's Hamlet about the early years of Hamlet and Horatio at Wittenberg University. Review

Ethel Herr, The Dove and the Rose (1996), about a Protestant family during the 16th Century Dutch Reformation; Christian message; #1 in the Seekers series.

Ethel Herr, The Maiden's Sword (1997), #2 in the Seekers series.

Ethel Herr, The Citadel and the Lamb (1998), #2 in the Seekers series.

Gert Hofmann, The Parable of the Blind (1986), about the six blind men used as models by the Flemish painter Pieter Brueghel for his painting "The Parable of the Blind."

Pauline Holdstock, Beyond Measure (2004; titled A Rare and Curious Gift in the U.S.), about an African slave in sixteenth century Italy and her experiences in a series of artists' households.

Cecelia Holland, City of God (1979), about the secretary to the Florence's embassy to the Borgias in Rome during the early sixteenth century. Review

Cecelia Holland, The Sea Beggars (1982), about the sixteenth-century Dutch revolt against Catholic Spain.

Washington Irving, The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus (1828), a novel which misleadingly but memorably portrayed Columbus as the man who convinced Europeans the earth was not flat but round.

Johannes V. Jensen, The Fall of the King (1900-1901 in the original Danish), about a student who becomes a mercenary soldier in the army of King Christian II of Denmark.


Jeanne Kalogridis, The Borgia Bride (2005), set in the Vatican during the fifteenth century.

Jeanne Kalogridis, I, Mona Lisa (2006; titled Painting Mona Lisa in the U.K.), set in fifteenth-century Florence, Italy.

Jeanne Kalogridis, The Devil's Queen (2009), about Catherine de Medici and her involvement with the supernatural. Review

Jeanne Kalogridis, The Scarlet Contessa (2010), about a woman raised as an adoptive sister to Caterina Sforza, who shares her life and reads her future in the triumph (Tarot) cards. Review or Author Interview

Jeanne Kalogridis, The Inquisitor’s Wife (2013), about a young Spanish Converso who marries a lawyer working for the Inquisition in the hope that he can protect her.


Guy Gavriel Kay, Tigana (1989), a fantasy novel about an alternate world based on Renaissance Italy.

Philip Kazan, Appetite (2013), about a man in 1466 Florence who has an exceptional ability to taste flavors.

Philip Kazan, Painter of Souls (2016), about the Italian Renaissance artist Fra Filippo Lippi.

Gabrielle Kimm, His Last Duchess (2010), about young Lucrezia de Medici's difficult marriage to the handsome but menacing Alfonso d'Este.

Gabrielle Kimm, The Courtesan's Lover (2011), about a woman who travels from Ferrara to Naples to become a courtesan, but lands in danger when she falls in love.

Brigid Knight, The Cloister and the Citadel (1958), about Charlotte de Bourbon, a sixteenth century French princess who became an abbess as a child of twelve, converted to Calvinism, and married William of Nassau, the founder of the Netherlands.

Linda Lafferty, House of Bathory (2014), about Countess Elizabeth Bathory, who killed young women in order to bathe in their blood, and a present-day psychoanalyst and her teenaged patient who discover the "curse of Bathory" is still alive.

Laila Lalami, The Moor’s Account (2014), about Mustafa al-Zamori, known as Estebanico, a slave who accompanied Cabeza de Vaca's sixteenth-century expedition to Florida.

Janet Lewis, The Wife Of Martin Guerre (1941), about a woman in a rural Breton village who begins to suspect that the man she has accepted as her husband, returned to her after a long absence, is not the man she originally married; based on an actual sixteenth century court case.

Freda Lightfoot, Hostage Queen (2010), about Marguerite de Valois and her marriage to Henry of Navarre days before the bloody slaughter of the Huguenots of Paris.

Freda Lightfoot, Reluctant Queen (2010), about a woman whose mother insists she become mistress to a series of men before she falls in love with Henry of Navarre.

Marco Lobo, The Witch Hunter's Amulet (2012), about a Portuguese witch hunter sent to the colony of Goa in India to work for the Inquisition, where he becomes obsessed with acquiring a navaratna, a jewelled amulet.

Norah Lofts, Crown of Aloes (1973), about Queen Isabella of Spain.

Elizabeth Loupas, The Second Duchess (2011), about the second wife of Alfonso d'Este, Duke of Ferrara, rumored to have murdered his first wife; inspired by Robert Browning's poem "My Last Duchess."

Elizabeth Loupas, The Red Lily Crown (2014), about a bookseller's daughter who seizes a chance for power in 1574 when she is trapped in the household of the dying Cosimo de' Medici's unbalanced heir, Francesco de' Medici.

Michelle Lovric, The Floating Book: A Novel of Venice (2004), about a German printer, a promiscuous Jewish woman, and a variety of other characters in fifteenth-century Venice.

Gregory Maguire, Mirror, Mirror (2009), a retelling of the Snow White story, about a young woman in 1502 Tuscany who grows up under the influence of Lucrezia Borgia.

Erika Mailman, The Witch’s Trinity (2007), about a witch persecution in a remote village in early sixteenth century Germany. Review

Karen Maitland, The Falcons of Fire and Ice (2012), about a Portuguese falconer's daughter who must travel to Iceland to rescue her father from the Inquisition. Review

Heinrich Mann, Young Henry of Navarre (English translation, 1985), about the life of King Henry IV of France before he came to the throne.

Heinrich Mann, Henry, King of France (English translation, 1985), about the life of King Henry IV of France; sequel to Young Henry of Navarre.

Joseph Markulin, Machiavelli: A Renaissance Life (2013), about the fifteenth-century Florentine politician and philosopher, Niccolo Machiavelli, who wrote The Prince.

Stephen Marlowe, The Memoirs of Christopher Columbus (1987), a humorous novel in the form of a memoir written by Christopher Columbus (apparently posthumously, as he mocks his biographers) about his Jewish origins and misadventures.

W. Somerset Maugham, Catalina (1948), a satirical novel about a young nun whose vision of the Virgin Mary attracts the attention of the Spanish Inquisition.

W. Somerset Maugham, Then and Now (1946), about three months in the life of Niccolo Machiavelli, the Italian philosopher and politician who wrote The Prince.

Robin Maxwell, Signora da Vinci (2009), about Leonardo da Vinci's mother, Caterina.

Robin Maxwell, O, Juliet (2010), about the young Italian lovers who inspired Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet.

James McKean, Quattrocento (2002), about a modern art restorer who discovers what may be a previously unrecognized da Vinci painting, falls in love with the woman's portrait, and slips back to her time in fifteenth century Italy (the quattrocento period).

Robert Merle, Vittoria (1990), about a woman married to a cardinal's son and her love for a seafaring soldier in Renaissance Italy.

Robert Merle, The Brethren (1977 in the original French, first English translation 2014), about two Huguenot soldiers who buy a castle in Périgord and build a Protestant community there in the sixteenth century; #1 in the Fortunes of France series. Review at The Guardian

Robert Merle, City of Wisdom and Blood (1979 in the original French; first English edition 2015), about a young man who leaves his family home in 1566 to study at the university in Montpellier, a center of Renaissance humanism; #2 in the Fortunes of France series.

Donna Russo Morin, To Serve a King (2011), about an orphaned French girl raised to believe François I responsible for her parents' deaths and sent by Henry VIII to infiltrate the French court as a spy and assassin.

Donna Russo Morin, The King's Agent (2012), about an adventurous woman who teams up with a religious rogue, a friend of Michelangelo, and sets out on a journey across Renaissance Italy in search of a relic.

William Napier, The Great Siege: Clash of Empires (2011), about the Siege of Malta in 1565, in which 30,000 Ottoman Turks besieged a Mediterranean island held by just 500 knights and a few thousand soldiers.

Elle Newmark, The Book of Unholy Mischief (2008), about a chef's apprentice at the palace of the Venetian doge in 1498 who becomes involved in a search for an ancient book of secrets. Review

Robert Nye, Faust (1980), a humorous thriller based on the story of Faust.

Regina O’Melveny, The Book of Madness and Cures (2012), about a Venetian woman who has learned medicine from her father and journeys across Europe to find him after he goes missing.

Baroness Emmuska Orczy, Leatherface; A Tale of Old Flanders (1916), about sixteenth-century Flanders and its defense against the harsh military campaign of the Spanish Duke of Alva.

Jacqueline Park, The Secret Book of Grazia dei Rossi (1998), a novel in the form of a memoir of a well-connected Jewish woman in Renaissance Italy.

Christopher Peachment, Caravaggio (2003), about the violence-filled life of the Italian Renaissance painter Caravaggio.


Jean Plaidy, Madame Serpent (1951), about Catherine de Medici from her childhood to the death of her husband, King Henry II of France; #1 in the Catherine de Medici trilogy. Review

Jean Plaidy, The Italian Woman (1952; also titled The Unholy Woman), about the widowed French queen Catherine de Medici and the Huguenot Jeanne of Navarre; #2 in the Catherine de Medici trilogy.

Jean Plaidy, Queen Jezebel (1953), about Catherine de Medici, her daughter Princess Margot, and the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of Huguenots; #3 in the Catherine de Medici trilogy.

Jean Plaidy, Madonna of the Seven Hills (1958), a sympathetic novel about the early life of Lucrezia Borgia.

Jean Plaidy, Light on Lucrezia (1958), the sequel to Madonna of the Seven Hills.

Jean Plaidy, Castile for Isabella (1960), about Queen Isabella of Spain; #1 in the Isabella and Ferdinand trilogy.

Jean Plaidy, Spain for the Sovereigns (1960), about Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain; #2 in the Isabella and Ferdinand trilogy.

Jean Plaidy, Daughters of Spain (1961), about Queen Isabella of Spain and her children as they make dynastic marriages; #3 in the Isabella and Ferdinand trilogy.


Nicholas C. Prata, Angels in Iron (1997), about the Knights Hospitallers and their defense of the tiny island of Malta from the Ottoman Turks during the 1565 Siege of Malta.


Linda Proud, A Tabernacle for the Sun (1997), about a boy in Volterra during the town's revolt against Florentine rule in the 1470s and its brutal suppression by Lorenzo de' Medici's army, after which fate brings him to Florence; #1 in the Botticelli trilogy. Review

Linda Proud, Pallas and the Centaur (2004), about the poet Angelo Poliziano during the 1480s after the Pazzi conspirators murder Lorenzo de Medici's brother and a war begins between Florence and Rome; self-published; #2 in the Botticelli trilogy. Review

Linda Proud, The Rebirth of Venus (2008), about an Italian philosopher during the 1490s after the fall of the Medici; self-published; #3 in the Botticelli trilogy. Review

Linda Proud, A Gift for the Magus (2012), about the rogueish Carmelite friar and painter Filippo Lippi and his patron Cosimo de' Medici. Review or Author Interview


John J. Pugh,
Blade of Honor (1955), set during the sixteenth century Huguenot wars in France.

Mario Puzo and Carol Gino, The Family (2001), about the powerful and ruthless Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexander VI, and his family; the last book written by the author of The Godfather, completed by his long-time companion.

Kate Quinn, The Serpent and the Pearl (2013), about a beautiful young woman forced to become Cardinal Borgia's concubine.

Kate Quinn, The Lion and the Rose (2014), about Giulia Farnese, the concubine of Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia), as the pope's enemies threaten her security; sequel to The Serpent and the Pearl

Thomas Quinn, The Lion of St. Mark (2005), about a vendetta between two powerful families in fifteenth century Venice; #1 in the Venetians series.

Thomas Quinn, The Sword of Venice (2007), about a vendetta between two powerful families in fifteenth century Venice; #2 in the Venetians series.

Irene Reti, Kabbalah of Stone (2010), about the spirit of an Old Testament woman prophet and a young, gay man who discovers his family are secret Jews in 1491 on the eve of the expulsion of Jews from Spain.

Anne Rice, Of Love and Evil (2010), about a former contract killer of the present day who must go back in time to Renaissance Italy to protect a Jewish physician wrongfully accused of murder; #2 in the Songs of the Seraphim series (see the Medieval page for #1).

Roberta Rich, The Midwife of Venice (2011), about a Jewish midwife who assists a noblewoman in a difficult childbirth and risks an accusation of witchcraft by using her "birthing spoons" to deliver the child. Review or Author Interview

Judith Merkle Riley, The Master of All Desires (1999), about the French queen, Catherine de Medici, and Nostradamus.

Michaela Roessner, The Stars Dispose (1997), historical fantasy about a young chef and an astrologer in the childhood household of Catherine de Medici.

Rudy Rucker, As Above, So Below (2002), about the sixteenth century Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel.

José Saramago, The Elephant's Journey (2010), about the travels of a group taking an elephant from Portugal to Austria as a wedding present to Archduke Maximilian in 1551. Review

Adam Schell, Tomato Rhapsody (2009), a ribald romance about a Jewish farmer in Tuscany whose grandfather stole a tomato plant when he voyaged with Columbus and his Catholic sweetheart.

Lawrence Schoonover, Queen's Cross (1955), about Isabella of Spain and the 1492 reconquest of Granada from the Moors. Review

Lawrence Schoonover, The Spider King (1954), about the late medieval French king Louis XI, who was born during the Hundred Years War when his father Charles was still the uncrowned Dauphin.

Lawrence Schoonover, The Prisoner of Tordesillas (1959), about Juana, the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella and mother of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V; set in Spain.

Chris Scott, Antichthon (1982; titled The Heretic in Britain), a biographical novel about the Italian philosopher and scientist Giordano Bruno, who was burnt at the stake for heresy in 1600.

Sir Walter Scott, Quentin Durward (1823), about a naïve young Scot in the fifteenth century court of the French King Louis XI.

Miranda Seymour, The Stones of Maggiare (1975), about the Sforza family in Renaissance Italy.

Miranda Seymour, Daughter of Darkness (1977), about Lucrezia Borgia.

Samuel Shellabarger, Prince of Foxes (1947), about a captain in the service of the Borgias; set in Renaissance Italy.

Samuel Shellabarger, The King's Cavalier (1950), set in Renaissance France.

Samuel Shellabarger, Lord Vanity (1953), about the illegitimate son of an English lord and his adventures across Europe and overseas in America.

Richard Skinner, The Mirror (2014), about a Venetian nun who in 1511 questions her faith after an earthquake as she sits for her portrait; and composer Erik Satie reflecting on his life after his death when he is asked to select a memory to take with him into the afterlife.

Traci L. Slatton, Immortal (2008), historical fantasy about a young orphan who rises from poverty to become a wealthy man in Renaissance Florence.

Kay Nolte Smith, Venetian Song (1994), about a Venetian noblewoman who joins a group of traveling players after she runs away to escape marriage with a man she detests.

Irving Stone, The Agony and the Ecstasy (1961), about the Renaissance Italian sculptor Michelangelo.

James Treadwell, Advent (2012), historical fantasy about the legendary German magus Faustus, a present-day British teen, and the return of magic to the world. Review

Geoffrey Trease, Snared Nightingale (1957), about the Italian son of an English soldier of fortune who discovers to his astonishment that he has inherited an earldom in the Welsh Marches. Review

C.J. Underwood, An Army of Judiths (2013), about a widow who works as a shipbuilder in Haarlem and gathers an army of 300 women to fight the invading Spaniards in 1572.

John Updike, Gertrude and Claudius (2000), a literary prequel to Shakespeare's Hamlet which centers on the relationship between Hamlet's mother Gertrude and her brother-in-law Claudius.

Susan Vreeland, The Passion of Artemisia (2002), about a woman painter in early seventeenth-century Italy.

Mika Waltari, The Adventurer (original Finnish edition 1948; English edition 1950), about a young Finn in the sixteenth century, illegitimate and orphaned, who travels Europe and studies theology in an effort to improve his position.

Mika Waltari, The Wanderer (original Finnish edition 1949; English edition 1951), about a sixteenth-century Finn forced to covert to Islam by pirates, whose further travels bring him to the Ottoman empire, where he rises to a high position in the court of Sultan Suleiman I.

Beryl Walthew, A Queen Betrayed (1981), about Juana of Castile; out of print and not readily available.

Katie Ward, Girl Reading (2011), a collection of short stories about artists and the women they portray reading, ranging from the Renaissance period to the present. Review at Percolate Magazine

Morris L. West, The Last Confession (2000), a novel in the form of a diary written the Italian philosopher and scientist Giordano Bruno while in prison awaiting his heresy trial; this was West's last novel, published posthumously, and is incomplete. See "The Last Confession" section in Wikipedia's Morris West article

Tim Willocks, The Twelve Children of Paris (2013), about a man who comes to Paris to find his pregnant wife, abducted by a dangerous gang on the eve of the 1572 Huguenot Massacre.

Marguerite Yourcenar, The Abyss (English translation, 1968), about a wandering scholar searching for the truth in Renaissance Europe.


Reformation and Renaissance Europe
The Continent: Mysteries and Thrillers

Click on the title for more information from Powell's Books or another online source, or if you're outside the U.S., try The Book Depository.


Alessandro Barbero, The Eyes of Venice (2012), about a young stonemason in sixteenth-century Venice, who flees after being falsely accused of a crime, leaving his young wife behind.

Barbara Cherne, Bella Donna, about the cook for a wealthy family in Renaissance Florence who is the only one in a position to learn the truth when a beautiful aristocrat is accused of murdering her rival.


Sarah D’Almeida, Death of a Musketeer, a mystery based on the four musketeer characters created by Alexandre Dumas; #1 in the Musketeers mystery series.

Sarah D’Almeida, The Musketeer’s Seamstress, a mystery based on the four musketeer characters created by Alexandre Dumas; #2 in the Musketeers mystery series.

Sarah D’Almeida, The Musketeer’s Apprentice, a mystery based on the four musketeer characters created by Alexandre Dumas; #3 in the Musketeers mystery series.

Sarah D’Almeida, A Death in Gascony, a mystery based on the four musketeer characters created by Alexandre Dumas; #4 in the Musketeers mystery series.

Sarah D’Almeida, Dying by the Sword, a mystery based on the four musketeer characters created by Alexandre Dumas; #5 in the Musketeers mystery series.


Dave Duncan, The Alchemist's Apprentice (2007), alternative history/fantasy/mystery about an apprentice to the prophet Nostradamus in sixteenth century Venice, who must find a killer after his master is suspected of a murder because he predicted the day would be inauspicious; #1 in the Alchemist series.

Dave Duncan, The Alchemist's Code (2008), alternative history/fantasy/mystery about an apprentice to the prophet Nostradamus in sixteenth century Venice and their quest to crack a code and find an enemy agent; #2 in the Alchemist series.

Dave Duncan, The Alchemist's Pursuit (2009), alternative history/fantasy/mystery about an apprentice to the prophet Nostradamus who must help find out who is murdering courtesans in Venice; #3 in the Alchemist series.


Michael Ennis, The Malice of Fortune (2012), a mystery which imagines a Vatican courtesan persuades Niccolò Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci to help her catch a serial killer in the period before Macchiavelli writes The Prince.


Elizabeth Eyre, Death of the Duchess (1991), a soldier of fortune and his seemingly dim-witted sidekick try to get to the bottom of a case of kidnapping and murder when feuding families try to patch up their differences with a wedding; #1 in the Italian Renaissance Whodunit series.

Elizabeth Eyre, Curtains for the Cardinal (1992), a soldier of fortune and his seemingly dim-witted sidekick rescue a princess from beheading; #2 in the Italian Renaissance Whodunit series.

Elizabeth Eyre, Bravo for the Bride (1994), a soldier of fortune and his seemingly dim-witted sidekick try to find out who strangled a bride on the day after her wedding; #3 in the Italian Renaissance Whodunit series.

Elizabeth Eyre, Poison for the Prince (1993), a soldier of fortune and his seemingly dim-witted sidekick try to protect an imperiled prince; #4 in the Italian Renaissance Whodunit series.

Elizabeth Eyre, Axe for an Abbot (1995), a soldier of fortune and his seemingly dim-witted sidekick try to solve the mystery of a murdered abbot; #5 in the Italian Renaissance Whodunit series.

Elizabeth Eyre, Dirge for a Doge (1996), a soldier of fortune and his seemingly dim-witted sidekick attempt to track down a murderer in Venice; #6 in the Italian Renaissance Whodunit series.


Christopher J. Ferguson, Suicide Kings (2014), about a young woman in fifteenth-century Florence who investigates her mother's death after learning she had joined a Luciferian cult.

Marina Fiorato, The Botticelli Secret (2010), a thriller about a young prostitute who teams up with a monk to figure out a secret code in Botticelli's Primavera. Review or Author Interview

Roberta Gellis, Lucrezia Borgia and the Mother of Poisons (2003); a mystery featuring Lucrezia Borgia as sleuth after her husband accuses her of poisoning his mistress.


George Herman, A Comedy of Murders , Leonardo da Vinci teams up with a dwarf to find out who is assassinating cardinals connected with the Duke of Milan's court; #1 in the Leonardo mystery series.

George Herman, The Tears of the Madonna, Leonardo da Vinci teams up with a dwarf to find out who killed a courier and made off with the magnificent diamond necklace he was carrying; #2 in the Leonardo mystery series.

George Herman, The Florentine Mourners, Leonardo da Vinci teams up with a dwarf to investigate a murder while the monk Savonarola's fanatical followers mutilate art masterpieces in Florence; self-published; #3 in the Leonardo mystery series.

George Herman, The Toys of War, Leonardo da Vinci needs the help of an old friend in order to clear himself of suspicion in a case of murder; self-published; #4 in the Leonardo mystery series.


Gabrielle Kimm, The Girl with the Painted Face (2013), about a seventeen-year-old seamstress in Italy who, fleeing a false accusation of theft, joins a theater troupe as its costume mistress, falls in love, discovers a talent for acting, and is falsely accused of murder.


S.J. Parris, Heresy (2010), a thriller featuring Italian scientist Giordano Bruno investigating a series of grisly murders at Oxford University; #1 in the Giordano Bruno series. Review or Author Interview

S. J. Parris, Prophecy (2011), a thriller featuring Italian astronomer and philosopher Giordano Bruno investigating who killed one of Queen Elizabeth's maids of honor in 1583, the year of a Great Conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn; #2 in the Giordano Bruno mystery series. Review

S.J. Parris, Sacrilege (2012), a thriller featuring Italian scientist Giordano Bruno investigating a murder which may be connected to the murder of St. Thomas Becket 400 years previously; #3 in the Giordano Bruno mystery series.

S.J. Parris, Treachery (2014), a thriller featuring Italian scientist Giordano Bruno investigating the murder of a ship captain and threats to the life of Sir Frances Drake; #4 in the Giordano Bruno mystery series.


Sara Poole, Poison (2010), a thriller about a woman poisoner who works for Cardinal Borgia during his quest to become pope; #1 in the Poisoner series. Review or Author Interview

Sara Poole, The Borgia Betrayal (2011), a thriller about a woman poisoner who works for Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexander VI, whose life is threatened by political rivals; #2 in the Poisoner series. Review or Author Interview

Sara Poole, The Borgia Mistress (2012), a thriller about a woman poisoner whose work guarding the life of Pope Alexander VI is jeopardized by secrets from her past; #3 in the Poisoner series.

Javier Sierra, The Secret Supper, a mystery revolving around the Renaissance Italian painter Leonardo da Vinci.


Diane A.S. Stuckart, The Queen's Gambit (2008), set in 1483 Milan and featuring Leonardo da Vinci as the sleuth who must find out who who murdered the ambassador to France during the living chess game he organized; #1 in the Leonardo da Vinci mystery series.

Diane A.S. Stuckart, Portrait of a Lady (2009), about a woman who disguises herself as a man to serve as Leonardo da Vinci's apprentice and then is asked to disguise "himself" as a woman in order to investigate the suspicious death of a servant; #2 in the Leonardo da Vinci mystery series.

Diane A.S. Stuckart, A Bolt from the Blue (2010), a mystery featuring Leonardo da Vinci as sleuth and his apprentice, a girl in disguise, who fears her own life may be in danger when another apprentice is murdered; #3 in the Leonardo da Vinci mystery series.


Alana White, The Sign of the Weeping Virgin (2013), a mystery featuring the Florence lawyer Guid'Antonio Vespucci as sleuth, investigating a miraculous painting and a kidnapping while Lorenzo de Medici pursues his war with the pope.

Derek Wilson, The Swarm of Heaven (1999), a mystery featuring Niccolo Machiavelli engaged on a secret mission for Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexander VI.

Kenneth Wishnia, The Fifth Servant (2010), about a rabbi and his new sexton who must find out who murdered a Christian girl in a Jewish shop in Prague on the eve of Passover, 1592, before Christian anger threatens to destroy the Jewish community.

Richard Zimler, The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon (1998), about a Lisbon Jew who investigates the murder of his mentor, a great scholar of the Kabbalah, during a massacre of Jews by Christians in Portugal.


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