books The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time

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Best historical novelists in the world manage to combine a vast knowledge of history with compelling storylines, taking the reader on a journey through time. Putting together a comprehensive list of historical writers is a daunting task, primarily because actual 'historical novels' can include historical fiction, fantasy, romance, and alternate history novels. I've listed what I believe are some of the greatest historical novel writers of all-time here, but I'm sure I've left off far too many. I'm counting on the community of historical novel fans, here. Vote for your favorites (or vote down your least favorites) and, if you know of an historical novelists that isn't on the list, add it!

I've tried to incorporate a wide variety of the best historical novelists on this list: Those authors whose works were penned hundreds of years ago, and more modern writers as well. From the brilliance of Sir Walter Scott and Charles Dickens to the great modern historical writers like Ken Follett, I've listed as many big names as I can. These authors have written some of the best historical fiction books of all time. Some of the authors on this list are winners of, or nominees for, the prestigious Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction, including David Mitchell ('A Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet') and Robert Harris ('Fatherland,' 'Enigma,' 'Lustrum'). The 'Blue Ribbon' award is given to authors who first publish in either the UK or Ireland.

Who are the best historical novelists of all time? Take a look at this history authors list and see for yourself.

Whether you're a longtime fan of historical novels or a newbie just getting started, hopefully this list can be a guide to help you find new historical writers and books that you'll enjoy! I'm certain I've missed some big names, though, so again, add them to the list. Avid readers might also enjoy these lists of the best fantasy authors, crime authors and young adult authors!

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Diana Gabaldon is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Diana Gabaldon Outlander, A Breath of Snow and Ashes Voyager

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die The Greatest American Novels

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Dorothy Dunnett is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Dorothy Dunnett Scales of Gold, The disorderly knights Race of Scorpions

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Charles Dickens is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations A Christmas Carol

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Mary Renault is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Mary Renault The Bull from the Sea, Fire from Heaven The King Must Die

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Hilary Mantel is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Hilary Mantel Bring Up the Bodies, Wolf Hall A Place of Greater Safety

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Ken Follett is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Ken Follett The Pillars of the Earth, Eye of the Needle Winter of the World

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Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Robert Louis Stevenson Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Treasure Island The Master of Ballantrae

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Alexandre Dumas is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Alexandre Dumas The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers The Black Tulip

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Georgette Heyer is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Georgette Heyer Frederica, The Foundling Regency Buck

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Umberto Eco is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Umberto Eco The Name of the Rose, Foucault's Pendulum The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana

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Anya Seton is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Anya Seton The Winthrop Woman, Dragonwyck Avalon

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Walter Scott is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Walter Scott Ivanhoe, Rob Roy The Monastery

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Phillippa Gregory is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time

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Patrick O'Brian is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Patrick O'Brian Desolation Island, The Hundred Days Master and Commander

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Sharon Penman is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Sharon Penman The Sunne in Splendour, Cruel as the grave Here Be Dragons

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Robert Graves is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Robert Graves I, Claudius Goodbye to All That

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James A. Michener is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
James A. Michener Hawaii, Texas Tales of the South Pacific

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Bernard Cornwell is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Bernard Cornwell The Winter King, The Fort The bloody ground

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Leon Uris is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Leon Uris Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Battle Cry Exodus

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James Clavell is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
James Clavell The Great Escape, To Sir with Love

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Barbara Erskine is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Barbara Erskine Encounters, Hiding from the Light Midnight is a Lonely Place

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Collen McCullough is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time

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Rosemary Sutcliff is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Rosemary Sutcliff Sword of the Valiant, The Eagle of the Ninth Sword at Sunset

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Nathaniel Hawthorne is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Nathaniel Hawthorne The Scarlet Letter, The Blithedale Romance The Marble Faun

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Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Leo Tolstoy Anna Karenina, War and Peace The Death of Ivan Ilyich

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C. S. Forester is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
C. S. Forester Captain Horatio Hornblower, Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. The African Queen

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Isabel Allende is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Isabel Allende La casa de los espíritus, Daughter of Fortune Eva Luna

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Herman Wouk is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Herman Wouk The Winds of War, The Caine Mutiny The Winds of War

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Winston Graham is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Winston Graham The Spanish Armadas, Ross Poldark :POLDARK Jeremy Poldark

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Elizabeth Chadwick is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Elizabeth Chadwick The Conquest, Shields of pride Greatest Knight: The Unsung Story of the Queen's Champion

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Jack Whyte is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Jack Whyte The Saxon Shore, The Skystone The Eagle

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Sigrid Undset is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Sigrid Undset The snake pit, Kristin Lavransdatter The Cross

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Jean Plaidy is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Jean Plaidy

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Arturo Pérez-Reverte is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Arturo Pérez-Reverte Comanche Territory, The Fencing Master The Club Dumas

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Gore Vidal is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Gore Vidal Ben-Hur, Caligula Myra Breckinridge

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Edward Rutherfurd is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Edward Rutherfurd Russka, London The Forest

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Gabriel García Márquez is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Gabriel García Márquez One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera The Autumn of the Patriarch

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C. J. Sansom is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
C. J. Sansom Sovereign, Winter in Madrid Dissolution

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Wilbur A. Smith is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Wilbur A. Smith Shout at the Devil, Gold A Time to Die

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Thomas Mann is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Thomas Mann The Magic Mountain, Death in Venice Buddenbrooks

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Maurice Druon is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Maurice Druon Five Miles to Midnight, La Louve de France The Iron King

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William Styron is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
William Styron Sophie's Choice, The Confessions of Nat Turner Darkness Visible - Sophie's Choice and The Confessions of Nat Turner.

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Naguib Mahfouz is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Naguib Mahfouz Al-Tareeq al-Masdood, The Tough Palace Walk

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George MacDonald Fraser is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
George MacDonald Fraser Octopussy, The Four Musketeers Red Sonja

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Stendhal is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Stendhal The Red and the Black, The Charterhouse of Parma Spicy food

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Anne Rice is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Anne Rice Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, The Queen of the Damned Interview with the Vampire

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Norah Lofts is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Norah Lofts 7 Women, The Lost Queen You're Best Alone

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John Jakes is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
John Jakes North and South, Heaven and Hell Love and War

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Geoffrey Trease is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Geoffrey Trease Bows against the Barons, Elizabeth Princess in Peril

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Joseph Conrad is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim The Secret Agent