The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time Writers

The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time

Originally By 15k votes 3k voters 35k views 119 items tags f p @
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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  • 6 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 1,670
    - 450

    the people's #1
    Outlander, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, Voyager

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  2. 2
    + 563
    - 310


    Scales of Gold, The disorderly knights, Race of Scorpions

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  3. 3
    + 385
    - 272
    Charles Dickens is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time

    most listed
    Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol

  4. 4
    + 548
    - 342
    Ken Follett is listed (or ranked) 4 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

  5. 5
    + 163
    - 68

    added by 2probb
    The Bull from the Sea, Fire from Heaven, The King Must Die

    ;
  6. 6
    + 232
    - 157
    Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 6 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 ...

  7. 7
    + 149
    - 63

    added by 2probb
    Bring Up the Bodies, Wolf Hall, A Place of Greater Safety

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  8. 8
    + 345
    - 259


    The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, The Black Tulip

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  9. 9
    + 163
    - 97
    Georgette Heyer is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time

    added by minna05
    Georgette Heyer Frederica, The Foundling, Regency Buck

  10. 10
    + 241
    - 164


    Desolation Island, The Hundred Days, Master and Commander

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  11. 11
    + 172
    - 133


    Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Monastery

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  12. 12
    + 131
    - 54

    added by Anna Åhlin
    The Name of the Rose, Foucault's Pendulum, The Mysterious Flame of Queen ...

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  13. 13
    + 211
    - 166
    James A. Michener is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time


    James A. Michener Hawaii, Texas, Tales of the South Pacific

  14. 14
    + 177
    - 129


    I, Claudius, Goodbye to All That

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  15. 15
    + 81
    - 23

    added by Carolyn Cash
    The Sunne in Splendour, Cruel as the grave, Here Be Dragons

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  16. 16
    + 217
    - 185
    No image

    added by Kym Parks

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  17. 17
    + 145
    - 110
    No image

    added by Lons
    The Great Escape, To Sir, with Love

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  18. 18
    + 108
    - 81
    Rosemary Sutcliff is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time

    added by Pam Thomas
    Rosemary Sutcliff Sword of the Valiant, The Eagle of the Ninth, Sword at Sunset

  19. 19
    + 157
    - 130
    No image

    added by AlfonsoVelascoSendra

    ;
  20. 20
    + 124
    - 102
    Leon Uris is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time

    added by Lons
    Leon Uris Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Battle Cry, Exodus

  21. 21
    + 93
    - 29

    ranked low on reranks & added by AKat
    The Winthrop Woman, Dragonwyck, Avalon

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  22. 22
    + 223
    - 139

    ranked low on reranks & added by Gillian Jones
    Encounters, Hiding from the Light, Midnight is a Lonely Place

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  23. 23
    + 65
    - 43

    added by 2probb
    The Scarlet Letter, The Blithedale Romance, The Marble Faun

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  24. 24
    + 115
    - 108
    No image


    Herman Wouk The Winds of War, The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War

  25. 25
    + 200
    - 138

    ranked low on reranks & added by BeccaMcMaster
    The Winter King, The Fort, The bloody ground

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  26. 26
    + 54
    - 44

    added by Anna Åhlin
    La casa de los espíritus, Daughter of Fortune, Eva Luna

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  27. 27
    + 20
    - 3

    added by Arild Tørum
    Anna Karenina, War and Peace, The Death of Ivan Ilyich

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  28. 28
    + 66
    - 41
    No image

    added by Sandra Perez Gluschankoff
    Elizabeth Chadwick The Conquest, Shields of pride, Greatest Knight: The Unsung Story of the ...

  29. 29
    + 33
    - 6

    added by Willow C. Arune
    Captain Horatio Hornblower, Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N., The African ...

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  30. 30
    + 74
    - 105

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Ben-Hur, Caligula, Myra Breckinridge

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  31. 31
    + 73
    - 100
    Arturo Pérez-Reverte is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time

    added by AlfonsoVelascoSendra
    Arturo Pérez-Reverte Comanche Territory, The Fencing Master, The Club Dumas

  32. 32
    + 61
    - 82
    No image

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Octopussy, The Four Musketeers, Red Sonja

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  33. 33
    + 86
    - 72
    No image

    ranked low on reranks & added by Algernon21
    Jean Plaidy

  34. 34
    + 64
    - 50
    No image

    ranked low on reranks & added by pc4wheeler
    Winston Graham The Spanish Armadas, Ross Poldark :POLDARK, Jeremy Poldark

  35. 35
    + 10
    - 3


    One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera, The Autumn of ...

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  36. 36
    + 86
    - 80
    No image

    ranked low on reranks
    Russka, London, The Forest

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  37. 37
    + 51
    - 78

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    The Ghost Writer, Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome, Fatherland

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  38. 38
    + 26
    - 40

    often listed & added by 2probb
    The Magic Mountain, Death in Venice, Buddenbrooks

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  39. 39
    + 73
    - 104

    added by Diane Gummer
    Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, The Queen of the ...

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  40. 40
    + 98
    - 110
    Joseph Conrad is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time


    Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, The Secret Agent

  41. 41
    + 97
    - 109
    No image


    John Jakes North and South, Heaven and Hell, Love and War

  42. 42
    + 26
    - 16

    added by J. Scott Kenney
    The Saxon Shore, The Skystone, The Eagle

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  43. 43
    + 7
    - 11
    No image

    added by Katherine Mann Jensen
    House of illusions, The oasis, Lords of the Two Lands

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  44. 44
    + 41
    - 37

    added by 2probb
    The snake pit, Kristin Lavransdatter, The Cross

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  45. 45
    + 7
    - 1

    added by Erica Beck
    Sovereign, Winter in Madrid, Dissolution

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  46. 46
    + 67
    - 88

    added by dougr
    Shout at the Devil, Gold, A Time to Die

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  47. 47
    + 8
    - 3
    Stendhal is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time

    added by Arild Tørum
    Stendhal The Red and the Black, The Charterhouse of Parma, Spicy food

  48. 48
    + 16
    - 15
    No image

    added by RonniCaitlinGabrielleBaer
    Norah Lofts 7 Women, The Lost Queen, You're Best Alone

  49. 49
    + 33
    - 41

    added by Agustin Baquero
    Five Miles to Midnight, La Louve de France, The Iron King

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  50. 50
    + 43
    - 56

    added by Konnoisseur411
    Sophie's Choice, The Confessions of Nat Turner, Darkness Visible Sophie's Choice and The Confessions of Nat Turner.

    ;
120 +

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