books The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time  

Book Keeper
Originally by
15.8k votes 3.2k voters 39.0k views 118 items Embed
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!
list ordered by

1
1,679 472
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 Most Overrated Books of All Time

2
580 314
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

3
400 274
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

4
167 68
Mary Renault is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
2probb added Mary Renault The Bull from the Sea, Fire from Heaven, The King Must Die

5
157 66
Hilary Mantel is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
2probb added Hilary Mantel Bring Up the Bodies, Wolf Hall, A Place of Greater Safety

6
565 344
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

7
243 158
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

8
359 259
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

9
165 98
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

10
140 57
Umberto Eco is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Anna Åhlin added Umberto Eco The Name of the Rose, Foucault's Pendulum, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana

11
98 30
Anya Seton is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
AKat added Anya Seton The Winthrop Woman, Dragonwyck, Avalon

12
177 133
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

13
89 25
Sharon Penman is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Carolyn Cash added Sharon Penman The Sunne in Splendour, Cruel as the grave, Here Be Dragons

14
225 138
Bernard Cornwell is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
BeccaMcMaster added Bernard Cornwell The Winter King, The Fort, The bloody ground

15
227 191
Phillippa Gregory is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Kym Parks added Phillippa Gregory

20 Books to Read in Your 20s Last Words Written By Famous People In Their Suicide Notes

16
224 166
James A. Michener is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
James A. Michener Hawaii, Texas, Tales of the South Pacific

17
247 165
Patrick O'Brian is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Patrick O'Brian Desolation Island, The Hundred Days, Master and Commander

18
184 130
Robert Graves is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Robert Graves I, Claudius, Goodbye to All That

19
133 103
Leon Uris is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Lon Harris added Leon Uris Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Battle Cry, Exodus

20
153 110
James Clavell is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Lon Harris added James Clavell The Great Escape, To Sir, with Love

21
166 131
Collen McCullough is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
AlfonsoVelascoSendra added Collen McCullough

22
30 3
Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Arild Tørum added Leo Tolstoy Anna Karenina, War and Peace, The Death of Ivan Ilyich

23
224 139
Barbara Erskine is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Gillian Jones added Barbara Erskine Encounters, Hiding from the Light, Midnight is a Lonely Place

24
109 81
Rosemary Sutcliff is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Pam Thomas added Rosemary Sutcliff Sword of the Valiant, The Eagle of the Ninth, Sword at Sunset

25
72 44
Nathaniel Hawthorne is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
2probb added Nathaniel Hawthorne The Scarlet Letter, The Blithedale Romance, The Marble Faun

26
37 7
C. S. Forester is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Willow C. Arune added C. S. Forester Captain Horatio Hornblower, Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N., The African Queen

27
57 44
Isabel Allende is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Anna Åhlin added Isabel Allende La casa de los espíritus, Daughter of Fortune, Eva Luna

28
119 109
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

29
65 50
Winston Graham is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
pc4wheeler added Winston Graham The Spanish Armadas, Ross Poldark :POLDARK, Jeremy Poldark

The 10 Most Bizarre Sex Ed Videos Non-Americans Describe The Weirdest Things About America

30
68 41
Elizabeth Chadwick is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Sandra Perez Gluschankoff added Elizabeth Chadwick The Conquest, Shields of pride, Greatest Knight: The Unsung Story of the Queen's Champion

31
30 16
Jack Whyte is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
J. Scott Kenney added Jack Whyte The Saxon Shore, The Skystone, The Eagle

32
89 72
Jean Plaidy is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Algernon21 added Jean Plaidy

33
44 37
Sigrid Undset is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
2probb added Sigrid Undset The snake pit, Kristin Lavransdatter, The Cross

34
92 80
Edward Rutherfurd is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Edward Rutherfurd Russka, London, The Forest

35
80 107
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

36
75 100
Arturo Pérez-Reverte is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
AlfonsoVelascoSendra added Arturo Pérez-Reverte Comanche Territory, The Fencing Master, The Club Dumas

37
11 1
C. J. Sansom is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Erica Beck added C. J. Sansom Sovereign, Winter in Madrid, Dissolution

38
12 3
Gabriel García Márquez is listed (or ranked) 38 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

39
71 88
Wilbur A. Smith is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
dougr added Wilbur A. Smith Shout at the Devil, Gold, A Time to Die

40
36 41
Maurice Druon is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Agustin Baquero added Maurice Druon Five Miles to Midnight, La Louve de France, The Iron King

41
46 56
William Styron is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Konnoisseur411 added William Styron Sophie's Choice, The Confessions of Nat Turner, Darkness Visible - Sophie's Choice and The Confessions of Nat Turner.

42
9 3
Stendhal is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Arild Tørum added Stendhal The Red and the Black, The Charterhouse of Parma, Spicy food

43
26 40
Thomas Mann is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
2probb added Thomas Mann The Magic Mountain, Death in Venice, Buddenbrooks

30 Celebrities Who Lost Children The Most Ridiculous Political Pundits

44
62 82
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

45
12 8
Naguib Mahfouz is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Ellen Callahan added Naguib Mahfouz Al-Tareeq al-Masdood, The Tough, Palace Walk

46
77 105
Anne Rice is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Diane Gummer added Anne Rice Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, The Queen of the Damned, Interview with the Vampire

47
100 110
Joseph Conrad is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, The Secret Agent

48
7 2
Geoffrey Trease is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Estelle Wolfers added Geoffrey Trease Bows against the Barons, Elizabeth, Princess in Peril

49
98 109
John Jakes is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
John Jakes North and South, Heaven and Hell, Love and War

50
16 16
Norah Lofts is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
RonniCaitlinGabrielleBaer added Norah Lofts 7 Women, The Lost Queen, You're Best Alone