Culture The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time  

Book Keeper
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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!
list ordered by

1
1,762 504
Diana Gabaldon is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Outlander, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, Voyager

2
436 335
Charles Dickens is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol

3
602 378
Dorothy Dunnett is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Scales of Gold, The disorderly knights, Race of Scorpions

4
386 310
Alexandre Dumas is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, The Black Tulip

5
262 206
Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Treasure Island, The Master of Ballantrae

6
595 400
Ken Follett is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
The Pillars of the Earth, Eye of the Needle, Winter of the World

7
176 119
Hilary Mantel is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
2probb added Bring Up the Bodies, Wolf Hall, A Place of Greater Safety

8
176 123
Mary Renault is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
2probb added The Bull from the Sea, Fire from Heaven, The King Must Die

9
241 226
Phillippa Gregory is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Kym Parks added

10
189 171
Walter Scott is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Monastery

11
171 152
Georgette Heyer is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Frederica, The Foundling, Regency Buck

12
149 127
Leon Uris is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Lon Harris added Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Battle Cry, Exodus

13
246 200
James A. Michener is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Hawaii, Texas, Tales of the South Pacific

14
201 156
Robert Graves is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
I, Claudius, Goodbye to All That

15
177 135
James Clavell is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Lon Harris added The Great Escape, To Sir, with Love

16
250 172
Bernard Cornwell is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
BeccaMcMaster added The Winter King, The Fort, The bloody ground

17
161 98
Umberto Eco is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Anna Åhlin added The Name of the Rose, Foucault's Pendulum, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana

18
262 189
Patrick O'Brian is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Desolation Island, The Hundred Days, Master and Commander

19
183 159
Collen McCullough is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
AlfonsoVelascoSendra added

20
105 56
Anya Seton is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
AKat added The Winthrop Woman, Dragonwyck, Avalon

21
98 52
Sharon Penman is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Carolyn Cash added The Sunne in Splendour, Cruel as the grave, Here Be Dragons

22
53 25
Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Arild Tørum added Anna Karenina, War and Peace, The Death of Ivan Ilyich

23
85 67
Nathaniel Hawthorne is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
2probb added The Scarlet Letter, The Blithedale Romance, The Marble Faun

24
116 104
Rosemary Sutcliff is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Pam Thomas added Sword of the Valiant, The Eagle of the Ninth, Sword at Sunset

25
227 165
Barbara Erskine is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time
Gillian Jones added Encounters, Hiding from the Light, Midnight is a Lonely Place