The Middle Ages

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Stories set in the dark times between the fifth and fifteenth centuries in Europe.

Compiled by Forbes Library Staff | Summaries from ContentCafe, NoveList, Wikipedia, | March 2011

  • The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
    Set in twelfth-century England, this epic of kings and peasants juxtaposes the building of a magnificent church with the violence and treachery that often characterized the Middle Ages.
  • The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell
    After breaking with King Alfred of Wessex and joining the Danes and the Vikings in hopes of reclaiming Bebbanburg, warlord Uhtred switches sides again after Alfred's daughter pleads with him to take command of the Mercian army and protect Britain from being conquered. The fifth installment in the series Saxon Stories.
  • The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory
    Determined to see her son Henry on the throne of England, pious Margaret Beaufort arranges politically advantageous marriages, sends her son out of the country for his safety and lays secret plans for a battle between the houses of York and Lancaster.
  • The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier
    This novel interweaves historical fact with fiction to explore the mystery behind the creation of the remarkable Lady and the Unicorn tapestries, woven at the end of the fifteenth century, which today hang in the Cluny Museum in Paris.
  • The Witch of Cologne by Tobsha Learner
    A sensuous Jewish midwife is persecuted by the Spanish Inquisition, a chief rabbi is forced to choose between his daughter and his people, and an inquisitor harbors a deeply personal reason for seeking the midwife's condemnation.
  • Brethren by Robyn Young
    After joining the Order of the Knights Templar, young Will Campbell is assigned to recover a heretical text stolen from the group's vaults, unaware that the book, a Grail romance, hides clues to a covert plot by the Anima Templi, the Soul of the Temple, a secret group within the order.
  • Confessions of a Pagan Nun by Kate Horsley
    Gwynneve was a druid before the tonsured clerics began to convert her people, offering them new technologies in exchange for conversions. When her druidic teacher and lover is kidnapped, Gwynneve falls into despair that is lifted only when she hears of a community that keeps the old Celtic ways under the guise of Christian ritual.
  • The Illuminator by Brenda Rickman Vantrease
    Working in secret for a fourteenth-century Oxford professor who would translate the Bible into English, master illuminator Finn forms an alliance with Lady Kathryn, a widow desperate to protect her inheritance from the church and the monarchy.
  • The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
    It is the year 1327. Franciscans in an Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, but Brother William of Baskerville’s investigation is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths.
  • In a Dark Wood Wandering: a novel of the Middle Ages by Hella S. Haasse
    Having promised his mother that he will avenge his father's murder in 1407, Charles d'Orléans is captured inbattle and spends life in prison, where he writes many of his poems.
  • Narcissus and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse
    In the late Middle Ages, conflicts occur between body and intellect and between scholar and artist. Leaving the medieval monastary of Mariabronn, Goldmund embarks on a fantastic journey to recapture his past and discover his future.

Category: Reading Lists, Historical Fiction

Page last changed: October 20, 2012, at 09:46 AM EST.