7 Captivating Historical Fantasy Books

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Not all warriors were men. Image via creative commons license

The post originally published at The Portalist.

Fantasy books have the ability to transport us to other worlds. Historical fantasy books recreate a time in the past, putting an enchanting twist on it. From an epic set in 13th century Japan to putting dragons in the Napoleonic wars, these seven historical fantasy books are sure to delight and fascinate readers.

Spirit of the Ronin By Travis Heermann

The third and final installment in the Ronin Trilogy, which also includes Heart of the Ronin and Sword of the Roninonce again follows Ken’ishi in thirteenth-century Japan. Ken’ishi is finally working with a powerful samurai lord…but things become complicated when he learns his new master is married to the only woman he’s ever loved. With his enemies planning their next attack, he’ll have to learn how to defeat them while still remaining true to himself.

The Legends of Camber of Culdi Trilogy

This trilogy by Katherine Kurtz follows Camber—a Deryni noble in the medieval kingdom of Gwynedd. Camber belongs to a race of magical people who are set apart from ordinary humans; and, as the kingdom and its people suffer at the hands of a tyrant king, Camber must confront the dark magic that lurks in the realm.

RELATED: 8 Epic Fantasy Book Series That Deserve to Be Discovered 

The Salt Roads By Nalo Hopkinson

The Salt Roads begins in 1804 when a group of women on the Caribbean Island now know as Haiti unknowingly release Ezili—the goddess of sexual desire and love. Ezili then uses her powers to travel across time and space to inhabit three different historical women’s bodies, inspiring uprising and change. Blending fantasy, history, and folklore, Nalo Hopkinson creates a tale that’s touching and disturbing all at the same time.

Related: 8 Fantasy Books with Heroic Women 

The Wolf’s Hour by Robert R. McCammon

This historical fantasy novel set during World War II follows Michael Gallatin, a British operative called out of retirement to help squash a mysterious Nazi plan in occupied Paris. But Gallatin isn’t just any old spy—he’s a werewolf. In a race against time, horrors are unleashed as Gallatin attempts to take down the Nazis.

A Midsummer Tempest By Poul Anderson

Both a Nebula and World Fantasy Award finalist, Poul Anderson’s A Midsummer Tempest tells the story of an alternate seventeenth-century England—one plagued by a civil war. Bringing Shakespeare’s plays to life and presenting them all as fact rather than fiction, Anderson tells the story of King Charles I’s nephew, Rupert, who is taken hostage and falls in love with his captor’s niece. As the young lovers escape together into the forest, they find the faeries who dwell there and become forever bound to each other…no matter what the outcome of this bloody battle might be.

His Majesty’s Dragon By Naomi Novik

The first book in Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series introduces us to this exciting retelling of the Napoleonic Wars. In Novik’s world, dragons fight alongside man. And for Captain Will Laurence, he’s in for the thrill of a lifetime when he finds a dragon egg that hatches into his most loyal companion: Temeraire. Novik’s debut novel is just the first of nine books that follow Laurence and Temeraire’s adventures.

Related: BFFs Over BFs: Author Naomi Novik on the Importance of Female Friendship in YA

The Night Circus By Erin Morgenstern

Dripping with vivid imagery, The Night Circus takes place in Victorian London. Appearing and disappearing without notice, Le Cirque des Rêves—the Circus of Dreams—comes to town and is open from sunset to sunrise. Within the circus, unimaginable wonders exist. But it soon becomes clear that the circus is part of a dark purpose. Two rivals have been training their protégées, Celia and Marco, in the magical arts from a young age to someday face each other in battle. The catch? Only one can be left standing.

Related: 13 Fantasy Books Featuring Teens with Magical Abilities

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2 thoughts on “7 Captivating Historical Fantasy Books

  1. They all sound very intruiging, definitely some to put on my to-read list, though Temeraire is already there and The Night Circus is indeed superb!

    May I also point to The Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson? My all-time favourite historical epic about so many things and people it’s hard to describe, but full of adventure and romance and wit!

  2. Guy Gavriel Kay’s work is a serious omission here – he has made historical fantasy his own kingdom (Tigana, Song for Arbonne, the Sarantium books, Under Heaven, River of Stars…) Also, Alma Alexander (Secrets of Jin Shei, Embers of Heaven, Empress…)

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