8 Captivating Historical Fantasy Books

    History just got a whole lot more interesting.

    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 eight 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 Ronin, once 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. 

    Spirit of the Ronin

    By Travis Heermann

    The Legends of Camber of Culdi Trilogy

    By Katherine Kurtz

    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 Legends of Camber of Culdi Trilogy

    By Katherine Kurtz

    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 Salt Roads

    By Nalo Hopkinson

    The Wolf's Hour

    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. 

    A Midsummer Tempest

    By Poul Anderson

    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 

    His Majesty’s Dragon

    By Naomi Novik

    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 

    The Night Circus

    By Erin Morgenstern

    The Mists of Avalon

    By Marion Zimmer Bradley

    Get to know the story of King Arthur from the perspective of the women who helped him rise…and fall. Narrated by Morgaine, the priestess of Avalon and King Arthur’s half-sister, she tells her story of love and loss as she fights to save her culture when Christianity threatens to take over. Focused on the high priestesses of Avalon, as well as King Arthur’s wife, Gwenhwyfar, the retelling offers a unique perspective on the legend. 

    RELATED: Arthurian Legend Movies, Ranked 

    The Mists of Avalon

    By Marion Zimmer Bradley

    This post is sponsored by Travis Heermann. Thank you for supporting our partners, who make it possible for The Portalist to continue publishing the stellar stories you love.

    Featured photo: Henry Hustava / Unsplash 

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