Novels about the Ancient World
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Ancient Authors including Cicero, Caesar, Plutarch & Catullus

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SPARTACUS: The Gladiator by Ben Kane begins the chronicles the legendary gladiator. Followed by Spartacus: Rebellion. THE FORGOTTEN LEGION by Ben Kane begins the chronicles of the the Forgoten Legion, set in the time of Julius Caesar. Follower by The Silver EagleThe Road to Rome
HANNIBAL: Enemy of Rome by Ben Kane begins a new series set during the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage. ROME: The Eagle of the Twelfth by M.C. Scott The latest in the author’s epic series. Previous volumes: The Emperor’s Spy The Coming of the King. By the author of the Boudica novels.
AGENT OF ROME: The Siege by Nick Brown Cassius Corbulo, a young intelligence agent, encouters the machinations of Queen Zenobia of Palmyra in A.D. 270. Corbulo’s adventures continue in The Imperial Banner. ROMA VICTRIX by Russell Whitfielde explores the dangerous, seductive world of a female gladiator in ancient; a sequel to Gladiatrix.
MASTER & GOD by Lindsey Davis From the bestselling author of the Falco series, a big novel set in the paranoid reign of Domitian. THE SONG OF ACHILLES by Madeline Miller “At once a scholar’s homage to The Iliad and a startlingly original work of art by an incredibly talented new novelist.”—Ann Patchett
THE DOVEKEEPERS by Alice Hoffman The popular author (The Story Sisters, Seventh Heaven) recounts the story of four women present at the Roman siege of Masada in A.D. 72. THE HITTITE by Ben Bova Sci-fi master Bova recounts the adventures of Lukka, a Hittite warrior whose search for his missing family leads him to the gates of Troy.
DAUGHTERS OF ROME by Kate Quinn Two sisters maneuver the treacherous tides of history and passion in Rome’s turbulent Year of Four Emperors, 69 A.D. MISTRESS OF ROME by Kate Quinn In the reign of Domitian, a slave girl from Judaea becomes her mistress’s rival for the love of Rome’s most savage gladiator.
EMPRESS OF ROME by Kate Quinn In the reign of Trajan, a senator’s wayward daughter encounters an untamed gladiator. I AM CYRUS by Alexander Jovy The story of “the real Prince of Persia”—Cyrus the Great—who made Persia a world power by ruthless conquest.
WARRIORS ed. by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois includes Steven Saylor“s “The Eagle and the Rabbit” set in 146 B.C., as Roman slave traders track down the last survivors of Carthage. VESPASIAN: TRIBUNE OF ROME by Robert Fabbri The 16-year-old Vespasian begins his military career amid the intrigues of Tiberius’ decadent imperial court. Followed by Rome’s ExecutionerThe Crossroads Brotherhood
THEODORA: Actress, Empress, Whore by Stella Duffy A novel of the most famous of all the Byzantine empresses, the actress who became the wife of Justinian. By the author of The Room of Lost Things. VESTAL VIRGIN by Suzanne Tyrpak A priestess of Vesta engages in a passionate game of wits with the emperor Nero, and finds herself drawn to a new, exotic god from the East called Jesus.
GLADIATOR: Fight for Freedom Street Fighter by Simon Scarrow A new series by the popular author, this one aimed at younger readers. See Scarrow’s other novels here. PRAETORIAN by Simon Scarrow The action-packed new novel featuring Roman army officers Macro and Cato finds our heroes back in Rome in A.D. 50, encountering intrigue and treachery. See the previous novels in the series here.
GOD OF WAR by Christian Cameron Massive novel recounts the life of Alexander the Great as told by his general and the heir to Egypt, Ptolemy. BRING DOWN THE SUN  by Judith Tarr A novel of Olympias, priestess of the Great Goddess, daughter of ruling house of Epiros, witch, familiar of serpents — and mother of Alexander the Great.
KILLER OF MEN by Christian Cameron The author of Tyrant embarks on a new series called “The Long War,“ charting a hero’s progress in the epic struggle between Greece and Persia. Followed by Marathon. TYRANT by Christian Cameron After fighting for Alexander, the Greek warrior Kineas becomes a mercenary for the Tyrant of Olbia on the Black Sea. Followed by Storm of ArrowsFuneral GamesKing of the Bosphorus
EMPIRE: Wounds of Honour by Anthony Riches Fleeing the wrath of emperor Commodus, Aquila reaches Hadrian’s Wall just as rebellion breaks out. Sequels: Arrows of Fury and Fortress of SpearsThe Leopard Sword HERO OF ROME by Douglas Jackson First in a new trilogy set in Roman Britain in the time of Nero. Followed by Defender of RomeAvenger of Rome
CALIGULA by Douglas Jackson An animal trainer and a gladiator are drawn into the dangerous inner circle of the megalomaniac emperor Caligula. CLAUDIUS: by Douglas Jackson When Caratacus rebels against Rome, the emperor Claudius sends a secret weapon against the Britons.
RANSOM by David Malouf “evokes the final days of the Trojan War with cinematic vividness” (PW) as King Priam seeks to ransom the body of his son Hector from Achilles. By the author of An Imaginary Life, a novel about Ovid. THE LIFE OF POLYCRATES & Other Stories for Antiquated Children by Brendan Connell Bizarre and cerebral tales include the story of an eccentric Greek ruler and the fantastic personalities around him.
THE ARMOUR OF ACHILLES by Glyn Iliffe Third volume in the Adventures of Odysseus series. Previous titles: King of IthacaGates of Troy EARLY AMERICAN DRAMA  ed. by J. H. Richards includes a remarkable rediscovery: “The Gladiator” by Robert Montgomery Bird, an 1831 play about Spartacus that sparked a sensation.
THE END OF SPARTA by Victor Davis Hansen A novel of the great Theban leader Epaminondas, written by the American Neocon academic and pundit. THE LOST BOOKS OF THE ODYSSEY by Zachary Mason Mason’s fantastic first novel [is] a deft reimagining of Homer’s Odyssey...This original work consistently surprises and delights.” (Publishers Weekly)
CONSPIRACIES OF ROME by Richard Blake begins a series of thrillers set in Byzantine Empire in the 7th century A.D. Sequels: The Terror of Constantinople The Blood of Alexandria THE HIDDEN by Tobias Hill Archaeological thriller of an Oxford student at Sparta, with a parallel story of ancient Greece. “The evocations of Greece and historical details of Sparta are excellent.” (Publishers Weekly)
MASTERS OF THE SEA Series by John Stack War on the sea rages between Rome and Carthage in Ship of Rome Captain of RomeMaster of Rome. NOBILITAS by Neil Himsworth As Roman troops withdraw from Britannia in 407 A.D., the surgeon Mannius stays on. When his uncle, the governor, is murdered, he faces a threat greater than the Saxon hordes.
LUSTRUM by Robert Harris Follow-up to Imperium finds Cicero facing the machinations of Caesar, Pompey, Crassus, Cato, and Catilina in 63 B.C.—the same setting as Steven Saylor’s novel Catilina’s Riddle. WARRIOR OF ROME, Book 1: Fire in the East 2: King of Kings3: Lion of the Sun4: The Caspian Gates5: The Wolves of the North by Harry Sidebottom The epic adventures of the warrior Ballista in the time of the emperor Valerian.
CAST NOT THE DAY by Paul Waters The adventures of Drusus, a young Roman Briton in the 4th century A.D. Sequel: The Philosopher Prince, in which Drusus befriends the future emperor Julian in an imperial court filled with intrigue. OF MERCHANTS & HEROES by Paul Waters On a quest to avenge his father’s murder, a young Roman travels the world in the era of the great wars between Rome and Carthage. By the author of Cast Not the Day.
CLEOPATRA’S DAUGHTER by Michelle Moran A novel about the three children of Cleopatra and Marc Antony, and their fates after the deaths of their parents. By the author of Nefertiti and The Heretic Queen. CECILIA by Linda Ferri A teenaged Roman girl comes of age in the reign of Marcus Aurelius and finds herself drawn to the forbidden cult of the Christians. By the author of Enchantments. Read a review here.
MARIUS’ MULES by S.J.A. Tunrney A tale of warfare and campaigning, politics and betrayal based on Julius Caesar’s war diary and seen from the perspective of one of his officers. Sequel: The Belgae INTERREGNUM by S.J.A. Turney A story of redemption, loss and recovery in a fractured empire; alternate history set in a fictional world inspired by the crumbling later Roman Empire.
THE REPUBLIC TRILOGY by Jack Ludlow Action-packed series set in the turbulent Roman Republic: The Pillars of RomeSword of RevengeThe Gods of War FAREWELL BRITANNIA: A Family Saga of Roman Britain by Simon Young The dramatic story of 400 years of Roman rule seen through the tales of 14 family members.
THEODORIC by Ross Laidlaw Against tremendous odds, the Gothic leader Theodoric becomes master of the shattered Roman Empire in the West. By the author of Attila: The Scourge of God. DEN OF WOLVES by Luke Devenish The “Empress of Rome” saga begins, narrated by the 100-year-old slave Iphicles, who has seen more than his share of sex, murder, and intrigue.
PORIUS by John Cowper Powys Unexpurgted edition of the classic epic set in Roman Wales in 499 AD, mixing adventure and romance, Christianity and Paganism, metaphysics and myth. ALEXANDER & ALESTRIA by Shan Sa The queen of the Amazons, dazzled by Alexander on the battlefield, decides to kidnap the warrior and make him her “wife.” By the author of Empress.
SHADOW OF COLOSSUS by T.L Higley On Rhodes in 227 BC., the death of her owner gives the courtesan Tessa of Delos a chance for freedom and a new life. First of a Seven Wonders series by Christian author Higley. THE EAGLE AND THE RAVEN by Pauline Gedge Gigantic novel of Boudicca and Caradoc spans three turbulent generations in Roman Britain; foreward by Donna Gillespie.
THIS BREATHING WORLD by José Luis de Juan A Harvard student and a scribe of ancient Rome recount parallel tales of sex and murder. “Past, present and future coalesce in a mask of perfect unity ... beautifully written.” El Pais BOY CAESAR by Jeremy Reed A young Londoner emulates the exploits of the notorious emperor Elagabalus. “Reed is the English Rimbaud.” (Edmund White)
LAVINIA by Ursula K. LeGuin Before the Trojan warrior Aeneas founded Rome, he took the daughter of King Latinus to be his wife. “Deserves to be ranked with I, Claudius.” (Publishers Weekly) COUNTING THE STARS by Helen Dunmore The poet Catullus woos his lover Clodia in the brittle, brutal Roman society of Julius Caesar. “Dunmore’s skilful scene-setting and characterisation ensure that the action always grips.” (The Times)
ROMANITAS by Sophia McDougall begins an alternate history in which Rome’s empire still rules the modern world. Followed by Rome BurningSavage City. THE FIRE WALKER by Ben Pastor In the age of Diocletian and the Tetrarchy, imperial historian Aelius Spartianus investigates the murder of a man resurrected from the dead. A sequel to The Water Theif.
THE AFGHAN CAMPAIGN by Steven Pressfield Stirring new novel of Alexander at war by the bestselling author of Alexander: The Virtures of War and Gates of Fire.
THE CLEFT by Doris Lessing An old Roman senator retells of the story of human creation, beginning with the Clefts, a community of women living in an Edenic, coastal wilderness...
THE EAGLE by Jack Whyte The concluding volume of The Camulod Chronicles, the story of King Arthur set against the backdrop of the Roman and Celtic struggle for Britain. HAWK by George Green In the reign of Tiberius, a procurer of wild beasts for the arena heads for Germany in search of a rare, dangerous creature. High adventure by the author of Hound.
IMPERIUM by Robert Harris The story of Cicero and the rise of Rome’s empire, as told by his private secretary Tiro; by the author of Pompeii, Fatherland and Enigma. A GOD STROLLING IN THE COOL OF THE EVENING by Mario de Carvalho Prize-winning novel of moral conflict in the age of Marcus Aurelius, translated from the Portuguese.
MEN OF BRONZE by Scott Oden Egypt, 526 B.C.: a decadent kingdom faces threats and intrigue from Greeks, Persians, and Phoenicians. By the author of Memnon. DAUGHTER OF THE CROCODILE by Duncan Sprott continues the saga of the Ptolemies, who ruled Egypt from the death of Alexander to the death of Cleopatra. Volume I: The House of Eagles.
PILATE’S WIFE by Antoinette May From her privileged place in Roman society, Claudia Procula views the doings of madmen, emperors, and prophets. PILATE’S WIFE by H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) The famous poet of the 1920s labored long on this unusual novel, in which Pilate’s wife plots to avert the crucifixion of Jesus.
BOUDICA: Dreaming the Eagle by Manda Scott began an epic series about the Iron Age queen who defied Rome, followed by Dreaming the Bull, Dreaming the Hound, & Dreaming the Serpent Spear.
BOUDICA, QUEEN OF THE ICENI by Joseph E. Roesch Caught in a tragic web and trusting in ancient prophecy, Boudica raises the Britons in a bloody revolt against the merciless legions of Nero.
HELEN OF TROY by Margaret George The epic story of the Spartan princess, by the bestselling author of Mary, Called Magdalene, The Autobiography of Henry VIII, and Memoirs of Cleopatra. THE MEMOIRS OF HELEN OF TROY by Amanda Elyot In middle age, Helen writes her autobiography for her daughter, Hermione, revealing how she became the notorious Helen of Troy.
EMPEROR: The Gods of War by Conn Iggulden continues the saga of Julius Caesar. Previous titles: The Gates of Rome The Death of KingsThe Field of Swords. THE NERO PREDICTION by Humphrey Knipe When Rome ruled the world, astrology ruled Rome. Nero’s secretary battles the prediction that he will murder the musical messiah.

Rosemary Sutcliff’s novels about Roman Britain and Homer’s Greece have become beloved classics of the historical genre.

The Eagle of the Ninth, about the quest of Marcus Aquila to recover a lost eagle standard, has now been made into the movie The Eagle (see New Movies). The trilogy of novels featuring Aquila (The Eagle of the Ninth, The Silver Branch, and The Lantern Bearers) are collected in the omnibus edition The Eagle of the Ninth Chronicles.

Sutcliff’s other stories set in Roman Britain include Frontier Wolf, about a young commander who takes charge of a motley band of legionaries •
The Outcast, about a Roman boy brought up by a British tribe • Sword at Sunset, about the Roman-British cavalryman whose deeds gave rise to the legend of King Arthur.

Sutcliff also retold the tales of Homer in
Black Ships Before Troy and The Wanderings of Odysseus.

THE GREEK GODS have been spending a lot of time on earth lately, to judge by a spate of recent fiction...

In The Infinities by Man Booker Prize winner John Banville, Greek deities flit about an English manor where the patriarch is dying, playing gleeful and lustful tricks on the inhabitants. Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips finds the Olympian deities living in a tumbledown house in modern London; Deus Ex Machina by Maria Aragon likewise has the ancient gods complicating life for a modern Londoner. Steven Sherrill’s The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break finds the mythic man-beast keeping his horns down and trying to get by in a trailer park in North Carolina.

All these novels owe a debt to
Thorne Smith’s classic Night Life of the Gods, which takes place in Prohibition-era New York; but when asked for his inspiration, Banville mentions Heinrich Von Kleist’s 1807 play Amphitryon, which was in turn inspired by Molière’s Amphitryon and the ancient Roman comedy Amphitryon by Plautus. The gods have been visiting earth for a long, long time...

Valerio Massimo Manfredi created an international sensation with his bestselling The Alexander Trilogy: Child of a Dream, The Sands of Ammon & The Ends of the Earth.

The Italian author’s other novels of the ancient world:
The Lost Army, about the legendary march of the Greek warrior Xenophon. • The Last Legion, in which Roman soldiers rescue a boy-emperor from barbarians and flee to Britain. • Spartan, the story of two brothers in the harsh city-state of Sparta • Heroes (aka The Talisman of Troy), in which the Greek warrior Diomedes journeys to Italy after the Trojan War. • Tyrant, the tale of Dionysius of Syracuse and his epic war with Carthage. • Empire of Dragons, which follows Roman soldiers on a journey to China. • The Ides of March casts the assassination of Caesar as a dark thriller.

Manfredi’s modern-day archaeological thrillers: The Oracle links macabre murders in modern Greece to a legendary hero of the Trojan War • In The Tower, archaeologists discover a lost city in the desert that holds a terrifying secret for all mankind • Pharaoh concerns a shattering discovey about Moses and the Ark of the Covenant • In The Ancient Curse, the excavation of an Etruscan tomb leads to a series of gruesome killings in the Italian city of Volterra.

Antony and Cleopatra by Colleen McCullough continues the author’s monumental Masters of Rome saga with the tale of history’s most famous lovers. Previous novels in this bestselling series: The First Man in Rome, The Grass Crown, Fortune’s Favourites, Caesar’s Women, Caesar, and The October Horse. Of related interest: McCullough’s epic novel The Song of Troy.
ATTILA by William Napier “The end of the world will come from the East...” The epic trilogy about the Hun continues in The Gathering of the Storm and The Judgement. By the author of Julia, the story of two lovers in the twilight days of the Roman Empire. (William Napier is the penname of novelist Christopher Hart, author of Rescue Me and The Harvest.)

Simon Scarrow’s novels of robust military adventure follow centurion Macro and his protege Cato as they contend with ferocious Britons and deadly imperial intrigues. In order: Under the Eagle, The Eagle’s Conquest, When the Eagle Hunts, The Eagle and the Wolves, The Eagle’s Prey, The Eagle’s Prophecy, Eagle in the Sand, Centurion, The Gladiator, The Legion, and Praetorian.
The classic novels of Alfred Duggan include THREE’S COMPANY, a novel of the struggle between Octavian and Antony as seen by the third man in the Triumvirate, Lepidus. WINTER QUARTERS follows the far-flung adventures of two Gauls in the Roman legions, including Crassus’s Parthian campaign. THE LITTLE EMPERORS and CONSCIENCE OF THE KING are set in Roman Britain. FAMILY FAVOURITES is about the notorious emperor Elagabalus.

“A series of works that retell the great myths of the world is being released simultaneously in more than 30 countries, one of the largest synchronized publishing efforts ever...The publisher vows [the series] will eventually number more than 100.” (New York Times) • A Short History of Myth by Karen ArmstrongThe Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood, a retelling of the myth of Penelope and Odysseus • Weight by Jeanette Winterson, updating the tale of Atlas and HeraklesThe Helmet of Horror: The Myth of Theseus & the Minotaur by Victor Pelevin Lion’s Honey by David Grossman, the story of Samson• Dream Angus: The Celtic God of Dreams by Andrew McCall Smith

THE EUNUCH NEFERU by Daniel Tegan Marsche In the 1st century B.C., an aging Roman general, smitten by the handsome peasant Kebryn, takes the youth from his desert hovel to the marble halls of Alexandria. A STRUGGLE FOR ROME by Felix Dahn The German classic set in the reign of Justinian. To save Rome, Cethegus travels to Byzantium to seek the emperor’s help against the invading Goths.
THE DRUID KING by Norman Spinrad Science fiction master turns to historical fiction with the epic tale of Vercingetorix, leader of the Gauls against Julius Caesar. THE FIRST HEROES ed by Turtledove & Doyle 14 original tales by authors including Gene Wolfe, Poul Anderson, Judith Tarr, and S.M. Stirling range from the Euphrates to Troy and beyond.
THE YOUNG JULIAN by Thomas J. Hairston Grand-nephew of Constantine the Great, the eventual emperor Julian is stalked through his adolescence by a powerful cousin bent on his death. MEMOIRS OF A BYZANTINE EUNUCH by Christopher Harris Castrated and enslaved, Zeno becomes the property of an eminent scholar and is ushered into the glittering court-life of Constantinople.
FOLLOWING HADRIAN by Elizabeth Speller combines travelogue, biography and fictional memoir to recount the life of the emperor who ruled Rome at the peak of her power. DAUGHTER OF LAZARUS by Albert A. Bell, Jr. Lorcis, a female slave, witnesses the eruption of Vesuvius and the decadence of Domitian’s court.
LEGION by William Altimari A centurion arrives in Gaul to train the raw recruits of the 25th Legion, just in time to face a massive barbarian invasion. 68 A.D. by D.G. Bellenger Valerian, son of the murdered emperor Galba, encounters intrigue, rebellion, and murder as he seeks his father’s assassins.
AN IMAGINARY LIFE by David Malouf In exile on the desolate Black Sea coast, the supremely urbane poet Ovid attempts to civilize a feral child. By the author of Ransom, a novel of the Trojan War. THE LOVE ARTIST by Jane Alison On the Black Sea coast, the poet Ovid encounters Xenia, a wild-eyed young woman who becomes his muse.
TRAJAN AND PLOTINA by David Corson The marriage of Trajan, the “perfect prince,” and the philosopher-empress Plotina raises Rome to new heights of grandeur. DOMITIA & DOMITIAN by David Corson Panoramic (697 pages) novel of the emperor whose reign included the siege of Masada, the eruption of Vesuvius, the burying of Pompeii, and the opening of the Colosseum.
A SONG FOR NERO is Tom Holt’s latest comic novel set in the ancient world, with a stunner of a “what-if?” twist on the life of Nero. Previously, in Olympiad, Holt lampooned the creation of the first Games. In The Walled Orchard, he viewed the Golden Age of Athens through the eyes of a cynical goat-herd. In Alexander at the World’s End, he spun parallel stories of two Alexanders—one busy conquering the world, the other struggling to care for his own village.
THE ROMAN TRILOGY by Benita Kane Jaro Three interrelated but independent novels focus on the same period as Steven’s Roma Sub Rosa books: The Key, about the poet Catullus; The Lock, about Cicero; and The Door in the Wall, about Marcus Caelius, the quicksilver lover of Clodia, protege of Cicero, and betrayer of Caesar. John le Carre says Jaro possesses “a voice I can listen to, and an ear that hears right.”
NOVELS OF ROME & THE DARK AGES by Allan Massie Massie brings the ancient world to life in his novels about the titans of imperial Rome: Caesar, Antony, Augustus, Tiberius, Nero’s Heirs, and Caligula. The author’s Dark Ages Trilogy begins with The Evening of the World, in which a young nobleman witnesses barbarian onslaughts and the seedy splendors of Byzantium, and continues with a very revisionist Arthur the King and Charlemagne and Roland.

Through a long and varied career, Gillian Bradshaw has established herself as a leading author of historical fiction set in the ancient world.

The Sun’s Bride , the helmsman of a Rhodian warship rescues a beautiful woman from pirates, and is drawn into intrigues that may engulf the whole Aegean in war. • Dark North is the tale of Memnon, an Ethiopian warrior in the service of emperor Septimius Severus in Britain. • What if the son of Caesar and Cleopatra had not been killed after his mother’s demise? That’s the premise of Cleopatra’s Heir. • In The Beacon at Alexandria, a young woman passes as a eunuch to study medicine in Alexandria, and becomes a doctor on the frontiers of the Roman Empire.The Sand-Reckoner charts the life of Archimedes, who used scientific genius to create weapons of mass destruction. • Island of Ghosts is a tale of frontier intrigue, as soldiers patrol Hadrian’s Wall on the “Island of Ghosts” — foggy, barbaric Britannia. • In Render Unto Caesar, a young Alexandrian travels to Rome and encounters a female gladiator who is more than she seems. • Alchemy of Fire takes place in Constantinople in age of the Arab invasions, as a concubine tries to hide the fact that her daughter is a royal princess.

CUTTER’S ISLAND by Vincent Panella Based on a seminal event of Caesar’s youth — his kidnapping by pirates (which inspired Steven’s story “Little Caesar and the Pirates” in The House of the Vestals.) JULIA by William Napier Young lovers struggle to survive in the twilight of the Roman Empire, from the deserts of Mesopotamia to the dangerous alleys of Londinium. By the author of Attila.
CENTURION by Peter W. Mitsopoulos Centurion Glaxus Valtinius battles wild beasts, barbarians, and the murderous incompetence of his own commander, whose carelessness threatens the survival of three legions. THE SEA PEOPLES by Les Cole Latest in the author’s epic series of nautical adventures set in the Bronze Age, preceded by Lion at Sea.

  To find Steven’s books in the U.K., click here.