Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Read If You Love Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall Trilogy

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

This week’s topic is Books to Read If You Love/Loved X (X can be a genre, specific book, author, movie/TV show, etc.). The Wolf Hall Trilogy by Hilary Mantel tells the story of the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell in the court of Henry VIII.

Wolf Hall – England in the 1520s as Henry VIII is seeking a divorce from Katherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn. It tells of the rise to power of Thomas Cromwell. Bring Up the Bodies, by 1535, Anne has failed to bear a son and Henry gas fallen in love with Jane Seymour – Anne has to go. This is mainly about Cromwell’s scheming to bring about Anne’s downfall. The Mirror and the Light, the final part, which I’m still reading, set in 1536 – 1540, about Cromwell’s final years.

Here are 10 other historical fiction trilogies/series that I’ve read and loved. I’ve given brief descriptions of the first books for each with links to Goodreads for the details of the rest of the series..

Mathew Shardlake Series by C J Sansom – Mathew Shardlake is a lawyer-detective in the court of Henry VIII. Seven books – I’ve read all of them. The first one Dissolution is closest in time to the third book of Mantel’s trilogy set at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries in 1537. Thomas Cromwell’s Comissioner is found dead, his head severed from his body. Dr Shardlake is sent to uncover the truth behind what has happened.

Marwood and Lovett Series by Andrew Taylor – 17th century London during Charles II reign, who was restored to the throne in 1660 Five books – the first, The Ashes of London is set in 1666 just after the Great Fire. The fathers of both James Marwood and Cat Lovett has fought against Charles and so they are both disgraced. they become involved in investigating the murder of a man is found in the ruins of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Christopher Redmayne Series by Edward Marston – Christopher Redmayne, an architect, and Jonathan Bale, a constable in 1600s London, England. The first book, The King’s Evil is also set in 1666 just after the Great Fire and is also a murder mystery. Redmayne is an architect, working to restore London after the Fire, when he becomes involved in investigating the murder of Sir Ambrose Northcott. whose body was found in the cellars of his partly built new house.

Damian Seeker Series by S G MacLean – historical thrillers set in Oliver Cromwell’s London. Five books – the first is The Seeker, set in 1654. Damian Seeker, Captain of Cromwell’s Guard, works for John Thurloe, Cromwell’s Chief Secretary and spy master. England in 1654 is a Republic in name only, Parliament had been dissolved in 1653 and Cromwell was appointed as Lord Protector – King in all but name.

Raven, Fisher, and Simpson Mystery Series by Ambrose Parry – murder and medical experiments set in 19th century Edinburgh. Three books – the first one is The Way of All Flesh, set in 1847. It begins with the death of Evie, a prostitute in Edinburgh’s Old Town, found by Will Raven, a young medical student about to start his apprenticeship with Dr Simpson. a professor of midwifery, who discovered the anaesthetic properties of chloroform. Sarah Fisher, Dr Simpson’s housemaid is an ambitious and enterprising young woman who would love to have a career in medicine. She and Will join forces to uncover the killer in the depths of Edinburgh’s dark underworld.

Munro Scottish Saga Series by Margaret Skea – set 16th century Scotland. Three books, the first is Turn of the Tide which begins in 1586 in the Scottish Borders in the middle of the centuries-old feud between the Cunninghames and the Montgomeries, with all the drama of their battles, ambushes and schemes to further their standing with the young King James VI. It’s a tale of love, loyalty, tragedy and betrayal.

The Burning Chambers Series by Kate Mosse – 2 books, with a third book in progress. The first is The Burning Chambers, set in Languedoc in the south-west of France in 1562 during the French Wars of Religion. It’s centred on the Joubert family, Catholics living in Carcassonne and Piet Reydon, one of the Huguenot leaders. Bernard Joubert, a bookseller had been imprisoned accused of being a traitor and a heretic after he had let slip information about a secret will. It’s a complicated story of war, conspiracies, love, betrayal, forgery, torture and family secrets.

Cicero Series by Robert Harris- set in Ancient Rome – three books. The first is Imperium. Beginning in 79 BC, this book set in the Republican era is a fictional biography of Marcus Tullius Cicero by Tiro, his slave secretary. It is basically a political history, a story filled with intrigue, scheming and treachery in the search for political power as Cicero, a senator, works his way to power as one of Rome’s two consuls.

Theseus Series by Mary Renault – Two books, The King Must Die and The Bull from the Sea. I remember being captivated by these books when I first read them years ago and would so like to re-read them. They retell the life of the mythological Greek hero Theseus, following his adventures from Troizen to Eleusis, where the death in the book’s title is to take place, and from Athens to Crete, where he learns to jump bulls and is named king of the victims. In the second book Theseus defies the Gods’ and claims the throne of Athens a move that culminates in the terrible, fateful destruction of the house of Minos where he slays the Minotaur.

Alexander Seaton Series by Shona MacLean, set in 17th century Scotland. Four books, the first is The Redemption of Alexander Seaton. It is set in the town of Banff, Scotland in the 1620s. One stormy night Patrick Davidson, the local apothecary’s assistant collapses in the street. The next morning he is found dead in the school house of Alexander Seaton, a failed minister, now a schoolteacher. When one of Alexander’s few friends in the town is arrested for the murder, he sets out to prove his innocence.

15 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Read If You Love Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall Trilogy

  1. This is such a good idea for a meme, Margaret (although it’s likely going to increase people’s TBRs!). I enjoyed MacLean’s Alexander Seaton series quite a lot, so it’s good to see that here. And the Shardlake series is a truly fine one. I’m glad to see that one, too. You’ve also reminded me that I must catch up with Harris’ work. Lots to like here!

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  2. There two of MacLeans’ Seaton books I’ve got left to read! And compiling the post has also reminded me of Renault’s Alexander the Great series and I have the first book, Fire from Heaven in my TBRs. 🙂


  3. That’s a great list! I’ve read all of those apart from the Edward Marston, Kate Mosse and SG MacLean books. I also love the Thomas Hawkins series by Antonia Hodgson, the Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett and the Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian.

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  4. Still to read the last in Hilary Mantel’s trilogy. I loved the first two. Quite intrigued by your suggestions for historical reads, which I love. Will for sure try out one or two of them.


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