10 Best Authors Like Bernard Cornwell for History Buffs

Go back in time with this list of the best authors like Bernard Cornwell. Known for their historic and historical fiction books, they are sure to please.

London-based author Bernard Cornwell was born in 1944 as a ‘war baby.” His father, a Canadian airman, fell in love with his mother, a British Women’s Auxiliary Air Force service member. They did not marry, however, and a family adopted him in Essex. His adoptive family was quite religious, and as a young adult, he desired to escape. London University was his escape route, and after he graduated, he took work with BBC Television.

Through television work, he began to research the history of Northern Ireland. He met and fell in love with a visiting American and moved to America to be with her. Since he could not get a Green Card in America, he started writing, allowing him to earn a living and chase the American Dream without being traditionally employed.

Cornwell has multiple series, but the first was the Sharpe series, which has 25 books. He also wrote a series of books set during the American Civil War known as The Starbuck Chronicles and a trilogy set during King Aurthor called the Warlord Chronicles. The Grail Quest novels and the 13 Saxon Stories reveal his list of historical fiction works. If you have discovered and loved Cornwell’s works, this list of authors like Benard Cornwell is a great place to start looking for your next read.

Best Authors Like Bernard Cornwell Ranked

1. Caroline Alexander, 1956 –  

Though she is known primarily for her nonfiction work, author Caroline Alexander writes in a narrative style that makes her books as enjoyable to read as the historical fiction of Bernard Cornwell. This British author was born in the United States to British parents but has traveled extensively throughout her life. She was one of the first female Rhodes Scholars and one of the first women to be part of the U.S. National Modern Pentathlon championships. She started writing about her travels in graduate school, and two booksThe Endurance, and The Bounty, have made it to the New York Times bestseller list.

“It would seem that to Bligh, infliction of punishment was like sickness, and scurvy, something that had no place on a well-run ship. William Bligh had set out to make the perfect voyage.”

Caroline Alexander, The Bounty
The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty
  • Light and dark green hardcover, jacket in colors of black and greens
  • with distant scene of ship. 489 pages.
  • Hardcover Book
  • Alexander, Caroline (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

2. David Anthony Durham

David Anthony Durham
Author David Anthony Durham

American novelist David Anthony Durham has lived in both the United States and Scotland, and his travels helped him write his historical fiction novels. His first book, Gabriel’s Story, was published in 2001 and is about African American settlers who headed to the American West. It won the 2002 Legacy Award for Debut Fiction and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. He writes about the American Civil War in Walk Through the Darknesshis 2002 novel. He also writes fantasy novels, including the Acacia Trilogy.

“He had been born a slave. He emerged into the world with an ancient face, the color of wet brown sand, with black hair plastered to his skull.”

David Anthony Durham, Walk Through the Darkness
Walk Through Darkness
  • Durham, David Anthony (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 08/12/2003 (Publication Date) - Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group (Publisher)

3. Juliet Barker, 1958 – 

Juliet Barker writes about writers. She has books on The Brontes and Wordsworth, taking a closer look at the people behind famous literary works. She also writes about life in England in the 1300s, and her books are nonfiction and biographical. She was born and raised in Yorkshire and continues to live in the area as an adult. Her book The Brontes, published in 1994, won the Yorkshire Post Book Award and was on the shortlist for the AT&T Nonfiction Prize.

“I am free to walk on the moors – but when I go out there alone – everything reminds me of the times when others were with me and the the moors seem a wilderness, featureless, solitary, saddening.”

Juliet Barker, The Brontes
The Brontes
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Barker, Juliet (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1184 Pages - 06/01/2013 (Publication Date) - Pegasus Books (Publisher)

4. Conn Iggulden, 1971 – 

Conn Iggulden was born in 1971 in London, where he attended school before enrolling at the University of London to study English. He worked as the head of the English department at Haydon School, then started writing in the early 2000s. His first book, The Gates of Rome, is a historical fiction book that covers the life of Julius Caesar and starts a five-book series. He also has a series on the Mongol warlords and the Wars of the Roses. Writing has always been a part of Iggulden’s life, and he continues to produce historical fiction novels today. He also has children’s books, including the Dangerous Books for Boys series.

“I have been distracted from my duty as a father to some extent, but there is no greater exercise to a man’s talents than the upbringing of his son.”

Conn Iggulden, The Gates of Rome
Gates of Rome
  • Iggulden, Conn (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 640 Pages - 06/13/2024 (Publication Date) - Harper (Publisher)

5. Simon Scarrow, 1962 –

Simon Scarrow
Author Simon Scarrow

British author Simon Scarrow is known for his Eagles of the Empire series. This historical fiction set of novels is set in the Roman Empire and follows the Roman military. The series has 22 books, from Under the Eagle in 2000 to his most recent, Death to the Emperor, in 2022. In addition, he has several other historical fiction series and standalone novels. Before starting his successful career, Scarrow attended the University of East Anglia and worked as a college professor. He traveled extensively as a child, which helped him gain a love for history and culture.

“All you need now is deployment of the appropriate tactics to manoeuvre her into an advantageous position and then secure your conquest.”

Simon Scarrow, Under the Eagle
Under the Eagle
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Scarrow, Simon (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 448 Pages - 06/13/2024 (Publication Date) - Headline Book Publishing (Publisher)

6. Ben Kane, 1970 –

Ben Kane
Author Ben Kane

Ben Kane was born in Kenya and moved to Ireland (his parent’s home country) when he was a young boy. He learned to love reading books of all types in school, but his favorite works were fantasy or historical fiction. He went to college to become a veterinarian and started a small practice. However, his desire to travel took over, and in 1997 he traveled the ancient Silk Road, then took a three-year-long trip around the world.

When he returned home in 2001, he quickly volunteered to travel throughout the U.K. to fight a livestock disease that was spreading rapidly. It wasn’t until 2007 that he began writing, and his books took off quickly, making him a top ten best-selling author. His first book, The Forgotten Legion, explores life in first-century Rome. Many of his settings come from places he explored in his travels.

The Forgotten Legion (The Forgotten Legion Chronicles, 1)
  • Kane, Ben (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 544 Pages - 01/05/2010 (Publication Date) - St. Martin's Griffin (Publisher)

7. Gina Buonaguro

American author Gina Buonaguro was born in New Jersey. She is the co-author of six novels and the author of several articles, and her passion is to help bring the voices of the women of history to light. Her debut novel, The Virgins of Venice, hit bookshelves in late 2022. It became an Indigo Bestseller, and its early success indicates that Buonaguro will likely be in high demand for future novels.

“Coarse insults bursting from passing gondoliers intruded my peaceful nap, where I dreamt of writing poems and exchanging drowsy kisses.”

Gina Buonaguro, The Virgins of Venice
The Virgins of Venice: A Novel
  • Buonaguro, Gina (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 432 Pages - 12/13/2022 (Publication Date) - HarperAvenue (Publisher)

8. Peter Gibbons

Peter Gibbons is an author from Ireland who writes primarily historical fiction with a touch of fantasy woven in. He was the 2022 winner of the Kindle Storyteller Award, and he continues publishing intriguing stories against a rich historical backdrop. His debut novel, Viking Blood and Blade, was published in 2021. It takes on the story of the Vikings as they head into battle in 865 AD. He wrote four sequels to this first book before starting The Saxon Warrior Series. His most recent work is The Curs of Naram-Sin, which hit bookshelves in December 2022. This book explores the Persian Empire from the point of view of a warrior and an enslaved person.

“Confidence was half the battle.”

Peter Gibbons, Viking Blood and Blade
Viking Blood and Blade (The Viking Blood and Blade Saga)
  • Gibbons, Peter (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 485 Pages - 08/01/2021 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

9. Michael G. Kramer

Michael G. Kramer’s books are highly rated on Goodreads. He writes epic historical fiction novels. A Vietnam War veteran from Australia, Kramer found it challenging to get a job after returning from the war in the 1960s. He had PTSD after the war, and writing became part of his treatment for PTSD. After returning from war, Kramer returned to school to study engineering and art.

His education caused him to start researching, which led to the publication of his historical fiction and nonfiction works. A Gracious Enemy, his 2019 book, chronicles the Indochina Wars. In 2020 he published A Castle of Doomsday, a historical fiction work surrounding the creation of the castles inside the city of York.

“Although enemy forces had overrun the mortar and some gun positions, they did not have everything their own way.”

Michael G. Kramer, A Gracious Enemy
A Gracious Enemy
  • Kramer OMIEAu, Mr Michael G (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 502 Pages - 05/26/2021 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

10. Matthew Harffy

Historical Fiction author Matthew Harffy grew up in Northumberland, and that childhood impacted his writing about the history of the places he saw. The Bernicia Chronicles, his first series of historical fiction books, is the result; today, there are nine books in the series. He also has a three-book series called A Time for Swords, and a standalone novel, Wolf of Wessex. Readers appreciate the vivid settings he creates for his characters and his historical accuracy. Looking for more? Check out our round-up of the best history books on audible!

“When he’d left the hut, there had been nothing to suggest the grisly secret that was hiding deep within the forest.”

Matthew Harffy, Wolf of Wessex
Wolf of Wessex
  • Harffy, Matthew (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 01/01/2021 (Publication Date) - Head of Zeus -- an Aries Book (Publisher)