Read Through History

Read Through History

EOTNEagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff - Roman

The Ninth Legion marched into the mists of northern Britain - and they were never seen again.

Four thousand men disappeared and their eagle standard was lost. It is a mystery that has never been solved, until now.

Marcus has to find out what happened to his father, who led the legion. So he sets out into the unknown, on a quest so dangerous that nobody expects him to return.

RMRoman Mysteries by Caroline Lawrence - Roman

A series of 10 Books including:

The Thieves of Ostia, The Secrets of Vesuvius, The Pirates of Pompeii, The Assassins of Rome, The Dolphins of Laurentum, The Twelve Tasks of Flavia GeminaThe Enemies of Jupiter, The Gladiators from Capua, The Colossus of Rhodes and The Fugitive from Corinth.

SBStormbringer by Philippa Gregory - Middle Ages

The year is 1453 and all signs point to it being the end of the world.

Accused of heresy and expelled from his monastery, handsome seventeen year old, Luca Vero, is recruited by a mysterious stranger to record the end of times across Europe and travel to the very frontier of good and evil. Isolde, a seventeen year old Lady Abbess, has been trapped in a nunnery by her brother to prevent her claiming a rich inheritance. But when the nuns in Isolde's care show signs of maddness, she's accused of witchcraft and outisde the abby a pyre is being built to burn her for her wickedness. Luca is sent to investigate and all the evidence points to Isolde's criminal guilt, but is there something more sinister behind the maddness? 

GTGatty's Tale by Kevin Crossley-Holland - Middle Ages

Gatty the village girl, steadfast, forthright, innocent, and wise.

This is her story, written down at her behest by her childhood friend and hero, Arthur de Caldicot. Gatty's dream is to follow Arthur to Jerusalem, though she has not even understood that Jerusalem is farther away than Ludlow and across the sea. As he sets out on the Crusade, Gatty, unknown to him, follows. Her extraordinary journey on foot across Europe and towards the east makes a marvellous medieval adventure story.

VVIII by Harriet Castor - Tudors

VIII (EIGHT) is the untold story of Henry VIII, a gripping examination of how he turned from a charismatic teenager to the cruel tyrant he became in later life.

Hal is a young, handsome and gifted warrior who believes he has been divinely chosen to lead his people. But throughout his life he is haunted by a ghostly apparition and, once he rises to power, he turns to murder and rapacious cruelty.

WHWolf Hall by Hilart Mantel - Tudors

Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need, comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey's clerk and later his successor. 

Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages.

DDissolution by C. J. Sansom - Tudors

The first book in a series of 5.

Dissolution is set in 1537, a time of revolution that sees the greatest changes in England since 1066. Henry VIII has proclaimed himself Supreme Head of the Church and the country is waking up to savage new laws, rigged trials and the greatest network of informers ever seen.


CoMCity of Masks by Mary Hoffman - 16th Century Italy

Set in Talia, a parallel world very similar to 16th Century Italy, the narrative follows Lucien, who in our world is very ill. Given a marbled notebook to use as a diary, the notebook is the unexpected means that transports Lucien to this dangerous new world; a world that thrills to the delight of political intrigue and where a life can be snuffed out with a flash of a merlino blade. The city of Bellezza (Venice in our world) is astonishingly evoked, with a filmic eye to detail, from the sensuousness of silks and velvets, to the thrill and danger of assassination attempts both and foiled and successful.

FGThe Fools Girl by Celia Rees - Shakespearean Times

Young and beautiful Violetta may be of royal blood, but her kingdom is in shambles when she arrives in London on a mysterious mission. Her journey has been long and her adventures many, but it is not until she meets the playwright William Shakespeare that she gets to tell the entire story from beginning to end. Violetta and her comic companion, Feste, have come in search of an ancient holy relic that the evil Malvolio has stolen from their kingdom. But where will their remarkable quest and their most unusual story lead?

KoDKiss of Death by Malcolm Rose - The Plague

On a school trip to the plague village of Eyam, Seth is moved by the story of how villagers sacrificed their lives to the dreaded Black Death. Kim and Wes are more interested in what they see at the bottom of the wishing well – money! But when they snatch the coins they also pick up something they hadn't bargained for, and as the hideous consequences of their theft catch up with them all, Seth is forced to face a terrifying truth. Has Eyam's plague-ridden past resurfaced to seek revenge?


ICI Coriander by Sally Gardner - 17th Century

The story is told by Coriander, daughter of a silk merchant in 1650s London. Her idyllic childhood ends when her mother dies and her father goes away, leaving Coriander with her stepmother, a widow who is in cahoots with a fundamentalist Puritan preacher. She is shut away in a chest and left to die, but emerges into the fairy world from which her mother came and where time has no meaning. When she returns, charged with a task that will transform her life, she is seventeen.


CBCoram Boy by Jamila Gavin - 18th Century / Slavery

The Coram man takes babies and money from desperate mothers, promising to deliver them safely to a Foundling Hospital in London. Instead, he murders them and buries them by the roadside, to the helpless horror of his mentally ill son, Mish.

Mish saves one, Aaron, who grows up happily unaware of his history, proving himself a promising musician.  As Aaron's new life takes him closer to his real family, the watchful Mish makes a terrible mistake, delivering Aaron and his best friend Toby back into the hands of the Coram man.

JWJupiter Williams by S I Martin - 19th Century

London 1800. Jupiter is young, black and living at the African Academy in Clapham with other boys from wealthy Sierra Leonean families. His life is a mixture of privilege and dispossession as he copes with the cruelty of his teachers, the rivalries and tensions among his schoolmates, a sense of duty towards his younger brother Robert and guilt over the death of another brother in Africa. Throughout, Jupiter strives to maintain his dignity, his Christian faith and pride in his roots.

But beyond the relative ease of Clapham lies another London, where poor black communities struggle for survival along the squalid reaches of the Thames. A world where Jupiter's education and background mean nothing and skin colour alone determines fate. Into this world his younger brother Robert vanishes and Jupiter is obliged to follow.

BBBring out the Banners by Geoffrey Trease - Suffragettes

An office worker and an aristocratic young lady become unlikely friends as they work together for women's right to vote.

A thrilling story of secret meetings, police oppression and social upheaval, as well as an accurate account of the Suffragette movement in the years before the First World War. 


RemembranceRemembrance by Teresa Breslin - World War I

Scotland, 1915. A group of teenagers from two families meet for a picnic, but the war across the Channel is soon to tear them away from such youthful pleasures. All too soon, the horror of what is to become known as The Great War engulfs them, their friends and the whole village. From the horror of the trenches, to the devastating reality seen daily by those nursing the wounded, they struggle to survive and nothing will ever be the same again.


11Eleven Eleven by Paul Dowswell - World War I

Set during the final 24 hours before the armistice at 11am on 11th November 1918. The story follows a German storm trooper, an American airman and a British Tommy. Their destinies converge during the death throes of the first ever conflict to spread across the globe. War becomes incredibly personal as nationality and geography cease to matter to each of these teenagers on the Western Front, and friendship becomes the defining aspect of their encounter. But who will live and who will die before the end of the day?


RoTRoll of Thunder Hear my Cry by Mildred D Taylor - 1930s America

We have no choice of what colour we are born or who our parents are or whether we're rich or poor. What we do have is some choice over what we make of our lives once we are here.

The Mississippi of the 1930s was a hard place for a black child to grow up in, but still Cassie didn't understand why farming his own land meant so much to her father. During that year, though, when the night riders were carrying hatred and destruction among her people, she learned about the great differences that divided them, and when it was worth fighting for a principle even if it brought terrible hardships.

GoWThe Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck - 1930s America

Set against the backdrop of America's Great Depression and Dust Bowl, a family of farmers from Oklahoma head west in search of work in the promised land of California, only to discover thousands like them are also on the move. Following a violent altercation with some locals, they head back on the road with their dream of a promised land in tatters and life is set to get much worse for the Joads family.


EEnigma by Robert Harris - World War II

It is March 1943 and the War hangs in the balance. At Bletchley Park, Tom Jericho, a brilliant young codebreaker, is facing a double nightmare. The Germans have unaccountably changed their U-boat Enigma code, threatening a massive Allied defeat.

As suspicion grows that there may be a spy inside Bletchley and Jericho is suspected, his girlfriend, the beautiful and mysterious Claire Romilly, suddenly disappears. With the help of Claire's best friend, Hester, Jericho sets out to find Claire, clear his name and unmask the spy. The answers will change his life forever.

AIBAlone in Berlin by Hans Fallada - World War II

Berlin, 1940. The city is paralysed by fear. But one man refuses to be scared. Otto, an ordinary German living in a shabby apartment block, tries to stay out of trouble under Nazi rule. But when he discovers his only son has been killed fighting at the front he is shocked into an extraordinary act of resistance and starts to drop anonymous postcards attacking Hitler across the city. If caught, he will be executed.

Soon this silent campaign comes to the attention of ambitious Gestapo inspector Escherich and a murderous game of cat and mouse begins. Whoever loses, pays with their life.

BTMThe Boy at the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne - Waorld War II

When Pierrot becomes an orphan, he must leave his home in Paris for a new life with his Aunt Beatrix, a servant in a wealthy household at the top of the German mountains. But this is no ordinary time, for it is 1935 and the Second World War is fast approaching; and this is no ordinary house, for this is the Berghof, the home of Adolf Hitler.

Quickly, Pierrot is taken under Hitler's wing and is thrown into an increasingly dangerous new world: a world of terror, secrets and betrayal, from which he may never be able to escape.

S20Sektion 20 by Paul Dowswell - Cold War

Alex Ostermann lives in an apartment block with his family in East Berlin. He hates the regime and his parents are worried that Alex and his sister, Geli, are not displaying the correct socialist attitude. They are often followed and friends suddenly break off relations. The final straw comes when Alex is arrested. With the help of professional escape assistants the whole family make a dramatic escape to the West. 

Alex soon discovers that in a bid to save Alex and Geli, their father has cut a secret deal with the Stasi, to become a spy in West Germany. A deal that places them in even more danger when their father's Stasi handler, the CIA and West German Secret Service on their trail too, powerful forces converge for a terrifying showdown.

BFBattle Fatigue by Mark Kurlansky - Vietnam War

Growing up in the years following World War II, Joel Bloom and his friends dreamed of either fighting in the military or leading the Dodgers to the World Series. But when Joel turns eighteen, the Vietnam War is in full swing and the sides of war he learned about as a child are not nearly as clear. Old enough to be drafted, Joel loves his country but knows he cannot fight in an unjust war. After trying and failing to be a conscientious objector, he must decide whether to serve in Vietnam or leave for Canada, a decision that would help him avoid the violence of war but force him to leave behind those he loves and turn his back on everything he was brought up to believe. 

RRRuby Red by Linzi Glass - Apartheid

In Ruby Winters' world, colour opens some doors and slams others shut. Her opulent Johannesburg neighbourhood is a far cry from the streets of Soweto where anger and hatred simmer under the surface.

Ruby cannot resist the blue eyed Afrikaans boy who brings her the exciting rush of first love, but whose presence brings hushed whispers and disapproving glances. She might not see race, colour or creed, but it seems everybody else does.

HThe Help by Kathryn Stockett - Racism in 1960s America

Enter a vanished and unjust world: Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Where black maids raise white children, but are not trusted not to steal the silver.

There is Aibileen, raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the hurt caused by her own son's tragic death; Minny, whose cooking is nearly as sassy as her tongue and white Miss Skeeter, home from College, who wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared.

Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny. No one would believe they would be friends; fewer still would tolerate it. But as each woman finds the courage to cross boundaries, they come to depend and rely upon one another. Each is in a search of a truth. And together they have an extraordinary story to tell.

MSMy Story by Various Authors

A selection of 20 stories set through different eras of History. 

Some of these are written in a diary format but still make for great reading, to give you a feel of what life was like during different times through History.


Nicky Raddon - September 2021