The Greatest "Historical fiction, Jerusalem" Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 305 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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Historical fiction

Historical fiction is a genre of literature that combines fictional stories with real historical events, settings, and characters. These books often take place in a specific time period and are based on research and factual information, but also include imaginative elements to create a compelling narrative. Historical fiction allows readers to experience the past in a unique and engaging way, while also providing insight into the social, cultural, and political issues of the time.


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  1. 1. Barabbas by Par Lagerkvist

    This novel tells the story of Barabbas, the man who was pardoned instead of Jesus Christ, according to the New Testament. After being released, Barabbas grapples with his newfound freedom and the guilt of being spared at the expense of Jesus. As he witnesses the rise of Christianity and the profound impact Jesus' teachings have on those around him, he struggles with his own beliefs and the meaning of his existence. The narrative explores themes of faith, redemption, and the human condition.

    The 893rd Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace

    "Ben-Hur" is a historical novel that tells the story of Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince from Jerusalem who is enslaved by the Romans after being falsely accused of an attempted assassination. After years of hardship, he becomes a successful charioteer and eventually gets a chance to take revenge on the man who wronged him. Along the way, he encounters Jesus Christ and becomes a follower. The book is a tale of adventure, betrayal, revenge, and redemption set against the backdrop of the life of Christ.

    The 969th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis

    This novel presents an alternative interpretation of the life of Jesus Christ, who is depicted as a conflicted, all-too-human figure who struggles with his divine destiny. The book explores his journey through life, his friendships, his fears, and his ultimate temptation to avoid crucifixion and live a normal life. The narrative delves into the psychological and emotional aspects of his experiences, creating a complex, humanized portrayal of a traditionally divine figure.

    The 1135th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. Jerusalem by Selma Lagerlöf

    This book is a profound exploration of faith, tradition, and the quest for spiritual fulfillment, set against the backdrop of rural Sweden and the Holy Land in the late 19th century. It tells the story of a group of Swedish peasants, inspired by religious fervor, who decide to abandon their homeland and emigrate to Jerusalem to live a purer life in the city of Jesus. The narrative delves into the lives of these individuals, examining their motivations, struggles, and the impact of their decision on the loved ones they leave behind. Through its vivid portrayal of contrasting landscapes and cultures, the novel examines themes of community, belief, and the search for a spiritual homeland, making it a timeless tale of human aspiration and longing.

    The 2845th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz

    This book is a poignant memoir that explores the complexities of love, darkness, loss, and the endurance of the human spirit. Set against the backdrop of the end of the British Mandate for Palestine and the early years of the State of Israel, the author recounts his childhood in Jerusalem, the suicide of his mother, and his path to becoming a writer. The narrative is both a personal account and a portrait of a society in turmoil, providing a profound exploration of the individual and collective psyche.

    The 3705th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. Drifting Cities by Stratis Tsirkas

    Set against the backdrop of World War II and the subsequent civil war in Greece, this novel weaves together the lives of a diverse group of characters who find themselves in Jerusalem, Cairo, and Alexandria. Through their interconnected stories, the narrative explores themes of identity, displacement, and the quest for personal and political freedom. The cities, each with their own unique atmosphere and challenges, serve as more than mere settings; they are integral to the characters' experiences, reflecting the broader historical and cultural shifts of the mid-20th century. As these individuals navigate love, betrayal, and the struggle for a sense of belonging, the book offers a rich tapestry of human resilience and the complexities of home in times of turmoil.

    The 3791st Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. Η Χαμένη Άνοιξη by Stratis Tsirkas

    This novel unfolds in the turbulent era of World War II, exploring the lives of individuals caught in the whirlwind of global conflict and personal turmoil. Set against the backdrop of Alexandria, a melting pot of cultures and nationalities, the narrative delves into the complexities of human relationships, political intrigue, and the quest for identity amidst the chaos of war. Through the eyes of its diverse characters, the story captures the essence of a lost spring, symbolizing both the literal and metaphorical loss experienced by those living through the war and its aftermath. The novel is a poignant reflection on the cost of conflict and the enduring hope for renewal and peace.

    The 3791st Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. Jerusalem Delivered by Torquato Tasso

    The epic poem unfolds during the First Crusade, depicting Christian knights led by Godfrey of Bouillon as they lay siege to Jerusalem, aiming to recapture the holy city from Muslim control. The narrative weaves together themes of love, valor, and chivalry, with a cast of characters that includes the brave knight Rinaldo and the enchanting sorceress Armida. As the warriors confront various supernatural and earthly challenges, the poem explores the conflict between Christian duty and personal passion, ultimately celebrating the virtues of heroism and piety in the quest for divine providence and the triumph of Christian faith.

    The 4151st Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. Count Belisarius by Robert Graves

    This historical novel brings to life the Byzantine Empire through the eyes of its most celebrated general, Belisarius. Renowned for his loyalty and military genius, the protagonist navigates the treacherous waters of political intrigue, betrayal, and warfare in an attempt to serve his emperor while maintaining his own honor. Set against the backdrop of the 6th century, the narrative not only explores the complexities of Belisarius's military campaigns against the Persians, Vandals, and Goths but also delves into his personal life, highlighting his relationship with his wife Antonina and his dealings with the cunning Empress Theodora. Through its detailed portrayal of ancient warfare, political maneuvering, and the human condition, the novel offers a vivid reimagining of a pivotal period in history.

    The 4151st Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. Jerusalem Commands by Michael Moorcock

    In "Jerusalem Commands," readers are transported through a fantastical and surreal narrative that follows the adventures of Colonel Pyat, an unreliable and often delusional protagonist. Set against the backdrop of the early 20th century, the novel weaves through the chaos of a world between wars, touching upon themes of imperialism, addiction, and the quest for identity. Pyat's journey is marked by a series of escapades and misadventures that take him from Europe to Africa, exposing the dark underbelly of colonialism and the human psyche. The book is the third in a series, characterized by its rich historical tapestry and a protagonist who is as charismatic as he is morally ambiguous, leaving readers to question the very nature of truth and history.

    The 4866th Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. The Palace Of Shattered Vessels by David Shahar

    The book is a rich tapestry of life in Jerusalem during the British Mandate period, weaving together the stories of a diverse cast of characters, from a young Jewish boy to an aging British consul. Set against the backdrop of a city steeped in history and conflict, the narrative explores themes of love, loss, and the complexities of human relationships. As the characters' lives intersect in unexpected ways, the novel delves into the cultural and political tensions of the time, painting a vivid portrait of a society on the brink of monumental change. Through its lyrical prose and intricate storytelling, the book captures the essence of Jerusalem's enduring mystique and the fragile beauty of human experience.

    The 7168th Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. The Mandelbaum Gate by Muriel Spark

    "The Mandelbaum Gate" is a gripping novel set in Jerusalem during the tense period of the 1960s. The story follows Barbara Vaughan, a young Englishwoman who becomes entangled in a web of political intrigue and personal turmoil as she navigates the complex and dangerous landscape of the divided city. With vivid descriptions and a keen eye for detail, the author explores themes of identity, religion, and the clash of cultures, creating a compelling narrative that keeps readers captivated until the very end.

    The 7960th Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. Requiem by Graham Joyce

    This novel weaves a haunting tale of loss, love, and the boundaries of reality. The protagonist, an Englishman, finds himself in Jerusalem, grappling with the recent death of his girlfriend. In his quest for solace and understanding, he becomes embroiled in the city's mystical allure, encountering a diverse cast of characters who challenge his perceptions of life and the afterlife. As he delves deeper into the mysteries of the city and confronts his own grief, he is forced to question the nature of reality itself. The narrative masterfully blends elements of the supernatural with the protagonist's emotional journey, creating a poignant exploration of the human condition and the ways in which we cope with loss.

    The 10889th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.