Authors Like Ken Follett (17 Super Book Recommendations)

Do you love thrillers? If so, you will appreciate the works of Ken Follett, a British author who specializes in writing historical and thriller books.

Authors Like Ken Follett (17 Super Book Recommendations)

He is best known for writing the fan-favorite Kingsbridge series, which launched with the release of the 1989 novel The Pillars of the Earth.

Follett is a skilled author who can create engrossing narratives and complex characters.

The Kingsbridge series is a set of historical books that are set in the fictional town of Kingsbridge. This series is ideal for fans of historical novels that are filled with mystery and murder.

Alongside Kingsbridge, Follett is also responsible for crafting The Century Trilogy, a grandiose historical epic that has captured the imagination of its readers.

If you are a Follett fan, you may find it difficult to find books that can capture a similar sense of intrigue. Luckily, there are a few different authors that are ideal for Ken Follett enthusiasts!

If you adore Ken Follett’s Kingsbridge series, then you will love the books of comparable authors like Tom Clancy, Phillippa Gregory, Frederick Forsyth, Stieg Larsson, and Jack Higgins. Read here to discover the books that you should add to your reading list.

Books By Ken Follett

Books By Ken Follett

Ken Follett is a prolific writer who is responsible for numerous different series. As mentioned, Follett’s most famous series is the Kingsbridge series.

This historical series is ideal for people with a passion for history. These books are set in England during the 12th century. 

World Without End: A Novel (Kingsbridge)

The Pillars of the Earth centers around Philip, a loyal monk who dreams of building the greatest cathedral.

Later books in the series include World Without End and A Column of Fire.

The Kingsbdirge series focuses on fascinating themes like religion, conflict, intrigue, mystery, and death. 

However, Follett has also developed a large following thanks to his The Century Trilogy. This historical epic series focuses on five intertwined families over the course of the 20th century. 

Released in 2010, Fall of Giants is the first book in the series and introduces the reader to these families.

The book covers noteworthy events that occurred in the 20th century, including the Russian Revolution and the First World War.

Later books in The Century Trilogy cover events that occur later in the century, such as the Second World War.

Winter of the World: Book Two of the Century Trilogy

The two other books that make up this trilogy are Winter of the World and Edge of Eternity.

One should not overlook the various standalone books that Follett has crafted.

These books include Eye of the Needle, A Dangerous Fortune, and Capricorn One. Many of these books have been written under a pseudonym, such as Bernard L. Ross.

This gives Follett’s identity a sense of mystery. These books cover a range of genres, including thriller and spy novels.

Perhaps the main theme in the works of Ken Follett is history. Many of his books explore real-world historical events from a fictional perspective.

In doing so, Follett manages to help readers better understand these events whilst also making them more parable to readers.

Other common themes in Follett’s books are mystery, thriller, death, murder, deceit, and religion.

Authors Like Ken Follett

Phillippa Gregory

The Other Boleyn Girl

Up first, Phillippa Gregory is a famed historical novel writer. As a result, this English novelist works in a similar genre to Ken Follett.

Gregory has cultivated most fame and acclaim for The Other Boleyn Girl, which acts as a fictionalized account of the life of Mary Boleyn.

Through the perspective of Mary, Gregory explores some of the cultural events at the time.

For instance, Mary’s sister is Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VII.

Other noteworthy books written by Gregory include The Boleyn Inheritance and The Last Tudor.

Gregory’s novels present a distorted perspective of history.

She highlights the underrepresented perspectives of history that are not found in history books.

In the majority of cases, Gregory writes these narratives from the perspective of female protagonists.

This writer is best suited to people who love history, particularly during the Tudor period. 


  • Gregory provides a unique perspective on history, often giving voice to marginalized females from history.
  • The focus on history makes Gregory a great match for Follett’s fans.


  • Gordon’s writing can be quite steamy, which not all readers will appreciate.

Themes: History, gender, love, femininity, death, power, and betrayal.

Frederick Forsyth

The Day of the Jackal

Frederick Forsyth is a prolific thriller author and journalist. His bestselling books are beloved by thriller fans.

Forsyth makes a brilliant substitute for Follett, as they have a similar writing style when it comes to their thrillers. 

Among his terrific thrillers are The Day of the Jackal, The Devil’s Alternative, and The Fist of God

Alongside his fictional writing, Forsyth has also produced some non-fiction books, such as The Biafra Story in 1969.

If you have a passion for non-fiction books, be sure to check these texts too. 


  • Forsyth is often influenced by history, making him an ideal replacement for Follett.
  • His military novels are overflowing with suspense. 


  • Some readers may find this writing style dry, as it tends to be packed with well-researched facts.

Themes: Power, individuality, mystery, politics, history. 

Tom Clancy


Tom Clancy is one of the most famous authors in the world. If you enjoy espionage narratives, then the chances are that you’ve read the works of Tom Clancy.

The reason why Clancy has become such a big name in this genre is that he provides an exceptional level of detail that few writers can achieve.

Clancy’s debut novel is The Hunt for Red October, which was first released in 1984.

This book introduces Jack Ryan, who has become Clancy’s most iconic fictional character.

The book follows Jack Ryan as he attempts to prove that a Soviet captain has switched sides. 

There are several books in the Jack Ryan series, including The Sum of All Fears, Executive Orders, and Red Rabbit.

We recommend reading Tom Clancy’s narratives if you devoured Follett’s spy thrillers.  


  • The Jack Ryan books are filled with lots of action and intrigue. 
  • Clancy provides a great level of detail that will immerse the reader in the plot.


  • The Jack Ryan books can begin to feel a little repetitive after you’ve read a few.

Themes: Thriller, spy intrigue, the military, good vs evil.

Jack Higgins

Sad Wind from the Sea

Jack Higgins is the pseudonym of Henry Patterson, an English author who revolutionized the spy and espionage thriller genre. 

This bestselling author’s debut novel is Sad Wind from the Sea, which follows the story of Mark Hagen.

This former naval officer has been broken down. Yet, Mark’s life changes when he helps an innocent woman who allegedly knows the location of a stack of gold. 

If you are interested in reading the works of this writer, you may want to check out some of his other books, like Wrath of the Lion and A Fine Night for Dying.

Higgins gives his plots an intensity that’s comparable to Follett’s writing.


  • His writing style is fast-paced.
  • Higgins creates engaging characters that will fascinate the reader.


  • The writing may seem somewhat dated to modern readers.

Themes: Espionage, thriller, mystery, military.

Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: The genre-defining thriller that introduced the world to Lisbeth Salander (Millennium)

Our final pick is Steig Larrson, a popular Swedish author and journalist who is renowned for writing superb crime fiction novels.

This makes Larrson a suitable alternative to Follett if you enjoy his crime narratives. 

Larrson’s most successful series is the Millenium trilogy.

This best-selling crime series started with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, a popular book that was adapted into a famous film starring Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig. 

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo focuses on the quest to find a woman who has disappeared.

A journalist named Mikael Blomkvist teams up with an antisocial hacker called Lisbeth Salander.

The other two books in this trilogy are The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest.

If you like mystery books, Larrson will prove to be a page-turning writer. He creates amazing narratives that engross readers. 


  • Like Follett, Larsson is a master at creating magnificent mystery narratives.
  • Larsson creates three-dimensional characters that are sure to intrigue readers.


  • Larsson tends to focus on heavy subject matters, which some readers may find a little triggering.

Themes: Gender, mystery, violence, the past.

Final Thoughts

Ken Follett has a unique writing style that is perfect for fans of history.

These books allow readers to grasp a better understanding of history and can view it from unique perspectives.

He has also produced thrillers that are oozing with intrigue and mystery.

Consequently, it can be hard to find writers that construct similar narratives.

Luckily, there are a plethora of different authors that you can read once you’ve made your way through the Ken Follett novels.

Why not add these authors to your reading list?!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Genre Does Ken Follett Write?

Ken Follett is primarily a historical writer. However, he has also worked on thrillers and spy books. 

Who Are The Best Historical Fiction Authors?

Among the most beloved historical fiction writers are Ken Follett, Hillary Mantel, Diana Gabaldon, Alison Weir, and Bernard Cornwell.

So if you adore historical fiction, it’s worth trying out the books of these writers. 

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Noah Burton