Ancient World

Grade Level Interest
M
: Middle School (defined as grades 6-8).
S: Senior High (defined as grades 9-12).
A/YA: Adult-marketed book recommended for teens.

 

Daughter of the Wind by Michael Cadnum

As various groups of Vikings fight for supremacy of the northern lands and waters, Hallgerd, Gauk, and Hego, three young people from the quiet coastal village of Spjothof, find their fates intertwined as a series of events take them into danger far from home. (M, S)

 

Goddess of Yesterday by Caroline B. Cooney

In a prelude to the Trojan War, Anaxandra is taken from her home at a young age and survives by posing as two different princesses, before ending up as a servant to Helen and Paris as they make their way to Troy. (M, S)

 

A Bone From a Dry Sea by Peter Dickinson

Two parallel stories present a young prehistoric female who is instrumental in advancing her people and a modern-day girl who joins her father, a paleontologist, in discovering important fossil remains in Africa. (S)

 

Alphabet of Dreams by Susan Fletcher

Mitra and her little brother, Babak, are beggars in the ancient city of Rhagae. But they are not what they seem, secretly they are of royal blood. Babak has a strange gift: If he sleeps with an item belonging to someone, he can know that person’s dreams. Mitra believes that they can use this gift to help them regain their standing. (M, S)

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Nobody’s Princess by Esther Friesner

Determined to fend for herself in a world where only men have real freedom, headstrong Helen, who will be called queen of Sparta and Helen of Troy one day, learns to fight, hunt, and ride horses while disguised as a boy, and goes on an adventure throughout the Mediterranean world. (M, S)

 

The Courtesan’s Daughter by Priscilla Galloway

Ancient Athens is the backdrop for Phano and Theo, who are in love and want to marry. Their plans go awry, however, when an enemy of Phano’s family claims that Phano is really a slave who belongs to him. (M, S)

 
Troy by Adele Geras

Stories from the last weeks of the famous Trojan War are told from different women’s perspectives, who tell tales of caring for the wounded, men weary from fighting, and bored gods and goddesses who find ways to stir things up. (M, S)

 

Ithaka by Adele Geras

The island of Ithaka is overrun with uncouth suitors demanding that Penelope choose a new husband, as she patiently awaits the return of Odysseus from the Trojan War. (M, S)

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The Last Girls of Pompeii by Kathryn Lasky

Twelve-year-old Julia knows that her physical deformity will keep her from a normal life, but counts on the continuing friendship of her life-long slave, Mitka, until they learn that both of their futures in first-century Pompeii are about to change for the worse. (M)

 

Viking Warrior by Judson Roberts

Young Halfdan is a slave. He is crafty with a bow and arrow and wise in the ways of the animals, but he can only dream of a warrior’s life. That is, until the dark day a Saxon’s blows lay his father on his deathbed, and his mother makes a tragic bargain for Halfdan’s freedom. (M, S)

 

Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell

In fifth-century Britain, nine years after the destruction of their home on the island of Shalott brings her to live with her father and brothers in the military encampments of Arthur’s army, seventeen-year-old Elaine describes her changing perceptions of war and the people around her as she becomes increasingly involved in the bitter struggle against the invading Saxons. (M, S)

 

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare

When the Romans brutally kill Daniel’s father, the young Palestinian searches for a leader to drive them out, but comes to realize that love may be a more powerful weapon than hate. (M)

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A Coalition of Lions by Elizabeth Wein

After the death of virtually all of her family in the battle of Camlan, Goewin, Princess of Britain, daughter of the High King Artos, journeys to African Aksum, to meet with Constantine, the British ambassador and her fiance. But Aksum is undergoing political turmoil, and Goewin’s relationship with its ambassador to Britain makes her position more than precarious. (M, S)

 

The Sunbird by Elizabeth Wein

When, in the sixth century, plague spreads from Britain to Aksum, Goewin of Britain’s young nephew, Telemakos, travels to the kingdom’s salt mines to discover the identity of the traitor to the crown who, ignoring the emperor’s command, is spreading plague with the salt from port to port. (M, S)

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