> Skip to content

Fact meets fiction to illuminate historical storylines.

Through the lens of fiction, readers are invited to experience the sights, smells and surrounds of times and places real and imagined. And when authors fill in the blanks, colouring significant real-life past occurrences with vibrant detail, they can breathe history into life once more. Here are some books where the incredible plotlines came pre-prepared by actual world events.

  • In War and Peace (1868-9), Tolstoy entwines grand themes - conflict and love, birth and death, free will and fate - with unforgettable scenes of nineteenth-century Russia, to create a magnificent epic of human life in all its imperfection and grandeur.

  • A fictional recreation of one of the greatest voyages of discovery ever made, by award-winning author Anthony Hill.

  • The heartbreaking story of Korea during the Second World War is brought to life in this gripping, redemptive debut about two sisters

  • Pat Barker's award-winning Regeneration Trilogy - comprising Regeneration, The Eye in the Door and The Ghost Road - is the heart-rending story of the last two years of the First World War seen through the eyes of army psychologist William Rivers and damaged soldier Billy Prior.

  • Based on true events, The Midnight Watch is at once a heart-stopping mystery and a deeply knowing novel — frailty of men, the strength of women, the capriciousness of fate and the price of loyalty.

  • An international bestseller and a truly unforgettable and life-changing story.

  • One of the greatest novels of the twentieth century, now celebrating its 50th anniversary.

  • David Szalay, winner of the Betty Trask Prize 2008, returns with a searing and gripping thriller set in Communist Russia - the breathtaking next stage of a major literary career.

  • One of 15 limited edition Vintage Future Classics published to celebrate Vintage's 15th birthday. The 15 titles were voted for by reading groups all over the UK as being books that would still be read in 100 years time.

  • ONE OF FIVE NEW VINTAGE FUTURE CLASSICS READING GUIDE EDITIONS

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

  • 'Captivating and compelling. A masterpiece' Independent on Sunday

More Book Lists

Read Your Way Through Sweden

A collection of titles to take you on a Scandi-inspired literary journey.

Story Guides

Fiction’s hidden truths can help us navigate real life.

DC Comics

Fast facts, illuminating info and tantalizing trivia about the heroes and villains of the whole DC Comics Universe.

NAIDOC Week 2018

Stories with indigenous themes to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Refugee Week

Books to educate and reflect on the plight of refugees in Australia.

Penguin English Library

Iconic books, beautifully designed.