This Rec League comes from Noel. Thanks, Noel!
I’ve been really into m/m romances lately of all shapes and genres and suddenly wondered if there were any in medieval settings? Knights and all that.
Shana: My favorite medieval m/m is The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton ( A ). I also liked In Shining Armor by E.L. Phillips ( A | BN | K ). It’s set in Wales and has an Asian-American hero who conveniently travels back in time to hook up with a very hot Welshman.
EllenM: I have not personally read it but I think The Scottish Boy by Alex de Campi ( A | BN | K ) fits this!
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Kim Fielding’s THE PILLAR, set in 15th century Bosnia, about an herbalist who rescues a man who is being brutalized. Well-written but check for triggers because it has quite a lot of violence.
Cassandra Gannon’s BEST KNIGHT EVER is part of her “kinda fairytales” series and can be read as a standalone (though you get a better understanding of the world if you read them all). This book and the rest of the series are ridiculous in the best way: campy, laugh out loud funny, wide exaggerations to make a point.
Though it is not truly “medieval”, the main characters are knights living in a kinda fairytale. And because they are knights who fought on opposite sides during a war, the war is a big deal and seen through discussion and flashbacks. It is a very funny book, but the war is treated very seriously. It makes me think of M*A*S*H: no laugh tracks were allowed in the operating room but everything else was fair game.
That said, the Knights are enemies-to-lovers on a Quest, so there is that as well! Also included: GOOD vs BAD, fated mates, Gryphons, a real sandman, magic, a plot moppet, and more!
I think this falls on the “early” end of the medieval time scale – so no knights or Arthurian trappings, maybe not exactly what you are looking for — but Brothers of the Wild North Sea by Harper Fox is quite good. Set in early Christianized Britain, some characters still clinging on to Roman-ness, during Viking raids of the monasteries.
The Lion and the Crow is also my favorite.
The Lion of Kent by Aleksandr Voinov – sexy novella about a squire’s first hunt. I read it quite a while ago and I have no idea if it holds up.
Mia West’s Sons of Britain series is a re-imagining and queering of the Arthurian legend. It’s set in 6th C Wales with no castles or knights and no magic until like book 5. I loved the first three and I think they can be read as a stand alone trilogy – the other books aren’t as strong imo and the series isn’t complete yet.
The third book in T Kingfisher’s Saint of Steel series — Paladin’s Hope– has a m/m relationship. Not medieval as such, but fantasy with a medieval setting.
If you don’t mind fanfic, I would say the Merlin fandom (on AO3) might be your thing. It’s certainly my go-to for good medieval-ish M/M (just as The Eagle fandom is my place for good Roman era M/M).
Though a lot of more recent fics are set in the modern age, you can find so many good fics if you exclude modern setting in your search.
I haven’t been in that fandom for a while (and I favour short fics), but I remember highly rated novel-length fics like “Stars Above, Stones Below”, “The Ivy Crown”, “The Crown of the Summer Court”, “Ivy and Amaranth”, and “The Sorcerer and the King” (these are still better than many historical or fantasy books I’ve read). If you want angst, there’s a fic called “Rheged” and another called “Gadarene” that people used to rave about! They are all on AO3.
@Lyns: Seconding Merlin and The Eagle ff. They are my go to happy places and many of the AUs work perfectly fine as original fic.
@Cleo recommended Mia West’s Sons of Britain series, but West also wrote an earlier series (the MCs are Arthur’s grandfathers) called Into the Fire. It consists of 11 interconnected novellas and short stories set in Europe (current day Germany and France) just after the fall of the Roman Empire (5th century CE). I read it a few years ago; highly recommended.
@DiscoDollyDeb, ‘Into the Fire’ was my first thought. 🙂 If recs are wanted in medieval-adjacent fantasy, I’d also suggest ‘Magician’ by K.L. Noone.
Not Medieval, but KJ Charles’s THE HENCHMEN OF ZENDA is m/m with all the swashbuckling.
These are amazing suggestions! Thank you!
Heart of Winter by Lauren Gilley is a medieval-ish fantasy that I enjoyed. There are no knights but there are sort of Vikings.
It’s definitely more fantasy than romance – thought the romance in it makes me cry every time I read it – The Last Herald Mage trilogy by Mercedes Lackey. The first book is Magic’s Pawn – so so so good. It’s a yearly reread for me, that I’m due for!
T. J. Klune’s Tales from Verania series, starting with The Lightning-Struck Heart.
Lisa Henry and Sarah Honey’s Adventures in Aguillon series might fit.
Both of these series are more fantasy than medieval, but so much fun!
I also recommend checking AO3.
BRUTE by Kim Fielding has the medieval feel (although it’s a fantasy). Story of a jail or and prisoner and so much more. Also NOR IRON BARS A CAGE by Kaje Harper, a childhood friends reunited, with a retired mage / translator and a herald.
My favorite m/m series, which I’ll call medieval-adjacent (alternate history ancient Greece), is C.S. Pacat’s Captive Prince.
The TJ Klune is very very silly.
Another vote for Mia West, Into the Fire.
@Sandy. YES! I loved Captive Prince. That book rocked on so many fronts. The action, the machinations, the romance. There was armor so I’m counting it!
The Klune is silly, but also lovely, HILARIOUS, and hit me square in the feels. Good stuff. Not medieval in any kind of classic sense, but yes, there are nights.
*Knights. Good grief.
Zaya Feli’s Iron Breakers trilogy and AH Lee’s Knight and Necromancer trilogy are both medieval adjacent. (One is just set in an imagined setting, the other has fantasy elements.)