BOOK lovers behind the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction have announced the winners of their poll to find the UK’s favourite historical novel of all time.

In first place is Hilary Mantel’s masterly Tudor novel Wolf Hall, which also won the very first Walter Scott Prize at the Borders Book Festival in 2010.

Coming a close second is the classic Roman adventure story, The Eagle of the Ninth, by Rosemary Sutcliff, closely followed by Dorothy Dunnett’s, The Game of Kings.

The Prize launched its poll in November, asking members of the public to nominate their favourite books on its website.

Hundreds of nominations were received, from classics by Walter Scott, Margaret Mitchell, Patrick O’Brian, Robert Louis Stevenson and George Macdonald Fraser, through to beloved authors from the last century including Dorothy Dunnett, Rosemary Sutcliff, Umberto Eco, Robert Graves and Mary Renault.

More contemporary authors made up the majority of the nominations, including many of those shortlisted by the Walter Scott Prize over the past decade, including Hilary Mantel, Sebastian Barry, Andrew Miller, Eleanor Catton, Patrick Gale, Sarah Waters and Hannah Kent.

A shortlist of ten novels was drawn up, and the public were again invited to vote for their favourite.

Walter Scott prize co-founder and judge, the Duchess of Buccleuch, told us: "As we all eagerly await the third volume of Hilary Mantel’s magnificent saga, I’m delighted that readers have voted the first, Wolf Hall, as their favourite historical novel of all time.

"The Walter Scott Prize launched the poll to find the nation’s favourite historical novel to celebrate its tenth year anniversary, so it’s a double celebration that the poll has been won by Wolf Hall, the Prize’s very first winner.

"Our poll has reminded us all of the riches produced by writers of historical fiction over the centuries, from the works of Walter Scott himself, to milestone books by Rosemary Sutcliff and Dorothy Dunnett, right up to the present day with authors such as Sebastian Barry, Eleanor Catton and Sarah Waters gracing the list of nominations.

"And what a wonderful coincidence that the top three books in our poll are by women."

Wolf Hall was published in 2009 to huge critical acclaim, winning many awards including the Man Booker Prize and the Walter Scott Prize.

The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff, published in 1954, received the second highest number of votes.

Walter Scott Prize judge Elizabeth Laird is a fan of The Eagle of the Ninth.

She said: "What you read and love as a child stays with you for life and that wonderful tale of courage and adventure in the misty north will be with me forever."

Devoted Dorothy Dunnett fans nominated many of the Edinburgh-based author’s titles for the poll.

The first in the series of the Lymond Chronicles charting Scotland’s turbulent history, The Game of Kings, first published in 1961, was ranked third place in the nation’s favourites.