Fantasy Novel recommendations


Books


If anyone can recommend fantasy books, I would deeply appreciate it. I have read Salvatore's Drow books [not a fan]; Cunningham's Baenre book [not a fan, but better than R A Salvatore]; most of the early Dragonlance stories and short stories [not a fan, but better than R A Salvatore, in my opinion].

Otherwise I've also read the R R Martin books, which I quite enjoyed. Also, Richard Knaak's story on Huma [dragonlance setting] was good in as much as it portrayed the main character as a human being, even though the side-characters were not. And obviously, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.

But mainly I'm looking for good books in the fantasy genre, and preferably of the D&D-style persuasion. I'm a masochist, I know :(.

Regardless, many thanks in advance.


I'd suggest Trudi Canavans "Age of Five"-Trilogy.
It's not straight out D&D, but has a nice High-Fantasy-theme to it.
A really good read, IMHO.

Sovereign Court Contributor

The Deed of Paksennarrion comes immediately to mind.

Classic, but a goody.


You could check out the "Favourite Series of Books" thread.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

I strongly recommend anything by David Gemmell, Dave Duncan, and Roger Zelazny's Amber series.

For David Gemmell, start with Legend. Dave Duncan has lots of good stuff, but I partularly liked the Man of His Word series and the King's Blades series.


JoelF847 wrote:

I strongly recommend anything by David Gemmell, Dave Duncan, and Roger Zelazny's Amber series.

For David Gemmell, start with Legend. Dave Duncan has lots of good stuff, but I partularly liked the Man of His Word series and the King's Blades series.

I second the David Gemmell recommedation. Great stuff


Read this thread to see which books influenced Gary Gygax and D&D. I would personally recommend the following:

1. Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd & the Grey Mouser stories, starting with Ill Met in Lankhmar.
2. Roger Zelazny's Amber series
3. Jack Vance's The Dying Earth
4. Lord Dunsany's The Fortress Unvanquishable, Save for Sacnoth and The King of Elfland's Daughter
5. Edgar Rice Burrough's Conan stories (collected in toto and unexpurged in recent omnibuses)
6. The Thieves' World anthology First Blood
7. Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast series if you enjoy intrigue rather than action fantasy


I would enthusiastically second all of Krypter's recommendations (although Robert Howard wrote the Conan stories; go ahead and add Edgar Rice Burroughs' "Mars" series to the list). Also, I'd recommend the following:

Anderson, Poul. Three Hearts and Three Lions
Bellairs, John. The Face in the Frost
Brust, Steven. "Vlad Taltos" series
Clarke, Susanna. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
de Camp, L. Sprague, and Fletcher Pratt. "Harold Shea" series
King, Stephen. "Dark Tower" series
Lovecraft, H.P. The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
Moorcock, Michael. "Elric," "Hawkmoon," and "Corum" series
Vance, Jack. The Eyes of the Overworld; Cugel's Saga


David Eddings' Belgariad comes to mind, along with early work by Stephen R. Donaldson. But another recommendation, as noted above, is to find the Favorite Books thread. Among the books from WotC and TSR, I recommend most of Elaine Cunningham's work.


These would be my "trapped on a desert island" books:

-The Long Price Quartet, Daniel Abraham

-Shadowbridge + Lord Tophet, Gregory Frost

-Tigana, Guy Gavriel Kay

-The Dreaming Tree, C.J. Cherryh

-The Light Ages, Ian MacLeod

-Tales of the Otori, Lian Hearn

-The Girl in the Glass, Jeffrey Ford

-The Engineer Trilogy, K.J. Parker


Zeevico wrote:

If anyone can recommend fantasy books, I would deeply appreciate it. I have read Salvatore's Drow books [not a fan]; Cunningham's Baenre book [not a fan, but better than R A Salvatore]; most of the early Dragonlance stories and short stories [not a fan, but better than R A Salvatore, in my opinion].

Otherwise I've also read the R R Martin books, which I quite enjoyed. Also, Richard Knaak's story on Huma [dragonlance setting] was good in as much as it portrayed the main character as a human being, even though the side-characters were not. And obviously, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.

But mainly I'm looking for good books in the fantasy genre, and preferably of the D&D-style persuasion. I'm a masochist, I know :(.

Regardless, many thanks in advance.

I second that David Eddings nod, and add Robert E Howard and Anne McCaffrey (just started the latter, but she's a good writer). It is oriented toward a younger audience, but Zilpha Keatley Snyder's Green Sky Trilo is quite good also. There's more than just kids' stuff there.

Sovereign Court

Tons of good suggestions already.

If you liked GRR Martin then:

Glen Cook - The Black Company

Steven Erikson -- Gardens of the Moon.

Liberty's Edge

Lots of good recommendations on this thread already, but I would suggest Raymond E Feist, starting with The Riftwar Saga, Magician specifically.

Dark Archive

Mothman wrote:
Lots of good recommendations on this thread already, but I would suggest Raymond E Feist, starting with The Riftwar Saga, Magician specifically.

If I only got to read one fantasy book, ever, Magician would be it. I have two copies of the trade paperback (held together with scotch tape, I've read them so many times) and one hardback copy. The paperback splits the first book into two (Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master), but I prefer big things. The size of them impresses me.

Daughter of Empire / Servant of Empire / Mistress of Empire, by Feist and Janny Wurts is also a really good series (with Daughter being the best).

Harder to find, but surprisingly fun reads, are some books by Linda E Bushyager, the Spellstone of Shaltus and Master of Hawks.

Forgotten Beasts of Eld, by Patricia McKillip also was fun.

The first Wheel of Time books were pretty amazing, but the series quickly turned into a quagmire.

Various Conan books by Robert Howard, or some of the later authors (including a young Robert Jordan!) are also fun 'light' reading. The fantasy fans version of Louis L'amour, IMO. Red Nails is a total classic.

Lots of people recommend the Amber series, but, for Zelazny and fantasy, nothing beats Dilvish the Damned. If I was trapped on a desert island with one fantasy book, it would be Magician, and if I was trapped on a desert island with one sci-fi book, it would be Zelazny's Lord of Light, which, like many Zelazny books, straddles a thin line between sci-fi and fantasy.

Black Sun Rising, by, uh, C.S. Friedman?, is also awesome. The two sequels, not quite so amazing (but still decent).


I must say I like the Hendees Noble Dead series


Anything by Janny Wurts. She also co-authored the Empire novels with Raymond Feist, but her solo work, in my estimation, is even more impressive.

Cycle of Fire (Stormwarden, Keeper of the Keys, Shadowfane)

Wars of Light and Shadow
Curse of the Mistwraith
Ships of Merior
Warhost of Vastmark
Fugitive Prince
Grand Conspiracy
Peril's Gate
Traitor's Knot
Stormed Fortress
Initiate's Trial (being written)
Destiny's Conflict (pending)
1 or 2 additional volumes

Unfortunately it is currently only available in the UK, but come April 2009, I think, they will be printed here in the US.

Louise Cooper
Time Master Trilogy
Initiate
Outcast
Master
Several other series as well all related to this. Again mostly out of print although I think Mundania Press has released the Time Master Trilogy now.

Carol Berg
The Bridge of D'Arnath series - the titles escape me at the moment.

Randall Garrett
Lord Darcy - omnibus edition

The Gandalara Cycle

Robert Silverberg
The Majipoor Cycle
Lord Valentines Castle
Valentine Pontifex
several others as well.

Glen Cook
The Black Company novels


The novel Grayrider by Bruce Skye is quite good.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Anything by J.V. Jones or Robin Hobb is well worth your time. Fantastic writers that tend to stray away from a lot of cliches other newer authors tend to fall into.


If you haven't read Feist , start with him:) Here are some other recommendations;
Robin Hobb - Farseer trilogy ("Assassins apprentice" etc.)Ursula Le Guin - Earthsea quartet, Joe Abercrombie - "The First Law" 1-3.

Sovereign Court

Robin Hobb also writes under the name of Megan Lindholm, so if you like her six dutchies stuff, theres more fantasy out there by her.


Much appreciated, everyone.


I have a fairly large collection of books, and so I think I can suggest a few that you might like.
The fantasy works of Robert E. Howard are a definite must-read. Also, those of Edgar Rice Burroughs. I would also suggest the works of Tad Williams (trilogy of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn), C.S. Friedman (the Coldfire Trilogy), Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials trilogy), Stephen R. Lawhead (Song Of Albion trilogy or Pendragon Cycle), Kage Baker (Anvil Of The World), and Lloyd Alexander (The Chronicles of Prydain). There is also an independent author whose works I've read named Jason M. Green. His fantasy novels are based on a D&D campaign he ran years back, or so he frequently claims. They are called The Hammer And The Sword & On The Anvil Of War. I thought they were good and he seems to be getting five star reviews, so I think his stuff might be worth your time.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6

I'll give a shout out to the Planet Stories fantasy selections:
Elak of Atlantis and The Dark World (excellent so far, halfway through it) by Henry Kuttner

Black God's Kiss by C. L. Moore

The Anubis Murders, The Samarkand Solution, Death in Dehli (coming soon) and Infernal Sorceress by Gary Gygax

I'd also recommend the Gord the Rogue series by Gary Gygax. Note that they changed publishers after book 3 in the original publication, so don't be fooled into buying Greyhawk Adventured book 3 by Rose Estes.

Some other nods:
Moorcock's Elric Saga
Rosenberg's Guardians of the Flame series
Most anything by David Gemmell (already brought up in this thread)
Saberhagen's Empire of the East and Book of Swords series


Krypter wrote:

5. Edgar Rice Burrough's Conan stories (collected in toto and unexpurged in recent omnibuses)

Ahem. Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote Tarzan and John Carter of Mars. Robert E Howard wrote Conan.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Gurubabaramalamaswami wrote:
Krypter wrote:

5. Edgar Rice Burrough's Conan stories (collected in toto and unexpurged in recent omnibuses)

Ahem. Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote Tarzan and John Carter of Mars. Robert E Howard wrote Conan.

Ah, but what if Burroughs DID write Conan?

"Me Conan. You dead."

Conan, Warlord of Mars.

Conan of Venus

Conan at the Earth's Core

Conan vs. the Apes

Conan Meets Tarzan


There's lots of great suggestions in this thread -- here are a couple that haven't come up yet.

Jim Butcher's Alera Codex series: These books are very much in keeping with standard fantasy story telling, and the author does a great job of avoiding the standard fantasy pitfall of using magic as a deus ex machina device.

Terry Pratchett's Discworld books: Although the genre is undoubtedly comic fantasy, the author is brilliant in his ability to stay funny without verging into slapstick. The characters are extremely memorable, and he's fantastic at telling great stories while simultaneously poking gentle fun at fantasy cliches.

CR

Liberty's Edge

Zeevico wrote:

If anyone can recommend fantasy books, I would deeply appreciate it. I have read Salvatore's Drow books [not a fan]; Cunningham's Baenre book [not a fan, but better than R A Salvatore]; most of the early Dragonlance stories and short stories [not a fan, but better than R A Salvatore, in my opinion].

Otherwise I've also read the R R Martin books, which I quite enjoyed. Also, Richard Knaak's story on Huma [dragonlance setting] was good in as much as it portrayed the main character as a human being, even though the side-characters were not. And obviously, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.

But mainly I'm looking for good books in the fantasy genre, and preferably of the D&D-style persuasion. I'm a masochist, I know :(.

Regardless, many thanks in advance.

I highly recommend the little-known author Chris Jackson. He wrote "Soul for Tsing", "Deathmask", and "Weapon of Flesh". His stuff is kind of hard to find, but well worth it. Rumor has it that the author is an avid DandD fan.

Sovereign Court Wayfinder, PaizoCon Founder

One more recommendation for Butcher's Codex Alera series. Just....awesome.

Also, I was really taken with Mike Stackpole's "DragonCrown War Cycle".
Four books altogether...
1. The Dark Glory War
2. Fortress Draconis
3. When Dragons Rage
4. The Grand Crusade


I have now been reading Gregory Keyes series, Kingdom of Thorn and Bone (was that the name? Anyway the one which starts with Briar King).

He's good, I found him through his short stories in Dragon and his style does have D&D spirit even while it is not regular gaming fiction.


Larry Lichman wrote:
Gurubabaramalamaswami wrote:
Krypter wrote:

5. Edgar Rice Burrough's Conan stories (collected in toto and unexpurged in recent omnibuses)

Ahem. Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote Tarzan and John Carter of Mars. Robert E Howard wrote Conan.

Ah, but what if Burroughs DID write Conan?

"Me Conan. You dead."

Conan, Warlord of Mars.

Conan of Venus

Conan at the Earth's Core

Conan vs. the Apes

Conan Meets Tarzan

To be fair, Conan is a more complex character than "Me Conan, you dead".

But if Conan went to Mars there would probably be no Tars Tarkus. One look at that and Conan would no doubt react with extreme hostility.

Grand Lodge

Well since it appears you've read some FR books, I'd definitely recommend Blackstaff and Blackstaff Tower by Steven Schend. Both fun books.


I'm certainly biased, but I have two fantasy novels Yesterday's Dreams (Mundania Press, 2006) and Tomorrow's Memories, Mundania Press, www.mundania.com, 2008). They are urban fantasy based on Irish mythology.

You can find out more at www.sidhenadaire.com/books.htm

I also have a novella coming up

The Halfling's Court: A Bad-A** Faerie Tale (Dark Quest Books, www.darkquestbooks.com, 9/2009) This is based on my biker faerie stories in the award-winning Bad-A** Faeries anthologies. (The anthologies, incidentally, will be re-released by Mundania Press sometime in 2009)


There's some good recs here, but some of them are very different to what you may be after. David Eddings and his wife wrote a pretty solid fantasy series aimed at a teenage audience, but if you're looking for another GRRM-style series, it'll probably come off as way too simplistic and lightweight. On the other hand, if you want something light and fun to read, THE BELGARIAD and THE ELENIUM are decent. Eddings has big problems with the sequel series (particularly THE TAMULI which I found unreadable) so I generally recommend sticking away from those.

The series I currently recommend a lot is Joe Abercrombie's FIRST LAW TRILOGY, consisting of THE BLADE ITSELF, BEFORE THEY ARE HANGED and LAST ARGUMENT OF KINGS. The story starts off as a fantasy-by-numbers with the arrogant noble, barbarian warrior and irascible old mage mentor figure teaming up to save the world through an epic quest. However, as the story proceeds the author keeps pulling the rug out from under your feet and subverts the traditional fantasy tropes again and again. The final novel in the sequence is simply brilliant, an instant classic that brings the series to a fine, barnstorming conclusion. The author has written a stand-alone book in the same world, BEST SERVED COLD, which is out next month and is even better than the trilogy. Abercrombie is definitely a major new author on the scene and worth looking at.

There's also Scott Lynch's GENTLEMAN B**TARD sequence (does that count as profanity, sorry if it does but it's the series title) which starts with THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA and continues with RED SEAS UNDER RED SKIES. The third book, THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES, is out at the end of this year or the start of next. It's a series of semi-self-contained stories about con-men and thieves robbing from the rich but earning the enmity of a powerful guild of magic-users in the process. The world is refreshingly different, and I advise DMs to check out the techniques Lynch uses to develop the city of Camorr in the first book, which is simultaneously a generic fantasy city but also an extremely original creation. GRRM is a huge fan and most people who like him love Lynch as well.

When it comes to something really different, give Scott Bakker's PRINCE OF NOTHING trilogy (THE DARKNESS THAT COMES BEFORE, THE WARRIOR-PROPHET and THE THOUSANDFOLD THOUGHT) a whirl. This is LORD OF THE RINGS as rewritten by Frank Herbert, a huge epic story about a crusade by 'the righteous followers of God' into the lands of the infidel, not knowing that their holy cause has been corrupted by an ancient force of evil, or that the representative of a secretive order of warrior-monks is slowly subverting the crusade to his own design. When it comes to prose, Bakker is the best epic fantasy author around bar none. His writing skills are amazing. However, he is incredibly dark. This series is brutal, violent and in places almost nihilistic. Defining the good guys and bad guys is at times difficult, and the 'dark lord' of this world is genuinely EVIL and does things that Sauron would refuse to as being too twisted. It's an adult series which deals with some major themes with some of the best worldbuilding around and the best magic-system I've come across in many years.

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