The Recommended Fantasy Author List

Author Last Names A through C

Last update: February 27, 2009

Lynn Abbey (b. 1948)
  • Rifkind series
  • Daughter of the Bright Moon
  • The Black Flame
  • Rifkind's Challenge
    The first two came out in the early 80s and are long out of print. A priestess/warrior from a desert culture interacts with a society that has rather more traditional ideas of feminine behavior. There was a real vogue for "tough women warriors" back in the early 80s, and most of them just took a took male warrior and called him "she." This and Robin Bailey's 'Frost' series are among the few that showed real writing ability. After a 25-year hiatus, the series is resuming, however there is no word on whether the first two books will be reprinted.
  • The Walensor Saga
  • The Wooden Sword
  • Beneath the Web
    A young sorceress joins forces with a prince against an evil wizard.
  • The Siege of Shadows trilogy
  • Siege of Shadows
    The final two books of this trilogy are hold due to problems with the original publisher (details can be found on the author's web page.
  • Jerlayne
    A standalone with elves.
  • Unicorn and Dragon
    An omnibus edition of two YA fantasy novels that were originally published in the late 1980s under the titles Unicorn and Dragon and Conquest. Note that the two novels form the first 2/3rd of a trilogy, and the final volume was never written, nor is it likely to ever be written. Unless you like the idea of reading a story that will always be left unresolved, you should avoid this book.
  • Orion's Children (Emma Merrigan series)
  • Out of Time
  • Behind Time
  • Taking Time
  • Down Time
    What was originally sent out as a standalone has turned into a series. Librarian Emma Merrigan discovered a heritage of magic when she helped an abused teen in the first book. She continues to explore her powers in the books that follow.
  • The Thieves' World series
  • Sanctuary
  • Turning Points
  • Enemies of Fortune
    Ten years after the publication of the last anthology, Thieves' World is back. Sanctuary is a novel taking place 40 years after the events of Stealer's Sky. It will be followed by new anthologies, the first of which was Turning Points, published November 2002. Enemies of Fortune, the latest collection, came out at the end of 2004. The original 12 anthologies are scheduled to be republished in trade paperback format (and are listed in Robert Asprin's entry). They are being combined into omnibus editions - the first two books of the original series have been published as First Blood.
  • Peter Ackroyd (b. 1949)
  • Hawksmoor
    A literary thriller set in 17th century & present-day London. An architect is rebuilding London after the Great Fire, but he's secretly performing satanic rituals in each of the rebuilt churches. These involve murders, which are also occurring our time. The chapters alternate between past and present. "It's weird" says Stevie.
  • First Light
    A literary fantasy. The excavation of a neolithic grave causes the ancient night sky to reappear, along with other strange happenings. Ackroyd definitely falls on the intellectual side of fantasy, and you'll usually find his books shelved with Literature, instead of segregated in the sf ghetto with the rest of the genre.
  • The House of Doctor Dee
    Another Ackroyd involving alchemy and magic, and a London both ancient and modern. David enjoys Ackroyd's work, but warns that the pace can be slow.
  • Richard Adams (b. 1920)
  • The Rabbit books
  • Watership Down
  • Tales From Watership Down
    A group of rabbits set off in search of a new home. Some (mild) satiric allegory of human society, but basically it is a surprisingly good adventure story. Incredibly popular when it came out. You should have no trouble finding it in the library. The second book is a collection of short stories.
  • Beklan Empire
  • Shardik
  • Maia
    A major character in Shardik is an enormous bear. These include a human society of no identifiable place or time, and the fantastic elements are fairly minimal. Both take place in the same world, but are standalones with very little overlap.
  • The Plague Dogs
    You'll join the Animal Rights movement after reading this one - the main characters are two dogs who have been used in medical experiments, and are escaping across country.
  • Joan Aiken (1924-2004)
  • Alternate England series
  • The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
  • Black Hearts in Battersea
  • Nightbirds on Nantucket
  • The Stolen Lake
  • The Cuckoo Tree
  • Dido and Pa
  • Is (also titled 'Is Underground')
  • Cold Shoulder Road
  • Dangerous Games (titled 'Limbo Lodge' in the U.K.)
  • Midwinter Nightingale
  • The Witch of Clatteringshaws
    Marvelously inventive young adult series that takes place in a world where the Stuarts never lost the throne in Britain. Full of Hanoverian plots against the Crown and dark doings in a Dickensian mode, these books are wonderful. American readers don't have to worry - it isn't necessary to know British history to enjoy these, although you'll get more of the jokes if you do. Aiken has also written a great many short stories that are well worth tracking down.
  • Brian Aldiss (b. 1925)
  • The Malacia Tapestry
    A fantasy set in a mysterious, never-changing city.
  • Helliconia Trilogy
  • Helliconia Spring
  • Helliconia Summer
  • Helliconia Winter
    The majority of the work of this Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author is generally considered SF, but this trilogy has a definite fantasy feel. It takes place on a world where the seasons last thousands of years.
  • Lloyd Alexander (1924-2007)
  • Prydain Chronicles
  • The Book of Three
  • The Black Cauldron
  • The Castle of Llyr
  • Taran Wanderer
  • The High King
    Who cares if you have to get them from the children's section of your library - these are great. A young boy of unknown heritage becomes involved in a clash between the forces of good and evil. Loosely based on the Welsh Mabinogin. There are also two or three short story collections out featuring tales about the characters from the Chronicles. Classic series, the concluding volume won the Newbery medal.
  • Westmark Trilogy
  • Westmark
  • The Kestrel
  • The Beggar Queen
    Less fantasy than the Prydain Chronicles. The Kestrel in particular brings up the issue of personal morality in war situations, and it doesn't give any easy answers.
  • Vesper Holly series
  • The Illyrian Adventure
  • The El Dorado Adventure
  • The Drackenberg Adventure
  • The Jedera Adventure
  • The Philadelphia Adventure
  • The Xanadu Adventure
    Young adult adventure series set in an alternate world during Victorian times. The hero is a teen- aged female version of Indiana Jones, and the series is great fun. He's written many books besides those listed here; if you've got a young reader who loves fantasy, look up Lloyd Alexander in your local library.
  • Poul Anderson (1926-2001)
  • Mother of Kings
    Published shortly after Anderson's death, this is the story of Gunnhild, mother to the Norse kings. The story takes place in tenth century Norway, and Gunnhild uses both magic and politics to make certain that her sons maintain their rule.
  • The Broken Sword
    One of Anderson's earliest novels, the story of a changeling stolen by an elven lord. Locus calls this 'a fine Norse saga'. It's been reprinted fairly recently, so you should be able to find it.
  • Three Hearts and Three Lions
    A modern man is swept back in time to take his place in a great combat between the forces of Law and Chaos.
  • Hrolf Kraki's Saga
    Retelling of one of the earliest surviving Norse sagas.
  • The Merman's Children
    Stand-alone taking place in the thirteenth century, when magic is fading away. Four half- human, half-mer children seek their people, torn between their mortal and immortal heritages.
  • The King of Ys
  • Roma Mater
  • Gallicenae
  • Dahut
  • The Dog and the Wolf
    A Roman centurion becomes king of a magical city. The entire tetralogy was reprinted as a omnibus trade paperback from Baen Books in July '96.
  • Operation series
  • Operation Chaos
  • Operation Luna
  • A Midsummer Tempest
    In an alternate world where magic works, a werewolf and witch face the forces of hell. The first book is fun; it is a fix-up novel based on a series of short stories that began in the 1950s. The second novel came out in August 1999. The two books were reprinted in an omnibus edition titled Operation Otherworld. The final book is set in the same universe, but takes place years after the events of the Operation books and features new characters (including the adult daughter of the first books' protagonists).
  • The Last Viking Trilogy
  • The Golden Horn
  • The Road of the Sea Horse
  • The Sign of the Raven
    This trilogy is extremely difficult to find. It is a straight historical series, with no fantasy content. Anderson is a great SF writer, too. His attention to historical detail comes through in his fantasy offerings (try The High Crusade - it's SF, but one I think even the most adamant fantasy fan would like). The major influence on his fantasy is Nordic myth and legend.
  • *Piers Anthony (b. 1934)
  • Kelvin of Rud
  • Dragon's Gold
  • Serpent's Silver
  • Chimaera's Copper
  • Orc's Opal
  • Mouvar's Magic
    Straight adventure-fantasy.
  • Xanth
  • A Spell for Chameleon
  • The Source of Magic
  • Castle Roogna
  • etc. etc. etc.
    Humorous. First couple of books are recommended, but it has descended into terminal cuteness and virtual unreadability. Denis managed to enjoy the first 15, but even he admits that it's getting pretty bad now. Series has passed the 30-book mark.
  • Apprentice Adept
  • Split Infinity
  • The Blue Adept
  • Juxtaposition
    Takes place in two different universes, one magic and one not. Anthony returned to this world with a second trilogy that is NOT recommended.
  • Incarnations of Immortality
  • On a Pale Horse
  • Bearing an Hourglass
  • With a Tangled Skein
  • Wielding a Red Sword
  • Being a Green Mother
  • For Love of Evil
  • And Eternity
    There is a general, overall theme, but each book does stand on its own. NOT humorous. Recommenders agree that the first book, On a Pale Horse, is the best (the usual state of affairs in a series written by Piers Anthony).
  • Risa Aratyr (b. 1953)
  • The Hunter of the Light
    Celtic fantasy. A bard must kill a mystical snow elk that appears only once every nine years, or the balance between Light and Dark will be lost.
  • *Robert Asprin (1946-2008)
  • Myth series
  • Another Fine Myth
  • Myth Conceptions
  • Myth Directions
  • Hit or Myth
  • Myth-ing Persons
  • Little Myth Marker
  • M.Y.T.H. Inc. Link
  • Myth-nomers and Impervections
  • M.Y.T.H. Inc. in Action
  • Sweet Myth-tery of Life
  • Myth-ion Improbable
  • Something M.Y.T.H. Inc.
  • Myth-Told Tales (co-authored by Jody Lyn Nye)
  • Myth Alliances (co-authored by Jody Lyn Nye)
  • Myth-taken Identity (co-authored by Jody Lyn Nye)
  • Class Dis-Mythed (co-authored by Jody Lyn Nye)
  • Myth-Gotten Gains (co-authored by Jody Lyn Nye)
  • Myth-Chief (co-authored by Jody Lyn Nye)
  • Myth-Fortune (co-authored by Jody Lyn Nye)
    Humorous. Lotsa puns, lotsa slapstick. Like most long-running series, the recent offerings have been pretty weak. He also has an SF series, "Phule's Company," which also runs along the punny/humor line. Myth-Told Tales is a short story collection that introduces the new series of tales.
  • Thieves World
  • Thieves World
  • Tales From the Vulgar Unicorn
  • Shadows of Sanctuary
  • Storm Season
  • The Face of Chaos
  • Wings of Omen
  • many others
    Shared World series with various authors, Asprin is originator. Notable as the first series created specifically to be a Shared World. Most of the stories aim for a feeling of gritty realism (translation: dark and depressing). The original series stopped at the 12-book mark - see the listing for Lynn Abbey for information on the new Thieves World series.
  • A.A. Attanasio (b. 1951)
  • Arthurian Cycle
  • The Dragon and the Unicorn
  • The Eagle and the Sword
  • The Wolf and the Crown (a.k.a. The Perilous Order)
  • The Serpent and the Grail
    Although these are all inspired by Arthurian legend, apparently they're not the usual knights and noble king routine. And, despite what was noted in earlier editions of this list, these books are not stand-alones.
  • Kingdom of the Grail
    Historical with Arthurian elements set in 12th century Wales.
  • Hunting the Ghost Dancer
    50,000 years in the past, two young survivors of a doomed tribe set forth on a quest for the powerful Ghost Dancer.
  • Dominions of Irth series
  • The Dark Shore
  • The Shadow Eater
  • Octoberland
    The first book is standalone about a quest to overthrow a Dark Lord on a fantastic world. The later books continue the story. Published in the U.S. under the pseudonym "Adam Lee."
  • Hilary Bailey (b. 1936)
  • Cassandra, Princess of Troy
    A historical with fantasy elements about Cassandra.
  • Robin Wayne Bailey (b. 1952)
  • Frost Trilogy
  • Frost
  • Skull Gate
  • Bloodsongs
    The warrior and ex-witch Frost wanders in exile with both her daemonic dagger and her mother's dying curse. It's a standard set-up (Tough Female Warrior who is Just As Good As the Boys), but it has some nice twists. Bailey's first fantasy effort, out of print and darn near impossible to find, but Steve likes it more than Bailey's later work.
  • Brothers of the Dragon
  • Brothers of the Dragon
  • Flames of the Dragon
  • Triumph of the Dragon
    A pair of brothers end up in a world of magic, where their martial arts skills are put to the test. Note that the final two books of the trilogy were originally published under the titles Straight on Til Mourning and The Palace of Souls.
  • Shadowdance
    A crippled young man is magically given the ability to walk by a witch, but the cost may be greater than he can bear.
  • Dragonkin series
  • Dragonkin: Wyvernwood
  • Dragonkin: Talisman
  • Dragonkin: Undersky
    The original hardcover edition of the first book of the series was titled simply Dragonkin. The "Wyvernwood" portion of the title didn't appear until the paperback came out.
  • Clive Barker (b. 1952)
  • The Books of the Art
  • The Great and Secret Show
  • Everville
    These involve 'the dream-sea of Quiddity', and move away from the strictly horror content of Barker's "Books of Blood" series (although David points out that they still would "not be recommended for juveniles or the faint of heart due to their explicit sex and violence"). Each book does stand alone.
  • Imagica
    Dark fantasy about three people trying to save the world from eternal darkness.
  • Coldheart Canyon
    A ghost story set in Hollywood.
  • The Thief of Always
    Now, this one IS for juveniles, and involves a ten- year-old who gets more than he bargains for when a mysterious stranger offers him an escape from boredom at the Holiday House.
  • The Abarat Quartet
  • Arabat
  • Days of Magic, Nights of War
  • Absolute Midnight (forthcoming late 2009)
  • Dynasty of Dreamers (forthcoming)
  • The Eternal (forthcoming)
    Story of 16-year-old midwesterner Candy Quackenbush, who crosses into another dimension. There, she enters the 24 islands known as Abarat, and meets the rebel leader Finnegan. Also figuring prominently will be villain Christopher Carrion (aka the Lord of Midnight), who aims to conquer the islands and make the human world part of his empire. This has been sold to Disney, and they are planning to do the entire Harry Potter routine on it, with movies and merchandising galore. Be prepared.
  • M.A.R. Barker (b. 1929)
  • Empire of the Petal Throne series
  • The Man of Gold
  • Flamesong
    Ironczar says that 'Barker's world of Tekumel is...the closest thing to a truly unique fantasy world you'll ever encounter.' Barker created the world more than 50 years ago, and there is both an rpg and a board game based on it.
  • Gael Baudino (b. 1955)
  • Gossamer Axe
    An early work, and at least one recommender considers it her best. A musician's lover is kidnapped by the Sidhe, and she must fight to get her back (and yes, the pronouns are correct. The lovers are lesbian, and if that bothers you, you should avoid Baudino's work).
  • Dragonsword series
  • Dragonsword
  • Duel of Dragons
  • Dragon Death
    Another mingling of magic and contemporary folks who end up in an enchanted world.
  • The Natil series
  • Strands of Starlight
  • Maze of Moonlight
  • Shroud of Shadow
  • Strands of Sunlight
    Most of Baudino's work takes place in a modern world touched by magic. Note that her view of life is fairly grim - the humor quotient is flat at zero, and the general happiness quotient isn't much higher.
  • The Water! trilogy
  • O Greenest Branch
  • The Dove Looked In
  • Branch and Crown
    Not recommended. One reader remarked 'this book reads like someone told her she should have more humor in her books, so she grimly sat down to write something funny.'
  • Spires of Spirit
    Stories set in the world of the Natil books.
    Baudino's most recent book,
    The Borders of Life, was published under the pseudonym "G.A. Kathryns".
  • L. Frank Baum (1856-1919)
  • Oz
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • The Land of Oz
  • Ozma of Oz
  • Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz
  • and so on
    The Wizard of Oz first saw print in 1900, and Baum wrote 13 more Oz stories before his death. There are currently more than 40 books about Oz, and the land is getting a bit overpopulated. I've only read Baum's novels, and they are fun. Dorothy is quite competent and tough-minded (far more so then Judy Garland was in the film version), and some of the ancillary characters are hilarious (I love Mr. H.M. Woggle-Bug T.E., and Scraps, and General Jinjur).
  • Peter S. Beagle (b. 1939)
  • A Fine and Private Place
    An early work. It's a love story with (and between) ghosts. Jim says "it is well worth reading" and your FAQmaker agrees.
  • The Last Unicorn
    One of the top ten fantasies of all time. Read this. Bittersweet story of the last unicorn's quest to find out what happened to her fellow unicorns.
  • The Folk of the Air
    Published in the mid 80s, contemporary fantasy set in a city resembling Berkeley, California and featuring a group very like the Society for Creative Anachronism. One of his weaker works. Still, even weak Beagle is worth reading.
  • The Innkeeper's Song
    Beagle returns to fantasy after far too long an absence. Story told through multiple viewpoints, grittier and a bit darker than his early work.
  • The Unicorn Sonata
    25 years after The Last Unicorn, Beagle returns with a new fantasy that is initially set in contemporary Los Angeles before moving on to a faerie land of Shei'rah. This is really only a novelette, but the pictures are pretty...
  • Tamsin
    A young girl meets a British ghost. Not Beagle's best, but enjoyable.
  • A Dance For Emilia
    A ghost takes over the body of his cat.
  • The Line Between
    A short story collection that contains "Two Hearts," the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning sequel to The Last Unicorn.
  • Greg Bear (b. 1951)
  • Songs of Earth and Power
  • The Infinity Concerto
  • The Serpent Mage
    Before Greg Bear went totally over to SF of the hardest variety, he wrote this fantasy duology. It was recently released as a single volume under the title of Songs of Earth and Power in both the U.S. and U.K. Macedon notes that Bear's picture of an amoral faerie is more in keeping with real myth. Although this has become more common in recent years, it wasn't back in the early 80s when these were written.
  • Clare Bell (b. 1952)
  • The Jaguar Princess
    The first fantasy offering from an author who is best known for her young adult SF. This novel features Aztecs and a South American setting.
  • John Bellairs (1938-1991)
  • The Face in the Frost
    Another one of your FAQmaker's personal favorites. Funny, scary, well-written, and fast- paced. The author also has quite a few children's fantasies in print. If you liked The Last Unicorn, you'll like this.
  • Anne Bishop
  • The Black Jewels Trilogy
  • Daughter of the Blood
  • Heir to the Shadows
  • Queen of Darkness
    Dark fantasy trilogy set in the world of The Realm.
  • The Realms of the Blood
  • The Invisible Ring
  • Dreams Made Flesh
  • Tangled Webs
  • The Shadow Queen
    Further novels set in the The Realm. Anne reports that she is currently at work on a sequel to The Shadow Queen.
  • Tir Alainn trilogy
  • The Pillars of the World
  • Shadows and Light
  • The House of Gaian
    A new trilogy about the Fae in Tir Alainn.
  • Ephemera Duology
  • Sebastian
  • Belladonna
  • James Blaylock (b. 1950)
  • Elfin series
  • The Elfin Ship
  • The Disappearing Dwarf
  • The Stone Giant
    John Clute says these books are 'remarkable for [their] geniality and quirkiness, and the general likeability of most of the characters, even the unreliable ones.'
  • The Last Coin
    A stand-alone involving the thirty pieces of silver given to Judas.
  • The Paper Grail
    Blaylock is often mentioned in the same breath as Tim Powers, but his works are very definitely his own. They do share a certain skewed version of reality that can be very entertaining.
  • Winter Tides
    A standalone involving a theater company in a small California town.
  • The Rainy Season
    About "time travel, trapped souls, and people who will do anything to possess the children they see as rightfully theirs..."
  • The Knights of the Cornerstone
    Another contemporary fantasy, quick-paced, with likeable characters and a good sprinkling of wit and humor. Blaylock is a fine writer, and he deserves to be much better known.
  • James Blish (1921-1975)
  • After Such Knowledge
  • Doctor Mirabilis
  • Black Easter
  • The Day After Judgement
  • A Case of Conscience
    The famous SF author brings us the end of the world. Black Easter and The Day After Judgement form a separate magic/horror duology - Doctor Mirabilis is a historical novel about Roger Bacon, and A Case of Conscience is straight SF. As a whole, the series explores whether the search for secular knowledge is inherently evil. Black Easter is by far the strongest book of the group, and can very easily be read as a stand-alone.
  • Enid Blyton (1897-1968)
  • The Faraway Tree series
  • The Magic Faraway Tree
  • The Enchanted Wood
  • The Folk of the Faraway Tree
    Open-ended children's series that has various children meeting the people that live in the land that is located at the top of the Faraway Tree.
  • The Wishing Chair Series
  • The Wishing Chair
  • The Wishing Chair Again
    Two children acquire a chair that can grow wings and whisk them off into adventure. Both of these series are very much aimed at the younger set.
  • Ben Bova (b. 1932)
  • Orion
  • Orion
  • Vengeance of Orion
  • Orion In the Dying Time
  • Orion and the Conqueror
  • Orion Among the Stars
    Open-ended series about Jack O'Ryan, who is Orion reborn, and cast adrift on the seas of time. Bova's primarily an author of hard SF (it was a surprise to find he'd done some fantasy), Doug says these "have a very definite Sci-Fi edge to them."
  • Elizabeth Boyer
  • The World of the Alfar series
  • The Elves and the Otterskin
  • The Sword and the Satchel
  • The Wizard and the Warlord
  • The Thrall and the Dragon's Heart
    The world in this series is heavily influenced by Nordic myth. I'm told that these are all stand-alone novels.
  • Wizard's War
  • The Troll's Grindstone
  • The Curse of Slagfid
  • The Dragon's Carbuncle
  • Lord of Chaos
    I've been told that these also take place in Alfar, and that the books are NOT standalones.
  • Clan of the Warlord series
  • The Clan of the Warlord
  • The Black Lynx
  • Keeper of Cats
    An open-ended series taking place in Boyer's usual mythical-Scandanavian setting. I believe that he first two books tell a single story (in other words, don't start one without the other at hand), and the third is a stand-alone. It has been reported that Boyer is no longer writing fantasy, so these may very well be the only three books in this series.
  • Ray Bradbury (b. 1920)
  • Something Wicked This Way Comes
    Everything Bradbury writes is Wonderful (do we detect a teeny bit of bias on the part of our FAQmaker here?) Most of his fantasy is in short story form, but this novel features an unusual (and nasty) carnival that comes to town.
  • *Marion Zimmer Bradley (1930-1999)
  • Avalon books
  • The Mists of Avalon
  • The Forest House
  • The Lady of Avalon (co-author Diana Paxson)
  • Priestess of Avalon (co-author Diana Paxson)
    Each of these stands alone. Mists was one of the first books to tell the Arthur story from the female characters' points of view, and, boy, was it successful. Forest House is a prequel to Mists, taking place during the Roman invasion of Britain, and Lady takes place between the two.
  • The Firebrand
    Cassandra of Troy gets her turn in the spotlight.
  • Witchlight series
  • Ghostlight
  • Witchlight
  • Gravelight
  • Heartlight
    Series featuring psychic heroine Truth Jourdemayne. eluki bes shahar (Rosemary Edghill) co-authored these, although she isn't credited on the book covers.
  • Darkover series
  • Stormqueen
  • Hawkmistress
  • The Forbidden Tower
  • The Heirs of Hammerfell
  • many many others
    THIS IS SF, NOT FANTASY. But, hey, McCaffrey's Pern books made it onto the list, so why not MZB's Darkover? Generally, the books that take place after the lost colony of Darkover has been rediscovered by Earth are more SF in tone, the ones that take place during Darkover's long isolation have a more 'fantasy' feel. I've listed a few of the titles I'm personally familiar with, and consider fantasy-ish in tone. The books are generally supposed to be standalones, but familiarity with Darkover is needed to make lesser offerings more enjoyable.
  • Gillian Bradshaw (b. 1956)
  • Down the Long Wind Trilogy
  • Hawk of May
  • Kingdom of Summer
  • In Winter's Shadow
    Michael liked the first book quite a lot, but he adds 'then the story continues onto the more or less standard Arthurian tale, and I'm not very fond of tragic love stories.' Bradshaw has written other works, but so far these are her only fantasies.
  • Ernest Bramah (1868-1942)
  • Kai Lung series
  • The Wallet of Kai Lung
  • Kai Lung's Golden Hours
  • Kai Lung Unrolls His Mat
    These titles are three short story collections, containing most of Bramah's stories about the Chinese storyteller Kai Lung.
  • Mayer Alan Brenner (b. 1956)
  • Dance of the Gods
  • Catastrophe's Spell
  • Spell of Intrigue
  • Spell of Fate
  • Spell of Apocalypse
    Ya gotta love a series with a hero named 'Maximillian the Vaguely Disreputable'. READ THIS SERIES, shouts your FAQmaker, it's fast and furious, and fun, and I want the author to make enough money that he keeps writing fantasies. Now you, too, can get to know this series. The author is making it available through his website. Please check it out, and encourage your friends to do the same.
  • David Brin (b. 1950)
  • The Practice Effect
    A lone fantasy from an SF master. This is definitely Brin-lite, but even minor Brin is enjoyable. A light-hearted adventure in a parallel world where magic takes a strange form (the title pretty much gives it away). The book is a stand alone. It came out a while ago, but was reprinted in 1994, so you should be able to track it down.
  • Kristen Britain
  • Green Rider series
  • Green Rider
  • First Rider's Call (titled Mirror of the Moon in U.K.)
  • The High King's Tomb
  • The fourth Green Rider book forthcoming
    A new fantasy series with a looming evil, a tough heroine (the book opens with her having been suspended from her school for beating up a bully), and an animal companion that is more than it appears. Britain's publisher has contracted for more books, so the series will continue through a fifth book, and possibly beyond.
  • C. Dale Brittain (b. 1948)
  • Tales of Daimbert
  • A Bad Spell in Yurt
  • The Wood Nymph and the Cranky Saint
  • Mage Quest
  • The Witch and the Cathedral
  • Daughter of Magic
  • Is This Apocalypse Necessary?
  • The Starlight Raven (forthcoming)
    Open ended series featuring Daimbert, the Royal Wizard of Yurt. Basically light-hearted adventure, although it is far less dependent on puns and general silliness than the cover art (and titles) would indicate. The most representative adjective for this series would be "charming." The final book ties up Daimbert's story very neatly. A new book, The Starlight Raven focusing on the daughter of the main character, is in the works.
  • Voima
    A standalone. Basically standard adventure/quest, but it has some nice twists, and a trio of likable protagonists. More serious than the Daimbert books.
  • Count Scar (with Robert Bouchard)
    Enjoyable standalone fantasy in a medieval setting.
  • **Terry Brooks (b. 1944)
  • Shannara
  • Sword of Shannara
  • Elfstones of Shannara
  • Wishsong of Shannara
    The fantasy genre owes Brooks a lot - whether that debt is good or bad depends upon how you feel about the current state of the market. These books were bestsellers when they came out in the early 80's, and they finally proved that Tolkien's popularity wasn't an aberration, and that fantasy could be much more than a niche market. This is an enjoyable group of books, although the Tolkienesque borrowings of the first book of the first trilogy are even more blatant than most.
  • Heritage of Shannara
  • Scions of Shannara
  • Druid of Shannara
  • Elf Queen of Shannara
  • Talismans of Shannara
    Onward ever onward with the world of Shannara. This group of books is straightforward fantasy quest/adventure.
  • A Shannara Prequel
  • First King of Shannara
    Prequel set 500 years before the events of Sword of Shannara.
  • The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara
  • Ilse Witch
  • Antrax
  • Morgawr
    Yet another Shannara trilogy.
  • The High Druid of Shannara
  • Jarka Ruus
  • Tanequil
  • Straken
    Here comes another trilogy. It picks up twenty years after the events of Morgawr, continuing the story of Shanarra.
  • Genesis of Shannara trilogy
  • Armageddon's Children
  • The Elves of Cintra
  • The Gypsy Morph
    A new trilogy covering the early history of the world of Shannara. This trilogy picks up after the Word and Void trilogy, and ties it to his world of Shanarra. Brooks' next series will be a duology set in the same world. The first book is due in 2010.
  • Kingdom of Landover
  • Magic Kingdom For Sale-Sold
  • The Black Unicorn
  • Wizard At Large
  • The Tangle Box
  • Witches Brew
  • A Princess of Landover (forthcoming August 2009)
    Open-ended adventure/humor series. Not connected to the Shannara books. Work on a new Landover novel has been put off as he works on a Shannara prequel series. Currently, a new book is scheduled for 2009, but that is still very tentative.
  • Word and Void trilogy
  • Running With the Demon
  • A Knight of the Word
  • Angel Fire East
    Brooks' first fantasies set in the contemporary world. Good and evil vie for the soul of a young Illinois girl. The first book does include an elf, a demon and a Knight of the Word as characters, so it shouldn't be too much of a shock to his fans.
  • *Steven Brust (b. 1955)
  • Vlad Taltos series
  • Jhereg
  • Yendi
  • Teckla
  • Taltos
  • Phoenix
  • Athyra
  • Orca
  • Dragon
  • Issola
  • Dzur
  • Jhegaala
  • Iorich (forthcoming
  • Tiassa (forthcoming
    Featuring the assassin Vlad Taltos. Open-ended action/adventure series taking place in a well- defined, interesting world. Each book is a stand- alone, and the published order (listed above) does NOT follow the internal chronology (despite that, you should try to read them in the published order. Vlad's growth as a character is best traced by reading the books in the order Brust has written them).
  • Khaavren Romances
  • The Phoenix Guards
  • Five Hundred Years After
  • The Paths of the Dead
  • The Lord of Castle Black
  • Sethra Lavode
    Set in the same world as the Vlad Taltos books, just earlier in its history. These are written in the style of Dumas (remember The Three Musketeers?) and are quite enjoyable.
  • Brokedown Palace
    A standalone that takes place in the eastern (human) region of Vlad Taltos' world. It was reprinted by Ace in August, 1996.
  • Agyar
    Dark fantasy told from the title character's point of view. Kate sez, 'Part of the fun is figuring out who and what he is.'
  • The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars
    Part of the Ace 'Fairy Tale' series (now being published by Tor), which invited various authors to retell a fairy tale for a contemporary adult audience. Very well-regarded, books from the series by Wrede, de Lint & Dean are also on this list. It came back into print in May '96 from Tor.
  • Freedom and Necessity (co-author Emma Bull)
    This is an epistolary fantasy (i.e., the story is told in the form of letters) that is unrelated to any series by either of the co-authors. It is set in 1849 and has garnered some very nice reviews.
  • Lois McMaster Bujold (b. 1949)
  • The Spirit Ring
    A stand-alone fantasy from the creator of Miles Vorkosigan. A well-written adventure taking place in Renaissance Italy, featuring a plucky heroine and a likeable hero.
  • Chalion series
  • The Curse of Chalion
  • Paladin of Souls
  • The Hallowed Hunt
    Fantasy series, unrelated to any of her other work. Paladin is a sequel to Curse, however both books stand alone. The third book is set in the same world, but takes place in a different country.
  • The Sharing Knife series
  • The Sharing Knife: Beguilement
  • The Sharing Knife: Legacy
  • The Sharing Knife: Passage
  • The Sharing Knife: Horizon
    A new fantasy/romance series, again unrelated to her previous work.
  • Emma Bull (b. 1954)
  • The War For the Oaks
    Standalone (gosh, it's nice to run into a recent book that doesn't have 900 sequels). Wars in the fairylands spilling over into our world. You can tell Bull is a musician - the band scenes feel *right*. Good book, and well worth looking up.
  • Finder
    Although this is part of the 'Borderlands' shared-world series, it IS a standalone. Very well done, and both Kate and I recommend it highly.
  • Territory
    A new stand-alone fantasy about the shoot-out at the OK Corral (!).
  • Chris Bunch (1943-2005)
  • King series
  • Seer King
  • Demon King
  • Warrior King
    His earlier work was mainly written in collaboration with Allan Cole. Alexander says that this series is "an easy read and entertaining." From all I've seen, it looks like these books contain lots of sex and violence.
  • The Empire Stone
    Standalone fantasy about a dwarf gem-trader.
  • Corsair
    Standalone pirate fantasy.
  • Dragonmaster Trilogy
  • Storm of Wings
  • Knighthood of the Dragon
  • The Last Battle
    Follows a boy as he grows from dreams of riding a dragon into a man who commands a squadron of dragons in battle.
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950)
  • Barsoom series
  • A Princess of Mars
  • The Gods of Mars
  • The Warlord of Mars
  • Thuvia, Maid of Mars
  • The Chessman of Mars
  • The Master Mind of Mars
  • A Fighting Man of Mars
  • Swords of Mars
  • Synthetic Men of Mars
  • Llana of Gathol
  • John Carter of Mars
    Join John Carter as he travels the wilds of the Martian landscape! Ironczar likes the first three the best. The Tarzan books are lots of fun, too.
  • Octavia Butler (1947-2006)
  • Wild Seed
    Fantasy from the Nebula-award-winning SF author. Steve says "It's an alternative history story, with magic thrown in."
  • A.S. Byatt (b. 1936)
  • Possession
    Standalone. Kate says it 'uses fantasy extensively.' Those of you with a background in English Literature will love this one.
  • James Branch Cabell (1879-1958)
  • Biography of the Life of Manuel
  • Beyond Life
  • Figures of Earth
  • The Silver Stallion
  • The Music From Behind the Moon
  • The White Robe
  • The Way of Ecben
  • The Soul of Melicent
  • Chivalry
  • Jurgen
  • The Line of Love
  • The High Place
  • Gallantry
  • Something About Eve
  • The Certain Hour
  • The Cords of Vanity
  • From the Hidden Way
  • The Jewel Merchants
  • The Rivet in Grandfather's Neck
  • The Eagle's Shadow
  • The Cream of the Jest
  • The Lineage of Lichfield
  • Straws and Prayer-Books
    The imaginary kingdom of Poictesme ties all of these together. Alternate world fantasies. They all stand alone, and the one you are most likely to find is Jurgen.
  • Moyra Caldecott (b. 1927)
  • Tall Stones Trilogy
  • The Temple of the Sun
  • The Tall Stones
  • Shadow on the Stones
    Young adult series, set in mythical bronze-age Britain, where everyone is basically well-intentioned and they all live in harmony with nature and the powers of the Earth. Out of print and may be hard to find. My local library has them in the children's section.
  • Don Callander (1930-2008)
  • Douglas Brightglade series
  • Pyromancer
  • Aquamancer
  • Geomancer
  • Aeromancer
    Open-ended light fantasy adventure series starring Douglas Brightglade.
  • Marbleheart
    A stand-alone related to Callander's "-mancer" series. Christine says, "It focuses on Douglas Brightglade's familiar, Marbleheart the otter."
  • Dragon series
  • Dragon Companion
  • Dragon Rescue
  • Dragon Tempest
    Open-ended series featuring a world of intelligent dragons and their human companions.
  • Orson Scott Card (b. 1951)
  • Hart's Hope
    Early stand-alone fantasy
  • Alvin Maker
  • Seventh Son
  • Red Prophet
  • Prentice Alvin
  • Alvin Journeyman
  • Heartfire
  • The Crystal City
  • Master Alvin (forthcoming)
    The majority of Card's writing falls firmly into SF, but this is an interesting alternate-history fantasy, taking place in 19th century U.S. The final book has been forthcoming for quite some time now; when or if it will ever appear is unknown.
  • Enchantment
    New stand-alone fantasy.
  • Magic Street
    Stand-alone contemporary fantasy.
  • Isobelle Carmody (b. 1958)
  • The Gathering
    Australian author of young adult fiction. Much of her work falls into the realm of SF, but this title is a dark fantasy about a 15-year-old recruited to fight an ancient evil.
  • Obernewtyn Chronicles
  • Obernewtyn
  • The Farseekers
  • Ashling
  • The Keeping Place
  • Wavesong
  • The Stone Key
  • The Sending (forthcoming Sept. 2009 in Australia)
    In the first book, Elspeth's mental powers condemn her to life in the mysterious village of Obernewtyn. Later books have continued the saga in this post-holocaust fantasy series. The original Australian edition of The Stone Key was split in two, and published as Wavesong and The Stone Key in the U.S., U.K., and Canada. The same treatment will apply to the next book - The Sending will be published as Red Queen and The Sending outside of Australia.
  • Jonathan Carroll (b. 1949)
  • The Land of Laughs
    His first novel. Carroll is difficult to classify, and several of his books have very little fantasy content. This book contains the greatest number of fantasy elements of any of his novels so far.
  • A Linked Sextet of Unrelated Novels
  • Bones of the Moon
  • Sleeping in Flame
  • A Child Across the Sky
  • Outside the Dog Museum
  • After Silence
  • From the Teeth of Angels
    Glen specifically recommended the first two books of the series, calling them 'literate fantasy from a writer who is able to merge the detail- orientation of "realistic" literature with the sometimes horrific connotations of fantasy.'
  • The Wooden Sea
  • Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)
  • The Alice Duology
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
  • Through the Looking Glass
    Human from the "real world" crosses over into a fantasy land...Sound familiar? The first and still the best, you should read the Alice books as a fine source of sig quotes if nothing else.
  • Angela Carter (1940-1992)
  • The Magic Toyshop
    "Not exactly fantasy, but it's close enough," reports Wardley the Wizzy.
  • The Bloody Chamber
    Collection of stories reworking familiar fairy tales. Definitely NOT for children. Maria describes Carter as 'a fabulous stylist: lush without verbiage.'
  • Lin Carter (1930-1988)
  • Green Star series
  • Under the Green Star
  • When the Green Star Calls
  • By the Light of the Green Star
  • As the Green Star Rises
  • In the Green Star's Glow
    A planetary romance, written in a style as much like A. Merritt's as Carter could manage.
  • Thongor series
  • The Wizard of Lemuria
  • Thongor of Lemuria
  • Thongor Against the Gods
  • Thongor at the End of Time
  • Thongor in the City of Magicians
  • Thongor Fights the Pirates of Tarakus
    Lin Carter helped create the Adult Fantasy publishing category with the ground-breaking fantasy series he edited for Ballantine beginning in the 1960s. His own fiction tended a bit toward the pulpish (okay, it tended a lot toward the pulpish) but Michael says that 'his early stuff, especially the early Thongor novels...are top notch.' On the other hand, Ironczar thought the Thongor books were rotten, but enjoyed the Green Star series quite a bit.
  • Jack Chalker (1944-2005)
  • And the Devil Will Drag You Under
    Humorous. Stand-alone fantasy novel by a very prolific SF author. His other fantasy series (the "Dancing Gods") is not recommended
  • Joy Chant (b. 1945)
  • The World of Vandarei
  • Red Moon and Black Mountain
  • The Grey Mane of Morning
  • When Voiha Wakes
    A recommendation from Denis. These are all stand-alones (and a good thing, too, since Chant produces only about one book a decade, and hasn't had anything new come out since 1984) set in varying times in the world of Vandarei.
  • The High Kings
    Early legends of Britain retold.
  • C.J. Cherryh (b. 1942)
  • Morgaine
  • Gate of Ivrel
  • Well of Shiun
  • Fires of Azeroth
  • Exile's Gate
    Early work from Cherryh (except for Exile's Gate, which was published a decade after the others). Dark, moody science fantasy. Open-ended.
  • Arafel's Saga
  • The Dreamstone
  • The Tree of Swords and Jewels
    Out of print (although they still turn up in bookstores occasionally). Fantasy in the Celtic/Welsh vein. Cherryh has revised these two books, and they were reprinted in an omnibus edition from DAW titled The Dreaming Tree.
  • Russian series
  • Rusalka
  • Chernevog
  • Yvgenie
    Dark fairy tale using Russian traditions. Cherryh is a very highly regarded SF author, and if you like her fantasy, you should check out her other works.
  • The Paladin
    Good stand-alone story with a samurai flavor.
  • The Goblin Mirror
    Stand-alone fantasy with an Eastern European background.
  • Faery in Shadow
    Stand-alone celtic fantasy about a young man who makes a bargain with the Sidhe.
  • Tristan series
  • Fortress in the Eye of Time
  • Fortress of Eagles
  • Fortress of Owls
  • Fortress of Dragons
  • Fortress of Ice
    The first book starts out slowly. Tristen's quest goes on far too long, and the maneuverings that lead to the final battle are pretty routine. Still, even substandard Cherryh is worthwhile, and I'm told the pace picks up in the later books.
  • Brenda Clough (b. 1955)
  • Averidan series
  • The Crystal Crown
  • The Dragon of Mishbil
  • The Realm Beneath
  • The Name of the Sun
    Out of print and hard to find.
  • Suburban Gods series
  • How Like a God
  • Doors of Death and Life
  • Out of the Abyss (forthcoming)
  • Off the Screen (forthcoming)
    What if a pleasant suburban-type guy suddenly developed god-like powers? Fast-paced and well thought out; you should try this one. The second book takes place in the same world, and is a direct sequel. The third and fourth books will follow Edwin Barbarossa some 150 years in the future as he experiences the downside of immortality.
  • Molly Cochran (b. 1949) & Warren Murphy (b. 1933)
  • The Forever King
  • The Broken Sword
    Another fantasy with its roots in Arthurian romance. Past lives intrude on the present as a battle that was begun almost two thousand years before is finally completed.
  • World Without End
    Another standalone, this one involves Atlantis.
  • Adrian Cole (b. 1949)
  • The Omaran Saga
  • A Place Among the Fallen
  • Throne of Fools
  • The King of Light and Shadows
  • The Gods in Anger
    I wish one of the folks who recommended this would give me some type of description for this tetralogy, because I haven't even be able to find a capsule description in the library card catalog.
  • Allan Cole (b. 1943)
  • Voyages of the Anteros series (co-author Chris Bunch)
  • The Far Kingdoms
  • The Warrior's Tale
  • Kingdoms of the Night
  • The Warrior Returns (by Allan Cole alone)
    The first two books of this series are loosely related, and can easily be read as standalones. However the third book is a fairly direct sequel to the first, and after looking over a sample chapter of the forthcoming book (which is written by Cole on his own), it sure looks like you need to have read the first three to really enjoy it. Straightforward adventure/quest fantasy, reasonably well written.
  • Timura Trilogy
  • Wizard of the Winds ('When the Gods Slept' in U.K.)
  • Wolves of the Gods
  • The Gods Awaken
    A new trilogy based on The Rubayyat of Omar Khayam.
  • Glen Cook (b. 1944)
  • The Chronicles of the Black Company
  • The Black Company
  • Shadows Linger
  • The White Rose
    Fantasy from the foot soldier's point of view. Gritty and hard-edged, these are not Fantasy Lite.
  • The Silver Spike
    Takes place in the world of the Black Company. It's not about them, but some familiar characters appear.
  • Book of the South
  • Shadow Games
  • Dreams of Steel
    More of the chronicles of the Black Company.
  • The Glittering Stone Tetralogy
  • Bleak Seasons
  • She Is The Darkness
  • Water Sleeps
  • Soldiers Live
    The long-awaited continuation of the adventures of the Black Company. The final book of what was originally announced as a trilogy ended up being split in two.
  • Garrett, P.I. series
  • Sweet Silver Blues
  • Bitter Gold Hearts
  • Cold Copper Tears
  • Old Tin Sorrows
  • Dread Brass Shadows
  • Red Iron Nights
  • Deadly Quicksilver Lies
  • Petty Pewter Gods
  • Faded Steel Heat
  • Angry Lead Skies
  • Whispering Nickel Idols
  • Cruel Zinc Melodies
    The hard-boiled detective in a world full of elves, trolls, and magic. Raymond Chandler fans take note. Open-ended series. There are some references to events that take place in previous books, but all books are basically stand-alone. This is beginning to suffer from Continuing Series Syndrome, but the books haven't fallen off badly enough to make me stop buying.
  • Instrumentalities of the Night
  • The Tyranny of the Night
  • Lord of the Silent Kingdom
  • Surrender To the Will Of Night (forthcoming)
  • Working the Gods' Mischief (forthcoming)
    This is the start of a "sweeping epic", which means that it has lots of new characters and places to introduce you to, and it ends just when things are getting really interesting.
  • The Dread Empire series
  • A Shadow of All Night Falling
  • October's Baby
  • All Darkness Met
  • The Fire in His Hands
  • With Mercy Toward None
  • Reap the East Wind
  • An Ill Fate Marshalling
    Listed for completists - none of the recommenders mentioned this series. The darkest (and least commercially popular) of Cook's continuing series.
  • Hugh Cook (1956-2008)
  • Chronicles of an Age of Darkness
  • The Wizards and the Warriors
  • The Wordsmiths and Warguild
  • The Woman and the Warlords
  • The Walrus and the Warwolf
  • The Wicked and the Witless
  • The Wishstone and the Wonderworkers
  • The Wazir and the Witch
  • The Werewolf and the Wormlord
  • The Worshippers and Way
  • The Witchlord and the Weaponmaster
    These are the titles from the English editions. Only the first couple have been published in the U.S., and they were released under different titles. Excellent series! Books vary radically in tone, ranging from your standard heroes on a fantasy quest to humor/adventure to great events seen through ordinary (or seemingly ordinary) eyes.
  • Rick Cook (b. 1944)
  • The Wizardry series
  • Wizard's Bane
  • The Wizardry Compiled
  • The Wizardry Cursed
  • The Wizardry Consulted
  • The Wizardry Quested
    Yikes! Another Cook! This series is light-hearted fantasy, full of 'bad computer jokes' (to quote the author). Each book does stand alone. They've been republished in a couple of omnibus editions (The Wiz Biz and The Wiz Biz II: Cursed and Consulted). Emergency open heart surgery left him unable to write fiction. He is currently the unfinished sixth book in the series on the web, and it is unlikely that there will be any further novels.
  • Louise Cooper (b. 1952)
  • Time Master Trilogy
  • Initiate
  • Outcast
  • Master
    The forces of Order and Chaos face off again. However, in Cooper's universe, neither side is unrelievedly good or evil - Chaos and Order are "two sides of the same coin," in the words of the author.
  • Chaos Gate Trilogy
  • The Pretender
  • The Deceiver
  • The Avenger
    Set in the same world as the "Time Master" trilogy. It takes place about 60-80 years after the events of the first trilogy.
  • Indigo series
  • Nemesis
  • Inferno
  • Infanta
  • Nocturne
  • Troika
  • Avatar
  • Revenant
  • Aisling
    The recommender of the "Indigo" series would like to point out that the quality of the books in the series is uneven - some are much better than others
  • Star Shadow trilogy
  • Star Ascendant
  • Eclipse
  • Moonset
    Moonset is out in the U.K., but was never released in the U.S. This is a prequel to the Time Master Trilogy.
  • Daughter of Storms trilogy
  • Daughter of Storms
  • Dark Callers
  • Keeper of Light
    Young adult series set in the Time Master universe. It hasn't been published in the U.S.
  • *Susan Cooper (b. 1935)
  • The Dark is Rising
  • Over Sea and Under Stone
  • The Dark is Rising
  • Greenwitch
  • The Grey King
  • Silver on the Tree
    Another one that you'll find in the children's section. Arthurian elements, and very good. Grey King took the Newbery Award.
  • Seaward
    Stand-alone story. Katherine describes it as "fantasy of 'quest/journey of discovery' vein." She also reports that it was recently reprinted and should be fairly easy to find.
  • Bernard Cornwell (b. 1944)
  • The Warlord Chronicles
  • The Winter King
  • Enemy of God
  • Excalibur
    A different, more historical take on the Arthur legend that considers the military and politic aspects of the legend. Told from the viewpoint of a Christian monk who was once in Arthur's army.
  • F. Marion Crawford (1854-1909)
  • Khaled
    Arabian fantasy written in 1891. Crawford is best known for his short story "The Upper Berth," which the Encyclopedia of Fantasy claims is one of the most reprinted of all ghost stories.
  • Roberta Cray (b. 1944)
  • The Sword and the Lion
    Cray is a pseudonym of Ru Emerson. See her listing for more details.
  • John Crowley (b. 1942)
  • Little, Big
    Literary fantasy.
  • Aegypt Quartet
  • Aegypt
  • Love & Sleep
  • Daemonomania
  • Endless Things
    Macedon says, 'How can you have a "best" list without Crowley?'

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