From time to time I’m moved by some strange urge to collect a list of books. It may be that I still have the heart of a librarian (reaches over and nudges jar further into the shadows on my desk) or perhaps it’s just that I am only one woman bowed down by the sheer volume of stories that wash too and fro on the shores of this earth. Whatever the reason, I recently craved the purple prose and buckling swashes of some old favorites: Edgar Rice Burrough‘s John Carter and Dejah Thoris, Robert E Howard’s Conan and beyond, H Rider Haggard‘s She, and a newly acquired favorite in CL Moore’s Jirel of Joiry. So I lifted up my voice, and lo! answers came flooding in. Once I had sorted out the dross, and the high fantasy, and the epic, in favor of barbaric tales of mighty-thewed heroes and magic most dire, what was left was this list. May your reading be as thrilling as the derring-do in these pages.
One author, one series, was recommended over and over. The others that follow are in no particular order other than as they came in. But the one everyone agreed was a must-read?
Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser
Not all of these are purely magic worlds. Some blend strange sciences with their sorcery. Some blend the past with the present. All were told to me as fitting the titular genre. I make no claims.
David Weber’s Oath of Swords
A Merritt’s Ship of Ishtar
Poul Anderson’s Three Hearts and Three Lions
Gardner Fox’s Kothar the Barbarian series
David Gemmell’s Legend
Joe Abercrombie’s World of the First Law
Glen Cook’s Reap the East Wind
Nicholas Eames’ Kings of the Wyld
Will Wight’s House of Blades
Willard Black’s The Savage Realms
Mary Stewart’s Merlin trilogy
Lloyd Behm II’s Shadow Lands
Paul Kemp’s The Hammer and the Blade
Alex Bledsoe’s The Sword-Edged Blonde
Larry Correia’s Son of the Black Sword
Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melnibone
Lin Carter’s The Warrior of World’s End
George Effinger’s Maureen Birnbaum, Barbarian Swordsperson
Poul Anderson’s Hrolf Kraki’s Saga
Esther Friesner’s anthology Chicks in Chainmail
CJ Cherryh’s The Complete Morgaine
Robert Asprin’s Thieves’ World
Leigh Brackett’s Queen of the Martian Catacombs
Andre Norton’s Witch World saga
James Enge’s Blood of Ambrose
Simon R Green’s The Swords of Haven
Steven Shrewsbury’s Born of Swords
M. Sirota’s Twentieth Son of Ornon
Karl Edward Wagner’s The Book of Kane
Glen Cook’s Chronicles of the Black Company
L Sprague de Camp’s The Tritonian Ring
Jessica Amanda Salmonson’s The Disfavored Hero
Jennifer Roberson’s Sword-Dancer
Talbot Mundy’s Jigrim tales
Roger Zelazny’s Nine Princes in Amber (sort of? Maybe?)
Greg Costikyan’s By the Sword
Arthur H Landis’ Camelot in Orbit
Glen Cook’s Sweet Silver Blues
Rob Howell’s A Lake Most Deep
And for my thoughts on this tricky genre, and what I love about it, I’m over at the Mad Genius Club talking.
8 thoughts on “Sword and Sorcery: A Book List”
I’m surprised you didn’t list any of Raymond Feist’s Magician series.
IMO Those books are more High Fantasy than Sword & Sorcery. 😀
The best books in the Raymond Feist’s Magician universe were the ones he co-authored with Wurts
1 Daughter of the Empire (1987)
2 Servant of the Empire (1990)
3 Mistress of the Empire (1992)
I was going off what was nominated by folks. I knew we were missing many, many titles, though. It’s always the way!
Horseclans series, Robert Adams.
Not exactly Swords and Sorcery, more …. Swords and Swords. Like many series, it fell off over time.
But not always great for younger readers. I liked it, but I probably should have been older when I read it. (Was 14-16.)
I’ve been reading The Seventh Sword, which is pretty good. Didn’t see it in the list.
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