Book List

Sword and Sorcery: A Book List

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

      1. 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)

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