Best Literary Fantasy Books

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The crowd-ranked version of the Best Literary Fantasy Books list. This list contains fantasy books that an English English professor would be proud to read. Literary fantasy might feature superb prose, intelligent ideas, deep thematic frameworks, and other literary devices. Vote on the items and/or submit your own literary fantasy suggestions to share with the public
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39
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Soldier Of The Mist

by Gene Wolfe

Latro, a mercenary soldier from the north, has suffered a head wound in battle but has developed the ability to see and converse with all of the invisible gods, goddesses, ghosts, demons, and werewolfves that inhabit the land
BSFA
Nebula
World Fantasy
40
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Glory Road

by Robert A. Heinlein

E. C. "Scar" Gordon was on the French Riviera recovering from a tour of combat in Southeast Asia , but he hadn't given up his habit of scanning the Personals in the newspaper. One ad in particular leapt out at him:

"ARE YOU A COWARD? This is not for you. We badly need a brave man. He must be 23 to 25 years old, in perfect health, at least six feet tall, weigh about 190 pounds, fluent English, with some French, proficient in all weapons, some knowledge of engineering and mathematics essential, willing to travel, no family or emotional ties, indomitably courageous and handsome of face and figure. Permanent employment, very high pay, glorious adventure, great danger. You must apply in person, rue Dante, Nice, 2me étage, apt. D."

How could you not answer an ad like that, especially when it seemed to describe you perfectly? Well, except maybe for the "handsome" part, but that was in the eye of the beholder anyway. So he went to that apartment and was greeted by the most beautiful woman he'd ever met. She seemed to have many names, but agreed he could call her "Star." A pretty appropriate name, as it turned out, for the empress of twenty universes.

Robert A. Heinlein's one true fantasy novel, Glory Road is as much fun today as when he wrote it after Stranger in a Strange Land. Heinlein proves himself as adept with sword and sorcery as with rockets and slide rules and the result is exciting, satirical, fast-paced, funny and tremendously readable -- a favorite of all who have read it. Glory Road is a masterpiece of escapist entertainment with a typically Heinleinian sting in its tail. Tor is proud to return this all-time classic to hardcover to be discovered by a new generation of readers.

Hugo
41
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Jurgen By

by James Branch Cabell

A middle-aged pawnbroker-poet is allowed to regain his youth for a year of amorous adventures in this compelling fantasy. Filled with strange beasts, alien gods, fabulous lands, beautiful ladies, and an aura of the supernatural, Cabel's allegory leads its hero through affairs with Guenevere and the Lady of the Lake as well as confrontations with God and the Devil. 
The 1919 publication of Jurgen catapulted its author into a position as one of the most enigmatic and controversial literary figures of his era. Critical response ranged from lavish praise to violent denunciations, including attempts to have the novel banned for obscenity. Modern readers consider it a landmark in the history of American fantastic fiction and a successor to the traditions of Rabelais, Sterne, Swift, and Voltaire. Its gentle blend of comedy and irony in a fantastic setting has enchanted generations of readers. This edition features more than a dozen striking full-page illustrations by Frank C. Papé.
42
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2

Sorcerer's Son

by Phyllis Eisenstein

Born in magic and raised with sorcery, Cray Ormoru dwelt in a world of happiness within the walls of Castle Spinweb.... Cray set out upon a journey which would take him from town to castle to a fortress of bronze, totally unprepared for the sorrows and dangers that lay ahead. For the fate of Cray's father would only be discovered in the light of demon fire...
43
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Book Of The Three Dragons

by Kenneth Morris

Originally published in 1930, Kenneth Morris's superb Book of the Three Dragons is an imaginative reworking of elements from the Mabinogion and other Welsh Celtic stories, telling the story of Manawyddan, who is given the choice between immortality with the gods or preventing a new evil from destroying the Island of the Mighty. Manawyddan chooses the latter, and the novel tells of his adventures. Swiftly moving and dramatic, this is a book that lovers of modern fantasy and old hero tales alike cannot afford to miss.

Perhaps most importantly for modern readers, for the first time Morris's unpublished ending - amounting to one-third of the book's length - is included in this new edition, telling what became of the hero, his wife, and their son.

NOTE ON NEW SERIES: This is the first in our new line of fantasy fiction, which will feature both masterpieces no longer in print in the US as well as new works. The series will be edited by noted Tolkien scholar Douglas A. Anderson, whose previous books include The Annotated Hobbit (HM) and Tales Before Tolkien (Ballantine). Mr. Anderson will also write introductions to each book, providing context and background to enrich the reader's experience. The cover look and interior design will appeal to all demographics (especially younger fans under 30 who play computer fantasy games and love writers like Tolkien, Pratchett, and Pullman) with top artists creating a dazzling fantasy look.

Quotes:"It is a singularly fine example of the recreation of a work magnificent in its own right (the 'Mabinogion') -- a literary event rather rare except in fantasy" - Ursula Le Guin

"Kenneth Morris was an important, innovative fantasist, worthy to rank with MacDonald, Eddison, and Tolkien." - Ursula Le Guin

"Morris writes with all Lord Dunsany's richness, though his cadences are Celtic rather than biblical. This one should be read aloud." - review in the Feb. 2004 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine

"Book of the Three Dragons is perhaps the single best fantasy adaptation from a real-world

up0mythology (in this case, the Welsh Mabinogion), and the best of his tales¿" - John Rateliff, review in the Sept. 2003 issue of Wizards of the Coast website (www.wizards.com), the #1 adventure gaming company in the world.

44
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2

Book Of The Three Dragons

by Kenneth Morris

Originally published in 1930, Kenneth Morris's superb Book of the Three Dragons is an imaginative reworking of elements from the Mabinogion and other Welsh Celtic stories, telling the story of Manawyddan, who is given the choice between immortality with the gods or preventing a new evil from destroying the Island of the Mighty. Manawyddan chooses the latter, and the novel tells of his adventures. Swiftly moving and dramatic, this is a book that lovers of modern fantasy and old hero tales alike cannot afford to miss.

Perhaps most importantly for modern readers, for the first time Morris's unpublished ending - amounting to one-third of the book's length - is included in this new edition, telling what became of the hero, his wife, and their son.

NOTE ON NEW SERIES: This is the first in our new line of fantasy fiction, which will feature both masterpieces no longer in print in the US as well as new works. The series will be edited by noted Tolkien scholar Douglas A. Anderson, whose previous books include The Annotated Hobbit (HM) and Tales Before Tolkien (Ballantine). Mr. Anderson will also write introductions to each book, providing context and background to enrich the reader's experience. The cover look and interior design will appeal to all demographics (especially younger fans under 30 who play computer fantasy games and love writers like Tolkien, Pratchett, and Pullman) with top artists creating a dazzling fantasy look.

Quotes:"It is a singularly fine example of the recreation of a work magnificent in its own right (the 'Mabinogion') -- a literary event rather rare except in fantasy" - Ursula Le Guin

"Kenneth Morris was an important, innovative fantasist, worthy to rank with MacDonald, Eddison, and Tolkien." - Ursula Le Guin

"Morris writes with all Lord Dunsany's richness, though his cadences are Celtic rather than biblical. This one should be read aloud." - review in the Feb. 2004 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine

"Book of the Three Dragons is perhaps the single best fantasy adaptation from a real-world

up0mythology (in this case, the Welsh Mabinogion), and the best of his tales¿" - John Rateliff, review in the Sept. 2003 issue of Wizards of the Coast website (www.wizards.com), the #1 adventure gaming company in the world.

45
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Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding

by Scott Hungerford

The Essential Elements for Building a World

Roleplaying games and fantasy fiction are filled with rich and fascinating worlds: the Forgotten Realms, Glorantha, Narnia, R'lyeh, Middle-Earth, Barsoom, and so many more. It took startling leaps of imagination as well as careful thought and planning to create places like these: places that readers and players want to come back to again and again.

Now, eleven of adventure gaming's top designers come together to share their insights into building worlds that gamers will never forget. Learn the secrets of designing a pantheon, creating a setting that provokes conflict, determining which historical details are necessary, and so much more.

Take that creative leap, and create dazzling worlds of your own!

Essays by Wolfgang Baur, Keith Baker, Monte Cook, Jeff Grubb, Scott Hungerford, David "Zeb" Cook, Chris Pramas, Jonathan Roberts, Michael A. Stackpole, Steve Winter, with an introduction by Ken Scholes.

NOMINATED FOR TWO ENNIE AWARDS: Best Writing and Best RPG-Related Book

Praise for Prior Kobold Design Guides

"Highly recommended for gaming nerds everywhere."

--CityBookReview.com

"If you're an aspiring pro this book is a must. If you're a rules hacker like me, this stuff is solid gold."

--Berin Kinsman, UncleBear Media

"A fantastic collection ... A solid 5 star rating."

--Joshua Guillion, AdventureAWeek.com

"An amazing collection ... from some of the best designers and writers creating role-playing game material today."

--Brian Fitzpatrick, BlogCritics.org

46
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2

Tales from the Flat Earth - The Lords of Darkness

by Tanith Lee

The "Lords Of Darkness" is a wonderful book full of fantastic creatures, human and not quite human. This book takes place in a land and a time I wish I lived in! There are three Lords of Darkness, related but not always wanting to admit it. They walk the Earth often and interact with humans, often to the human's detriment.
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ROMANCE: Vampire Romance: Shades of Broken Glass

by Morgaine Frost

Shades of Broken Glass (The Unlighted Series, Volume 1)”


“Entering the Main Hall, I see all of my kin and other royalty within the Unlighted, even the moon-walkers, fitted in their finest suits and gowns. For the night-walkers, this night signifies much about our history and lineage, and the peace that we have worked to maintain within the royal families depends on sacrifices such as Malcus’s. Call us what you’d like—vampires, werewolves, undead, immortals—we all identity under the name Unlighted, for we share a need of the darkness.”

Shades of Broken Glass is the first book of The Unlighted Series:

In this story, Selena, the Unlighted Vampire quickly finds herself in the position of having to fight for her Coven. She is still learning how to fight and finds that she bitten off more than she can handle.

In the process of using her non-mortal speed powers, Selena runs into a police car where she comes into her first encounter with an investigator Jonathan. Jonathan has been investigating strange calls by dispatch and comes into a startling discovery. Selena can easily use her telepathy to make this mortal forget, but she realizes something is different about Jonathan- her powers don’t work as well on him.

Major fighting breaks lose when Gable, a werewolf hell bent on destroying the coven, realizes that Jonathan is special.

Amongst the erupted fighting, Jonathan has realized realize that he may not be as human as he thought…What is Jonathan’s fate? When Selena finds herself without her coven and captured, will she escape or be taken to the Underground? Most importantly, why has Jonathan come in Selena's life?

Warning:
*This story contains mature themes and language. It is intended to be enjoyed by an 18+ audience only.

Review:
“This book is an awesome read! I absolutely can’t wait until Volume 2 is released, I will be the first to read!” - J. Wesson, Reader and Fan

“Simply Must Read for Vampire Fans.” -Anonymous
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The Shining

by Stephen King

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.
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Wraeththu

by Storm Constantine

In this powerful and elegant story set in a future Earth very different from our own, a new kind of human has evolved to challenge the dominion of Homo sapiens. This new breed is stronger, smarter, and far more beautiful than their parent race, and are endowed with psychic as well as physical gifts. They are destined to supplant humanity as we know it, but humanity won't die without a struggle.

Here at last in a single volume are all three of Constantine's Wraeththu trilogy: The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit, The Bewitchments of Love and Hate, and The Fulfilments of Fate and Desire.

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The Atomic Sea Volume One

by Jack Conner

A thousand years ago, the sea changed. And the change spread. No one knows why . . . till now.

Dr. Francis Avery drowns his memories in whiskey. Years after the Empire of Octung killed his family, his only drives are alcohol and striking back against Octung. While aboard a military whaling ship far out on the eerie Atomic Sea, a series of murders forces him to track down the killer.

Along the way, a mysterious woman named Layanna is pulled from the toxic, lightning-wreathed depths of the water. Though it’s impossible, she’s alive, and she has a secret: she’s the only one who can stop Octung. But she’ll need Avery’s help to accomplish her mission. If they fail, the entire world will fall under Octung’s bloodthirsty, murderous shadow. What follows is an epic quest like you've never seen before.

The Atomic Sea: Volume One is the first installment in a series of epic fantasy / science fiction adventure novels by New York Times bestselling author Jack Conner. If you like action-packed storytelling, rich atmosphere and unique twists and turns you won’t see coming, then you’ll love Jack Conner’s incredible mix of epic fantasy, horror and science fiction adventure.

DownloadThe Atomic Sea: Volume One to dip your toes in the unique, endlessly entertaining tale right now!


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Harry Potter

by J.K. Rowling

4.57 avg rating
When first released to Muggles in March 2001, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages further enlightened Harry Potter fans about the dangers and delights of the wizarding world. Now these two charming works of non-fiction are available in hardcover -- in a special keepsake slipcase edition!

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