The sword & sorcery genre is chock-full of compelling reads and iconic authors. Characterized by supernatural battles pitting good against evil, often waged by unlikely heroes, this subset of the fantasy genre delivers a highly immersive reading experience. You’ll want to delve into these nine action-packed sword and sorcery fantasy books right away.
The Goblin Wars: Complete Trilogy: Omnibus Edition
From within the depths of her mountain lair, the sinister Lady Scrapple is assembling an army of mindless slaves. As she prepares to strike, the fates deliver what may turn out to be her downfall: a single goblin who is free of her hive mind. A few miles away, a city is on the brink of complete anarchy, as its king has vanished and left no heir. And amidst the chaos, one man makes it his mission to find the missing ruler. The complete trilogy includes Siege of Talonrend, Death of a King, and Rebirth of a God.
The Reluctant Swordsman
When Wallie Smith comes to after being rushed to the hospital, he finds that he has been transported to not just another world, but into another body. Wallie is now a barbarian swordsman, with an eccentric priest and a slave girl as his companions in this strange new realm. As it happens, the ruling deity of this world is in need of Wallie’s newly-acquired services as a swordsman. If he succeeds, he will have everything his heart desires. If he fails, however, the consequences will be dire … and dark forces are already plotting his downfall.
Swords and Deviltry
This award-winning collection of fantastical adventure stories comes from Fritz Leiber, who is credited with coining the very term “sword and sorcery.” In the first installment of the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series, fate unites Prince Fafhrd and the magician the Gray Mouser, who embark on a series of adventures together. Notably, this collection includes the Nebula and Hugo Award-nominated story “The Snow Woman,” as well as the Nebula and Hugo Award-winning novella “Ill Met in Lankhmar.”
The Five Senses Set
In the first book in the collection, Mirror of Destiny, orphaned Twilla defies the king and escapes an unwanted marriage in order to rescue the survivors of a magical war and help save a contested land. In The Scent of Magic, scullery maid Willadene finds herself propelled upward in society due to an extraordinary magical gift–the same gift that may lead to her downfall. And in Wind in the Stone, young Sulerna must battle the sorcerer who enslaved her homeland and her own twin brother, who has since turned to the darkness.
Tales of Nevèrÿon
Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Samuel R. Delany appropriates the typical elements of sword and sorcery fantasy in the Tales of Nevèrÿon to explore themes of language, sexuality, and more. Set in a long-ago land on the brink of becoming civilized, slave Gorgik gains his freedom, leads a slave revolt, and holds a position in government—allowing him to abolish slavery. Ironically, Gorgik is sexually aroused by the very iron slave collars he set to outlaw. So, what does this mean for his mission–and his destiny?
Order of the Trident
A band of heroes known as the Order of the Trident join together to fight the enemy forces that seek to destroy their lands. Though they cut a foothold deep into enemy ranks, winning respect from those around them, the enemy is preparing a final attack, which would plunge the world into eternal darkness. It’s up to the Order to stop it, though even they have very little idea of the extent of the evil lurking just below the surface.
The Red Sword
An apprentice wizard named Markal is thrust into power when his master is decapitated by an unknown assassin. If the apprentices can protect their master’s body for long enough, the power of the wizard order’s sanctuary gardens may bring him back to life. However, when a warrior named Bronwyn invades the gardens, Markal is sure she is another assassin come to finish the job. As Markal soon learns, however, Bronwyn’s presence is a harbinger of an even greater threat, which threatens both Markal’s order and Bronwyn’s homeland.
Rise of the Ranger
In the Echoes of Fate series, mankind has ruled Illian for a thousand years. War, however, is looming between the kingdoms of man – fractured, power hungry and unallied—and the elves, who believe that they are the rightful rulers of Illian. In the middle of this developing chaos is a ranger named Asher: a powerful assassin with mysterious connections to an ancient evil.
The Name of the Wind
Told in first person, the Name of the Wind is the story of Kvothe, both a hero and a villain, who currently lives in hiding in an unnamed imaginary world. Brought up as an actor in his family’s traveling troupe, Kvothe has lived many lives—from feral child on the streets to student at “the University.” Kvothe is driven both to learn as much as he can about a special form of high magic, as well as to find the Chandrian—legendary demons who murdered his family.
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