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9 Breathtaking Military Fantasy Books

Epic stakes, magic weapons, and courageous warriors take center stage on these fantasy battlefronts.

Cover of the Unbroken by C.L. Clark depicts a warrior standing in a doorway

Military fiction began with authors trying to understand the unique and terrible pressures of war. These stories aren’t about the battles, though they feature some truly breathtaking scenes, or the military strategy that leads to failure or success. Often, these stories focus on the plight of the soldiers and civilians who not only witness these awful endeavors but struggle to survive them. 

Sometimes these stories are too intense and too personal to keep in our world, and the sub-genre of military fantasy was born. These books look at all the various facets of the military, from a small intimate look at a soldier to the sweeping consequences of an entire nation. They help us understand what causes war, who fights the battles, and how far reaching these violent disagreements can extend. Here are nine incredible military fantasy books that explore war, the military, and the frailty of peace.

The Temple

The Temple

By H. P. Lovecraft

When a German U-boat sinks a British freighter during World War I, the lieutenant-commander orders his ship to fire. Even worse, they attack the survivors, sinking their lifeboats. No one thinks about the brutal attack until the U-boat surfaces, and a dead sailor is found clinging to its deck. 

In his pocket is an ivory talisman that Heinrich’s second-in-command takes before throwing the body overboard. But the charm was more than a trinket, and what follows is a descent into madness.

The House of War and Witness

The House of War and Witness

By Mike Carey, Linda Carey and Louise Carey

In 1740, all of Europe is on the brink of war when a company of Austrian soldiers are sent to a small village to defend the Prussian border. But what should be a routine posting becomes increasingly complicated. As junior lieutenant, Klaes tries to uncover the secrets the villagers are keeping, Drozde, the quartermaster’s wife stumbles on secrets of her own. 

The house they’re in is anything but empty. It’s filled with the dead, and the dead tell her about the terrible event they’re all headed towards. All she knows is it will end in blood, but how much depends on Klaes and Drozde and the impossible promise they must keep.

One Velvet Glove

One Velvet Glove

By Dave Duncan

In the 10th installment of the King’s Blades series, the adventure continues with three of the greatest swordsmen released from the Royal guard. Though they’re young, each in their 20s, they have no pension, no prospects, and no money. 

Sir Rhys’s father, the great Blade hero, finds himself in the same situation. But he knows about a lost treasure, one he thinks the four of them can find. Except, the King also remembers the treasure, and he thinks it belongs to him.

Rebirth by Divinity's Twilight

Divinity's Twilight: Rebirth

By Christopher Russell

Seven centuries ago, the world was consumed in war. The heroes sacrificed themselves to safeguard their world. Or so they thought. Now, the war remains though the weapons have changed. And at the center, are three nations fighting a never-ending battle to prove themselves the best.

All three would rather forget the ancient wasteland of Har’muth, but the power buried there hasn’t forgotten them. If they want to survive, the descendants of that long-fought battle must stand up and correct the mistakes of the past.

The Poppy War

The Poppy War

By R.F. Kuang

No one thought Rin would not just pass the test to enter the elite military school Sinegard, including Rin herself, but the test was only the beginning. Targeted as an outsider from the start, she discovers that she has a lethal power. 

With the help of a possibly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin explores her gift and learns that the gods aren’t as dead as people believe. As the Third Poppy War looms in the distance, Rin’s powers may be the only way to save her people. But the god who chose her, the vengeful Phoenix, may demand her humanity in return … if it isn’t already too late.

The Unbroken

The Unbroken

By C. L. Clark

Touraine was stolen as a child and conscripted as a soldier. She was raised to kill and die for the empire. Her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts until they’re sent to her homeland to stop a rebellion and she realizes maybe blood is stronger than she thought. 

Luca is desperate to get her uncle off the throne. All she needs is someone to sway the rebels towards peace … someone who can balance the delicate edge between orders and treason. But what will it take to negotiate the price of a nation? And what if some things can’t be bought?

women in sci-fi and fantasy

God's War

By Kameron Hurley

Nyx and her crew of mercenaries only care about one thing: money. Cast out for breaking too many rules, they collect the bounties of deserters by any means necessary. Almost. But when a deal with an alien emissary goes sideways, she’s called in for a covert recovery. As a centuries-long war rages around them, Nyx and her team of ruthless killers might be the key to unlock peace.

Where Peace Is Lost by Valerie Valdes

Where Peace Is Lost

By Valerie Valdes

Kelana Gardavros lost everything in the war. Five years later, Kel lives on the edge of the galaxy. No one knows who she is, or how ruthless her enemies would be if they found her. After all, she’s hiding to protect the peace. But when a long-dormant war machine somehow resurrects itself, Kel knows they have to stop it. 

When two strangers offer to trek through the swamps of planet Loth to deactivate the machine, Kel and her friend volunteer to guide them. The journey is treacherous enough. But if Kel accidentally reveals her secrets, she may doom the planet she’s trying to protect.

The Rage of Dragons

The Rage of Dragons

By Evan Winter

For 200 years, the Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable war. The lucky are gifted: Women who can call dragons and men who can transform into killing machines. Everyone else is destined to fight and die. 

Tau isn’t one of the gifted, but he has a plan. Only, before he has a chance to escape, he’s betrayed and those closest to him are brutally murdered. Consumed by revenge, he dedicates himself to becoming the greatest swordsman who ever lived. He’ll die a thousand deaths if it means death to the three who took everything from him.