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Sword and Sorcery Books

Updated on October 9, 2014

Why Sword and Sorcery?

 I have always enjoyed reading books which create a complete world of their own. Titles which evoke images in the mind and sucessfully promote a "suspension of disbelief" in the mind of the reader. Characterisation is also important, and if a hero or heroine appeals one wants to spend more time in their world adventuring with them, thus the importance of decent length series.

Now I am going to hand over to someone who can explain the fascination of series fantasy very well.

© Cecelia

Sword and Sorcery Books


Guest writer Cliff
Guest writer Cliff

By Cliff


For centuries only the richest and most educated of people had the privilege to sit down and immerse themselves with the imagination between the covers of a book.

Books are the direct source of the best modern day movies and games. Take Lord of the Rings for instance; that story has been made into three big movies and many great games like World of Warcraft which are all based on the ideas of J.R.R. Tolkien. However many believe that reading is lame and boring and it is fast becoming something that nobody does.

I still enjoy reading and I acknowledge the achievements of a book, its creativity, and sometimes its superiority to all other media.

Gandalf from Lord of the Rings
Gandalf from Lord of the Rings | Source

An overlooked genre

People crave mysteries, plots with twists, heroic deeds and action. Nowadays people watch movies for those things but as the years go by they all become similar. The mysteries are transparent, the plots are repeated, the twists are predictable and there is never enough good action.

It is sad to say that they all overlook the fantastic sword and sorcery books in their bookshelves. They have all that is in a good movie and more. Indeed the story can last for months before you have finished it. Everything written is worked on to be as detailed and accurate as possible and one story is never the same as the next. The most important thing of all a good book contains something you can almost never get elsewhere. When you read the story you will feel emotions of all sorts, from satisfaction to frustration, from boredom to excitement, and most importantly, happiness to sorrow. I believe it is the emotions people don’t feel from day to day life that people crave from games and movies.

The sword and sorcery genre is most commonly known as fantasy. It is always full of monsters, warring countries, gods and magic, all set in a world created by the author. Each author has their individual opinion on how magic should work and how the everyday person is affected by it. Whether they all fear it and burn any who possess it or do they all have some natural skill? Is the strength weak or colossal? And every other question you may ask.

One thing never changes; there is always a huge war in the end. Not just a big battle, but a full war that can have almost too much fighting and action. The strategies take on a large role too, during battle and the whole entire campaign. Some even point out that feeding two hundred million soldiers can be a little difficult, especially in the enemies’ territory.


Lure of the Dark Ages

Something else that they all have in common is the era which they are based upon. This is a post Roman time in Europe which is pretty perfect for writing a story on. Any earlier and the general populace would be barbarians, any later and guns begin to spoil the action and the tradition of chivalry.

The people are superstitious and generally uneducated peasants. Magic was still believed to exist. There were many different cultures and religions which caused a great deal of racism and war. The world was a flat and unexplored place with mysteries everywhere; monsters lurking and destroying, cursed places and tombs with magical artifacts.

Finally in my opinion the fantasy genre, or sword and sorcery as I like to call it is the best genre there is and when somebody is bored or has some free time they should go back to their bookcase and see what they can find. I guarantee that it would be worth it.

© Cliff

Some of Cliff's Favorites include:

The Belgariad by David Eddings


The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini.

Eragon, the first book in the Inheritance cycle was made into a feature film.


Legendary protector of England and dragon killer St. George. Image from
Legendary protector of England and dragon killer St. George. Image from

David Eddings

A Lot of people have read The Belgariad by David Eddings. Read it and enjoyed it; for it is a true classic fantasy story featuring a young man who does not know that he has an important heritage, but learns about his identity as his journey begins. There is also intrigue and danger, and a plot twist or two, which you will either eagerly await, or be surprised by depending on your ability to anticipate the author's intention.

Less people have read The Malloreon. Here we find that the quest has not been completed after all, and a second set of tasks must be undertaken. The Malloreon takes the reader further into the politics, metaphysics and philosophy of the Eddings created world. It is sophisticated and satisfying. If you have not read The Malloreon it is worth tracking down.

The Belgariad includes: 1 Pawn of Prophecy, 2 Queen of Sorcery, 3 Magician's Gambit, 4 Castle of Wizardry and 5 Enchanters' End Game

The Mallorean includes: 1 Guardians of the West, 2 King of the Murgos, 3 Demon Lord of Karanda, 4 Sorceress of Darshiva, 5 The Seeress of Kell


Image from Morgue
Image from Morgue

Dungeons and Dragons gaming and fantasy fiction

Many dedicated youth and adults enjoy creating a character and gathering with others under the leadership of a "Dungeon Master" (DM) to role play adventures for their character. A range of different sided dice can control the action and encounters with monsters as well as the participants imaginations!

Dungeon and Dragon gaming can not only be fun, but can inspire story writing, artwork, figurine building, map drawing and other artistic creations.

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Opening illustration for chapter 12 of 1905 edition of J. Allen St. John's The Face in the Pool from
Opening illustration for chapter 12 of 1905 edition of J. Allen St. John's The Face in the Pool from

The Dragon Lance Series

The Dragon Lance Series evolved out of the role playing activities of a group of enthusiasts. Here we feature the Classic volumes by the primary authors Margaret Weis and Traci Hickman. Many other game playing authors have written volumes to accompany them, however, these remain the penultimate character driven stories.

While many books were written by their affiliates and gaming friends, the core novels remain the best.

The "Chronicles" include:

1. Dragons of Autum Twilight,

2. Dragons of Winter Night,

3. Dragons of Spring Dawning

Legends include:

1. Time of the Twins,

2. War of the Twins,

3. Test of the Twins

I usually read:

Dragon's of Summer Flame

after the Legends, it is called the fourth chronicle, but it seems to fit after the time travel and puts a heroic spin on the last efforts of Raistlin Majere, the dark mage who captures many hearts and imaginations.

Several prequels, The Soul Forge and Brother's in Arms are enjoyable reading.


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    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Excellent information here, Cecelia. My eldest is reading the Eragon Series now. Loves it! The awesome thing about these sword and sorcery books is that despite their length, they get eaten up with pleasure. A wonderful thing! And with such great writers as you've presented, with such wonderful series, it's no wonder.

    • creativearts2009 profile image

      Cecelia 7 years ago from Australia

      Thank you Frieda. I think you are partly talking to guest writer Cliff. Those are some of his faviourite books.

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