MANDATORY EPIC FANTASY

THE LORD OF THE RINGS

J.R.R Tolkien

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

From Sauron’s fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, his power spread far and wide. Sauron gathered all the Great Rings to him, but always he searched for the One Ring that would complete his dominion.

When Bilbo reached his eleventy-first birthday he disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest: to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom.

The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard; the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam; Gimli the Dwarf; Legolas the Elf; Boromir of Gondor; and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider.

This new edition includes the fiftieth-anniversary fully corrected text setting and, for the first time, an extensive new index.

Available on Amazon here

About the Author

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892.1973), beloved throughout the world as the creator of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, a fellow of Pembroke College, and a fellow of Merton College until his retirement in 1959. His chief interest was the linguistic aspects of the early English written tradition, but even as he studied these classics he was creating a set of his own.

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ASSASSIN’S APPRENTICE

Robin Hobb

Young Fitz is the bastard son of the noble Prince Chivalry, raised in the shadow of the royal court by his father’s gruff stableman. He is treated as an outcast by all the royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has him secretly tutored in the arts of the assassin. For in Fitz’s blood runs the magic Skill—and the darker knowledge of a child raised with the stable hounds and rejected by his family.
 
As barbarous raiders ravage the coasts, Fitz is growing to manhood. Soon he will face his first dangerous, soul-shattering mission. And though some regard him as a threat to the throne, he may just be the key to the survival of the kingdom.

Available on Amazon here

About the Author

Robin Hobb currently lives and writes in Tacoma, Washington, but that has not always been the case!
Born in Oakland, California, she sampled life in Berkeley and then in suburban San Rafael before her family moved to Fairbanks, Alaska in the ’60’s. She graduated from Lathrop High School in Fairbanks in 1969, and went on to attend College at the University of Denver in Denver Colorado. In 1970, she married Fred Ogden and moved with him to his home town of Kodiak Alaska. After a brief stint in Hawaii, they moved to Washington State. They live in Tacoma, with brief stints down to a pocket farm in Roy, Washington, where they raise chickens, ducks, geese, vegetables and random children. 

Robin began her writing career as Megan Lindholm. Her stories under that name were finalists for both the Nebula and Hugo awards. Both “Silver Lady and the Fortyish Man” and “A Touch of Lavender” were Asimov’s Reader Award winners. Perhaps her best known novel as Megan Lindholm is Wizard of the Pigeons, an urban fantasy set in Seattle Washington.

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WIZARD’S FIRST RULE

Terry Goodkind

Wizard’s First Rule, the first novel by Terry Goodkind, was a phenomenon from the moment it was published by Tor Books in 1994, selling more than 100,000 copies in North America alone. It still sells more than 100,000 copies a year and has gone on to bestsellerdom in the United Kingdom and in more than twenty foreign translations as well as audiobook form.

It is now being developed as one of the most ambitious television miniseries of all time. Executive Producer Sam Raimi (director of the three Spider-Man movies), in collaboration with Disney/ABC, is creating a 22-episode adaptation of the book to be filmed in New Zealand.

Richard and Kahlan’s story unfolds over ten more novels, collectively known as the Sword of Truth series, concluding with Confessor in 2007. Placing Goodkind in the elite club of #1 New York Times bestselling authors, the series has sold more than twenty million copies to date worldwide.

In Wizard’s First Rule, Goodkind introduced the world to an ordinary forest guide, Richard Cypher, and the mysterious, powerful woman he comes to love, Kahlan Amnell. Learning his true identity, Richard accepts his destiny as the one man who can stop the bloodthirsty tyrant Darken Rahl. Hunted relentlessly, betrayed and alone, Kahlan calls upon Richard to reach beyond his sword and invoke something more noble within himself as the final confrontation with Darken Rahl looms.

The importance of Wizard’s First Rule is sourced in Goodkind taking on the toughest of all literary challenges: to tell an electrifying story of action, violence, and adventure that also makes people think, and that would influence the choices and actions of its readers.

Years after reading Wizard’s First Rule, Goodkind fans still ask themselves, “What would Richard do?” when confronted with life’s obstacles and challenges. “Your life is yours alone,” Richard says at a key moment. “Rise up and live it.”

Available on Amazon here

About the Author

Terry Goodkind is a #1 New York Times Bestselling Author and the creator of the most controversial new thriller of our lifetime. His work is often called “provacative”, “courageously original”, “terrifying”, and even “dangerous”.

More than anything; Terry Goodkind’s books are character driven stories that take a brutally honest inward look at ourselves. With a focus on the complexity of the human psyche, Terry Goodkind has an uncanny grasp for crafting compelling stories of people like you and me, trapped in terrifying situations.

With his latest novel, NEST, readers will be drawn into an original story of the driving forces behind those who take lives and those trying to save them, a struggle that will take readers into a dark world as we search for the origins of evil.

As a resident of Nevada, Terry Goodkind deeply appreciates the rights and freedoms of the United States, although worries about how quickly those rights are eroding. His passion for writing is a paralell to his passion for life.

Terry Goodkind is a part-time race car driver, a devoted husband to Jeri, the love of his life, and is a friend to animal-kind.

“My privilege in life is the joy of writing books and telling stories about people who fascinate me, the good and the bad. I am grateful to all of my readers for the critical role they play in making these books possible. Your passion is my passion, and I thank you.” – Terry Goodkind

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GARDENS OF THE MOON

Steve Erikson

The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting and bloody confrontations with the formidable Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, ancient and implacable sorcerers. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dread Claw assassins.

For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, surviving cadre mage of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.

However, it would appear that the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand…

Conceived and written on a panoramic scale, Gardens of the Moon is epic fantasy of the highest order–an enthralling adventure by an outstanding new voice.

Available on Amazon here

About the Author

Steven Erikson is an archaeologist and anthropologist and a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His previous novels in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series–Gardens of the Moon, Deadhouse Gates, Memories of Ice, House of Chains, Midnight Tides, The Bonehunters, and Reaper’s Gale–have met with widespread international acclaim and established him as a major voice in the world of fantasy fiction. He lives in Canada.

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THE NAME OF THE WIND

Patrick Rothfuss

My name is Kvothe.
 
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
 
You may have heard of me.
 
So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature—the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.

Available on Amazon here

About the Author

Patrick Rothfuss always wanted to be fantasy author when he grew up. Now that his first novel is published it’s generally agreed that he has achieved his dream. However, there is some debate as to whether or not he has, in fact, grown up.

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MISTBORN

Brandon Sanderson

For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the “Sliver of Infinity,” reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler’s most hellish prison. Kelsier “snapped” and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark.

Kelsier recruited the underworld’s elite, the smartest and most trustworthy allomancers, each of whom shares one of his many powers, and all of whom relish a high-stakes challenge. Only then does he reveal his ultimate dream, not just the greatest heist in history, but the downfall of the divine despot.

But even with the best criminal crew ever assembled, Kel’s plan looks more like the ultimate long shot, until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life. Like him, she’s a half-Skaa orphan, but she’s lived a much harsher life. Vin has learned to expect betrayal from everyone she meets, and gotten it. She will have to learn to trust, if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed.

This saga dares to ask a simple question: What if the hero of prophecy fails?

Available on Amazon here

About the Author

I’m Brandon Sanderson, and I write stories of the fantastic: fantasy, science fiction, and thrillers.

February 2017 marks the release of Snapshot, a new detective thriller novella, and in November 2017 comes Oathbringer, the third massive book in the New York Times #1 bestselling Stormlight Archive series that began with The Way of Kings. This series is my love letter to the epic fantasy genre, and it’s the type of story I always dreamed epic fantasy could be.

Most readers have noticed that my adult fantasy novels are in a connected universe, called the Cosmere. This includes The Stormlight Archive, both Mistborn series, Elantris, Warbreaker, and various novellas available on Amazon, including The Emperor’s Soul, which won a Hugo Award in 2013. In November 2016 all of the existing Cosmere short fiction including those novellas was released in one volume called Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection. If you’ve read all of my adult fantasy novels and want to see some behind-the-scenes information, that collection is a must-read.

I also have two YA series: The Rithmatist (currently at one book), and The Reckoners (a trilogy beginning with Steelheart). For young readers I also have my humorous series Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians. Many of my adult readers enjoy all of those books as well, and many of my YA readers enjoy my adult books, usually starting with Mistborn. 

Additionally, I have a few other novellas that are more on the thriller/sci-fi side. These include Legion and its sequel, Legion: Skin Deep, as well as Perfect State. There’s a lot of material to go around!

Good starting places are Mistborn (a.k.a. The Final Empire), Steelheart, The Emperor’s Soul, and Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians. If you’re already a fan of big fat fantasies, you can jump right into The Way of Kings.

I was also honored to be able to complete the final three volumes of The Wheel of Time, beginning with The Gathering Storm, using Robert Jordan’s notes.

Sample chapters from all of my books are available at brandonsanderson.com/library — and check out the rest of my site for chapter-by-chapter annotations, deleted scenes, and more.

GAME OF THRONES

George R.R. Martin

From a master of contemporary fantasy comes the first novel of a landmark series unlike any you’ve ever read before. With A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin has launched a genuine masterpiece, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill the pages of this magnificent saga, the first volume in an epic series sure to delight fantasy fans everywhere.
 
A GAME OF THRONES
A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE: BOOK ONE
 
Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. To the south, the king’s powers are failing—his most trusted adviser dead under mysterious circumstances and his enemies emerging from the shadows of the throne. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the frozen land they were born to. Now Lord Eddard Stark is reluctantly summoned to serve as the king’s new Hand, an appointment that threatens to sunder not only his family but the kingdom itself.

Sweeping from a harsh land of cold to a summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, A Game of Thronestells a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens. Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; a child is lost in the twilight between life and death; and a determined woman undertakes a treacherous journey to protect all she holds dear. Amid plots and counter-plots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, allies and enemies, the fate of the Starks hangs perilously in the balance, as each side endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

Unparalleled in scope and execution, A Game of Thrones is one of those rare reading experiences that catch you up from the opening pages, won’t let you go until the end, and leave you yearning for more.

Available on Amazon here

About the Author

George R.R. Martin sold his first story in 1971 and has been writing professionally since then. He spent ten years in Hollywood as a writer-producer, working on The Twilight Zone, Beauty and the Beast, and various feature films and television pilots that were never made. In the mid ‘90s he returned to prose, his first love, and began work on his epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. He has been in the Seven Kingdoms ever since. Whenever he’s allowed to leave, he returns to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he lives with the lovely Parris, and two cats named Augustus and Caligula, who think they run the place

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DRAGONFLIGHT

Anne McCafferey

DRAGONFLIGHT

On a beautiful world called Pern, an ancient way of life is about to come under attack. Lessa is an outcast survivor—her parents murdered, her birthright stolen—a strong young woman who has never stopped dreaming of revenge. But when an ancient threat reemerges, Lessa will rise—upon the back of a great dragon with whom she shares a telepathic bond more intimate than any human connection. Together, dragon and rider will fly, and Pern will be changed forever.

DRAGONQUEST

Since Lessa and Ramoth, her golden queen dragon, traveled into the past to bring forward a small army of dragons and riders to save their world from deadly alien spores, fear and desperation have spread across the land. But while the dragonriders struggle with threats both human and otherworldly, a young rider named F’nor and his brown dragon, Canth, hatch a bold plan to destroy the alien scourge at its source—the baleful Red Star that fills the heavens and promises doom to all. 

THE WHITE DRAGON

Never in the history of Pern has there been a dragon like Ruth. Mocked by other dragons for his small size and pure white color, Ruth is smart, brave, and loyal—qualities that he shares with his rider, the young Lord Jaxom. Unfortunately, Jaxom is also looked down upon by his fellow lords, and by other riders as well. His dreams of joining the dragonriders in defending Pern are dismissed. What else can Jaxom and Ruth do but strike out on their own, pursuing in secret all they are denied? But in doing so, the two friends will find themselves facing a desperate choice—one that will push their bond to the breaking point . . . and threaten the future of Pern itself.

Available on Amazon here

About the Author

Anne McCaffrey, the Hugo Award-winning author of the bestselling Dragonriders of Pern® novels, is one of science fiction’s most popular authors. With Elizabeth Ann Scarborough she co-authored Changelings and Maelstrom, Books One and Two of The Twins of Petaybee. McCaffrey lives in a house of her own design, Dragonhold-Underhill, in County Wicklow, Ireland.

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THE EYE OF THE WORLD

Robert Jordan

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

When The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs—a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts— five villagers flee that night into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light.

Available on Amazon here

About the Author

Robert Jordan was born in 1948 in Charleston, South Carolina. He taught himself to read when he was four with the incidental aid of a twelve-years-older brother and was tackling Mark Twain and Jules Verne by five. He is a graduate of The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, with a degree in physics. He served two tours in Vietnam with the U.S. Army; among his decorations are the Distinguished Flying Cross with bronze oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star with “V” and bronze oak leaf cluster, and two Vietnamese Gallantry Crosses with palm. A history buff, he has also written dance and theater criticism and enjoyed the outdoor sports of hunting, fishing, and sailing, and the indoor sports of poker, chess, pool, and pipe collecting.

Robert Jordan began writing in 1977 and went on to write The Wheel of Time(R), one of the most important and best selling series in the history of fantasy publishing with over 14 million copies sold in North America, and countless more sold abroad. 

Robert Jordan died on September 16, 2007, after a courageous battle with the rare blood disease amyloidosis.

THE COLOR OF MAGIC

Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett’s profoundly irreverent, bestselling novels have garnered him a revered position in the halls of parody next to the likes of Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and Carl Hiaasen. The Color of Magic is Terry Pratchett’s maiden voyage through the now-legendary land of Discworld. This is where it all begins — with the tourist Twoflower and his wizard guide, Rincewind.

Available on Amazon here

About the Author

Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was fifteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe. Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, including his first Discworld novel, The Color of Magic, in 1983. In 1987 he turned to writing full time, and has not looked back since. To date there are a total of 36 books in the Discworld series, of which four (so far) are written for children. The first of these children’s books, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, won the Carnegie Medal. A non-Discworld book, Good Omens, his 1990 collaboration with Neil Gaiman, has been a longtime bestseller, and was reissued in hardcover by William Morrow in early 2006 (it is also available as a mass market paperback (Harper Torch, 2006) and trade paperback (Harper Paperbacks, 2006). Terry’s latest book, Nation, a non-Discworld standalone YA novel was published in October of 2008 and was an instant New York Times and London Times bestseller. Regarded as one of the most significant contemporary English-language satirists, Pratchett has won numerous literary awards, was named an Officer of the British Empire “for services to literature” in 1998, and has received four honorary doctorates from the Universities of Warwick, Portsmouth, Bath, and Bristol. His acclaimed novels have sold more than 55 million copies (give or take a few million) and have been translated into 36 languages. Terry Pratchett lives in England with his family, and spends too much time at his word processor.  Some of Terry’s accolades include: The Carnegie Medal, Locus Awards, the Mythopoetic Award, ALA Notable Books for Children, ALA Best Books for Young Adults, Book Sense 76 Pick, Prometheus Award and the British Fantasy Award.

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THE SWORD OF SHANNARA

Terry Brooks

The Sword of Shannara
Long ago, the wars of the ancient Evil ruined the world. In peaceful Shady Vale, half-elfin Shea Ohmsford knows little of such troubles. But the supposedly dead Warlock Lord is plotting to destroy everything in his wake. The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness is the Sword of Shannara, which can be used only by a true heir of Shannara. On Shea, last of the bloodline, rests the hope of all the races. 

The Elfstones of Shannara
The magical Ellcrys tree is dying, loosening the spell that bars the Demons from enacting vengeance upon the land. Now Wil Ohmsford must guard the Elven girl Amberle on a perilous quest as she carries one of the Ellcrys’ seeds to a mysterious place where it can be quickened into a powerful new force. But dark on their trail comes the Reaper, most fearsome of all Demons, aiming to crush their mission at any cost. 

The Wishsong of Shannara 
An ancient Evil is stirring to new life, sending its ghastly Mord Wraiths to destroy Mankind. To win through the vile growth that protects this dark force, the Druid Allanon needs Brin Ohmsford—for she alone holds the magic power of the wishsong. Reluctantly Brin joins the Druid on his dangerous journey. But a prophecy foretells doom, as Evil nurses its plans to trap the unsuspecting Brin into a fate far more horrible than death.

Available on Amazon here

About the Author

Terry Brooks is the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including the Genesis of Shannara novels Armageddon’s Children and The Elves of Cintra; The Sword of Shannara; the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara trilogy: Ilse Witch, Antrax, and Morgawr; the High Druid of Shannara trilogy: Jarka Ruus, Tanequil, and Straken; the nonfiction book Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life; and the novel based upon the screenplay and story by George Lucas, Star Wars(R): Episode I The Phantom Menace.(tm) His novels Running with the Demon and A Knight of the Word were selected by the Rocky Mountain News as two of the best science fiction/fantasy novels of the twentieth century. The author was a practicing attorney for many years but now writes full-time. He lives with his wife, Judine, in the Pacific Northwest.

More books by Terry Brooks here

DRAGON WING

Margaret Weis

Preeminent storytellers Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman have redefined epic fantasy. Since the publication of their Dragonlance series, millions of readers have enjoyed their imaginative world-building, rich characterization, and intricate storylines. Now these bestsellingauthors bring their talents to one of the most innovative fantasy creations ever in Dragon Wing, the first volume in The Death Gate Cycle.

Available on Amazon here

About the Author

Margaret Weis graduated from the University of Missouri in 1970 with a BA in Creative Writing and Literature. Following a career in publishing, she became an editor with TSR in 1983. Her hobby is flyball racing. She is captain of the Barkbarians Flyball team and lives with her flyball racing dogs in Wisconsin. 

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