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So You Want to Read Epic Fantasy: Here’s Where to Start

The epic has been the foundation of fantasy for a long time. From Beowulf and the tales of King Arthur all the way up to The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, epic fantasy has been in the roots of Western culture a long time. It was really the Oxford professor’s story of Frodo Baggins and the One Ring that began modern day epic fantasy, the trilogy bestsellers worldwide. By the time Terry Brooks published The Sword of Shannara in 1977—a book most would consider epic fantasy at the time—Tolkien readers were already craving more of the same.
This list was originally written by Shawn Speakman for Unbound Worlds.

  1. 1
    Sunrunner's Fire Book Cover Picture
    Sunrunner's Fire Book Cover Picture

    Sunrunner’s Fire

    by Melanie Rawn

    In this unsettled world, the death of the ruler of the desert princedom becomes the catalyst for power games of magical treachery as rival factions — from the evil High Prince to the leader of the Sunrunners to the newly crowned Prince of the Desert — seek to alter the course of their world.
    Sunrunner's Fire Book Cover Picture
    Sunrunner's Fire Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $15.00

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  2. 2
    The Dragonbone Chair Book Cover Picture
    The Dragonbone Chair Book Cover Picture

    The Dragonbone Chair

    by Tad Williams

    Having inspired authors like George R. R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss, The Dragonbone Chair is the story of Simon, a boy who is sent on a quest that offers the only hope of salvation for Osten Ard, a deadly riddle concerning long-lost swords of power. Compelled by fate and perilous magics, he must leave the only home he’s ever known and face enemies more terrifying than Osten Ard has ever seen, even as the land itself begins to die.
    The Dragonbone Chair Book Cover Picture
    The Dragonbone Chair Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $20.00

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  3. 3
    A Game of Thrones (HBO Tie-in Edition) Book Cover Picture
    A Game of Thrones (HBO Tie-in Edition) Book Cover Picture

    A Game of Thrones (HBO Tie-in Edition)

    by George R. R. Martin

    Sweeping from a harsh land of cold to a summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, A Game of Thrones tells a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens. 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.
    A Game of Thrones (HBO Tie-in Edition) Book Cover Picture
    A Game of Thrones (HBO Tie-in Edition) Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $18.00

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  4. 4
    King's Dragon Book Cover Picture
    King's Dragon Book Cover Picture

    King’s Dragon

    by Kate Elliott

    Set in an alternate Europe, a world where bloody conflicts rage and sorcery holds sway, both human and other-than-human forces vie for supremacy. In this land, Alain, a young man seeking the destiny promised him by the Lady of Battles, and Liath, a young woman gifted with a power that can alter the course of history, are about to be swept up in a world-shaking conflict for the survival of humanity.
    King's Dragon Book Cover Picture
    King's Dragon Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $22.00

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  5. 5
    The Warded Man: Book One of The Demon Cycle Book Cover Picture
    The Warded Man: Book One of The Demon Cycle Book Cover Picture

    The Warded Man: Book One of The Demon Cycle

    by Peter V. Brett

    For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger… and three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible.
    The Warded Man: Book One of The Demon Cycle Book Cover Picture
    The Warded Man: Book One of The Demon Cycle Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $28.99

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  6. 6
    The Desert Prince Book Cover Picture
    The Desert Prince Book Cover Picture

    The Desert Prince

    by Peter V. Brett

    Fifteen years have passed since the end of the war with demons, creatures of darkness who have hunted the night and plagued humanity since time out of mind. The heroes of humanity’s hour of need have become legend, and those who remain struggle to escape their shadows. Olive Paper and Darin Bales have grown up in this new peaceful world. But when they learn the demons are not all gone, and those that remain hunger for revenge, events are set in motion that only prophecy can foresee as Olive and Darin seek to find their own places in the world in time to save it again.
    The Desert Prince Book Cover Picture
    The Desert Prince Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $29.99

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