The best anti-heroes of fantasy fiction

Why am I passionate about this?

It seems that all of the fictional main characters I create have anti-hero tendencies. There is always some voice in their head telling them to do right when they are expected to do wrong, or to do wrong when it is supposed they will do right. I find this flaw very compelling, and universal for those of us of flesh and blood. Do sneering, evil characters exist? Well, maybe, but they aren’t very interesting, and I think a weak trope.


I wrote...

In Human Shadow

By Gregory J. Glanz,

Book cover of In Human Shadow

What is my book about?

Born the half-breed, bastard son of an orc chieftain, Wrank tries to survive life in OrcHome among ignorance and spite aimed at his human heritage even as he develops a Talent for folding shadow. When life is no longer viable among the clans, he escapes into the world of humans where he once again encounters intolerance, now from thieves, wizards, priests, and assassins. With the eyes of imps, demons, miscreant gods, and a changeling upon him, can he survive In Human Shadow even though his future is foretold, his death foreseen?

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Traitor Baru Cormorant

Gregory J. Glanz Why did I love this book?

In the first novel of Dickinson’s The Masquerade series, Baru Cormorant’s life undergoes a sudden and brutal change as her island nation is subjugated by the Empire of Masks.

Thrust into a world that shuns her local customs, even unto death, Baru begins an arduous and brutal climb through the empire’s ranks via cunning and education. Now an outsider on the inside, her goal is the eventual restoration of her homeland… and nobody is immune to her single-minded ambitions.

This book is delicious as Baru uses the empire’s own rules to beguile, subjugate, and destroy the people above her as she intellectually seduces her way to ascension.

By Seth Dickinson,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Traitor Baru Cormorant as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

[Published as The Traitor Baru Cormorant in the US]

Baru Cormorant believes any price is worth paying to liberate her people - even her soul.

When the Empire of Masks conquers her island home, criminalizes her customs, and murders one of her Fathers, Baru vows to hide her hate, join the Empire's civil service, and claw her way up enough rungs of power to put a stop to the Emperor's influence and set her people free.

As a natural savant, she is sent as an imperial agent to distant Aurdwynn - a post she worries will never get her the…


Book cover of Lord Foul's Bane

Gregory J. Glanz Why did I love this book?

This book begins with a broken and scorned man, his world having come apart at the seams after contracting leprosy.

Donaldson’s craft at portraying Covenant’s bitterness and vitriol toward life because of his plight is a palpable thing. When Covenant is transported to “The Land” by the magic of his wedding ring, which he refuses to part with despite the emotional pain it engenders, he is hailed as the second coming of Berek Halfhand, a legendary figure in this realm he considers to be a dream.

Such is his weakness, confusion, and rage at his plight in the real world, that when he begins to be healed by the natural powers of “The Land,” he ravages the people around him, even as they push him toward their belief that he is there to save them from The Despiser.

By Stephen R. Donaldson,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Lord Foul's Bane as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Comparable to Tolkien at his best' WASHINGTON POST

Instantly recognised as a modern fantasy classic, Stephen Donaldson's uniquely imaginative and complex THE CHRONICLES OF THOMAS COVENANT, THE UNBELIEVER became a bestselling literary phenomenon that transformed the genre.

Lying unconscious after an accident, writer Thomas Covenant awakes in the Land - a strange, beautiful world locked in constant conflict between good and evil.

But Covenant, too, has been transformed: weak, angry, and alone in our world, he now holds powers beyond imagining and is greeted as a saviour. Can this man truly become the hero the Land requires?


Book cover of Thieves' World: First Blood

Gregory J. Glanz Why did I love this book?

This lighter fare is a collaboration of well-known writers (John Brunner, Poul Anderson, Andrew Offutt, Marian Zimmer Bradley, et al) creating a world where each of their characters also live in the other authors’ minds.

In the fantasy city of Sanctuary, their stories and their lives intertwine where a cast of anti-heroes rule the day, or are ruled by the day, depending on the authors’ whims. The cast of morally questionable characters at times are both protagonists and antagonists, depending on the point of view, and each story’s main character and writer.

And though each is, in turn, loved and loathed by Sanctuary and its denizens, the city has no mercy for them.

By Lynn Abbey (editor), Robert Lynn Asprin (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thieves' World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Contains all of the stories of the first two Thieves' World anthologies (Thieves' World and Tales of the Vulgar Unicorn), with additional material.

Return to the Olden Days of Sanctuary!

Sanctuary, a seedy, backwater town governed by evil forces, powerful magic, and political intrigue

See how Thieves' World all began!

Classic stories by:

Robert Lynn Asprin
Lynn Abbey
Poul Anderson
Marion Zimmer Bradley
John Brunner
David Drake
Philip Jose Farmer
Joe Haldeman
Janet Morris
Andrew J. Offutt
A. E.van Vogt


Book cover of The Lies of Locke Lamora

Gregory J. Glanz Why did I love this book?

Scott Lynch builds a lush world where Locke Lamora and his gang of Gentlemen Bastards operate alternately hidden from the civilized and the criminal.

Having grown up an orphan, saved from slavery by a master con artist, he holds Camorr and its denizens in more than some disdain until someone with higher, more devious intentions threatens it all. Camorr and its characters are richly developed as the Gentlemen Bastards find themselves contorting through plot twists as they try to save themselves and the city.

By Scott Lynch,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Lies of Locke Lamora as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'One of my top ten books ever. Maybe top five. If you haven't read it, you should' Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the Wind

'Fresh, original and engrossing' George R.R. Martin, the phenomenon behind A Game of Thrones

They say that the Thorn of Camorr can beat anyone in a fight. They say he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. They say he's part man, part myth, and mostly street-corner rumor. And they are wrong on every count.

Only averagely tall, slender, and god-awful with a sword, Locke Lamora is the…


Book cover of Wild Seed

Gregory J. Glanz Why did I love this book?

Anyanwu is not your typical anti-heroine. Being both slave to a fiercer power in the immortal Doro, and nearly immortal herself, she walks a fine line of helplessness and fear to the one man that can easily kill her or, more readily, her hundreds of descendants.

Her battle for freedom from the tyranny of Doro and his breeding programs for those with special talents is finally, and only, undone by Anyanwu’s shocking willingness to accept what is anathema to her immortal body and soul.

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Rip Current

By Sharon Ward,

Book cover of Rip Current

Sharon Ward Author Of In Deep

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Even as a kid, I was intrigued by the underwater world, so as an adult, I learned to scuba dive. I took to it like a fish to water, and my husband and I spent the next several years traveling to tropical islands to experience the local dive conditions whenever possible. I loved learning how every island had a different culture and a different undersea environment. Since I love tropical islands, scuba diving, mysteries, and adventure stories, these books really hit my sweet spot.

Sharon's book list on mysteries set on a tropical island

What is my book about?

Unsettled weather has caused life-threatening rip currents to sprout up seemingly at random in the usually tranquil sea around Grand Cayman. Despite posted warnings to stay out of the surf, several women lose their life when caught in the turbulent waters. Fin attempts some dangerous rescues, and nearly loses her own life in the process.

Meanwhile, Fin and the team at RIO are struggling to find more sources of funding for the Institute’s important research, and danger arises from an unexpected source while Fin and hot movie star Rafe Cummings are filming an upcoming documentary. When a young internet influencer…

Rip Current

By Sharon Ward,

What is this book about?

Unsettled weather has caused life-threatening rip currents to sprout up seemingly at random in the usually tranquil sea around Grand Cayman. Despite posted warnings to stay out of the surf, several women lose their life when caught in the turbulent waters. Fin attempts some dangerous rescues, and nearly loses her own life in the process.
Meanwhile, Fin and the team at RIO are struggling to find more sources of funding for the Institute’s important research, and danger arises from an unexpected source while Fin and hot movie star Rafe Cummings are filming an upcoming documentary.
Soon after a young internet…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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