The best novels that blend myth and magic into an unputdownable tale

Adele Morris Author Of The Lost Soul
By Adele Morris

Who am I?

As a Scottish born Australian writer I grew up reading tales from Celtic and Norse mythology and always wanted them to be fact. With a passion for history, including tales of lost civilizations, and with a deeply rooted love of story, I have spent decades exploring how myth and story intertwine. Where do our stories come from? I have fantasized for many hours about what it would be like if there was an older magical world beneath ours. My first novel, The Lost Soul, began when I asked myself one question: What if myth was true? 


I wrote...

The Lost Soul

By Adele Morris,

Book cover of The Lost Soul

What is my book about?

Black eyes. Seeing eyes. Death eyes. The Keeper of the Dead can see, hear, and feel souls that no longer walk among the living.

Twenty-two years after Sondra Carstairs ran away from being Keeper, she receives an appeal from a lost soul that drags her back to the mystical world of Anona. A land that is the doorway of the Land of the Dead. When she returns Sondra must decide whether becoming Keeper is worth stepping on the path she’d avoided for so long. For the Keeper protects. She protects the dead. She protects the living. Embracing the darkness within is Sondra’s only chance to survive.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

The Dark Is Rising

By Susan Cooper, Alan Cober (illustrator),

Book cover of The Dark Is Rising

Why this book?

The second book in Susan Cooper’s children’s fantasy series based on Celtic mythology focuses on Will Stanton, a seventh son of a seventh son. Susan Cooper details a magical world beneath the English countryside where the main character, the last of the beings known as the Old Ones, is celebrating his eleventh birthday. 

There are so many legends touched on in this book that I felt spoilt for choice. The magic of this book has stayed with me for over forty years even though I first read it as a young adult. This is a book I still read to this day. A book that reminds me there is still magic in our world, if you know where to look. 

The Dark Is Rising

By Susan Cooper, Alan Cober (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Dark Is Rising as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On the Midwinter Day that is his eleventh birthday, Will Stanton discovers a special gift-- that he is the last of the Old Ones, immortals dedicated to keeping the world from domination by the forces of evil, the Dark. At once, he is plunged into a quest for the six magical Signs that will one day aid the Old Ones in the final battle between the Dark and the Light. And for the twelve days of Christmas, while the Dark is rising, life for Will is full of wonder, terror, and delight.


The Eight

By Katherine Neville,

Book cover of The Eight

Why this book?

Katherine Neville delights her audience in a story that spans centuries. We’re seamlessly taken from the era of the French Revolution to 1972 and the imminent restructuring of the world’s oil production by OPEC as we follow Catherine Velis, a modern computer expert, as she learns of a powerful relic, Charlemagne’s legendary chess set.

Amid a backdrop of mysterious alchemical rites, larger-than-life historical figures and events, the key characters weave a magical tale of an eternal chess game between opposing forces. Where the pieces are people. An eternal game where pawns can become queens. The novel is a historical delight and so expertly crafted that myth and fantasy blend into one cosmic treasure hunt. Anyone for chess?

The Eight

By Katherine Neville,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Eight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fantasy novel from the author of A CALCULATED RISK. The secret of the Eight is a puzzle whose solution has challenged the most brilliant minds known to humanity. Catherine Velis is manipulated into using her unrivalled problem-solving skills to find and reassemble to legendary chess set.


The Pillars of the World

By Anne Bishop,

Book cover of The Pillars of the World

Why this book?

Anne Bishop weaves European myth and historical witch-hunting into a fantastical tale of Fae, Witches, and those without magic. All three books in this series are unputdownable. So real is the imagery and the variety of characters, each with their own blend of magic and relationship to the natural world, that no matter how dark the tale gets, I can’t stop reading. 

Tir Alainn blends the natural, spiritual and physical world of myth into a grassroots world with characters that live and die for what they believe. With a strong moral core to the story, the richness of myth brings the inhabitants of Tir Alainn to life. An enchanting dark fantasy trilogy that is a must-read.  

The Pillars of the World

By Anne Bishop,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first novel in New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop's Tir Alainn Trilogy.

The youngest in a long line of witches, Ari senses that things are changing—changing for the worse. For generations, her kin have tended the Old Places, keeping the land safe and fertile. But with the Summer Moon, the mood of her neighbors has soured. And Ari is no longer safe.
 
The Fae have long ignored what occurs in the mortal world, passing through on their shadowy roads only long enough to amuse themselves. But the roads are slowly disappearing, leaving the Fae Clans isolated and alone.…


Faerie Tale

By Raymond E. Feist,

Book cover of Faerie Tale

Why this book?

Raymond E Feist takes a Celtic legend, massages it, and transports it to the new world with such ease that I could really believe the Hill of the Elf King existed in New York state. An earth-based fantasy from an author that has a wonderful knack of making his characters jump off the page, the tale hints at an unseen world. A fantastical world of powerful beings that exists deep below the land. 

I love the thought that just below the level of our modern urban world is another world of otherworldly beings where even a simple stroll in nature can take a turn for the worst when we don’t understand the land we are walking on. Throw in an ancient Irish legend and you have the recipe for disaster.

Faerie Tale

By Raymond E. Feist,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Faerie Tale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Reissued in spectacular new cover of Feist's chilling dark fantasy

Successful screenwriter Phil Hastings decides to move his family from sunny California to a ramshackle farmhouse in New York State. The idea is to take some time out, relax and pick up the threads of his career as a novelist.

Good plan, bad choice. The place they choose is surrounded by ancient woodland. The house they choose is the centrepoint of a centuries-old evil intent on making its presence felt to intruders.


Key of Light

By Nora Roberts,

Book cover of Key of Light

Why this book?

The first book in the trilogy, Key of Light, hooked me from the opening page and the rather sassy Malory Price who is driving in a storm to an intriguing dinner invitation and worrying about the bad day she’s just had. A thoroughly delightful woman, a born organizer, with a warrior streak a mile wide who sets off on a quest with her newfound friends to hunt for a mystical key with the power to lift the enchantment cast on three sleeping Celtic demi-goddesses. 

I always love seeing how Nora Roberts crafts a boy meets girl story with a touch of Celtic fantasy. A fun read. A blend of myth, magic, and romance amid the backdrop of a hunt for a mystical key. Who could ask for more?

Key of Light

By Nora Roberts,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Key of Light as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The pleasure of your company is desired for cocktails and conversation. 8pm, 4th September. Warrior's Peak. You are the Key. The lock awaits.

When Malory Price is issued with the above invitation she is naturally suspicious, especially as Warrior's Peak is a local mansion house straight out of a Hollywood horror movie. But with her overdraft at crisis limit and on the verge of losing her job at a local art gallery, she has little to lose by attending the event.

But Malory is about to get more than she bargained for. At Warrior's Peak she finds that she and…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Celtic mythology, witches, and magic-supernatural?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Celtic mythology, witches, and magic-supernatural.

Celtic Mythology Explore 16 books about Celtic mythology
Witches Explore 92 books about witches
Magic-Supernatural Explore 432 books about magic-supernatural

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Once and Future King, The King Must Die, and The Chrysalids if you like this list.