The best fantasy novels that feature the devil

Donnally Miller Author Of The Devil's Workshop
By Donnally Miller

Who am I?

I’ve been a lover of fantasy fiction ever since as a 12-year-old boy I lived in Oxford near the great J. R. R. Tolkien and read The Lord of the Rings and loved it so much I wrote to the author and he wrote back to me. I have no interest in the current commercialized fantasy genre. When I came to write a novel I wanted to write one that was actually imaginative, that had some philosophical heft, that an intelligent adult could enjoy. I wanted to write a book that mattered, that had some of my ideas about the nature of God and – yes – the devil.

I wrote...

The Devil's Workshop

By Donnally Miller,

Book cover of The Devil's Workshop

What is my book about?

My book is subtitled A Metaphysical Extravaganza because it explores many metaphysical concepts such as the true nature of God, and just exactly what are life, love, and death?  One of the characters concludes that God is language, in which case the Devil wants to free us by draining all meaning from the sounds that come from our mouths.

Of course, the novel is also a ripping pirate yarn with star-crossed lovers, pirates, Indians, and rebellious slaves as well as a quick trip through the Devil’s workshop. Come aboard and join Tom and Katie as they traverse the treacherous reefs of the Coast.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission

The books I picked & why

The Master and Margarita

By Mikhail Bulgakov, Richard Pevear (translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (translator)

Book cover of The Master and Margarita

Why did I love this book?

This was a complete mind-bender when I read it as a teenager, and it had lost none of its punch when I returned to it as an adult. It is writing like this that inspired me to become a writer. In this erudite and playful novel the devil, wearing an expensive gray suit and carrying a walking stick under one arm has come to visit Stalinist Moscow.

While telling of his dispute with Kant over the existence of God, he also casts light on exactly what took place between Pontius Pilate and a condemned man named Yeshua in ancient Jerusalem. Accompanied by a beautiful witch and a huge black cat who cheats at chess, his bizarre adventures are well worth reading.

By Mikhail Bulgakov, Richard Pevear (translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (translator)

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Master and Margarita as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Bulgakov is one of the greatest Russian writers, perhaps the greatest' Independent

Written in secret during the darkest days of Stalin's reign, The Master and Margarita became an overnight literary phenomenon when it was finally published it, signalling artistic freedom for Russians everywhere. Bulgakov's carnivalesque satire of Soviet life describes how the Devil, trailing fire and chaos in his wake, weaves himself out of the shadows and into Moscow one Spring afternoon. Brimming with magic and incident, it is full of imaginary, historical, terrifying and wonderful characters, from witches, poets and Biblical tyrants to the beautiful, courageous Margarita, who will…

The Devil's Elixir

By E. T. A. Hoffmann,

Book cover of The Devil's Elixir

Why did I love this book?

Once I started reading this I was unable to put it down. If you’re unfamiliar with the tales of Hoffmann you owe it to yourself to become acquainted. If you are intrigued by the sort of tale in which a young man meets a traveler in an inn who has seen the devil and he follows him into a dark and lonely wood, then this is the book for you.

The plot is an elaborately tangled labyrinth. The monk Medardus was brought up in a monastery to atone for his father’s wicked ways, but he knows only fragments of his family’s history. Forced to flee the monastery he sets out on a fantastical quest in which he encounters his lunatic doppelganger, becomes entangled in Vatican intrigues, commits a murder, is condemned to death, and much, much more. This is an early work of the German Romantic movement and had an influence on many who came later, such as Dostoyevsky, Kafka, and Poe.

By E. T. A. Hoffmann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Devil's Elixir as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

E.T.A. Hoffmann's 'The Devil's Elixir' is a gothic, horror-fantasy novel inspired by Matthew Gregory Lewis's novel 'The Monk'. Medardus is the son of a sinner and is raised in a monastery to atone for his father's past. When Medardus succumbs to temptation, he is dragged into a deadly mystery that sees him travel to Rome, pursued by his murderous lookalike.At the Vatican in Rome, the monk's only hope for salvation is the beautiful Aurelie but in order to finally discover the truth of the curse that haunts his family, Medardus must evade the sinister powers of the living and the…

The Devil is Dead

By R. A. Lafferty,

Book cover of The Devil is Dead

Why did I love this book?

Anything by Lafferty is well worth reading. This was intended as the second book of a trilogy, but got published on its own. This tells primarily of Finnegan, an astonishing hero who is searching for the devil. If you haven’t made the acquaintance of R.A. Lafferty, this would be a good place to start. Imagine a cartoon world modeled on the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas. Lafferty writes in a tall tale mode that disguises much of his literary ambition. It’s hard to describe Lafferty’s writing. It might be described as Calvino with no pretension. Or maybe, just read a sample:

A night-dune imaginary: there was a world full of people with pumpkin-heads for heads, and candles burning inside. Then Seaworthy and the Devil and their spooky crew came along, lifted the top off each head, blew out the candles inside and put the tops back. The pumpkin-headed people seemed to get along about as well as before; yet there was a difference.

By R. A. Lafferty,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Devil is Dead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Paperback, 1971 First Avon Printing..."This is the first publication of The Devil is Dead in any form."--from the copyright page. This copy is a 1st Edition, First printing, Out off Print. Now the book:Triangle cut across top right corner, dog ear on lower right corner. Cover front and back well rubbed, artwork is intact but not as bright due to rubbing.Printed number on bottom end . The spine is tight and very intact ,but the paper cover on the spine is broken and peeling. Spine paper has been glued where possible, this copy needs a clear cover or it will…

Good Omens

By Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman,

Book cover of Good Omens

Why did I love this book?

Armageddon is coming soon. Like next Saturday, right after dinner. It was foretold by Agnes Nutter back in 1655 and all her predictions have been exactly right (even the one about Betamax). If you’re familiar with Terry Pratchett’s sense of humor, you’ll know that the Lords of Creation are going to make a mess of Armageddon and not get it right.  

It’s an easy read and a good romp with lots of angels and devils along the way and in the end, somehow, Armageddon is averted.

By Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked Good Omens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'Ridiculously inventive and gloriously funny' Guardian

What if, for once, the predictions are right, and the Apocalypse really is due to arrive next Saturday, just after tea?

It's a predicament that Aziraphale, a somewhat fussy angel, and Crowley, a fast-living demon, now find themselves in. They've been living amongst Earth's mortals since The Beginning and, truth be told, have grown rather fond of the lifestyle and, in all honesty, are not actually looking forward to the coming Apocalypse.

And then there's the small…

Book cover of The Devil in a Forest

Why did I love this book?

I remember picking this up, not expecting much since it was marketed as a novel for adolescents, but what I found was a gripping story, very dark, about a time when there was a struggle between paganism and Christianity. It was a lot more than I’d expected, and so, like all the books on my list, it’s one I’ve returned to, to reread. It’s set in a simple village, and there’s a dark presence in the woods that surround the village, that might be a devil. The lead character is a young man trying to define the boundaries between good and evil. The writing is excellent, as is everything by Gene Wolfe, and the story is one that will stay with you. 

By Gene Wolfe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Devil in a Forest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

He lives deep in the forest in the time of King Wenceslas, in a village older than record. The young man's hero-worship of the charming highwayman, Wat, is tempered by growing suspicion of Wat's cold savagery, and his fear of the sorcerous powers of Mother Cloot is tempered by her kindness. He must decide which of these powers to stand by in the coming battle between Good and Evil that not even his isolated village will be able to avoid.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in satire, devil, and coming of age?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about satire, devil, and coming of age.

Satire Explore 126 books about satire
Devil Explore 32 books about devil
Coming Of Age Explore 1,012 books about coming of age

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like In Search of England, The Way of Wyrd, and 1984 if you like this list.