The best fantasy books that made me say ‘wow!’

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing fantasy professionally for more than twenty-five years, and have published novels of epic fantasy, contemporary urban fantasy, supernatural thriller, and (as D.B. Jackson) historical fantasy. I have devoted my professional life to the genre because I love writing about magic and the people who wield it. I believe fantasy novels should thrill and intrigue, but also touch our emotions, and carry us through narratives with beautiful writing. That is what I try to do with my books, and that is what draws me to the novels I have listed here. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

I wrote...

The Chalice War: Stone

By David B. Coe,

Book cover of The Chalice War: Stone

What is my book about?

A lonely woman stalked by dark forces for what she is. A Sidhe sorcerer hunted for what she possesses.

Kelsey Strand's encounters with a hunting panther and a mysterious stranger force a dangerous magical talent to the surface and change everything she thought she knew about herself and the world around her. Only the sudden arrival of Marti Rider, a Sidhe sorcerer, allows Kel to escape with her life. Drawn into friendship by common need, tied to each other by magic, the two women race to protect an ancient object of unfathomable power from Fomhoire assassins and unearthly demons. Neither has the answers they need, but they know enough—try or die.  There’s no other option. The fate of our world hangs in the balance.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Tigana

David B. Coe Why did I love this book?

Guy Gavriel Kay has long been my favorite fantasy author, and really I could list any one of his novels here and make a convincing case for why you ought to read it.

His work is just that good. His prose is vivid and exquisite, his storylines are filled with intrigue and tension, his characters and settings are rich, complex, and heartbreakingly real.

Tigana is a stand-alone fantasy that pits a small cadre of men and women against a powerful emperor-sorcerer who seeks to wipe their homeland from their world and from memory itself.

It is, in my opinion, the finest fantasy novel of the 20th century. And the ending will simply blow your mind.

By Guy Gavriel Kay,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Tigana as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With this rich, masterfully written extravaganza of myth and magic, the internationally acclaimed author of THE FIONAVAR TAPESTRY trilogy has created an epic that will forever change the boundaries of fantasy fiction.

Set in a beleaguered land caught in a web of tyranny, Tigana is the deeply moving story of a people struggling to be free. A people so cursed by the dark sorceries of the tyrant King Brandin that even the very name of their once beautiful land cannot be spoken or remembered.

But not everyone has forgotten. A handful of men and women, driven by love, hope and…

Book cover of The Bone Doll's Twin

David B. Coe Why did I love this book?

Lynn Flewelling’s The Bone Doll’s Twin is the opening volume of her Tamir Trilogy, an alternate-world fantasy and quite possibly the best series you’ve never heard of.

The trilogy is part epic fantasy, part ghost story, part romance. It is a gender-bending story that is literally twenty years ahead of its time. The writing is gorgeous (spoiler alert for the rest of my list: I love beautiful prose) and the narrative is haunting and powerful.

The entire series will surprise you again and again, and each book will keep you turning pages long into the night.

By Lynn Flewelling,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sometimes the price of destiny is higher than anyone imagined....

Dark Magic, Hidden Destiny

For three centuries a divine prophecy and a line of warrior queens protected Skala. But the people grew complacent and Erius, a usurper king, claimed his young half sister’s throne.

Now plague and drought stalk the land, war with Skala’s ancient rival Plenimar drains the country’s lifeblood, and to be born female into the royal line has become a death sentence as the king fights to ensure the succession of his only heir, a son. For King Erius the greatest threat comes from his own line…

Book cover of Heart of Stone

David B. Coe Why did I love this book?

I am a huge fan of urban fantasy, and have written several myself, including my newest project.

Of all the UFs I have read, C.E. Murphy’s Negotiator series is my favorite. Heart of Stone, the first book in the sequence, introduces us to a magically reimagined New York City that is populated by dragons, vampires, and gargoyles that come to life at night and slumber in their stone form by day.

It also introduces us to Magrit Knight, a smart, powerful, fearless hero who will capture your heart and have you cheering (when you’re not breathlessly rushing to see what happens to her next)!

By C. E. Murphy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


Okay, so jogging through Central Park after midnight wasn't a bright idea. But Margrit Knight never thought she'd encounter a dark new world filled with magical beings―not to mention a dying woman and a mysterious stranger with blood on his hands. Her logical, lawyer instincts told her it couldn't all be real― but she could hardly deny what she'd seen…and touched.

The mystery man, Alban, was a gargoyle. One of the fabled Old Races who had hidden their existence for centuries. Now he was a murder suspect, and he needed Margrit's help to take…

Book cover of Neverwhere

David B. Coe Why did I love this book?

Chances are many of you have heard of this one, or at least of its author.

Neverwhere is not Gaiman’s best-known or best-selling book. Not by a long shot on either score. But it is my personal favorite, in part because it is less flashy than his other books, while managing to be just as exciting and suspenseful.

Like all of Gaiman’s work, it is at once humorous and dark, fanciful and brutally believable. Our hero, Richard Mayhew, is hapless but ultimately lovable. Our villains, a pair of killers named Croup and Vandemar, are terrifying.

And the characters we discover in the world below the streets of London, are charming and worth fighting for.

By Neil Gaiman,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Neverwhere as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'Prose that dances and dazzles . . . Gaiman describes the indescribable' SUSANNA CLARKE

'It's virtually impossible to read more than ten words by Neil Gaiman and not wish he would tell you the rest of the story' OBSERVER

'Much too clever to be caught in the net of a single interpretation' PHILIP PULLMAN



'I love doors. Anything that leads to possibilities' NEIL GAIMAN


Under the streets of London…

Book cover of Swordspoint

David B. Coe Why did I love this book?

Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint is a sort of Renaissance-era, alternate-world, urban fantasy.

Intriguing, right? Our hero, Richard St. Vier, is a skilled and successful sword-for-hire, who plies his trade in the city of Riverside, where nobles often settle their feuds with duels.

In the course of the novel, he kills the wrong man and for the first time in his professional life, finds himself reviled rather than revered. The intrigue that follows draws Richard and his lover, Alec, into the court politics of the city as never before.

The story is riveting, and, of course, the writing is gorgeous.

By Ellen Kushner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On the treacherous streets of Riverside, a man lives and dies by the sword. Even the nobles on the Hill turn to duels to settle their disputes. Within this elite, dangerous world, Richard St Vier is the undisputed master, as skilled as he is ruthless- until a death by the sword is met with outrage instead a of awe, and the city discovers that the line between hero and villain can be altered in the blink of an eye . . .

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The Hunt for the Peggy C: A World War II Maritime Thriller

By John Winn Miller,

Book cover of The Hunt for the Peggy C: A World War II Maritime Thriller

John Winn Miller

New book alert!

What is my book about?

The Hunt for the Peggy C is best described as Casablanca meets Das Boot. It is about an American smuggler who struggles to rescue a Jewish family on his rusty cargo ship, outraging his mutinous crew of misfits and provoking a hair-raising chase by a brutal Nazi U-boat captain bent on revenge.

During the nerve-wracking 3,000-mile escape, Rogers falls in love with the family’s eldest daughter, Miriam, a sweet medical student with a militant streak. Everything seems hopeless when Jake is badly wounded, and Miriam must prove she’s as tough as her rhetoric to put down a mutiny by some of Jake’s fed-up crew–just as the U-boat closes in for the kill.

The Hunt for the Peggy C: A World War II Maritime Thriller

By John Winn Miller,

What is this book about?

John Winn Miller's THE HUNT FOR THE PEGGY C, a semifinalist in the Clive Cussler Adventure Writers Competition, captures the breathless suspense of early World War II in the North Atlantic. Captain Jake Rogers, experienced in running his tramp steamer through U-boat-infested waters to transport vital supplies and contraband to the highest bidder, takes on his most dangerous cargo yet after witnessing the oppression of Jews in Amsterdam: a Jewish family fleeing Nazi persecution.

The normally aloof Rogers finds himself drawn in by the family's warmth and faith, but he can't afford to let his guard down when Oberleutnant Viktor…

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