The best books that feature Orcs

The Books I Picked & Why

Orcs: The Omnibus

By Stan Nicholls

Book cover of Orcs: The Omnibus

Why this book?

 This was the first book I ever read that had me rooting for the Orc. With their lack of discipline, drug, and alcohol use, and loyalty to their comrades it’s easy to imagine them standing at the bar having a pint. Along with the action, there are some deeper issues delved into, including religious fanaticism and racism. For me personally, this really spoke of how exciting it can be to throw character roles in reverse. 

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The Weight of Blood

By David Dalglish

Book cover of The Weight of Blood

Why this book?

This book really introduced me to the darker side of fantasy, and in fact, this is more grimdark. While most fantasy books have a good versus evil theme, a lot tend to water down the actions of the evil characters to make them more palatable or more accessible to a wider range of readers. This really describes the evil actions in detail so be warned it is not Harry Potter! I realized when reading this that you can bring horror aspects into fantasy, which makes sense as it’s a genre that’s full of evil, monsters, and people armed with all kinds of brutal weaponry. 

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The Orc King

By R.A. Salvatore

Book cover of The Orc King

Why this book?

For me, this book really brought a deep lore and background to the Orc race. With intrigue and plot aplenty, this story follows an Orc attempting to bring about a strong Orc kingdom with cities and trade, allies, and stability. Not every Orc is ready or wants this change and there is certainly a challenge to bringing about the kingdom. This gives a great depth to the Orc race and is one of my favorites from a great author.

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The Grey Bastards

By Jonathan French

Book cover of The Grey Bastards

Why this book?

This book really adds a different dimension to the Orc race, starting with their blood. The race of half-orcs have a sort of hierarchy based on whether their mother or father was an orc, and they have different attributes both physically and culturally. The story follows a platoon, or hoof, of hog riding calvary that are basically a motorbike gang as they patrol the lawless lands. The language is foul and the characters crude and rough, but the writing is brilliant and I loved how the author brought the outlaw type to the orc race. 

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The Lord of the Rings

By J.R.R. Tolkien

Book cover of The Lord of the Rings

Why this book?

Well, I couldn’t really recommend books with orcs and leave out the godfather. This book is much more than a great story, it opened up a whole new world where imagination rules and nothing is too incredulous. I can see people finding it a bit hard to get through these days as it is from a by-gone era, but the sheer scope and brilliance of this book means if you haven’t already read it then you should. Maybe you’ve seen the movies and found it a bit hard going, but the strength of the Orc begins here!

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