The best forgotten fantasy books

The Books I Picked & Why

Guardians of the Flame: The Heroes

By Joel Rosenberg

Guardians of the Flame: The Heroes

Why this book?

Guardians of the Flame is a fantasy series where seven college students get together for a night of role-playing games and suddenly find themselves in an alternative world of swords, magic, and deadly fire-breathing dragons. To get home they must find the mysterious “Gate Between World.” It is a witty adventure story any fan of fantasy can appreciate. It explores the question—what would happen if readers of fantasy were transported into their favorite fantasy world?


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The Door Into Fire: The Tale of the Five, Volume One

By Diane Duane

The Door Into Fire: The Tale of the Five, Volume One

Why this book?

The Door into Fire is the first book in the Tale of Five series by Diane Duane. Set in the Middle Kingdoms universe, it follows the adventures of a sorcerous swordsmith who is desperately trying to master the power of the blue Flame while protecting the person he loves from annihilation. The Door into Fire is saga of power, magic, and friendship readers of epic fantasies will love.


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The Sword of Winter

By Marta Randall

The Sword of Winter

Why this book?

For forty years, Lord Gambin has ruled his lands with an iron fist, crushing all that get in his way. Now he is dying and chaos rages through his realm. What will happen when he is no more? The Sword of Winter is a before-its-time epic that addresses issues caused by societal changes and technological advancements. Many of the topics it discusses are still relevant today.


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The Book of Wonder

By Lord Dunsany

The Book of Wonder

Why this book?

Reputed to be one reason why J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin, and H.P. Lovecraft began writing fantasy, The Book of Wonder is a collection of short stories by Irish fantasy writer, Lord Dunsany. With gnoles, mail-clad warriors, and dragons, it is in many ways the foundation of what we consider classical fantasy stories. Unfortunately, it doesn’t often get the credit it deserves.


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Dwellers in the Mirage

By A. Merritt

Dwellers in the Mirage

Why this book?

Leif Langdon is a modern-day explorer who discovers a hidden valley in Alaska and is thrown into a fantastical land where two strange races of people worship an evil Kraken. Leif’s arrival casts the alternative world into chaos—including awakening a powerful incarnation of Leif himself. Originally published in 1932, Dwellers in the Mirage is a classic fantasy story few contemporary readers have had the privilege to enjoy.


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