The best fantasy books about heroes haunted by their adventures

Elijah Menchaca Author Of They Met in a Tavern
By Elijah Menchaca

Who am I?

The past is a powerful thing. It’s what we turn to when confronted with the question “how did we get here?” When I began my journey as an author in earnest, that was the question I was facing, and it was the one I wanted my characters to explore. But one book wasn’t enough to satisfy me, and I went searching for other titles that scratched that same itch of examining and confronting our pasts to work out our future. For me, these books were the ones that struck that cord the hardest.


I wrote...

They Met in a Tavern

By Elijah Menchaca,

Book cover of They Met in a Tavern

What is my book about?

Witness the story of the Starbreakers, a freelancer company once celebrated as the greatest heroes in the land, now broken apart and embittered by their failure to save a city seven years ago.

When a price is put on their heads, an inventor, a duelist, a priest, an angel, and an assassin will have to reunite for one last job, or lose what lives they’ve managed to build for themselves.

The books I picked & why

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Kings of the Wyld

By Nicholas Eames,

Book cover of Kings of the Wyld

Why this book?

Kings of the Wyld is a send-up of both fantasy and rock and roll history that perfectly blends the nostalgia of getting the band back together, the introspection inherent in growing older, and the hilarity of bandits cooking you breakfast after stealing your stuff. If the idea of a bunch of old, ex-adventures getting together for one last (glorious) ride sounds fun, you have to check this out.

Kings of the Wyld

By Nicholas Eames,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Kings of the Wyld as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'An outstanding debut which will make you laugh and cry and hold your breath. This is a book that has it all' - K. J. Parker Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best - the meanest, dirtiest, most feared and admired crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld. But their glory days are long past; the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk - or a combination of the three. Then a former bandmate turns up at Clay's door with a plea for help: his daughter Rose is trapped in a city…


Meddling Kids

By Edgar Cantero,

Book cover of Meddling Kids

Why this book?

Meddling Kids asks the question, “What would it be like if the Scooby gang retired because they were traumatized by a case where the monsters were real?” And the answer is a story about bravery, overcoming personal demons, and seeing through the rose colored glasses. It gets a little weird in places, but overall it’s a good and uplifting time.

Meddling Kids

By Edgar Cantero,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A nostalgic and subversive trip rife with sly nods to H. P. Lovecraft and pop culture, in the vein of It and Stranger Things.

An exuberant and wickedly entertaining celebration of horror, love, friendship, and many-tentacled, interdimensional demon spawn. SUMMER 1977. The Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in Oregon's Zoinx River Valley) solved their final mystery and unmasked the elusive Sleepy Lake monster-another low-life fortune hunter trying to get his dirty hands on the legendary riches hidden in Deboen Mansion. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those…


Will Save the Galaxy for Food

By Yahtzee Croshaw,

Book cover of Will Save the Galaxy for Food

Why this book?

Imagine, if you will, a classic pulp sci-fi hero, standing bold on the cover of a dimestore paperback, raygun in one hand, a beautiful woman in the other, and dangerous aliens all around him. Now imagine it's many years later, and that hero is now a deadbeat relic of a bygone era, and the heroism of his glory days has become little more than inspiration for cheap entertainment. The hero of Will Save the Galaxy for Food is confronted with the reality of the world leaving him behind, and has to figure out what he can do about it. Or even if he should do anything.

Will Save the Galaxy for Food

By Yahtzee Croshaw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Will Save the Galaxy for Food as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A not-quite epic science fiction adventure about a down-on-his luck galactic pilot caught in a cross-galaxy struggle for survival! Space travel just isn't what it used to be. With the invention of Quantum Teleportation, space heroes aren't needed anymore. When one particularly unlucky ex-adventurer masquerades as famous pilot and hate figure Jacques McKeown, he's sucked into an ever-deepening corporate and political intrigue. Between space pirates, adorable deadly creatures, and a missing fortune in royalties, saving the universe was never this difficult!

From the creator of Mogworld and Jam!

Benjamin Richard "Yahtzee" Croshaw is a British-Australian comedic writer, video game journalist,…


The Blade Itself

By Joe Abercrombie,

Book cover of The Blade Itself

Why this book?

Most of the protagonists of The Blade Itself have had an entire series worth of adventure, violence, and strife befall them before the story even begins. They are broken people, caught in the shadow of all the things they’ve done before, and the book and series ask if they can ever escape those shadows—spoilers, they can’t, but their best efforts make for a compelling read.

The Blade Itself

By Joe Abercrombie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and increasingly bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer extraordinaire, is trapped in a twisted and broken body - not that he allows it to distract him from his daily routine of torturing smugglers.

Nobleman, dashing officer and would-be fencing champion Captain Jezal dan Luthar is living a life of ease by cheating his friends at cards. Vain, shallow, selfish and self-obsessed, the biggest blot on his horizon is having to get out of bed in the morning to train with obsessive and boring old men.

And Logen Ninefingers, an infamous warrior…


Priest

By Matthew Colville,

Book cover of Priest

Why this book?

This is the book that made me want to write fantasy. It is the story of a soldier coming home from war, of a person trying to be better than the worst things they’ve ever done, and of rekindling a sense of purpose when you’ve been lost for too long. I’ve never felt a world more lived-in, prose more decisively punchy, or tiny moments with more perfect poignancy. I re-read this book all the time, and every time, I am as jealous as I am inspired. If you check out nothing else from this list, check out Priest.

Priest

By Matthew Colville,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For centuries the people of Ollghum Keep relied on the knights of the Green Order to protect them from the horrors of the haunted wood. Now, as before, a monstrous army marches on their small town. But this time, the Green Order is nowhere to be found.

The Bishop sends the priest Heden into the wood, to find out why. Arriving at their secret priory, Heden discovers their commander is dead, the remaining knights paralyzed with despair. They will not act, they will not tell him what happened, and with each hour the monstrous army gets closer to Ollghum Keep.…


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