100 books like Black Leopard, Red Wolf

By Marlon James,

Here are 100 books that Black Leopard, Red Wolf fans have personally recommended if you like Black Leopard, Red Wolf. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Game of Thrones

Uri Gatt Author Of Winds of Strife

From my list on morally grey characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in the Middle East, I’ve met all kinds of moral ambiguity. There’s a lot to say about it. How both sides think they’re right, how the ends justify the means and all that. Then there are the consequences. Even the winners often lose things. So I’ve set out to write about grey characters! About people who do bad things for the greater good, and how their life turns up after. And if you like the trope as much as I do, check the recs!

Uri's book list on morally grey characters

Uri Gatt Why did Uri love this book?

This is a multiplayer chess game, each side with their own agenda. Some play for love, others for revenge, others just to survive. 

It’s a treat to cheer for one side, only to find out we chose wrong. No side is pure good, and no side is pure evil. They’re all just people, and it’s impossible to cheer for only one person when in each chapter, someone else does something amazing or terrible.

The best part about this book is the wisdom. Every character clings to their own principles, and the author chooses the best words to describe these principles. Like, a dwarf who’s principle is “Never forget what you are. Wear it like armor and it can never be used to hurt you.” 

Words to live by.

By George R. R. Martin,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked A Game of Thrones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

HBO's hit series A GAME OF THRONES is based on George R R Martin's internationally bestselling series A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, the greatest fantasy epic of the modern age. A GAME OF THRONES is the first volume in the series.

'Completely immersive' Guardian

'When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground'

Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

From the fertile south, where heat breeds conspiracy, to the vast and savage eastern lands, all the way to the frozen…


Book cover of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

S.G. Slade Author Of Touch of a Witch

From my list on spellbinding novels with threads of magic woven in their core.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a British writer with a passion for the stories of history, both real and imagined. I have always been fascinated by tales and relics of the past, old ruins, ancient buildings, mythology, and the uncanny power of the natural world. All these things connect us to the ghosts of the past. So, I write historical fantasy novels based in the England I explored growing up, but brushed with the shadow of the supernatural, magic, witchcraft, and seductive illusion. I also write straight historical fiction under the name Samantha Grosser.

S.G.'s book list on spellbinding novels with threads of magic woven in their core

S.G. Slade Why did S.G. love this book?

I read this strange and riveting novel several years ago, so I have to confess that I’ve forgotten a lot of the details.

But I have remembered with absolute clarity the richness of the prose and the well-observed wit, so reminiscent of all the Victorian novels I devoured when I was young; the imaginative scope of a world in which an empire can rise or fall on the skill of her magicians, and the all-too-familiar danger of a rivalry between two powerful and ambitious men vying for supremacy.

It is delightful, moving, and an absolute pleasure from beginning to end.

By Susanna Clarke,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two magicians shall appear in England. The first shall fear me; the second shall long to behold me The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation's past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains: the reclusive Mr Norrell whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country. Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of…


Book cover of Gods of Jade and Shadow

Nick Wisseman Author Of Witch in the White City

From my list on transporting yourself to an alternate reality.

Why am I passionate about this?

Fantasy has long been one of my go-to genres. I also studied history in college and grad school. And while my academic focus was 20th-century America, I’ve always enjoyed studying other regions and eras. So if you can boil a book down to the equation History + Fantasy = Magical Learning Experience, I’m in. Those are also the types of novels I love to write.

Nick's book list on transporting yourself to an alternate reality

Nick Wisseman Why did Nick love this book?

Gods of Jade and Shadow starts as a Mexican Cinderella story, except that the fairy godmother is a Mayan god of death.

Not sold yet? What if I told you the god of death is also Prince Charming?

It’s an awesome premise.

I also enjoyed the setting. The story takes place in Jazz Age Mexico, shortly after the Mexican Revolution and at a time when pop culture was “all about the United States” and “reproducing its women, its dances, its fast pace.” Yet there’s far more old than new here. Mayan mythology threads throughout.

I didn’t always love the pace, but the book has an irresistible style. If you like fresh takes on classic fairy tales, Gods of Jade and Shadow is definitely worth a look.

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Gods of Jade and Shadow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'This is historical fantasy at its best' S.A. Chakraborty, author of The City of Brass

Inspired by Mexican folklore, Gods of Jade and Shadow is a magical, wildly imaginative coming-of-age tale for fans of Katherine Arden, Naomi Novik and Helene Wecker.

The Jazz Age is in full swing, but it's passing Casiopea Tun by. She's too busy scrubbing floors in her wealthy grandfather's house to do anything more than dream of a life far from her dusty, small town in southern Mexico. A life she could call her own.

This dream is impossible, distant as the stars - until the…


Book cover of The Poppy War

Shannon Fay Author Of Innate Magic

From my list on fantasy novels that will make you look at history in a new way.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer and also a history nerd. I love historical fiction—learning about the past through a story just makes the world come alive in a way that non-fiction doesn’t. As I child, I was entranced by middle-grade historical novels like The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and The Shakespeare Stealer. But I also love fantasy novels and how they use magic to make the truths of our world bigger and bolder, turning the elephant in the room into a dragon that can’t be ignored. Mixing history and fantasy together is my book version of peanut butter and chocolate.

Shannon's book list on fantasy novels that will make you look at history in a new way

Shannon Fay Why did Shannon love this book?

When I first started reading this book, I thought it would be like every other fantasy novel featuring an orphan who goes to an elite school for magic. How wrong I was! Unlike the other books on this list which are more or less set in our world (but with magic!) The Poppy War is actually a secondary world fantasy.

What warrants its place on the list (besides being very good) is the fact that the plot points mirror the events of World War II, specifically the fighting between Japan and China.

This book is not for the faint of heart—there were some sections I found really tough to get through, especially knowing they were based on real-life events. But by then I was hooked, eager to see war orphan Rin realize not only her magic powers but her leadership capabilities.

This is one of the best examples of the…

By R. F. Kuang,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Poppy War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Reddit Fantasy Award for Best Debut 2018

'The best fantasy debut of 2018' - WIRED

A brilliantly imaginative epic fantasy debut, inspired by the bloody history of China's twentieth century and filled with treachery and magic.

When Rin aced the Keju - the test to find the most talented students in the Empire - it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn't believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin's guardians, who had hoped to get rich by marrying her off; and to Rin herself, who realized she…


Book cover of Spinning Silver

Rachael Loper Author Of Anathema's Curse

From my list on to pull your soul into another realm.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing fantasy since I was a very young child. My need to escape a world that I viewed with fear was satiated by writing worlds that gave me control over how I could create and master them. I would read books that I adored but wanted to implement changes to better fit my own personal feelings and perception. For example, unicorns were terrifying creatures in my head, so I gave them fire-covered horns and eyes of flames. Nothing in the world felt pure or safe to me, so I write in a way that gives a dark twist to any and all mythological creatures and magical realms.

Rachael's book list on to pull your soul into another realm

Rachael Loper Why did Rachael love this book?

Be careful what you say out loud. You never know who might hear you.

In this story, you have a cruel and harsh Staryk lord with only care for his silver to be turned to gold. He’s cold and indifferent to the one he appoints to this seemingly impossible task, yet you find yourself clinging to hope he will change.

There are multiple POV, so if this is your thing, trust me you’ll love how many are in here. It’s like getting multiple thrilling stories in one book. Redeemable monsters is how I would label this book in two words if I had to.

By Naomi Novik,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Spinning Silver as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Following her award-winning novel Uprooted, Naomi Novik has once again been influenced by classic folktales. Taking Rumpelstiltskin as her starting point, Spinning Silver is rich, original and a joy to read.

Will dark magic claim their home?
Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father's too kind-hearted to collect his debts. They face poverty, until Miryem hardens her own heart and takes up his work in their village. Her success creates rumours she can turn silver into gold, which attract the fairy king of winter himself. He sets her an impossible challenge - and if she fails,…


Book cover of By Force Alone

RJ Hore Author Of The Dark Lady

From my list on fantasy with a touch of darkness in its soul.

Why am I passionate about this?

An avid reader, and a spec-fiction/fantasy reviewer for CM Canada online, I’ve wanted to tell stories for as long as I can remember. I write “pantser-style” and let the characters run loose, looking at their motivation to steer the tale, often starting with little more than an idea and, if lucky, a character or two. My love of history led me to writing mediaeval or historical fantasy, as my first group of published novels attest, but to avoid stagnation added science fiction and a fantasy detective series of novellas. To date have fourteen novels and three anthologies of my novellas published and have appeared on panels at several cons.

RJ's book list on fantasy with a touch of darkness in its soul

RJ Hore Why did RJ love this book?

A brutal re-telling of the King Arthur legend, this novel reimagines the familiar story, retaining the feeling of weird magic, while pulling no punches about the characters. Arthur is a thug, Guinevere is no better, Merlin is a frustrated sprite beset by his female counterparts, and Britain is best described as a “clogged sewer that Rome abandoned just as soon as it could.”

The first of a five-book planned series to tell the story of the Matter of Britain, this is a ruthless and dark take that grabbed me from the beginning. I’ve always loved history, even a warped version like this. It left me eager for more and set me tracking down what else this author had written. I was not disappointed.

By Lavie Tidhar,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

There is a legend...

Britannia, AD 535

The Romans have gone. While their libraries smoulder, roads decay and cities crumble, men with swords pick over civilisation's carcass, slaughtering and being slaughtered in turn.

This is the story of just such a man. Like the others, he had a sword. He slew until slain. Unlike the others, we remember him. We remember King Arthur.

This is the story of a land neither green nor pleasant. An eldritch isle of deep forest and dark fell haunted by swaithes, boggarts and tod-lowries, Robin-Goodfellows and Jenny Greenteeths, and predators of rarer appetite yet.

This…


Book cover of Thunder Road

RJ Hore Author Of The Dark Lady

From my list on fantasy with a touch of darkness in its soul.

Why am I passionate about this?

An avid reader, and a spec-fiction/fantasy reviewer for CM Canada online, I’ve wanted to tell stories for as long as I can remember. I write “pantser-style” and let the characters run loose, looking at their motivation to steer the tale, often starting with little more than an idea and, if lucky, a character or two. My love of history led me to writing mediaeval or historical fantasy, as my first group of published novels attest, but to avoid stagnation added science fiction and a fantasy detective series of novellas. To date have fourteen novels and three anthologies of my novellas published and have appeared on panels at several cons.

RJ's book list on fantasy with a touch of darkness in its soul

RJ Hore Why did RJ love this book?

The first volume of a series that eventually ran to three books. It opens with the main character, Ted, caught in an explosion out among the prairie oil rigs and badly shaken up when he faces a Norse fire god who announces he is about to burn the world. Ted wants his old life back, but now the creatures of Norse myology stalk among us.

If you think you might enjoy the characters from Norse mythology in a gritty modern mid-Canada setting, this one is for you. Described as a serious fantasy for grownups. I have to admit I ended up buying all three books as they became available.

By Chadwick Ginther,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a flash, Ted Callan’s world exploded and amid the flames he saw the incomprehensible, the burning figure of the fire giant Surtur. Before long, Ted learns that the creatures of Norse folklore walk among us and his fate is forever tied to them.
Ted wants nothing more than to have his old life back. No more magic. No more smart-ass gods. To get it, Ted is willing to fight his way through any creature of legend. The problem is, if he succeeds, it might just be the end of the world.


Book cover of Half the World

RJ Hore Author Of The Dark Lady

From my list on fantasy with a touch of darkness in its soul.

Why am I passionate about this?

An avid reader, and a spec-fiction/fantasy reviewer for CM Canada online, I’ve wanted to tell stories for as long as I can remember. I write “pantser-style” and let the characters run loose, looking at their motivation to steer the tale, often starting with little more than an idea and, if lucky, a character or two. My love of history led me to writing mediaeval or historical fantasy, as my first group of published novels attest, but to avoid stagnation added science fiction and a fantasy detective series of novellas. To date have fourteen novels and three anthologies of my novellas published and have appeared on panels at several cons.

RJ's book list on fantasy with a touch of darkness in its soul

RJ Hore Why did RJ love this book?

Ever read a book you kept putting aside because you wanted to extend the pleasure a bit longer? I didn’t want to set this down. Ready to submit my five picks when I came across this tale. Delicious! By the time I’d finished it replaced one of my choices. Treachery, deceit, blood, with vivid characters you might wish to meet, at a safe distance.

A fantasy world obviously based on the Norse and Byzantium; you are swept away on an adventure. Do you like vivid duel and battle scenes where you can feel every blow? How about devious work behind the scenes? Whom do you trust? Yes, there is even a tinge of romance, and the ladies get more than their equal share of top billing.

By Joe Abercrombie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Grabbed me and refused to let go' George R.R. Martin

Thorn Bathu was born to fight. But when she kills a boy in the training square she finds herself named a murderer.

Fate places her life in the hands of the deep-cunning Father Yarvi as he sets out to cross half the world in search of allies against the ruthless High King.

Beside her is Brand, a young warrior who hates to kill. A failure in her eyes and his own, the voyage is his last chance at redemption.

But warriors can be weapons, and weapons are made for one…


Book cover of The Jungle Book

R.S. Bovard Author Of Gilly & the Snowcats

From my list on a young heroine/hero journeying into the unknown.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a wandering son. I learned that the trajectory of life is not ordained like the flight of an arrow once released from the bow. Rather it is a voyage on a broad sea encountering tempests, doldrums, and unexpected beasts including ourselves; sometimes we sail with or against the wind, but we always need to stay true to our compass, committed to a worthy destination. We learn about life by setting challenging goals, trying difficult things, by getting dirty, and by failing. The story lies at the interface between dark & light, good & evil. We value tales that stretch the antipodes of the human experience and characters who reach beyond themselves.

R.S.'s book list on a young heroine/hero journeying into the unknown

R.S. Bovard Why did R.S. love this book?

This collection of short stories remains an elegant and much-loved classic. Although Kipling was the product of an imperial era, he had a profound understanding of India and he was able to capture the wonder of the land and its people in these memorable tales. The wonderful allegorical array of characters in the stories includes the brave & kind-hearted Mowgli (the man-cub), Akela the wolf and Gray Brother, Kaa the python, Bagheera the black panther, Baloo the bear, the Bandar-log monkeys, and, of course, Mowglis nemesis, the malevolent tiger, Shere Khan. These lovely tales remain timely & heartwarming to those of us, young and old.

By Rudyard Kipling,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Jungle Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Puffin Classics - the world's favourite stories - relaunched with exciting new covers.

The Jungle Book is a classic story of friendship between man and beast.
Saved from the jaws of the evil tiger Shere Khan, young Mowgli is adopted by a wolf pack and taught the law of the jungle by lovable old Baloo the bear and Bhageera the panther. The adventures of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi the snake-fighting mongoose, little Toomai and the elephant's secret dance, and Kotick the white seal are all part of Mowgli's extraordinary journey with his animal friends.

With an introduction by Christopher Paolini.

Joseph Rudyard Kipling…


Book cover of Cyteen

Acflory Author Of Miira

From my list on exploring what it means to be human.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m one of those odd people who always needs to know why. Why do computers work, why do societies break down? Why do humans kill? Why are cat videos so irresistible? All of those questions explore what it means to be human, but science fiction takes those questions to the extreme, pitting people against the most extreme environments and situations in order to see how they’ll react. To me, that never grows old, and the books I love the most are the ones that do it the best. In my humble opinion, of course.

Acflory's book list on exploring what it means to be human

Acflory Why did Acflory love this book?

Cyteen won a Hugo Award in 1989 and pushed the envelope on both world building and character development. For me though, it was the author’s exploration of what it means to be human that made this book one of my all-time favourites. 

In Cyteen, there are born humans and made people. Some of the made people are clones of a particularly powerful individual, but most are created to perform a function. These lower-ranked people are taught everything they need to know by ‘tape’, while they sleep. 

The book asks some deep philosophical questions about what makes a person human, and whether any of us have the right to create ‘sub-humans’ for our own benefit. These are powerful questions that still beg for answers.

By C. J. Cherryh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The saga of two young friends trapped in an endless nightmare of suspicion and surveillance, of cyber-programmed servants and a ruling class with century-long lives - and the enigmatic woman who dominates them all. Narrators Jonathan Davis and Gabra Zackman skillfully split up this sweeping sci-fi epic that is "at once a psychological novel, a murder mystery, and an examination of power on a grand scale." (Locus)


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