90 books like The Black God's Drums

By P. Djèlí Clark,

Here are 90 books that The Black God's Drums fans have personally recommended if you like The Black God's Drums. 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 Red Seas Under Red Skies

Misty Massey Author Of Mad Kestrel

From my list on pirates who like a little magic in the mix.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on the coast of South Carolina, where many of the Golden Age pirates were welcomed as business associates and charming guests by some of the most influential people of the day. They are, to this day, considered local heroes. I read everything I could lay hands on about them, fiction and histories, and I knew my first book would have to be about the pirate I always pretended I could be, if I’d only been born two hundred years ago.

Misty's book list on pirates who like a little magic in the mix

Misty Massey Why did Misty love this book?

If there’s anything I like as much as pirates, it’s heist stories. The excellent follow-up to the amazing Lies of Locke Lamora, Red Seas rang every one of my bells by taking our favorite thieving bastards Locke and Jean to sea, under the command of a strong, brilliant female captain, Zamira Drakasha. And she’s not just a woman pirate – she’s a middle-aged, Black single mother, running her ship and being the best pirate any denizen of the high seas could aspire to be. Lynch caught a good bit of flack for this character, but I was delighted. You will be, too.

By Scott Lynch,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Red Seas Under Red Skies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Escaping from the attentions of the Bondsmagi Locke Lamora, the estwhile Thorn of Camorr and Jean Tannen have fled their home city. Taking ship they arrive in the city state of Tal Varrar where they are soon planning their most spectacular heist yet; they will take the luxurious gaming house, The Sinspire, for all of its countless riches.

No-one has ever taken even a single coin from the Sinspire that wasn't won on the tables or in the other games of chance on offer there.

But, as ever, the path of true crime rarely runs smooth and Locke and Jean…


Book cover of On Stranger Tides

Set Sytes Author Of India Muerte And The Ship Of The Dead

From my list on making you want to be a pirate of the Caribbean.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved pirates and fantasy – combining the two is just wonderful in my eyes, cemented with my first watch of The Curse of the Black Pearl. It’s a struggle to identify exactly why these things appeal so much – I suppose my imagination and sense of free-wheeling roguish adventure runs wild. I’ve loved action-adventure and exploration since growing up watching the Indiana Jones films and playing Tomb Raider. The beloved genre of pirate fantasy seemed absurdly scarce within literature. I couldn’t find the books I wanted to read – so I had to write them, filling them with all the pirate fantasy staples I adored, twisting them, and adding entirely new creations.

Set's book list on making you want to be a pirate of the Caribbean

Set Sytes Why did Set love this book?

I must start, of course, with the quintessential pirate fantasy book.

Many might not be aware that the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film was loosely adapted from this 1987 novel by Tim Powers. Anybody who knows the genre and is asked for a pirate fantasy book most likely brings up this one first. It’s the clearest yet expression of a rarified genre, and something with few imitators.

Expect to be entertained with high-seas piracy, ship battles, jungles, dark voodoo, ghost ships, and zombies as you follow Jack Shandy on the quest for the Fountain of Youth. Blackbeard, played wonderfully by Ian McShane in the film, proves a foreboding antagonist with supernatural designs.

By Tim Powers,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award
Shortlisted for the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel

1718: Puppeteer John Chandagnac has set sail for Jamaica to recover his stolen inheritance, when his ship is seized by pirates. Offered the choice to join the crew, or be killed where he stands, he decides that a pirate's life is better than none at all.

Now known as Jack Shandy, this apprentice buccaneer soon learns to handle a mainsail and wield a cutlass - only to discover he is now a subject of a Caribbean pirate empire ruled by one Edward Thatch, better known…


Book cover of Ship of Magic

Lucy A. McLaren Author Of Awakening

From my list on fantasy with a prominent feminist theme.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a fantasy author and professional counsellor, I am incredibly passionate about topics which are relevant not only to mental health, but to us in contemporary society. Feminist themes such as those discussed in my book list comes under than umbrella—we deal with these in our day to day lives. I experience them personally and also see it within my counselling clients. I believe that being able to read about these issues within fantasy stories is really important to allow us to understand and process the difficult thoughts and feelings they can bring up within us.  

Lucy's book list on fantasy with a prominent feminist theme

Lucy A. McLaren Why did Lucy love this book?

The Liveship Traders books explore the roles of women in arguably more depth than previous and subsequent books within Hobb’s massive Realm of the Elderlings series. In Ship of Magic, we are introduced to multiple characters including female protagonists Althea and Malta, two members of the Vestrit family who, throughout this series, try to establish their place in a society that very firmly places women within restricted roles. Hobb is a master at character work, and following the stories of these two young women is a journey in itself. We see them evolve, grow, and, ultimately, overcome the oppressions placed upon them by those around them. In the trilogy as a whole, Hobb explores these issues alongside historic abuse and trauma, mental health, and equality. An excellent exploration of feminist issues.  

By Robin Hobb,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Ship of Magic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'As addictive as morphine' THE TIMES

From the author of the classic Farseer trilogy, SHIP OF MAGIC is the first part of the Liveship Traders. Set in a land bordering the Six Duchies, Robin Hobb begins her epic tale of pirates, talking ships, magic, sea serpents, slave revolts, dashing heroes and bloody battles.

Wizardwood, the most precious commodity in the world, comes only from the Rain Wilds. But only a liveship can negotiate the perilous waters of the Rain Wild River, and liveships are hard to come by. They quicken only when three family members from successive generations have died…


Book cover of The Queen of Swords

Misty Massey Author Of Mad Kestrel

From my list on pirates who like a little magic in the mix.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on the coast of South Carolina, where many of the Golden Age pirates were welcomed as business associates and charming guests by some of the most influential people of the day. They are, to this day, considered local heroes. I read everything I could lay hands on about them, fiction and histories, and I knew my first book would have to be about the pirate I always pretended I could be, if I’d only been born two hundred years ago.

Misty's book list on pirates who like a little magic in the mix

Misty Massey Why did Misty love this book?

I’ve been a fan of Anne Bonney (one of the most famous female pirates in history) since I was a kid. She strapped on a sword and went to sea at a time when women were expected to marry young and die in childbirth, so a story that sees her surviving the gallows was naturally going to appeal to me. There’s an ancient society of assassins fighting an age-old war, and a risky ocean voyage to rescue a kidnapped child and claim a legendary treasure hidden in a lost city of bones somewhere on the coast of Africa. Is it any wonder I was hooked? This is the third book in Belcher’s Golgotha series, but I think you could read it alone and enjoy the adventure.

By R. S. Belcher,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

1720. Escaping the gallows, Anne Bonney, the infamous pirate queen, sets sail in search of a fabulous treasure said to be hiding in a lost city of bones somewhere in the heart of Africa. But what she finds is a destiny she never expected . . . .

1870. Maude Stapleton is a respectable widow raising a daughter on her own. Few know, however, that Maude belongs to an ancient order of assassins, the Daughters of Lilith, and heir to the legacy of Anne Bonney, whose swashbuckling exploits blazed a trail that Maude must now follow - if she ever…


Book cover of The Binding Tempest

Asiel R. Lavie Author Of The Crossing Gate

From my list on debut young adult fantasy/science-fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by fantasy and sci-fi books since childhood – ever since I read Harry Potter and my parents took me to Disneyland Park. My parents had a giant library, and they used to encourage me to buy books and read them. I enjoy reading books that mix genres with unexpected twists and turns, and I am always on the hunt for a good story to enjoy and review.

Asiel's book list on debut young adult fantasy/science-fiction

Asiel R. Lavie Why did Asiel love this book?

I was hooked from page one and finished reading the book in just a few days. Although this is a complicated story, the description was vivid and clear. The plot was fast-paced and full of actions that will keep you on the edge of your seat most of the time.

By Steven Rudy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“The expert combination of immersive storytelling, strong characters, and well-woven mixture of speculative and steampunk elements makes for an unforgettable experience.”
– The Prairies Book Review

Heroes only get better with age.

Forty years after The Great War that overthrew an Empire, a former war hero, Ellaria Moonstone, has discovered a new threat to the World she helped save.

When the Peace King of the Free Cities goes missing, Ellaria uncovers a plot to overthrow the tenuous republic. Fearing that a powerful being called a Sagean Luminary has returned to claim the throne, Ellaria sends for help from old allies…


Book cover of Pimp My Airship: A Naptown by Airship Novel

Errick Nunnally Author Of All The Dead Men: Alexander Smith #2

From my list on history to thrill, disturb, and intrigue.

Why am I passionate about this?

Errick Nunnally was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, and served one tour in the Marine Corps before deciding art school was a safer pursuit. He enjoys art, comics, and genre novels. A graphic designer, he has trained in Krav Maga and Muay Thai kickboxing. His work has appeared in several anthologies of speculative fiction. His work can be found in Apex Magazine, Fiyah Magazine, Galaxy’s Edge, Lamplight, Nightlight Podcast, and the novels, Lightning Wears a Red Cape, Blood for the Sun, and All the Dead Men.

Errick's book list on history to thrill, disturb, and intrigue

Errick Nunnally Why did Errick love this book?

I don’t often read “steampunk” because it usually reflects the Victorian era of England or a ‘what if’ scenario involving the Confederacy and I’m just sick to death of the subjects. Along came “steamfunk,” an addition to the genre where the focus wouldn’t be on exclusively white characters, but Black sourced from the African continent. Then once upon a time, Broaddus cracked a joke on Twitter: “I’m going to write a steampunk story with an all-Black cast and call it ‘Pimp My Airship.’ To his chagrin (and eventual delight) several editors asked to see the story. The worldbuilding in this story is phenomenal. It take place in Indiana, part of an alternate history where England has established a “United States of Albion” and Native Americans have managed to retain a sizeable chunk of territory. There’s so much more to the book in relation to history and cultural norms. I thoroughly…

By Maurice Broaddus,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Warning: Don’t Believe the Hype!

All the poet called Sleepy wants to do is spit his verses, smoke chiba, and stay off the COP’s radar—all of which becomes impossible once he encounters a professional protestor known as (120 Degrees of) Knowledge Allah. They soon find themselves on the wrong side of local authorities and have to elude the powers that be.

When young heiress Sophine Jefferson’s father is murdered, the careful life she’d been constructing for herself tumbles around her. She’s quickly drawn into a web of intrigue, politics and airships, joining with Sleepy and Knowledge Allah in a fight…


Book cover of The Elfin Ship

Garrett Calcaterra Author Of Dreamwielder

From my list on fantasy with storyteller voices that grab you.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like most authors, my love for writing grew from a love for reading. In particular, I’ve always loved stories with captivating storyteller voices. There’s a huge variety of subgenres in fantasy—with endless combinations of imaginative worlds, magic, heroes, monsters, and villains—but at the end of the day, what draws me in are fantasy novels with bold voices that are clearly in control of the story and immediately take you to another place. Those are the types of novels I like to read, and always aim to write.

Garrett's book list on fantasy with storyteller voices that grab you

Garrett Calcaterra Why did Garrett love this book?

Blaylock may be an unknown name to many traditional fantasy readers, and if that’s the case for you, consider The Elfin Ship as your gateway drug to his work. This fantasy novel is very much in the vein of The Hobbit in that it has dwarves, elves, and a good bit of pipe smoking, but it does so with Blaylock’s one-of-a-kind voice that shines with understated American wit and humor. It also has airships! (Which crossover into Blaylock’s more well-known steampunk works.) The adventure is both action-filled and hilarious, never taking itself too seriously but at the same time embracing the traditional tropes that make fantasy so fun to read.

By James P. Blaylock,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A trilogy sets sail with a novel that’s “charming, light-hearted and funny . . . Feels a little like The Hobbit or The Wind in the Willows” (Fantasy Literature).
 
James P. Blaylock’s debut novel The Elfin Ship has become a classic of whimsical fantasy. With echoes of Kenneth Graham and Mark Twain, it’s a gentle, eccentric, and hilarious novel that will delight readers of all ages.
 
Trading with the elves used to be so simple. Every year Master Cheeser Jonathan Bing would send his very best cheeses downriver to traders who would eventually return with Elfin wonders for the people…


Book cover of Zeppelin Hindenburg: An Illustrated History of LZ-129

Alexander Rose Author Of Empires of the Sky: Zeppelins, Airplanes, and Two Men's Epic Duel to Rule the World

From my list on Zeppelin airships.

Why am I passionate about this?

A long time ago, I was an early-aviation historian, but eventually realized that I knew only half the story—the part about airplanes. But what about airships? Initially, I assumed, like so many others, that they were a flash-in-the-pan, a ridiculous dead-end technology, but then I realized these wondrous giants had roamed and awed the world for nearly four decades. There was a bigger story here of an old rivalry between airplanes and airships, one that had since been forgotten, and Empires of the Sky was the result.

Alexander's book list on Zeppelin airships

Alexander Rose Why did Alexander love this book?

A magnificently illustrated guide to the Hindenburg, written and compiled by three airship experts, this book is an amazing resource, not just for its selection of extremely rare photos but for the depth of knowledge that’s contained within. I would say that if you’re going to buy a single book specifically about the Hindenburg, I’d make it this one. It’ll tell you pretty much everything you need to impress people at parties while also introducing you to the Wide World of Zeppelin.

By Dan Grossman, Cheryl Ganz, Patrick Russell

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

ON 6 MAY 1937 the pioneering Zeppelin Hindenburg, LZ-129, ended its career in flames when its hydrogen lifting gas ignited while landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey. But the airship had already completed sixty-two successful flights before this fateful day, catering to Nazi officials, socialites and the well-heeled. Hindenburg offered cutting-edge transport technology with luxury and style, making it a spectacle to behold on both sides of the Atlantic, and was expected to be just the first of many giant passenger Zeppelins.

In this revised edition with additional material, three world-renowned experts have collaborated to create the definitive history of the…


Book cover of The Guns Above

Shae Ford Author Of Harbinger

From my list on sci-fi/fantasy featuring fierce warrior women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Texas during a time when girls still had to wear poofy dresses and pantyhose, and boys got to have all the fun. The whole idea of traditional womanhood never fit me. It took a long time, but I finally reconciled with the fact that being able to run in heels and pop a grackle off the birdfeeder from thirty yards out are not mutually exclusive: a skill is a skill, and the injection of some femininity into a traditionally masculine feat can be wildly refreshing. We’ve only just begun to explore the genre of the fierce warrior woman—mine is merely one of infinite definitions.   

Shae's book list on sci-fi/fantasy featuring fierce warrior women

Shae Ford Why did Shae love this book?

This novel begins in the fiery aftermath of a gruesome airship battle—and it only gets better from there. Our heroine, Josette, is a scrappy, hardworking airship captain who must contend with the undermining efforts of the fleet’s dubious general and his spies, all while fighting *actual* battles against an enemy that wants to blow her crew out of the sky. What really captured my attention about this book was the incredible descriptive voice displayed by the author: from the gory battle scenes to the complex inner workings of an airship, this is a truly immersive adventure. Josette is a smart, relatable heroine who pulls no punches and doesn’t let herself get sucked into the political minutiae, which keeps the story moving at a good clip. 

By Robyn Bennis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

They say it's not the fall that kills you.

For Josette Dupre, the Corps first female airship captain, it might just be a bullet in the back.

On top of patrolling the front lines, she must also contend with a crew who doubts her expertise, a new airship that is an untested deathtrap, and the foppish aristocrat Lord Bernat, a gambler and shameless flirt with the military know-how of a thimble. He's also been assigned to her ship to catalog her every moment of weakness and indecision.

When the enemy makes an unprecedented move that could turn the tide of…


Book cover of Hell Divers

Devon C Ford Author Of Survival

From my list on current post-apocalyptic series.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve long had a passion (read: obsession) with the apocalypse in whatever form it takes. I’ve written viral pandemics, zombie outbreaks, post-nuclear survival, dystopian totalitarianism, extinction-level-event, alien invasion, WW3… all of them have the theme of the great reset. The ability to reinvent yourself in the new world. The erasure of your life and the clean slate to try again and become who you want to be. I read and listen to this genre as well as write it because I'm passionate about the worlds writers create and the way their characters adapt to overcome the challenges my own have faced. As a former police officer, I’ve probably spent too many night shifts pondering the end of the world.

Devon's book list on current post-apocalyptic series

Devon C Ford Why did Devon love this book?

Nick should be considered royalty when it comes to the post-apocalypse. He has numerous series with vastly different settings, but all of them are a masterclass in characterisation and story craft. His books draw me in with slick action and characters I care about from the get-go. He tackles the real issues without rubbing it in the reader’s face, and his work makes you question what you would do if the world went sideways.

By Nicholas Sansbury Smith,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Hell Divers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

The New York Times and USA Today bestselling series

They dive so humanity survives …

More than two centuries after World War III poisoned the planet, the final bastion of humanity lives on massive airships circling the globe in search of a habitable area to call home. Aging and outdated, most of the ships plummeted back to earth long ago. The only thing keeping the two surviving lifeboats in the sky are Hell Divers -- men and women who risk their lives by skydiving to the surface to scavenge for parts the ships desperately need.

When one of the remaining…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in airships, smuggling, and steampunk?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about airships, smuggling, and steampunk.

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