32 books like The Black Stranger

By Robert E. Howard,

Here are 32 books that The Black Stranger fans have personally recommended if you like The Black Stranger. 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 Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West

HP Newquist Author Of Behemoth

From my list on horror masterpieces from a horror writer.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I can remember, I have been fascinated by scary movies, creature features, and books that tell tales of the strange and supernatural. Years later, my own books explored those things that scare us, from monsters of the deep and the ways we die to the mythology of blood. Research for those books led me into realms that explained why we fear the things we do. Many of those fears are found in horror novels, which provide an endless source of fright, release, and entertainment within their haunting pages. I can’t think of any other genre of writing that takes its readers on such a joyously terrifying ride.

HP's book list on horror masterpieces from a horror writer

HP Newquist Why did HP love this book?

When I first read Cormac McCarthy, I was awestruck by the brutal beauty of the way he used language. His way with words is almost enough to make you look past the truly horrendous things he describes in this book . . . all while telling what appears to be a simple “tale of the Old West.”

I have never read a singularly more elegantly written book, yet I’ve never read anything as mind-numbingly horrific. This book is so intense and complex that it is considered the only Cormac McCarthy book that can never be made into a movie. (He also wrote All The Pretty Horses, The Road, and No Country For Old Men.)

By Cormac McCarthy,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Blood Meridian as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy is an epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended America's westward expansion, brilliantly subverting the conventions of the Western novel and the mythology of the Wild West. Based on historical events that took place on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s, it traces the fortunes of the Kid, a fourteen-year-old Tennessean who stumbles into a nightmarish world where Indians are being murdered and the market for their scalps is thriving.


Book cover of The Gunslinger

Ashton Macaulay Author Of Whiteout: A Nick Ventner Adventure

From my list on heroes you love to hate.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about flawed characters as a reflex. I’m more interested in exploring the journey of an alcoholic monster hunter with literal and figurative demons than a white knight. Throughout my life, I’ve seen the effects of substance abuse up close, and while difficult, it helped me find the humanity in flaws. I choose to write about those flaws with a humorous bend, because life is far too long to go through without jokes. As a result, I gravitate towards pithy antiheroes and dark comedy. To feel a character’s pain is human, to laugh in the midst of their darkest moments is divine.

Ashton's book list on heroes you love to hate

Ashton Macaulay Why did Ashton love this book?

Stephen King’s Dark Tower series might be uneven at the end, but the beginning is masterful.

Roland, a dusty old cowboy on the edge of reality, is the prototypical antihero. He doesn’t care much for other people, he’s got a dark past, and I wanted to follow every dusty step of his journey. The broken pieces of Roland are what make The Dark Tower series unique—that and some astral plane travelling shenanigans. With each dark deed or questionable decision, I wanted to know more about Roland and what led him to that point.

It’s difficult to stay grounded in a world with interdimensional travel and monsters, but I always felt like I had one foot planted in humanity through Roland.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Gunslinger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Dark Tower is now a major motion picture starring Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba.

'The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.' The iconic opening line of Stephen King's groundbreaking series, The Dark Tower, introduces one of his most enigmatic and powerful heroes: Roland of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger.

Roland is a haunting figure, a loner, on a spellbinding journey toward the mysterious Dark Tower, in a desolate world which frighteningly echoes our own.

On his quest, Roland begins a friendship with a kid from New York named Jake, encounters an alluring woman and faces…


Book cover of Dead in the West

Edward M. Erdelac Author Of High Planes Drifter

From my list on for those who like their westerns weird.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became fascinated by westerns when my parents took me on vacation to Deadwood, South Dakota and I came home with a brace of toy six-shooters and a book called The Gunfighters by Lea F McCarty, which featured bios of various notorious westerners, from Billy The Kid to Calamity Jane. I eventually left Clayton Moore and The Cisco Kid behind for Sergio Leone. I had a strong interest in ghost stories, and it was Robert E. Howard that gave me the bug for the weird western genre. I wrote two straight-up western novels, Buff Tea and Coyote’s Trail, but I didn’t find an audience until I started injecting my stories with ghoulies. 

Edward's book list on for those who like their westerns weird

Edward M. Erdelac Why did Edward love this book?

If Howard is the father of the weird western, Joe Lansdale is the godfather. The trope of the wronged Native American shaman afflicting a frontier town with an undead plague has surely been used time and time again in the genre, but this is the original and best iteration. Joe’s Texas dialogue pops like a bullwhip cracking on a skeletal mule’s vertebrae and you can smell the iron and gunsmoke in his prose. He establishes his reputation with this book and in my opinion, cements it with the Jonah Hex weird western comics Two-Gun Mojo and Riders of The Worm and Such.

By Joe R. Lansdale,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Dead in the West is the story of Mud Creek, Texas, a town overshadowed by a terrible evil. An Indian medicine man, unjustly lynched by the people of Mud Creek, has put a curse on the town. As the sun sets, he will have his revenge. For when darkness falls, the dead will walk in Mud Creek and they will be hungry for human flesh. The only one that can save the town is Reverend Jebediah Mercer, a gun toting preacher man who came to Mud Creek to escape his past. He has lost his faith in the Lord and…


The Blade in the Angel's Shadow

By Andy Darby,

Book cover of The Blade in the Angel's Shadow

Andy Darby Author Of Me and The Monkey

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Fantasy lover Psychonaut Cat dad Designer Metalhead

Andy's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Dr Dee has designs for a British Empire that will dominate the world for ages to come ushering in Revelation, and with the aegis of the Angels, he has the power to make it a reality.

But, two elements are missing, and through blackmail and occult ritual, infamous swordswoman Captain Lament Evyngar and her giant Dutch comrade are forced to journey to the war-ravaged Spanish Netherlands on a quest that will reveal the truth about strange entities that use humans to fight out their eternal conflicts and in doing so alter Lament and the course of history forever.

The Blade in the Angel's Shadow

By Andy Darby,

What is this book about?

Infamous swordswoman Captain Lament Evyngar awaits execution in the Tower of London, charged with heresy and attempted regicide, but all is not as it seems. Unwittingly entangled in the schemes of the Angels, she recounts her tale to the Queen's sorcerer, Dr Dee, who is more than a little responsible for her predicament.

Dr Dee has designs for a British Empire that will dominate the world for ages to come, and with the aegis of the Angels, he has the power to make it a reality. But, two elements are missing, and through blackmail and occult ritual, Lament and her…


Book cover of By the Gun: Six from Richard Matheson

Edward M. Erdelac Author Of High Planes Drifter

From my list on for those who like their westerns weird.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became fascinated by westerns when my parents took me on vacation to Deadwood, South Dakota and I came home with a brace of toy six-shooters and a book called The Gunfighters by Lea F McCarty, which featured bios of various notorious westerners, from Billy The Kid to Calamity Jane. I eventually left Clayton Moore and The Cisco Kid behind for Sergio Leone. I had a strong interest in ghost stories, and it was Robert E. Howard that gave me the bug for the weird western genre. I wrote two straight-up western novels, Buff Tea and Coyote’s Trail, but I didn’t find an audience until I started injecting my stories with ghoulies. 

Edward's book list on for those who like their westerns weird

Edward M. Erdelac Why did Edward love this book?

Richard Matheson’s career was as prolific as it was varied. He’s best known for I Am Legend, What Dreams May Come, and The Incredible Shrinking Man, to say nothing of his Twilight Zone episodes, but he also wrote the Spur Award-winning Journal of The Gun Years and its companion novel The Memoirs of Wild Bill Hickock – huge influences on my own found document novel. A number of his western shorts are collected here. Most notable in terms of weird westerns is the cleverly titled "Gunsight," the story of a blind lawman preparing to defend himself from a band of approaching killers a la High Noon.

By Richard Matheson,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Bran Mak Morn: The Last King

L.R. Knight Author Of The Trials of the Lion

From my list on fantasy to put some fire in your blood.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a world traveler and educator, a student of psychology and myth, and a lover of the wild and ancient places. I believe that sword and sorcery, the vanguard of modern fantasy, is overdue for a comeback. These tales echo the trials of Hercules, the rage of Achilles, and the melancholy of Gilgamesh and Beowulf, to name a few. There is much yet to learn: I write to stir my readers’ blood, and to examine the lessons of the epics: that man must face down the inhuman and monstrous to discover himself; that we cannot truly live until we have borne a great trial of our own. Stay fierce!

L.R.'s book list on fantasy to put some fire in your blood

L.R. Knight Why did L.R. love this book?

A doomed king, the last of his kind: a final shepherd of a race fallen into such depravity and barbarity that most no longer see the Picts as human; a man driven to deliver his kin from Roman oppression, to lift his people out of squalor. I was floored by Howard’s iron-hard writing in this all-too-brief sequence of heroic stories. The razor descriptions cut to the core of a man willing to give his all in a doomed quest. I read and re-read the few tales of Bran, but I always find something new and ferocious in the brooding king’s tragedy and bitter triumph. These tales rekindled my love of sword and sorcery, and helped me hone the edge in my own stories. I recommend them to any fantasy fan!

By Robert E. Howard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From Robert E. Howard’s fertile imagination sprang some of fiction’s greatest heroes, including Conan the Cimmerian, King Kull, and Solomon Kane. But of all Howard’s characters, none embodied his creator’s brooding temperament more than Bran Mak Morn, the last king of a doomed race.

In ages past, the Picts ruled all of Europe. But the descendants of those proud conquerors have sunk into barbarism . . . all save one, Bran Mak Morn, whose bloodline remains unbroken. Threatened by the Celts and the Romans, the Pictish tribes rally under his banner to fight for their very survival, while Bran fights…


Book cover of The Haunter of the Ring & Other Tales

Tupenny Longfeather Author Of Bowels of Darkness

From my list on ominously atmospheric stories for a winter's night.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love forests. There's a particular atmosphere, a sense of being close to nature. Yet there's a mystery, you can never see too far ahead. What's around the corner? A truly atmospheric book has the quality of a forest, leading us on but never revealing too much at once. Perhaps beyond the next tree, or page, is something that may not be of our universe.

Tupenny's book list on ominously atmospheric stories for a winter's night

Tupenny Longfeather Why did Tupenny love this book?

Howard's style is compelling, dragging you through the story with an inescapable inevitability. His characters possess stark, almost brutal qualities, sure of their place in the world they inhabit, even when facing the unknown. With mighty warriors such as Conan, we know they cannot lose but when it comes to Howard's horror stories, success is not so certain.

By Robert E. Howard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Haunter of the Ring & Other Tales as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the unsurpassed imagination of the creator of Conan, Robert E. Howard, here are twenty-one tales of suspense, high adventure and Lovecraftian horror.

Foul sacrifices are made to a reptilian God in Hungary, a werewolf prowls the corridors of a castle in strife-torn Africa, criminal masterminds on both sides of the Atlantic vie for world domination, an enchanted ring exerts a terrible influence upon its wearer...

...And, as written in the pages of the accursed Necronomicon and Unaussprechlichen Kulten, the Great Old Ones watch our world from beyond the void - and wait...


Book cover of The Tower of the Elephant

Troy Young Author Of The Stone of Death

From my list on speculative fiction you may not have read.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was 12 when I first played Dungeons and Dragons. I’d always been interested in swords, armour, the fight between good and evil (thank Star Wars for that) but I’d never read fantasy. D&D introduced me to it, and I fell in love with the genre. Conan was my first reading foray into fantasy, and then The Hobbit and I was hooked. I still go to the Royal Ontario Museum and stare at armour and weapons, and love visiting medieval castles. I can’t walk in the woods without picking up a stick and it becoming a sword to fight the orcs waiting for me around the next bend.

Troy's book list on speculative fiction you may not have read

Troy Young Why did Troy love this book?

This is a short story featuring Conan, and one of, if not, my favourite (it has tough competition from Red Nails and Wolves Beyond the Border). Simple, straight-up, sword and sorcery action. Howard’s Conan was the first real fantasy I fell in love with (before discovering Lord of the Rings). Epic character, but straightforward stories. The opposite of the sprawling epic. One of my books is a collection of sword and sorcery stories, and the first story is heavily influenced by The Tower of the Elephant. The otherworldly aspect, magic, (but not all-encompassing magic), a quest, and ultimately a choice between good and evil. I can’t not recommend a Conan story when talking about fantasy.

By Robert E. Howard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

t is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan infiltrating a perilous tower in order to steal a fabled gem from an evil sorcerer named Yara. Due to its unique insights into the Hyborian world and atypical science fiction elements, the story is considered a classic of Conan lore and is often cited by Howard scholars as one of his best tales.


Book cover of Icon: A Retrospective by the Grand Master of Fantastic Art

Patrick J. Jones Author Of The Sci-Fi & Fantasy Art of Patrick J. Jones

From my list on art of the imagination.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a fantasy and science fiction artist, or imaginative realist, I have always gravitated toward works of imagination and own many books on artists in this field, and love them all. Having met many of my artistic heroes this was a tough call so I picked the five that books that resonated with me during my early life and exploration of this most fantastic form of expression. I hope they fill you with the same wonder as they did with me.

Patrick's book list on art of the imagination

Patrick J. Jones Why did Patrick love this book?

This was the first book compiled by Cathy and Arnie Fenner on the art of grandmaster fantasy artist Frank Frazetta. My first thought was to choose the Ballantine collection of his work because of its nostalgic quality (I was fifteen when I bought it), but this much later Underwood collection went way beyond a simple collection of art due to the care and love put into the production by the Fenner’s, who knew frank personally and admired his art. It's a big art book and the images fill the pages. If I have one gripe about art books in general it’s that the images are nearly always too small, not so here, this is a beautiful showcase that I have treasured and re-read hundreds of times.

By Frank Frazetta,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This volume follows the work of fantasy artist, Frank Frazetta. Born in Brooklyn in 1928, he absorbed the colourful pulp adventures of Tarzan and Flash Gordon, and in the 50s he excited the next generation of fantasy lovers with his illustrations of Vampirella and Conan the Barbarian.


Book cover of Imaro

Suyi Davies Author Of Son of the Storm

From my list on fantasy inspired by African empires.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised in Benin City, Nigeria, surrounded by storytellers who offered me a healthy diet of oral, written, and visual tales. I grew up fascinated with stories of all kinds, especially the fantastic. When I began to tell my own stories, I gravitated toward the speculative, returning to where I first learned about stories. My novels David Mogo, Godhunter and Son of the Storm offer glimpses into the way I braid history and speculation. I have an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona, and am currently a professor of the same at the University of Ottawa in Ontario, where I live.

Suyi's book list on fantasy inspired by African empires

Suyi Davies Why did Suyi love this book?

If Fagunwa offered us Africa-steeped proto-fantasy tales, then Charles Saunders brought said tales into the global mainstream of contemporary fantasy with his novels of the titular Imaro.

Saunders’ work was more in the mold of Conan the Barbarian than Lord of the Rings, but it drew on various empires of the African continent (particularly the western and southern regions) in a way that was rich and seminal for its time.

I recommend Imaro because what Saunders, as the first black author in the sword-and-sorcery genre, did back in the 1980s is what I’m trying to do for our current times: reach beyond simplistic representations of the African self in the fantastic and offer something nuanced, complex and ultimately satisfying.

By Charles Saunders,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Imaro is a rousing adventure... a tale of a young man's continuing struggle to gain acceptance amongst his people, and to break the cycle of alienation and violence that plagues his life.

Imaro is heroic fantasy like it's never been done before. Based on Africa, and African traditions and legends, Charles Saunders has created Nyumbani (which means "home" in Swahili), an amalgam of the real, the semi-real, and the unreal. Imaro is the name of the larger-than-life warrior, an outcast, who travels across Nyumbani, searching for a home.

Like his contemporaries, Karl Edward Wagner (Kane) and Michael Moorcock (Elric), Charles…


Book cover of The Maracot Deep

Jennifer McKeithen Author Of Atlantis On the Shores of Forever

From my list on Atlantis if you love adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a novelis who's had a lifelong fascination with travel, lost civilizations, aquariums, swashbuckling stories (both true and fictional), dancing, dusty old bookstores and libraries, sangria, and sunny beaches. I grew up in beautiful south Louisiana and my earliest memories were in New Orleans. Living in “America's first melting pot” taught me to appreciate cultures, languages, cuisine, and music from a young age. Ancient and Medieval history and folklore remain major influences on my writing.

Jennifer's book list on Atlantis if you love adventure

Jennifer McKeithen Why did Jennifer love this book?

Master storyteller Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had a few things to say about Atlantis. In The Maracot Deep, young zoologist Cyrus Headley travels to the edge of a deep ocean trench with a team of explorers. Suddenly, a giant sea monster attacks them and hurls them down into the trench. The explorers are rescued by the survivors of the destroyed Atlantis, who have dwelled on the seafloor for the past 8,000 years. Will Headley and his companions ever return to the surface again, or will they remain trapped for the rest of their lives like the Atlanteans? Readers expecting this novel to be like his earlier Sherlock Holms stories are in for a surprise, as it explores the spiritual and occult ideas he pondered later in his life.

By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Maracot Deep is one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's less known works that definitely deserves major recognition for its craft and originality. One of the first works of literature since the ancient historians, it explores the theme of the lost city of Atlantis in an enchanting tale about the expedition of Professor Maracot and his team of explorers to the bottom of the ocean.


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