The most recommended assassin books

Who picked these books? Meet our 86 experts.

86 authors created a book list connected to assassin, and here are their favorite assassin books.
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What type of assassin book?


The Guilty

By David Baldacci,

Book cover of The Guilty

Iris Bolling Author Of The Aftermath: A Nate Reigns Novel

From Iris' 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Entrepreneur Author Teacher Reader All around family type of girl

Iris' 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Iris love this book?

The Will Robie series by David Baldacci is outstanding. The details of the journey Robie takes as an assassin for the United States is intriguing. 

The way Baldacci describes the surroundings gives you the feeling that you are there in the midst of the action right along with Robie. The manner in which Robie carries out his missions will keep you on the edge of your seats wondering if he will make it out alive.

What is so amazing about The Guilty is the realization of you rooting for the assassin to come out on top in this personal battle of confronting his past. It is clear what Robie does for a living—he murders people. Yet we care so much about him, the man, we want him to find a happy place with this family. 

By David Baldacci,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

After failing a critical assignment overseas, Will Robie must investigate a murder accusation against his father--but to save him, he'll have to face a violent and deadly fallout in this New York Times bestselling thriller.

Will Robie escaped his small Gulf Coast hometown of Cantrell, Mississippi after high school, severing all personal ties, and never looked back. Not until the unimaginable occurs. His father, Dan Robie, has been arrested and charged with murder.

Father and son haven't spoken or seen each other since the day Robie left town. In that time, Dan Robie--a local attorney and pillar of the community--has…


By Don DeLillo,

Book cover of Libra

Geoffrey Fox Author Of Rabble! A Story of the Paris Commune

From the list on fiction on revolutionary social change.

Who am I?

Chicago-born and now living in Spain, I was a community organizer in South America and the US before earning a PhD in sociology and becoming a college professor and author. I’ve written five nonfiction books and articles for publications including The New York Times, The Nation, Counterpunch, etc. Of my collection of short stories, Welcome to My Contri, the NY Times Book Review said that it “leaves us aware that we are in the presence of a formidable new writer.” In Rabble! I’ve called on my organizing experience as well as analysis and fiction to bring to life the actors in the first worker-run, self-governing society in the modern world.

Geoffrey's book list on fiction on revolutionary social change

Why did Geoffrey love this book?

Libra is a chillingly realistic novel that re-imagines the assassination of John F. Kennedy. What particularly delighted me was the very realistic-sounding dialogue of the very dissimilar actors in the rambling, uncoordinated but ultimately successful conspiracy, including right-wing Aryan-nation types, non-ideological drifters desperate to leave a mark on history, and (in this version) mobsters and Cuban exile terrorists who blamed Kennedy for the "loss" of Cuba. DeLillo’s renderings of Jack Ruby’s mobster lingo, the uptight tersely coded grunts of the CIA men, the incoherencies of revolutionary wannabe Lee Harvey Oswald and others, are a model of dialogue for any fiction writer.  

By Don DeLillo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A reconstruction of the events leading up to John Kennedy's assassination. The antihero of the book is, of course, Lee Harvey Oswald, who is as hauntingly real in this novel as he was elusive to us in real life.

Book cover of A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking

Douglas Weissman Author Of Life Between Seconds

From Douglas' 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Passionate weirdo Thrilled storyteller Donut-lover

Douglas' 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Douglas' 4-year-old's favorite books.

Why did Douglas love this book?

It was a new spin on the Gingerbread Man folktale and one that gave me goosebumps. It has battles, little whisps of magic, and characters I rooted for from start to finish. It made me feel like the characters I write about, the type I want to have a cup of tea with years from now to see where their lives have taken them. 

By T. Kingfisher,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fourteen-year-old Mona isn't like the wizards charged with defending the city. She can't control lightning or speak to water. Her familiar is a sourdough starter and her magic only works on bread. She has a comfortable life in her aunt's bakery making gingerbread men dance.

But Mona's life is turned upside down when she finds a dead body on the bakery floor. An assassin is stalking the streets of Mona's city, preying on magic folk, and it appears that Mona is his next target. And in an embattled city suddenly bereft of wizards, the assassin may be the least of…

The Price of the Stars

By Debra Doyle, James D. MacDonald,

Book cover of The Price of the Stars

Sherwood Smith Author Of Inda

From the list on epic sci-fi series that let you live in another world.

Who am I?

I started writing about another world when I was eight years old. I was already a reader, but books for kids were full of adventuring boys, with girls mostly sidelined. My world started with a gang of adventuring girls, and as I aged up, it kept getting bigger, and deeper, especially as I studied history. All fiction is a mirror to our contemporary society, and in conversation with other fiction; so is epic fantasy written over a lifetime. Many books later, I still get to adventure, wield magic, and be a hero, through my characters!

Sherwood's book list on epic sci-fi series that let you live in another world

Why did Sherwood love this book?

This is my favorite type of space opera: bigger-than-life characters, tons of action, with great sense of wonder and a world full of surprises. The women characters are excellent, as well.

There is a touch of fantasy in this series that I found sparked a hint of the numinous.

By Debra Doyle, James D. MacDonald,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When an assassination on the Senate floor threatens the thirty-year peace between the human Republic and the mysterious Mageworlds, the victim's daughter is forced to become accustomed to the galactic intrigue, but the Galaxy may never get used to her. Reissue.

A Clean Kill in Tokyo

By Barry Eisler,

Book cover of A Clean Kill in Tokyo

Philippe Espinasse Author Of Hard Underwriting

From the list on thrillers set in Asia.

Who am I?

I've lived in Asia for more than 22 years and have extensively traveled around the region, both for work and pleasure, from the Middle East and central Asia to Japan, and Australia, New Zealand, and every country in between. Asia is the perfect setting for a thriller, as a region that’s deeply rooted in traditions, but where modernity and growth are also breathless. There can be political instability at times, and even corruption, unsurpassed wealth and shocking poverty, bankers, and prostitutes. I worked for many years as an investment banker and my experiences inspired me to write my debut thriller, Hard Underwriting, in Hong Kong, and uncover the dark side of Asia’s financial capital. 

Philippe's book list on thrillers set in Asia

Why did Philippe love this book?

This is one of the best books in Eisler’s John Rain series, featuring half-American, half-Japanese assassin and Vietnam veteran John Rain.

Eisler himself was a covert operative with the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, and his descriptions of fieldcraft, surveillance, torture, and killing techniques all ring so true, as does his extensive knowledge of modern Japan.

Tokyo is, of course, a fascinating playground for Rain’s adventures. Eisler’s books and unputdownable, and well worth discovering.

By Barry Eisler,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Clean Kill in Tokyo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Previously published as Rain Fall

Name: John Rain.
Vocation: Assassin.
Specialty: Natural Causes.
Base of operations: Tokyo.
Availability: Worldwide.

Half American, half Japanese, expert in both worlds but at home in neither, John Rain is the best killer money can buy. You tell him who. You tell him where. He doesn’t care about why…

Until he gets involved with Midori Kawamura, a beautiful jazz pianist—and the daughter of his latest kill.

A Clean Kill in Tokyo was previously published as Rain Fall, the first in the bestselling John Rain assassin series.

Three Assassins

By Kotaro Isaka, Sam Malissa (translator),

Book cover of Three Assassins

Douglas Weissman Author Of Life Between Seconds

From the list on feeling magical without actual magic.

Who am I?

I fell in love with magical realism and stories that have a sense of whimsy after hearing my grandparents tell stories of their lives. They always embellished a bit, making a simple detail of a bread line or a penny found on the ground feel massive. Then I read Tom Robbins’s Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates. I didn’t understand at the time that the light touches of magic or moments that felt magical, even if not truly enchantment, were uplifting in stories both light and dark. I quickly fell under the spell and have placed elements of magic or whimsy in my own writing ever since. 

Douglas' book list on feeling magical without actual magic

Why did Douglas love this book?

Three Assassins almost feels like the movie Bullet Train with Brad Pitt.

It’s a series of seemingly unrelated events that connect a network of assassins together and pit them against one another, knowingly or unknowingly. The novel itself is less about the action and pace and unfurls like a twisted puzzle, making every piece lean into a seemingly surreal universe.

We see all the characters, good and bad, their flaws, good and bad, and the ones we can stand up for, good and bad. “All the knowledge and science that human beings have, it only helps humans.” But even when we’re cheering, I didn’t necessarily know what to believe until I reached the end. Even then, I walked away holding doubts and a smile. 

By Kotaro Isaka, Sam Malissa (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


Seeking justice, he leaves his old life behind to infiltrate the criminal gang responsible. What he doesn't realise is that he's about to get drawn into a web of the most unusual professional assassins, each with their own agenda:

THE WHALE convinces his victims to take their own lives using just his words.

THE CICADA is a talkative and deadly knife expert.

THE PUSHER dispatches his targets in deadly traffic 'accidents'.

Suzuki must take on the three assassins to avenge his wife - but can he keep his innocence…

Beat the Reaper

By Josh Bazell,

Book cover of Beat the Reaper

Kellen Burden Author Of Flash Bang

From the list on brutal thrillers with heart.

Who am I?

There's something about broken people trying to do good that has always resonated with me. In basic training, a drill sergeant with debilitating PTSD told us what combat would be like through a storm of choking sobs and a haze of tears. He needed us to know. Even if it broke him. Working as an investigator in Denver and Washington, I watched people with complicated pasts and uncertain futures fight tooth and nail (sometimes literally) to put human traffickers behind bars. Literature has always been a bridle for that wildness I saw in the world. A tool for taking the ghashing, stomping, unruliness of the human experience and making it rideable, relatable, survivable.

Kellen's book list on brutal thrillers with heart

Why did Kellen love this book?

A savage, icepick of a hitman novel that will bury itself in your cerebellum. It’s a slippery, sexy book about the making and subsequent unmaking of a contract killer, complete with all the usual trappings and a few resolutely unusual ones. halfway through this novel, I realized that there weren't any rules to this. That you just built humans from scratch and turned them loose in your world and whatever they did, they did.  A guy stabs someone with his own fibula in this book. Eat that Macgyver. 

By Josh Bazell,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Beat the Reaper as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Doctor will see you now....

Meet Peter Brown, a young Manhattan ER Doctor who has a past he'd prefer to stay hidden. When a figure from the old days emerges it looks increasingly unlikely that his secret will stay intact.
Nicholas LoBrutto, aka Eddy Squillante, is given three months to live, and it's clear to Peter that the clock is ticking for both of them. He must do whatever it takes to keep him - and his patient - alive.

It's time to beat the reaper....

Book cover of The Impossible Contract

Nathan Makaryk Author Of Nottingham

From the list on scifi fantasy with action sequences.

Who am I?

As a stage combat choreographer myself, fight sequences are always important to me: they have to be believable but exciting, they have to keep up the pace so the reader is experiencing the action at the same speed as the characters—but most importantly, they have to tell a story. Action just for the sake of action always feels empty, but great fight scenes that are both exhilarating and bound to the forward momentum of the plot and emotion will stay with me for a long time. Here’s some that I still remember long after I finished the book.

Nathan's book list on scifi fantasy with action sequences

Why did Nathan love this book?

The Chronicles of Ghadid follows a family of assassins in a fantastical desert world—but rather than play it safe by following stealthy assassination quests, Doore throws her assassins into the fray against undead armies and unkillable spirits. The result is a truly unique setting with haunting action sequences, bound together by the close ties of family and budding romances. Also, necromancers and undead camels, how could you go wrong?

By K. A. Doore,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Thana has a huge reputation to live up to as daughter of the Serpent, who rules over Ghadid's secret clan of assassins. Opportunity to prove herself arrives when Thana accepts her first contract on Heru, a dangerous foreign diplomat with the ability to bind a person's soul under his control.

She may be in over her head, especially when Heru is targeted by a rival sorcerer who sends hordes of the undead to attack them both. When Heru flees, Thana has no choice than to pursue him across the sands to the Empire that intends to capture Ghadid inside its…


By Audrey Coulthurst,

Book cover of Inkmistress

Kathy MacMillan Author Of Dagger and Coin

From the list on females who don't care if you like them or not.

Who am I?

I am an author, American Sign Language interpreter, librarian, and signing storyteller. I write picture books, children’s nonfiction, middle grade, and young adult fantasy, and resource books for educators, librarians, and parents. In my books, I highlight strong female characters, both fictional and from real-life. Here I am sharing 5 of my favorite fantasy and sci-fi books with female characters who – by the end of their journeys - absolutely do not care what you think of them.

Kathy's book list on females who don't care if you like them or not

Why did Kathy love this book?

Asra is a demigod with the gift of dictating the future by writing with her own blood. When her blood magic leads to the mortal girl she loves turning into a vengeful dragon, Asra must embark on a journey across the kingdom to stop her. A big-hearted protagonist grappling with her own power, complex cultural politics, two compelling love interests – who could ask for more? That so many of the primary romantic relationships in the story are same-sex is almost beside the point – except, of course, that queer characters rarely appear so matter-of-factly in epic fantasy. Inkmistress trades in deep, nuanced characters, moral complexity, and a story that often surprises in the best way, keeping the reader hooked until the incredibly satisfying conclusion.

By Audrey Coulthurst,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A sweeping, action-packed, and romantic fantasy full of dangerous magic and dark choices, perfect for fans of Tamora Pierce and Kristin Cashore—set in the same world as Of Fire and Stars.

Asra is a demigod with a dangerous gift: the ability to dictate the future by writing with her blood. To keep her power secret, she leads a quiet life as a healer on a remote mountain, content to help the people in her care and spend time with Ina, the mortal girl she loves.

But Asra’s peaceful life is upended when bandits threaten Ina’s village and the king does…

Book cover of The Brotherhood of the Rose

Gary Jonas Author Of Modern Sorcery

From the list on non-fantasy novels for fantasy readers.

Who am I?

My mother instilled a love of reading in me, and from an early age, I read everything from Agatha Christie to Edgar Rice Burroughs to Louis L’Amour to Marvel Comics. Stories are stories no matter how they’re classified, and genre is primarily a marketing tool to help readers find things they like. When I started writing, I often blended genres because I liked so many things. As I type this, I have 29 novels published with #30 on the way. The novels include science fiction, fantasy, horror, and thriller under my name, westerns as Dan Winchester, and a cozy mystery as Angie Cabot. Go figure.

Gary's book list on non-fantasy novels for fantasy readers

Why did Gary love this book?

On one level, this novel is about Chris and Saul, two orphans raised by Eliot, a CIA operative, to become world-class assassins. After an international incident, Eliot decides Chris and Saul must be eliminated. Solid and engaging on that level, of course. But on a deeper level, it’s about two young men who trust their “father,” the one person who ever cared about them, only to feel the sting of his betrayal rock them to their core. The emotion makes the action matter. Everything is personal. The accurate tradecraft, killer action, and depth of character all combine to make this one of my favorite books. Fantasy readers will appreciate the secret society aspect of the assassins as well as the amazing action set-pieces.

By David Morrell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Riveting...Crackling...It really moves."
They were orphans, Chris and Saul--raised in a Philadelphia school for boys, bonded by friendship, and devoted to a mysterious man called Eliot. He visited them and brought them candy. He treated them like sons. He trained them to be assassins. Now he is trying desperately to have them killed.
Spanning the globe, here is an astonishing novel of fierce loyalty and violent betrayal, of murders planned and coolly executed, of revenge bitterly, urgently desired.

Assassin's Gambit

By Amy Raby,

Book cover of Assassin's Gambit

Anna Kashina Author Of Blades of the Old Empire

From the list on fantasy books about assassins.

Who am I?

I’ll start with my passion for the topic. I find it irresistible to think of a profession where people are the absolute best at what they do – not just weapons, but many different skills that enable them to plan, blend in, get around, and improvise. There is a brutal kind of selection in the assassins’ world that makes sure only the best of the best survive. Added to the rich backstories these people tend to have, with the conflicts and moral choices they face, assassins make for some of my favorite fiction characters. I have published seven novels, four of them assassin-themed, and I claim my expertise on the topic as a scientist, ballroom dancer, and student of martial arts.

Anna's book list on fantasy books about assassins

Why did Anna love this book?

This book was originally marketed as a “romance for the fans of the Game of Thrones”, and it is one of the books I really enjoy. The main character, Vitala, is sent by her secret order of rebels to assassinate the powerful Emperor of Kjall. When she arrives at court, she is quickly dropped into a torrent of intrigue that makes her question everything she’d learned, including her own mission. 

This book is pure fun, from start to finish. From the assassins’ standpoint, Vitala is a refreshing one, because her powers come from a special skill she possesses rather than weaponry. In fact, most of the imperial guards, as well as the Emperor himself, are much more capable than her when it comes to combat, and yet in the end the danger she brings outpowers them all. This book taught me a lot about writing action, intrigue, and romance.

By Amy Raby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Assassin's Gambit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Vitala Salonius, champion of the warlike game of Caturanga, is as deadly as she is beautiful. She’s a trained assassin for the resistance, and her true play is for ultimate power. Using her charm and wit, she plans to seduce her way into the emperor’s bed and deal him one final, fatal blow, sparking a battle of succession that could change the face of the empire.

As the ruler of a country on the brink of war and the son of a deposed emperor, Lucien must constantly be wary of an attempt on his life. But he’s drawn to the…

Book cover of The Winter of Frankie Machine

Anthony Schneider Author Of Lowdown: A Mafia Romance Thriller

From the list on character-driven gangsters.

Who am I?

Growing up on a diet of The Godfather, The Sopranos, thrillers, and gangster novels, and living in New York City with eye-opening trips to Sicily, I became slightly obsessed with the Mafia. I came to see the American Mafia as a quintessentially American fabric, woven of family, power, immigrants, money, history, loyalty, legacy, and, yes, crime.  

Anthony's book list on character-driven gangsters

Why did Anthony love this book?

Retired hitman Frankie Machianno thinks he’s left the past behind and can focus on the things that matter—wife, mistress, daughter, surfing, perfect kitchen, roasting coffee, cooking.

But someone is coming for him and wants him dead. The problem is: Frankie doesn’t know who. As he tries to figure it out, we learn about Frank, his family, his lover, and his past, from San Diego beach bum to mafia “button man.”

He’s my favorite kind of gangster—the good guy bad guy—and I couldn’t help but like Frank and fear for his life, as the novel hurtles toward its bittersweet conclusion.

By Don Winslow,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Frank Machianno is the guy, a late-middle-aged ex-surf bum who runs a bait shack on the San Diego waterfront. That's when he's not juggling any of his other three part-time jobs or trying to get a quick set in on his long board. He's a beloved fixture of the community, a stand-up businessman, a devoted father to his daughter. Frank's also a hit man. Well, a retired hit man.

Back in the day, when he was one of the most feared members of the West Coast mob, he was known as Frankie Machine. Years ago, Frank consigned his mob ties…

The Gray Man

By Mark Greaney,

Book cover of The Gray Man

Ted Galdi Author Of Black Quiet: A Cole Maddox Action Thriller

From the list on action thrillers with rule-breaking heroes.

Who am I?

I’ve written several action thrillers about main characters who defy the rules. In my opinion, the key to these stories is giving your protagonist a good cause to break the rules for. Readers don’t want to get behind someone who wreaks havoc just to entertain himself. However, readers can identify with someone who’s pursuing an admirable goal and will stop at nothing to achieve it. These stories shouldn’t motivate anyone to break the law in real life. They serve as a metaphor for going against convention to overcome obstacles. Hopefully, my books, and those of other authors, encourage people to take on challenges in ways they haven’t yet considered.  

Ted's book list on action thrillers with rule-breaking heroes

Why did Ted love this book?

In The Gray Man, a highly skilled, former CIA operative tries to rescue a colleague and his family while various teams of elite assassins try to stop him however they can.

The Gray Man – AKA Court Gentry or Sierra Six – doesn’t follow anybody’s orders, even those of the most powerful institutions on the planet. Though rebellious, he has morals and only applies his skillset for good.

My favorite part of this book were the action scenes. I liked how big they were, but also the variety of arenas, weapons, and opponents. Also, the Gray Man takes a serious beating through the chapters. Because he’s hurt, but still kicking, the fights progressively get more challenging for him, and more dramatic.

By Mark Greaney,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Gray Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE FIRST GRAY MAN NOVEL FROM #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR MARK GREANEY - now a Netflix original film starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans

'Hard, fast, and unflinching-exactly what a thriller should be.' Lee Child

To those who lurk in the shadows, he's known as the Gray Man. He is a legend in the covert realm, moving silently from job to job, accomplishing the impossible and then fading away. And he always hits his target.

But there are forces more lethal than Gentry in the world. Forces like money. And power. And there are men who hold these…

Target Acquired

By Don Bentley,

Book cover of Target Acquired

John Houle Author Of The King-Makers of Providence

From John's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Politico PR guy Marketing executive Entrepreneur Political science graduate

John's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did John love this book?

I love great stories, and I especially gravitate towards international intrigue. As a big Tom Clancy and Dan Brown fan, I found that Don Bentley honors the great works of Clancy.

While I grew up with the stories of Jack Ryan, I now enjoy reading the new adventures of his son, Jack Ryan, Jr. This storyline is also ripped from today’s headlines as I write this. If only Jack Ryan, Jr. had been on the ground in real life to stop the atrocities perpetrated by Hamas.

Target Acquired provides some insights into the geo-political realities on the ground but in an entertaining format.

By Don Bentley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Jack Ryan, Jr., will do anything for a friend, but this favor will be paid for in blood in the latest electric entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

Jack Ryan, Jr. would do anything for Ding Chavez. That's why Jack is currently sitting in an open-air market in Israel, helping a CIA team with a simple job. The man running the mission, Peter Beltz, is an old friend from Ding's Army days. Ding hadn't seen his friend since Peter's transfer to the CIA eighteen months prior, and intended to use the assignment to reconnect. Unfortunately, Ding had…

The Etched City

By K.J. Bishop,

Book cover of The Etched City

Noah Lemelson Author Of The Sightless City

From the list on fantasy about weird and wonderful cities.

Who am I?

Growing up in Los Angeles, I am well familiar with strange, grotesque, illogical, and wonderful cities. My love of fantasy has always been for the odd ones out, less the bucolic farmlands and forest, more for those that present a twisted mirror of modern urban life. As an amateur lover of history, I love to study the evolution, mutation, and decay of cities. I find most interesting cities, in both real life and fantasy, to be those shaped by not one single culture, but by many over history and space.

Noah's book list on fantasy about weird and wonderful cities

Why did Noah love this book?

Speaking of books that push up against the genre boundaries of fantasy, Bishop’s The Etched City crafts a dark, foreboding, but somehow one of the beautiful cities in fantasy.

Ashamoil is a grim place, decadent and decayed, a humid jungle-born city filled with disgraced freedom fighters, slavers, and crime lords. Its fantasy elements are less floating magic gemstones and dragons and more weird, inexplicable things, miracles, and their dark inverse.

At times The Etched City feels like a dream, but the best kind of dream, the one you want to tell everyone about, if you could just find the right words.

By K.J. Bishop,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Combine equal parts of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series and Chine Miéville’s Perdido Street Station, throw in a dash of Aubrey BeardsleyandJ.K. Huysmans, and you’ll get some idea of this disturbing, decadent first novel.”—Publishers Weekly

Gwynn and Raule are rebels on the run, with little in common except being on the losing side of a hard-fought war. Gwynn is a gunslinger from the north, a loner, a survivor . . . a killer. Raule is a wandering surgeon, a healer who still believes in just—and lost—causes. Bound by a desire to escape the ghosts of the past, together they flee…


By Clive Barker,

Book cover of Imajica

Kim Alexander Author Of The Sand Prince

From the list on fantasy that make you feel like you’ve been there.

Who am I?

I’m a writer of epic fantasy and paranormal romance, and my obsession is writing about the fashion, food, language, and social politics of the worlds I create. World building is vital if you intend to create a lived-in backdrop for your story, but intricate, elaborate world building will only take you so far. You (the author) must have a cast of characters equally well developed. I’ve tried to take lessons away from every book I’ve read and every author I’ve interviewed and worked to balance characters to fall in love with against places that feel absolutely alive. Their joy/terror/love/hate/experience becomes the readers. It’s that combination that makes a book unforgettable.

Kim's book list on fantasy that make you feel like you’ve been there

Why did Kim love this book?

Barker is known best as a master of body horror, and this book certainly has some grotesque images. But it’s also a gorgeous meditation on memory, identity, love, and the use and misuse of great power.

Along with a vivid travelogue of the five realms that make up Imagica, Barker explores the use of the body itself as a canvas; malleable, changeable, and as fascinating as the view from the window of your train. That said, the view is often stunning, always inventive, and immersive enough that I feel I’ve walked the streets of Yzordderrex myself. 

By Clive Barker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The story of three people on an epic journey through five Dominions to the border of the greatest mystery of all - the First Dominion. On the other side, if they dare to venture, lies the Holy City of the Unbeheld, where their highest hopes or deepest fears will be realized.

Assassin's Fate

By Robin Hobb,

Book cover of Assassin's Fate

J.D.L. Rosell Author Of The Last Ranger: Ranger of the Titan Wilds, Book 1

From J.D.L.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Hiker Reader Gamer Cat dad

J.D.L.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did J.D.L. love this book?

After 16 books in Hobb's world, The Realm of the Elderlings, the triumphant finale of Assassin's Fate hits hard. I've spent 7 years with these characters, growing to love them and their relationships and experiencing their heart-rending journeys alongside them.

The ending is bittersweet, poignant, and everything it needed to be. It and the series have made an indelible impact on me as a person and a writer, and FitzChivalry remains one of my all-time favorite protagonists.

By Robin Hobb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Assassin's Fate as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The much-anticipated final conclusion to the Fitz and The Fool trilogy.

Prince FitzChivalry Farseer's daughter Bee was violently abducted from Withywoods by Servants of the Four in their search for the Unexpected Son, foretold to wield great power. With Fitz in pursuit, the Servants fled through a Skill-pillar, leaving no trace. It seems certain that they and their young hostage have perished in the Skill-river.

Clerres, where White Prophets were trained by the Servants to set the world on a better path, has been corrupted by greed. Fitz is determined to reach the city and take vengeance on the Four,…

The Matarese Circle

By Robert Ludlum,

Book cover of The Matarese Circle

Allen Kent Author Of The Shield of Darius

From the list on underrated gems by master spy/thriller writers.

Who am I?

Four of my formative years were spent in Iran and England where I became intrigued by the history and politics that shaped the Middle East. An avid reader, I was intrigued by how effectively international thrillers, particularly those by British authors, captured the mystery, complexity, and murky ambiguities of global politics. When I launched a second career as a writer, I committed to using international thrillers as a vehicle for exposing readers to other peoples and cultures and to the unending moral dilemmas that shape our political world. My aspiration is to present those stories as effectively and provocatively as the five writers recommended in my list! 

Allen's book list on underrated gems by master spy/thriller writers

Why did Allen love this book?

It’s too easy when reading Ludlum to get caught up in the Bourne Trilogy and overlook the author’s other great political thrillers. For me, The Matarese Circle best captures a theme that appears in most of Ludlum’s work – “We shouldn’t always trust our own intelligence community.”  

In The Matarese Circle, two disaffected covert agents—one American and one Soviet—team up to identify members of an international league of assassins bent on achieving world domination to promote commercial gain. This corpse-laden, globetrotting chase is one of Ludlum’s finest. 

By Robert Ludlum,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A former director of the KGB and the West's most professional assassin join forces against a common enemy, the Matarese Circle.

Assassination Vacation

By Sarah Vowell,

Book cover of Assassination Vacation

Philip R. Stone Author Of 111 Dark Places in England That You Shouldn't Miss

From the list on 'dark tourism’ and our difficult heritage.

Who am I?

I first turned to the ‘dark side’ of travel when a student of mine introduced me to ‘dark tourism’. Sadly the world is littered with places of tragedy where our misfortunes are exposed by dark tourism. As a social scientist, I have been writing about visiting our significant dead for over 20 years. I am fascinated as to why particular deaths are remembered, by whom, and how our dead are (re)presented within visitor economies. I have lectured and published extensively within academia, as well as being a media consultant. I continue to tell tales of our dead and how we attach cultural importance to certain kinds of death. 

Philip's book list on 'dark tourism’ and our difficult heritage

Why did Philip love this book?

With a healthy dose of gallows humour, Sarah Vowell explores glorious conundrums of American history, politics, and culture. As such, the book provoked me to appreciate how visiting sites of the significant dead has long been in the touristic imagination. The book takes you on a journey – part history lesson, part travelogue – through the black spots of American political violence. Through a bizarre road trip to places where American politicians met a bloody end, I found Vowell’s own thoughts on the American character both witty and quirky. I also love how she explodes myths and, consequently, exposes a profound level of hypocrisy in the quest for (American) political and cultural advantage.  

By Sarah Vowell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Transporting us from Buffalo to Alaska, Washington to Key West, Vowell has crafted a narrative that is much more than a historical travelogue - it is the disturbing and mesmerising story of how American death has been manipulated by popular culture, including film, literature, and - the author's favourite - historical tourism. Skilfully belying the undercurrents of loss and violence that course through her journey, Vowell injects a range of lighter detours along the way, including mummies, show tunes, mean-spirited totem poles, a nineteenth-century biblical sex cult - and exactly how Lincoln's Republican Party became Bush's Republican Party. Assassination Vacation…

Blood of Elves

By Andrzej Sapkowski,

Book cover of Blood of Elves

Marius H. Visser Author Of Mercury Dagger: A Tale From Kraydenia

From the list on taking you away from reality.

Who am I?

I spent the better part of a decade honing my writing skills and pushing the bounds of imagination after my debut fantasy novel Mercury Dagger - A Tale From Kraydenia. When I am not off exploring the wilds of Australia, I am dreaming up new adventures and monsters to cause chaos in a fantastical world filled with twists, loyalty, honour, and great and terrible battles. Originally from South Africa, I have travelled the African continent, visiting numerous countries, seeing first-hand the differences in many cultures who roam the lands and found it fascinating. It is this fascination that inspires my love for creating new characters and finding out what makes them tick.

Marius' book list on taking you away from reality

Why did Marius love this book?

Stunning character visualization and world-building make for a good read. Throw in some good humor, some daring fights and beasts to slay, and a plot filled with twists and you have yourself a great read. Andrzej Sapkowski has done a fantastic job of carving great characters for your enjoyment.

By Andrzej Sapkowski,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This collection of articles concerning the economic development of Africa was written by a group of scholars who are experienced in African societies and are knowledgeable about African needs. This experience and knowledge allows the authors to improve the focus on subjects like productivity, rural development, and transportation along with social and political issues involved in African developmental problems. The work consists of three parts: a general introduction, a section focusing on theoretical perspectives, and a section on practical problems. Since much of the work is derived from original research, it is unique in its treatment of the subject. The…