The most recommended books on necromancy

Who picked these books? Meet our 46 experts.

46 authors created a book list connected to necromancy, and here are their favorite necromancy books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What type of necromancy book?


Book cover of The Twisted Ones

Tammy Salyer Author Of Gnome on the Range: Otherworld Outlaws 1

From my list on necromancy and communing with cadavers.

Who am I?

Being a lifelong fan of fantasy and horror, I've always embraced stories of creepy monsters and vainglorious gods, especially novels that mash-up genres, like Stephen King's Gunslinger, Neil Gaiman's American Gods, and Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow. But my fascination always circles back to the supernatural, especially sorcerers who raise the dead. After writing my dark fantasy Shackled Verities series, I decided to venture into the Old West with a twist—monsters, magic, and mayhem, featuring, of course, a necromancer gnome. So let me present a spellbinding list of stories about these doers of the dark arts that span genres, from spine-chilling to lighthearted—because who says raising the dead has to be serious?

Tammy's book list on necromancy and communing with cadavers

Tammy Salyer Why did Tammy love this book?

T. Kingfisher could write stereo instructions and I’d read them. Her prose is straightforward and absolutely refreshing, but she does creepy in ways that will make you keep your lights on at night.

While The Twisted Ones isn’t the typical necromancer story, there’s some raising-the-dead shenanigans in it that will make your skin crawl—and also maybe pull on your heartstrings a little. In this novel, a young woman discovers dark secrets in her recently-deceased grandmother’s rural home that shed new and horrific light on what might have really happened to her dead loved ones.

Focusing more on psychological scares than action, Kingfisher imbues her characters with a surprising amount of empathy amidst the creeping unease. And once you’ve finished The Twisted Ones, like me, you won’t be able to stop yourself from buying her whole marvelous oeuvre.

By T Kingfisher,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Mouse's dad asks her to clean out her dead grandmother's house, she says yes. After all, how bad could it be?

Answer: pretty bad. Grandma was a hoarder, and her house is stuffed with useless rubbish. That would be horrific enough, but there's more-Mouse stumbles across her step-grandfather's journal, which at first seems to be filled with nonsensical rants...until Mouse encounters some of the terrifying things he described for herself.

Alone in the woods with her dog, Mouse finds herself face to face with a series of impossible terrors-because sometimes the things that go bump in the night are…

Book cover of The Impossible Contract

Nathan Makaryk Author Of Nottingham

From my 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

Nathan Makaryk 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…

Book cover of Shadow of Doubt

JS Kennedy Author Of Green Gryphon

From my list on where females stay strong in the face of men.

Who am I?

I got hooked on authors like Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, and Nalini Singh. Where females are tough, men are alphas, and love is a complicated process that takes time and effort. When I tried to branch out, and find new authors, I was constantly disappointed by the puddles of goo. You know, those female characters who talk tough and kick ass, until the man comes into the picture and her ovaries start running the show. Suddenly staying hidden isn’t as important as spilling your deepest secrets to a stranger. Tired of not finding the books for me, I decided to try writing them.

JS's book list on where females stay strong in the face of men

JS Kennedy Why did JS love this book?

In all honesty, I wasn’t going to read this at first.

This book is a spin-off of her A Beginners Guide to Necromancy series, and I didn’t really like Amelie. But I really enjoyed this series, almost more than the main one. Hadley is as flawed as they come, but she’s compassionate, hardworking, and really wants to change.

This has become a series that I never wanted to end, and I can go back to read each one over and over. 

Book cover of Kiss Me Deadly

Julie Embleton Author Of Bound

From my list on not-your-usual vampire, werewolf, and witch.

Who am I?

The idea of paranormal beings living amongst us makes me irrationally giddy. It constantly distracts me as I wonder how they blend into society and live behind their closed doors. Happy to explore these possibilities, I love to read and write books where wolves, vamps, and witches are put through the wringer as they navigate a world that’s sometimes hidden, and other times not. Tenacious females, gutsy heroes, and heinous villains inhabit my dark paranormal and epic fantasy realms, but with added twists that make them not-your-usual paranormal tales. When not torturing my characters, I can be found reading tarot as I live my own otherworldly life in Dublin, Ireland. 

Julie's book list on not-your-usual vampire, werewolf, and witch

Julie Embleton Why did Julie love this book?

"A necromancer and a vampire walk into a cemetery…and if you’re wondering how this joke ends, that makes two of us." Nickel City ticks all the boxes for reasons why I’ll deprive myself of sleep for a book. The cast leaps out of the pages; Sera the witty, brave, but soft-hearted heroine, her friend/ex-girlfriend, Dev, a feisty, sharp-tongued vampire hunter, and then Nate, the brooding vampire who Sera just can’t ignore. Three deadly enemies forced to work together against evil; what can go wrong, eh? Thomas slays with this enemies-to-lovers paranormal romance. With delicious simmering tension and laugh-aloud moments, it’s a clever, gripping read that now has me addicted to visiting cemeteries in the hopes of bumping into a certain vampire.

By Jessie Thomas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A necromancer and a vampire walk into a cemetery…and if you’re wondering how this joke ends, that makes two of us.I’m Seraphina Mason, Buffalo’s only resident necromancer. While other people are on normal sleep schedules doing regular human things, I spend my nights conjuring spirits, resurrecting the dead, and sometimes a bit of poltergeist removal, if you need it. But I’m not even the most dangerous nocturnal creature lurking around the cemeteries. That’s where vampire Nathaniel Caligari waltzes in—all devastating eternal beauty and brooding charm, ready to ruin my life. He’d rather have a wooden stake shoved through his chest…

Book cover of The Devil's Right Hand

T.J. Lockwood Author Of Violent Skies

From my list on featuring a memorable female protagonist.

Who am I?

When I was little I used to seek out stories that featured strong female characters—especially in genre fiction. This proved to be quite difficult, even as I enlisted my entire family to help in the search. Because of this, ensuring that each of my own works feature this is a must. I am an author, artist, and podcast host who focuses on understanding the importance of story elements. I am an active martial artist, have a degree in creative writing from Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and often get mesmerized by the process of creating comics and music. I hope you enjoy these recommendations as much as I did.

T.J.'s book list on featuring a memorable female protagonist

T.J. Lockwood Why did T.J. love this book?

This is one of the first stories I ever read with a strong female protagonist at the helm. Dante Valentine is a bounty hunter, necromancer, and a no-nonsense kind of woman. She is stubborn, flawed, and her story is a classic answer to what happens when you make a literal deal with the devil. I appreciate that she is unapologetically human and blatantly admits to her faults as a person. She is honest—perhaps sometimes too much so—and perseveres when things go awry. If anything, I would say she is a stand-out not only as far as female protagonists are concerned, but protagonists in speculative fiction as well.

By Lilith Saintcrow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Devil's Right Hand as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dante Valentine, Necromancer and bounty hunter, just wants to be left alone. But the Devil has other ideas.

The Prince wants Dante. And he wants her now. And Dante and her lover, Japhrimel, have no choice but to answer the Prince's summons. And to fulfill a seemingly simple task: become the Devil's Right Hand, hunt down four demons that have escaped from Hell, and earn His gratitude.

It's a shame that nothing is ever easy when it comes to the Devil. Because of course, he doesn't tell Dante the whole truth: there is a rebellion brewing in Hell. And there…

Book cover of Terciel & Elinor

Emily Layne Author Of Of Starlight and Bone

From Emily's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Stay at home mom Introvert Romantic Coffee connoisseur

Emily's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Emily Layne Why did Emily love this book?

This book was pure nostalgia for me. Terceil and Elinor is a prequel of Garth Nix’s original Old Kingdom series, which I fell in love with when I was in middle school (almost twenty years ago!)—all of which I highly recommend for anyone who likes a little zombie and WWI vibes with their fantasy.

The world Nix has created is amazing and feels like a second home. Elinor is a strong female character who discovers her powers and learns how to wield them with NO training montage.

If you love romance (with some Insta vibes), horrifying monsters, necromancers, and lots of action, you need to read this prequel fantasy. And the rest of the series, too, obviously!

By Garth Nix,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Terciel & Elinor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

The long-awaited new novel from multi bestselling Garth Nix, set in the Old Kingdom, now in paperback! For fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo.

In a land where the dead will not stay dead, eighteen-year-old orphan Terciel is learning to wield a mighty and terrible power: necromancy.

For he is the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, the latest in a ancient line of necromancers tasked with protecting the Old Kingdom and preventing the Dead from crossing over to the realm of the living.

Across the Wall in Ancelstierre, where magic does not usually work, Elinor, nineteen, lives a secluded life. But when…

Book cover of A Stranger in Olondria

Polly Schattel Author Of The Occultists

From my list on modern fantasy for people who dislike modern fantasy.

Who am I?

My name is Polly Schattel, and I’m a novelist, screenwriter, and film director. I wrote and directed the films Sinkhole, Alison, and Quiet River, and my written work includes The Occultists, Shadowdays, and the novella 8:59:29. I grew up loving fantasy—Tolkien, Moorcock, Zelazny—but phased out of it somewhat when I discovered writers like Raymond Carver, EL Doctorow, and Denis Johnson. Their books seemed more adult and more complex, not to mention the prose itself was absolutely transporting. In comparison, the fantasy I’d read often felt quite rushed and thin, with get-it-done prose. I drifted away from genre fiction a bit, but dove back to it with my first novel, the historical dark fantasy The Occultists.

Polly's book list on modern fantasy for people who dislike modern fantasy

Polly Schattel Why did Polly love this book?

For a more traditional take on fantasy, Sofia Samatar’s A Stranger in Olondria is lovely and immersive, a fascinating new world worthy of Ursula Le Guin and Gene Wolfe.

Reportedly, she created Olondria from a combination of regions in Turkey and North Africa, and it feels absolutely fresh and instantly powerful. A teenage merchant becomes haunted by the ghost of a young girl and must find a way to put her to rest.

But the story is really about the power of books and stories and language itself. It’s a love letter to adventure and open seas, harbors, and alleys, and snowy mountains in the distance.

Ms. Samatar holds several advanced degrees in language and literature, including Arabic and various African dialects, and you can feel the joy of her verbal artistry dancing on the page.

Stranger is not to be missed.

By Sofia Samatar,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Stranger in Olondria as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jevick, the pepper merchant's son, has been raised on stories of Olondria, a distant land where books are as common as they are rare in his home. When his father dies and Jevick takes his place on the yearly selling trip to Olondria, Jevick's life is as close to perfect as he can imagine. But just as he revels in Olondria's Rabelaisian Feast of Birds, he is pulled drastically off course and becomes haunted by the ghost of an illiterate young girl. In desperation, Jevick seeks the aid of Olondrian priests and quickly becomes a pawn in the struggle between…

Book cover of The Final Formula

Mary Sisson Author Of The Weirld

From my list on to help you stop doomscrolling.

Who am I?

I’m Mary Sisson, award-winning writer blah-blah-blah, and when I need to pry myself off the feeds before my head explodes, I reach for a particular sort of book: story-driven with a lot of adventure, a dash of humor, another of romance, and set in a well-developed, immersive fictional world. While all of these titles can be read alone (I hate books that were clearly written to sell a sequel—600 pages of filler ending with a cliffhanger? No thank you!) they all also form parts of series, because when my head is about to shoot right off my neck, it helps me to know that I have the remedy at hand. Enjoy!

Mary's book list on to help you stop doomscrolling

Mary Sisson Why did Mary love this book?

Magic has appeared on Earth, and Addie doesn’t know what to make of it. In fact, she’s not quite sure what to make of anything—she has no recollection of who she is. What she does know is alchemy: While some people are magical, alchemists make magic using potions and powders. The magical don’t like the alchemists, and the New Magical don’t like the Old Magical, the creepy, secretive necromancers who run funeral homes and turn people into ghouls and zombies. The Final Formula has excitement, scares, and some mind-blowing twists—just know that, if you continue with the series, you cannot skip the “in-between” books.

By Becca Andre,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

To a master alchemist like Addie, impossible is just another word for challenge. When a fiery explosion destroys the Alchemica, the premier alchemy institute in the United States, she’s left with nothing. No home, no colleagues, and no memory. Learning what happened seems impossible, but she still has one strength, and in her opinion, it’s the only one she needs. She hasn’t forgotten a thing about alchemy.

Addie brews a potion to restore her lost past, but remembers only the flames of the Alchemica’s destruction—and a man among the ashes. A man with the elemental power of fire, who just…

Book cover of A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians

Sean Gibson Author Of The Camelot Shadow: A Novel

From my list on mix magic and mystery with history.

Who am I?

I made the mistake of reading Dracula as an eight-year-old (thanks, Mom and Dad, for paying attention to what I brought home from school book fairs). Beyond disrupting my sleep pattern, there were two significant consequences to this decision: 1) I became enthralled with the intersection of historical detail, mystery, and magic, an enchantment that continues to this day; and 2) I ultimately majored in English literature, with a concentration in Victorian literature. To my professors’ chagrin, I put that education to use in concocting my own historically-based magical mysteries (sorry, Dr. Steinitz). But hey—I’ve always got good recommendations in this milieu.

Sean's book list on mix magic and mystery with history

Sean Gibson Why did Sean love this book?

You can reasonably infer that a book whose title nods toward a touchstone of the French Revolution and a landmark civil rights document will provide a treasure trove of historical references. It does indeed, but it’s history as accoutrement, with characterization at the forefront even as the mystery deepens in the background and the inexorable pull of monumental events inextricably entwines the fates of our heroes and villains. Declaration is ultimately about the flawed individuals who drive, and then become caught up in, sweeping change. Also, vampires. And necromancers. Not to mention weather mages, slaves in revolt, legendary politicians, religious converts, and the undeniable pleasure of being held in the thrall of an author who reveres the power of stories and words and excels at putting them to good use.

By H. G. Parry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A rich, sprawling epic full of history and magic.' Alix E. Harrow, Hugo award-winning author

A sweeping tale of revolution and wonder in a world not quite like our own, A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians is a genre-defying story of magic, war, and the struggle for freedom.

It is the Age of Enlightenment -- of new and magical political movements, from the necromancer Robespierre calling for revolution in France to the weather mage Toussaint L'Ouverture leading the slaves of Haiti in their fight for freedom, to the bold new Prime Minister William Pitt weighing the legalization of magic…

Book cover of Hawaiian Antiquities

Dennis Kawaharada Author Of Storied Landscapes: Hawaiian Literature and Place

From my list on understanding Hawaiian culture before visiting.

Who am I?

I taught traditional Hawaiian literature to college students and established Kalamakū Press in 1990 to publish Hawaiian folktales, narratives, autobiography, and poetry. I also worked for a decade as a writer for the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS), a scientific and cultural non-profit that builds and sails double-hulled voyaging canoes to explore how the Polynesians, without modern navigation instruments, found and settled Hawai‘i. Long before Europeans arrived in Hawai‘i, Polynesians discovered and lived sustainably for centuries on an isolated chain of eight islands. The practices and values of the traditional culture have a lot to teach communities struggling to find their way in an overdeveloped, overpopulated world today. 

Dennis' book list on understanding Hawaiian culture before visiting

Dennis Kawaharada Why did Dennis love this book?

Hawaiian Antiquities, published in 1903, was translated into English from the nineteenth-century writings of David Malo (1795–1853). Malo was a major scholar of Old Hawai‘i who spent his life among the courts of the kings and chiefs, where he learned traditional practices and oral traditions. His writings cover a wide range of topics, including cosmogony, origins and genealogy, social classes, geography (land, sea, and sky and clouds, winds, and rains), the calendar (seasons, months, and days), flora and fauna, fishing and farming, houses and canoes, food and clothing, sports and games, religious worship and observances, healing practices and necromancy, and traditions about the ancient kings of Hawai‘i.

By David Malo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

1951 2nd. ed.