The best secret society books

10 authors have picked their favorite books about secret society and why they recommend each book.

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The Rook

By Daniel O'Malley,

Book cover of The Rook

The Rook is one of the most original books I’ve ever read. In this world, magic and monsters are kept in line by a supernatural organization: the Chequy. Our main character, Myfanwy, keeps this organization running. It doesn’t sound unique—except Myfanwy can’t remember who she is. Someone in the Chequy has betrayed her, erasing her memory, and that person is still trying to kill her. Myfanwy is a fantastic protagonist, uncovering a conspiracy while following the instructions left by her past self, and though aspects of this book have certainly been done before, Daniel O’Malley makes the story unpredictable, immersive, and wildly entertaining. I loved it so much that it influenced my first novel, and The Rook has never left my list of favorite books.

The Rook

By Daniel O'Malley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The body you are wearing used to be mine.' So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her. She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly…

Who am I?

I’ve been addicted to books since I was young, and as a person with a disability that keeps me largely housebound, most of my time is filled with reading and writing. I love stories where I can’t predict the ending—because the plot takes an unexpected twist, or because the mystery unravels in an unanticipated way, and since I’m a fantasy fan, I’m thrilled when those stories include unique monsters and magic. As an author who combines fantasy and mystery, it’s uncommon for me to be truly surprised by a book, but the ones on this list left me delighted, surprised, or unravelling the mystery until the very end.


I wrote...

Lovely, Dark and Deep

By Claudia Cain,

Book cover of Lovely, Dark and Deep

What is my book about?

It’s a beautiful day in autumn, and a little girl has gone missing… she’s not the first. Hannah Hendricks is the fourth child to disappear from the town of Fallow Creek. Search parties comb the woods, but there’s no trace of the missing children, as if they’ve vanished off the face of the earth.

Cassandra Reilly is certain magic is involved, but few people trust the word of a witch, and fewer still want her help. It seems there’s little she can do—until Hannah’s parents arrive on her doorstep, begging for magical aid. But agreeing to help is more dangerous than Cass knows. Something evil is at work in Fallow Creek, and if she’s not careful, she’ll lead it back to her own door.

Ninth House

By Leigh Bardugo,

Book cover of Ninth House

Ninth House is not a light, fun read. If you’re interested in picking it up because you’re a fan of Ms. Bardugo’s other work, be warned: This book is dark. Trigger warnings include sexual assault, drug use, overdoses, violent homicide, and more. 

The story follows a scarred and emotionally bruised young woman named Alex who narrowly escapes a world of violence and drug abuse when she is recruited to join one of the prestigious secret societies at an Ivy League university, Yale. While there, Alex learns that these secret societies are involved in occult activities, violent crimes, and more. As you read through the story, you’ll find that all the characters are riddled with flaws. No one is the “good guy,” but I definitely rooted for—and against—several characters, and the mysteries of the story kept me turning pages furiously. 

Ninth House

By Leigh Bardugo,

Why should I read it?

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


Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by morally grey characters. One of the things I find so fascinating about them is their unpredictability. You can always count on a knight in shining armor to do the right thing. Captain America will always make the sacrifice play. That doesn’t mean they’re not great characters… it just makes it a little harder for them to surprise us. When everyone is kind of a “bad guy” in a story, it makes things doubly fascinating because you simultaneously want to root for everyone and no one. That was my goal in writing Among Thieves: for readers to have no idea who they wanted to “win” in the end. 


I wrote...

Among Thieves

By M.J. Kuhn,

Book cover of Among Thieves

What is my book about?

Ryia ‘the Butcher’ Cautella has earned her reputation as the deadliest blade in the city – not to mention the sharpest tongue. But Ryia Cautella is not her real name.

A deadly secret has kept Ryia on the run, doing whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of the formidable Guildmaster – sovereign ruler of the five kingdoms. But even the most powerful men can be defeated. One last job stands between Ryia and her freedom – but she can’t do it alone. She teams up with a crew of miscreants, smugglers, and thieves to attempt an impossible heist on the most tightly guarded island in the kingdoms – the Guildmaster’s stronghold. Unfortunately for Ryia, her new allies are all planning betrayals of their own...

The Grounding of Group Six

By Julian F. Thompson,

Book cover of The Grounding of Group Six

This is an obscure book you’ve probably never heard of from the 80s, but trust me here. (And yes, it’s set at a boarding school.) In this story, the kids assigned to group 6 are part of a secret society not of their own choosing. Their parents have sent them there to get rid of them. Permanently. With the help of their teacher, they escape to the wilderness to figure out how to survive

The Grounding of Group Six

By Julian F. Thompson,

Why should I read it?

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


Who am I?

I’ve never belonged to a secret society, but I’ve always been drawn to the idea. When I wrote Stone Cove Island, I was thinking about secrets passed down between generations of the islanders, and I liked the idea that even within, but I liked the idea that even within this tiny community, there was an inner circle of people invisibly controlling things. I’d heard a story from a friend—and it might just be a story, but I’m not the only one who’s heard it—about a rich, private island where if you did something to displease the residents, they sent you a black sweater. No note. Just the sweater. The message was clear: time for you to go.


I wrote...

Stone Cove Island

By Suzanne Myers,

Book cover of Stone Cove Island

What is my book about?

When a catastrophic hurricane devastates Stone Cove Island, a serene New England resort community, everyone pulls together to rebuild. Seventeen-year-old Eliza Elliot volunteers to clean out the island’s iconic lighthouse and stumbles upon a secret in the wreckage: a handwritten, anonymous confession to a twenty-five-year-old crime.

Bess Linsky’s unsolved murder has long haunted the island, and the letter turns the town inside out. Everyone who knew Bess is suddenly a suspect. Soon Eliza finds herself in the throes of an investigation she never wanted. As Stone Cove Island fights to recover from disaster, Eliza plunges the locals back into a nightmare they believed was long buried.

The Progeny

By Tosca Lee,

Book cover of The Progeny

The Progeny is one of the best books I read last year. It’s a really fun and unique read because it combines historical fiction with urban fantasy and just a hint of sci-fi. The main character, Emily, has had her memory erased—but now someone is trying to kill her. She must figure out who she was and what was so important that she erased it from her memory, a journey which takes her on a quest through Europe to find out who she really is. The story explores the true history of Elizabeth of Bathory and ties it in with suspense and superpowers for a fast-paced story that is unlike any other. I read it in a couple of days because I couldn’t put it down. 

The Progeny

By Tosca Lee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New York Times bestselling author Tosca Lee brings a modern twist to an ancient mystery surrounding Elizabeth Bathory, the most notorious female serial killer of all time.

Audra Ellison has no idea why she's had her memory wiped clean, only that she chose to erase her past to protect someone else. But soon, a handsome stranger tells her she's special. Unique. That she has the power to influence the minds of others. And that her life is in danger.

She soon discovers that she is the descendant of a serial killer, the infamous "Blood Countess" Elizabeth Bathory, and that she,…

Who am I?

I love urban fantasy and all the associated genres, like paranormal and horror. I love the question of “what if” and exploring how things would work if certain rules of magic or the supernatural were real. I love the variety and scope of world building that can be done parallel to and within our world through urban fantasy. That “what if” question is at the center of my own writing, and especially when I read non-fiction on topics like parallel universes and aliens and demons, I get so much inspiration for stories and worlds and what might be happening just beyond our view. 


I wrote...

The Breeding

By Avily Jerome,

Book cover of The Breeding

What is my book about?

Jack might be crazy, but maybe the demons in her head are real... Detective Jack Davidson thinks she went crazy the night her fiancé died in a car crash. Monsters no one else can sense torment her. Are they hallucinations, or are they somehow related to her fiancé’s last case? 

Her investigation uncovers a plot that involves human trafficking, and to save more women from being taken, Jack has to accept that the demons in her head might be real. Just as she’s getting closer to answers, her most powerful enemy targets her best friend. Now Jack must fight against the forces of Hell itself to stop her city from being taken over—but how can she stop something no one else believes is real?

The Atlas Six

By Olivie Blake,

Book cover of The Atlas Six

Just when everyone thought urban fantasy was dead, here comes The Atlas Six! What really makes this story interesting is the world building. There is not a lot of backstory on the world it is set in, but bits and pieces throughout the book give you context clues. There are people with magic and abilities, shifters, and petty-thief criminal mermaids. Similar to A Discovery of Witches, science is a strong theme, but in this story, the science is less genetics and more physics-based. As a reader, it made me wonder if there really is an intersection between space, time, and magic. The twist at the end turns the whole story on its head, making me want to grab the sequel immediately!

The Atlas Six

By Olivie Blake,

Why should I read it?

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


Who am I?

I watched my first episode of Buffy: the Vampire Slayer at 12 years old, and I’ve never been the same. It introduced me to the world of urban fantasy, with monsters and magic that exist in our world, and I’ve been devouring everything and anything in the genre since then. I work as a CPA for my day job, so I think I love all things supernatural because it offers a true escape from the ordinary world. I hope you enjoy the books on this list, along with my own book’s take on urban fantasy. If you ever want to chat, you can find me on Instagram at @katyforaker. 


I wrote...

Memories, Lies, and Other Binds

By Katy Foraker,

Book cover of Memories, Lies, and Other Binds

What is my book about?

A bookish demonologist who can’t remember her past. A magic-stealing vampire on the loose. Both unknowingly caught in a larger conspiracy that threatens both the supernatural and human worlds. 

Memories, Lies, and Other Binds is The Vampire Diaries meets The Da Vinci Code in a suspenseful take on urban fantasy with dark academia vibes.  

Book cover of Ancient Aliens and Secret Societies

UFOs, Nazis, Roswell, Freemasons, JFK, and the Apollo missions. This book covers a lot of very strange events and theories. Some of these theories you may have heard mention of and they probably sounded completely insane. However, to hear Mike tell it, really makes you wonder if there is some truth there. He unravels a giant rats’ nest of conspiracies in a way that really makes a lot of sense. I’m not saying it’s true necessarily, but Mike presents a lot of evidence that seems feasible. You gotta wonder.

Ancient Aliens and Secret Societies

By Mike Bara,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ancient Aliens and Secret Societies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

As a child, I was fascinated with astronomy but discouraged from investigating the UFO phenomenon due to religious reasons. Not until I was in my forties, did I begin to see the strange Biblical hints of what ended up in my writing my book UFOs In The Bible. Along the way, my research led me to diverse related topics including Sumerian mythology and astrobiology which have resulted in a few more books (and more to come). I see logic as a fundamental tool for this line of investigation, and so, I embrace books that engage with the evidence logically. I firmly believe we must all make room for experiencers to tell their stories without recrimination.


I wrote...

Fermi's Paradox Is Bullshit: the Evidence for Extraterrestrial Life

By Ken Goudsward,

Book cover of Fermi's Paradox Is Bullshit: the Evidence for Extraterrestrial Life

What is my book about?

Is there life in space? Mainstream science is converging on a positive answer. So why are people still talking about the so-called Fermi paradox?

We examine the evidence and ask some questions: Is there water beyond our little blue ball? Is there life in space? If so, what do we know about it? Where is everybody? Have they already arrived?

Rule by Secrecy

By Jim Marrs,

Book cover of Rule by Secrecy: The Hidden History That Connects the Trilateral Commission, the Freemasons, and the Great Pyramids

Rule by Secrecy was an eye-opening, non-fiction book that gave me a greater understanding of the world we live in. The historical background it taught me about humanity and how it was developed changed my whole perspective on the world and how I approached it. I found the material fascinating.

Rule by Secrecy

By Jim Marrs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What secrets connect Egypt's Great Pyramids, the Freemasons, and the Council on Foreign Relations? In this astonishing book, celebrated journalist Jim Marrs examines the world's most closely guarded secrets, tracing the history of clandestine societies and the power they have wielded - from the ancient mysteries to modern-day conspiracy theories. Searching for truth, he uncovers disturbing evidence that the real movers and shakers of the world collude covertly to start and stop wars, manipulate stock markets, maintain class distinctions, and even censor the news. Provocative and utterly compelling, Rule by Secrecy offers a singular worldview that may explain who we…

Who am I?

Being a worldwide entertainer, I lived a lot of life in a short period of time. It takes something unusual and of high quality to really get my attention or make an impact on me. These books fit that bill. They kept me entertained & interested in the knowledge they possess. I strive to seek information that isn’t typically presented in everyday life. I hope these books & their subjects will have a huge impact on you as well.


I wrote...

Food As A Prescription: A Handbook for Those Currently On or Prescribed a Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Corn-Free and/or Dairy-Free Diet

By Anthony Lo Cascio, Staci Lo Cascio,

Book cover of Food As A Prescription: A Handbook for Those Currently On or Prescribed a Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Corn-Free and/or Dairy-Free Diet

What is my book about?

Have you or a loved one been prescribed a dietary change because of autoimmune issues, skin irritations, or digestive complications? Or, do you simply want to live an anti-inflammatory lifestyle? Making changes in something as fundamental and important as your diet can be overwhelming, but it does not have to be!

Food As A Prescription is the perfect guide for those who need to change their diet for a healthier life! This internationally best-selling handbook will enlighten, empower, and support you on your gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free, and/or dairy-free journey. Filled with tips, tricks, recipes, and recommendations, Food As A Prescription, will help you focus on what you’ll gain in life and help you eliminate the stress of living life with modern-day food allergies.

The Young Elites

By Marie Lu,

Book cover of The Young Elites

I loved Marie Lu’s Legend series and when this book came out, I was first in line to grab it. The Young Elites is a bit of a darker read than her YA dystopian Legend series, so I would put it in the upper YA category. But the main character, Adelina, is one you couldn’t not root for. The storyline and mysteries that unfold weave a rich, and yes, sometimes dark story of a secret brethren, The Young Elites.

The Young Elites

By Marie Lu,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Young Elites as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood plague: marked by a jagged scar, snow-white hair and lashes. Cast out by her family, Adelina has finally found a place to belong within the secret society of Young Elites. To some, the Elites are heroes, here to save innocents in desperate situations. But to the Inquisition Axis, the white-robed soldiers of Kenettra, they are monsters with demonic powers who must be brought to justice. As Adelina learns more about this perilous world where politics and magic clash, she soon realizes that her own powers may be in danger of bringing on…

Who am I?

Since reading The Lion, the Witch, and Wardrobe, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, and The Crystal Cave as a kid and teen, I’ve been hooked on all things magical. I love the fantasy genre and characters who are driven to use their powers to protect their tribes. I am constantly reading books about witches, vampires, the fae, sirens, shifters, and any other supernatural character with a good storyline surrounding them. L.J. Smith, Cassandra Clare, P.C. and Kristin Cast, Stephenie Meyer, and so many other YA fantasy writers are absolutely my heroes. Fantasy books not only entertain but have helped me process life and our world in a safe environment. 


I wrote...

Kingdom of Embers

By Tricia Copeland,

Book cover of Kingdom of Embers

What is my book about?

Her pale skin and weird diet make her a target at school. If only they, and she, knew the truth. Seventeen-year-old Alena Scott is tired of pretending to be something she’s not. As an outlawed vampire-witch hybrid, she’s forced to abide by the oppressive secrecy imposed by her Vampire Chancellor mother. When she comes face-to-face with a handsome, full-grown version of her childhood imaginary friend, rules cease to matter.

Shocked that he recognizes her, the two embark on a quest to solve the mystery of their friendship. As they unravel their destinies, Alena realizes she holds the key to a curse that could free them all—or condemn witchkind to eternal suffering. Can they reverse an ancient spell before they’re sent to a mortal grave?

Masters of Atlantis

By Charles Portis,

Book cover of Masters of Atlantis

Remember how disappointed you were when you first tried to read Tolkien's The Silmarillion? You'd just devoured The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and you needed more Middle Earth, and you asked for The Silmarillian for your birthday and you received it!  And it was just a bunch of half-baked fleshless ideas! Well, there's nothing half-baked about Masters of Atlantis! Masters of Atlantis is my least favorite book by my most favorite author! Why did I choose it for this list over Portis's other four novels? Because, for the vast majority of its 300-plus pages, it reads like a hurried summary of a tangled web of bizarro characters negotiating an interwoven freak-o-system of conspiratorial cults!

Masters of Atlantis

By Charles Portis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Lamar Jimmersan, an American doughboy in 1917 France, learns that his life's purpose is to administer the brotherhood of the Gnomons, preservers of the wisdom of the lost city of Atlantis, and Gnomonism risesand eventually fades awayin America. Reprint.

Who am I?

You know that poem that instructs us to "see a world in a grain of sand?" I've done that, friend. It turns out that the world you see in a closely-examined grain of sand is largely covered with sand, each grain of which contains another world. For reasons that I can't explain (well, the Autism Spectrum Disorder might have something to do with it), I'm compelled to write novels that explore and exploit, obliquely or otherwise, the sub-worlds lurking within the grains of sand that are scattered across the American High Plains. 


I wrote...

Zebra Skin Shirt

By Gregory Hill,

Book cover of Zebra Skin Shirt

What is my book about?

From Colorado Book Award-winning author Gregory Hill comes Zebra Skin Shirt, a delightfully mad novel in which Narwhal Slotterfield, a corrupt, faux-intellectual basketball referee, becomes time-stuck on the unlikely landscape of the Colorado High Plains. With the clocks permanently stopped, and trapped in an immobile universe, Narwhal has the miraculous choice to either focus myopically on himself or, as an unlikely superhero referee, to right the wrongs of the world. He manages to do both.

Book cover of Mystery of Black Hollow Lane

This story has so many delicious ingredients—ancient boarding schools, secret societies, enigmatic notes slipped into pockets, young allies banding together against a powerful enemy—and they all combine to make the kind of book that classic mystery fans will devour.  

Mystery of Black Hollow Lane

By Julia Nobel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mystery of Black Hollow Lane as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society and The Blackthorn Key series comes an award-winning boarding school mystery about twelve year old Emmy, who's shipped off to a prestigious British school. But her new home is hiding a secret society ... and it may be the answer to Emmy's questions about her missing father.
With a dad who disappeared years ago and a mother who's a bit too busy to parent, Emmy is shipped off to Wellsworth, a prestigious boarding school in England, where she's sure she won't fit in.
But then she finds a box of mysterious medallions in…


Who am I?

I’m the author of eleven novels for young readers (so far!). I’m also a lifelong bookworm, and I’ve got a special love for all things creepy, fantastical, and odd. Growing up, I adored mysteries from Scooby-Doo to Sherlock Holmes, and you could often find me hiding under the covers with a stack of books and a flashlight long after I should have been asleep. Here are five more recent middle-grade mysteries that I've loved. If they’d been around when I was a kid, they would have kept me up hours past my bedtime.  


I wrote...

Long Lost

By Jacqueline West,

Book cover of Long Lost

What is my book about?

For the sake of her sister’s figure skating career, Fiona Crane’s family has just moved to Lost Lake, Massachusetts—a tiny, unwelcoming town of old houses, old forests, and old secrets. Lonely and out of place, Fiona ventures to the library, a rambling mansion once owned by a long-dead local heiress.

That’s where Fiona finds the book. The old mystery novel about another pair of sisters, another small town, and an unsolved disappearance. Soon Fiona begins to notice eerie connections between the novel and Lost Lake itself. Before she can reach the end, the book disappears. But Fiona knows it was leading her toward something. Something that was lost long ago, and that’s waiting to be found. Maybe it’s been waiting just for her.  

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