Sword and Sorcery
This list is for the dying genre that desperately needs to be revitalized. The literary movement was started by one of the best, Robert E. Howard,when he wrote his Conan the Cimmerian adventures; but many others have carried the flame for him and have make some of the most memorable pieces of fantasy available. Marvel as sparks fly and and magic flares to life while you explore this sadly forgotten jewel of a genre.
197 Redemption Part 1 - The Cal...
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197 Le feu dans le ciel (Les Ch...
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197 The Wizard's Tale (#1)
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197 The Marksmith (Tear of Ahl ...
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197 My Joy Charm (Tales from th...
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197 Guiding the Blue Flame (Gua...
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197 The Leopard Vanguard (Leopa...
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197 Once Upon a Northern Night
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197 Blackbirds and Sparrows
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197 The King's Throne: The Elys...
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197 Two Merchants and a Thief (...
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197 The Assassin's Blade (Thron...
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197 The Tale of Onora: The Boy ...
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197 City At The Edge Of Time
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215 The Seventh Book of Lost Sw...
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215 Seraphs (Rogue Mage, #2)
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215 The Cavalier (Cavalier Tril...
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215 The Darkness That Comes Bef...
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215 The Ship from Atlantis
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215 Redemption Part 2- The Lost
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215 Les dragons de l'Empereur N...
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215 Faith of the Fallen (Sword ...
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215 Born of Oak and Silver (The...
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215 Ascarion (Chronicles of Eal...
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215 Stone Ram (Leopard King Sag...
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215 Songs in the Year of the Ca...
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215 The King's Throne: The Elys...
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215 The Beast at the Gate
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215 Throne of Glass (Throne of ...
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215 Beyond the Veil
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215 Beyond Sanctuary
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232 The Last Book of Swords: Sh...
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232 Host (Rogue Mage, #3)
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232 The Last of the Renshai (Re...
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232 God Killers — Machivarius P...
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232 The Rise of Malbeck (Cavali...
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232 Piège au Royaume des Ombres...
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232 Bran Mak Morn: The Last King
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232 Stalking the Beast
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232 To Walk in the Way of Lions...
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232 Rayna of Nightwind: The Fir...
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232 Crown of Midnight (Throne o...
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243 The Fifth Book of Lost Swor...
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243 The House of the Stag
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243 La princesse rebelle (Les C...
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243 The Savage Tales of Solomon...
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243 Heir of Fire (Throne of Gla...
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243 Beyond Wizardwall
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249 Impossible Odds (King's Bla...
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249 The Sixth Book of Lost Swor...
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249 Diplomacy of Wolves (The Se...
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249 Black Sun Rising (The Coldf...
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249 Tigana
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249 The Sorceror's Skull
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249 The Merchant and the Menace...
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249 L'île des Lézards (Les chev...
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249 Swords and Deviltry (Fafhrd...
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249 The Ring of Ikribu (Red Son...
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259 Paragon Lost (King's Blades...
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259 Small Favor (The Dresden Fi...
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259 Master of the Dark Gate (Ga...
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259 Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock...
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259 Le journal d'Onyx (Les Chev...
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259 The Sailor on the Seas of F...
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259 Under the Crimson Sun: A Du...
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259 First Lord's Fury (Codex Al...
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267 The Third Book of Lost Swor...
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267 Blood Cross (Jane Yellowroc...
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267 Sheepfarmer's Daughter (The...
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267 When Death Birds Fly (Corma...
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267 L'enlèvement (Les Chevalier...
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267 The Weird of the White Wolf...
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267 Sword of the Gods: A Forgot...
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274 The Fourth Book of Lost Swo...
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274 Mercy Blade (Jane Yellowroc...
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274 The Savage Sword of Conan, ...
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274 Les dieux déchus (Les Cheva...
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274 Froi of the Exiles (Lumater...
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274 The Crystals of Mida (Jalav...
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280 White Night (The Dresden Fi...
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280 The Second Book of Lost Swo...
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280 In the Realm of the Wolf (D...
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280 L'héritage de Danalieth (Le...
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280 Finnikin of the Rock (Lumat...
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280 Lords of Dyscrasia
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280 Shadow's Edge (Night Angel,...
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287 Sir Stalwart (King's Dagger...
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287 Blood Rites (The Dresden Fi...
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287 Wrath of the Royals (The Da...
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287 Masques (Sianim, #1 / Aralo...
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287 Exile's Quest
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287 Legend (Drenai Tales, #1)
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287 Représailles (Les Chevalier...
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287 Far Away & Never
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287 Beyond the Shadows (Night A...
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296 Morigu: The Dead (Morigu, #2)
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296 The Cutting Edge (A Handful...
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296 Death Masks (The Dresden Fi...
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296 Juxtaposition (Apprentice A...
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296 Brak the Barbarian Versus t...
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479 books · 234 voters · list created January 28th, 2011 by Milo (votes) .
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Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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message 1: by Xenophon (last edited Mar 03, 2011 04:09PM) (new)

Xenophon Hendrix Among the books I added are several King's Blades books by Dave Duncan. The fourth, fifth, and sixth volumes are more or less stand alone with a different protagonist in each novel. I'm not just bombing the list with a favorite series, and in any case, they are just that good.

I added The Heritage of Hastur to represent Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover books because it is one of the best in the series. The book that is currently being marketed as the first in the series, Darkover Landfall, I don't consider to be very good, and I don't recall it as being as sword and sorceryish as some of the other volumes. Most of the series can be read in any order.


message 2: by Milo (new)

Milo Thanks man. I think all the books you've added fit wonderfully with the genre.


message 3: by Garham (new)

Garham This is a bit of a curmudgeon-ish question, but does GRRM's game of thrones really belong in a list of sword and sorcery? At the top of the list no less?

I'd agree that it shares certain features in common with S&S ("low" magic, a darker & grittier feel, a more cynical and less thinly-veiled-christian morality) but for me two of the biggest things that mark S&S as a genre are brevity and simplicity. In my view S&S is always fast-paced and without pretension. I find it a bit tough to see a series that's more drawn out, convoluted & stylistically overwrought than war & peace under the same umbrella as Fafhrd & the Grey Mouser, Conan, Kothar, Brak, Elric, Jirel, Simon Tregarth etc.

Am I way off base here?


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

No I agree with you Garham, a lot of these books don't deserve to be on here, not because they are bad books but because they are not sword and sorcery. to quoteth wikipedia "Unlike works of high fantasy, the tales, though dramatic, focus mainly on personal battles rather than world-endangering matters" one thing that is confusing about this is that some S&S has large battles in it, "the Scarlet Citadel" Conan story and the "Stormbringer" Elric Novella have large battles in them, more than one for both, and I'm sure more than that have huge battles in them, I haven't read as much as I would like to have in this genre, so I'm not an authority, but I do agree with Garham that the defining characteristic that separates S&S from high fantasy is length. S&S is incredibly short the stories always being less than a hundred pages: Conan of Cimmeria, ELric of Belnibone, Fafhrd and Grey Mouser and High fantasy is incredibly long: Lord of the Rings, Earthsea, His Dark Materials, Xanth, the series often exceeding a thousand pages, sometimes even two thousand pages.

Also I would add that it seems as if High Fantasy's protagonists are always good with one or two flaws, whereas Sword and Sorcery's protagonists tend to be morally neutral in some gray area between good and evil, only marginally better than their enemies.

Then again Conan isn't really that evil, if somewhat bloodthirsty, but then again many good *fictional* soldiers are, and he's always saving many a fair damsel, but he won't hesitate to kill when he needs to.

In short, A Song of Fire and Ice is not sword and sorcery, Conan should be number one and Elric not far behind. and remember: If it has long scenery porn it is not sword and sorcery, but is in fact, high fantasy.

Sorry for the rant.


message 5: by Jim (new)

Jim I'm also not seeing how Jim Butcher's Dresden books got on this list. Good reads, but nowhere near my thought process when I think 'sword and sorcery'.


message 6: by Garham (new)

Garham Glad I'm not the only one. It seems rather obvious to me, and while this is just a guess I somehow rather doubt that GRRM considers his stuff as any sort of homage to classic S&S or its' roots. In fact I'd guess he might even be offended.

On other topics mentioned: A little bit of scenery porn isn't really a horrible thing, but as you've mentioned if it's *long* then I think it's definitely stretching the stylistic conventions that mark S&S as a genre. If the world building seems more important than the story/plot/action then it's not really S&S.

As far as morality goes, I think High Fantasy has a general tendency towards being a sort of morality-play whereas the morality of S&S and its' heroes is usually pretty ambiguous. The meta-narattive of G vs E doesn't usually seem to occupy central stage.

That being said, I think many S&S authors did write their own world-views and morality into their stories in some way, it's just less heavy handed. This usually isn't to the works' credit though in my opinion. For example, I would enjoy REH a lot more without the race-science/eugenics BS.


message 7: by Andrew (last edited Apr 30, 2013 08:07AM) (new)

Andrew Obrigewitsch I'm getting sick of seeing these utterly stupid lists on here. The top 2 books are not Sword and Sorcery at all and neither is 1/2 of this list, it's the same with the Epic Fantasy list, it's full of stuff that is not epic fantasy. I wish there was some way to edit the lists or someone that kept random things off them.


message 8: by Emanuil (new)

Emanuil Andrew wrote: "I'm getting sick of seeing these utter stupid lists on here. The top 2 books are not Sword and Sorcery at all and neither are 1/2 of this list, it's the same with the Epic Fantasy list, it's fully ..."

I totally agree.


message 9: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Obrigewitsch Dresden files are on here for gods sake and books by Guy Gavriel Kay. And I think it's more like 2/3rds of this list is not Swords and Sorcery.


message 10: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Obrigewitsch Oh and buy the way this is not a dying genre, pretty much every good published with the words Forgotten Realms on the cover is Sword and Sorcery. Pretty much all adventure fantasy is Sword and Sorcery, at least if it's not Urban Fantasy or Epic Fantasy.


message 11: by Artemas (new)

Artemas Ahh another list where most people don't seem to have the slightest clue what the sub-genres of fantasy are. A Game of Thrones listed as Sword & Sorcery? Please.


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