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Posts: 24
Registered: ‎09-02-2009

Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

 Okay this is sad to me! Not one person mentioned David Gemmell the Drenai series!!!

The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend 

 That has to be my all time favorite! He was an amazing author and had the talent for a great series!

I must agree with everyone else at the same time, a lot of the for mentioned series and books are great too!

But I loved Gemmell's writing and books!



Posts: 25
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

Tolkien's Lord of the Rings & Brook's Shannara are awesome fantasy series, I've started reading Piers Anthony's Xanth series which I'm really enjoying.  I'd also recommend Hendee's Dhampir series, especially for someone who is into vampires as suggested by them reading the Twilight series.  Cherryh's mainly sci-fi but her Fortress series and Sword of Knowledge are both well written fantasy series.



Additional thought, I've seen several people mention Dune, which I love, but wouldn't consider Fantasy.  I know it's a blurry line but to me space ships and multiple planets screams sci-fi


New User
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎02-02-2010

Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

For me, also, the obvious first choice is J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Tolkien writes with unmatched eloquence in the genre.


2nd on my list is Stephen R. Donaldson's The [first] Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever. I remember being so involved in The Land when I read the series.


Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series would be next on my list because of the sheer volume of the series. I don't mean the number of books...I mean the number of characters, towns, villages, cities, nations, even continents, not to mention the political factions and distinct cultures, all of which add up to one very rich "world."


I think next would be Raymond E. Feists series from the world of Midkemia, which began with the Magician series (Magician: Apprentice; Magician Master; Silverthorn; A Darkness at Sethanon.) and continued with prequels and sequels and spin-offs, with the latter being one of my all-time favorites--The Empire series, a collaboration with Janny Wurts (Daughter of the Empire; Servant of the Empire; Mistress of the Empire.)


Another enjoyable world is created for us by Dennis L. McKiernan and presented in the Mithgar series, which is inhabited by numerous non-human fantasy characters. Like Piers Anthony's Xanth wonderful, pun-filled fantasy series, the Mithgar series may not quite fit the bill for "epic fantasy" as each book stands alone rather than continuing an epic storyline.


Anne McCaffrey's Pern series has been mentioned and is also a fun, collective read.


I don't recall seeing Guy Gavriel Kay's name in the discussion so far...but his book Tigana is one of my favorite non-serial novels. Again, fantasy, but not epic.


And of course, there are the series by George R.R. Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire), Terry Goodkind (The Sword of Truth), Terry Brooks (Sword of Shannara), Robin Hobb (Liveship Traders; Farseer), and C.J. Cherryh (Fortress).


Any of which should give anyone new to the genre a good introduction and keep him/her/them busy for quite some time.

Posts: 16
Registered: ‎01-29-2010

Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

I personally am not a HUGE fan of Twilight...although I did read it....


But my ultimes are:


Harry Potter - JK Rowling (obviously... :smileytongue:)

Percy Jackson and the Olympians - Rick R.(I was really suprised how well written and enchanted I was by this book...)

The Hobbit - JRR Tolkein (classic)

The Chronicles of Narnia  - C.S. Lewis (how couldn't they be?)

The Inheritance Cycle - Christopher Paolini

The Bartimaeus Trilogy - (I loved it...I was quite sad at the end of the last book though...)


Other I like that aren't series':


The Hero and the Crown - Robin McKinely

The Little White Horse - Elizabeth G. (it's plot is definately for younger kids, but it is very well written...I enjoyed it throughly)

Oracles of Delphi Keep - Victoria Laurie (very good book as well....I can't wait for the sequel)


Hope I helped! I can't think of any more at the moment...



God Bless,




"Birthday cake is the only food you can spit on and everyone wants to eat it."
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎02-08-2010

Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

Lots of great series listed here, but one I haven't seen mentioned - Katherine Kurtz' Deryni series.


I'll give seconds to some of my favorites:


Eddings - Belgariad/Mallorean and Elenium/Tamuli

Dragonlance (though you could go broke trying to collect them all, the original two trilogies are just plain fun!)

McCaffery - Dragonriders of Pern

Jordan - Wheel of Time

Goodkind - Sword of Truth (I'm taking a pass on the TV show though...not quite close enough to the books for my taste)

Posts: 8
Registered: ‎02-08-2010

Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

Don't worry.  I was going to say any of the book series by Gemmell.


His Drenai and Rigante series are superb and I've read them more times than I can remember.

Distinguished Wordsmith
Posts: 246
Registered: ‎11-11-2008

Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

...Dies The Fire  by Stirling

...Psalms of Isaak by Ken Scholes

...Hyperion by Dan SImmons

...John Carter of Mars by Burroughs (amazing for the times)

...Pern by Anne McCaffrey


...and Amen to a whole lot of the series mentioned in this board. I think I own more Terry Brooks than any other author, but Feist is running neck and neck. So many books..makes you want to live forever!

There are more of us than you think.
New User
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎02-16-2010

Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

It really depends on reading preference to what the best books would be...


For younger or beginning readers I'd suggest

The blue sword by Robin McKinley

The first trilogy (which now has 4 books)(chronicles) of dragonlance


For older readers I guess it breaks down into two main categories, if you don't mind dry writing or it bothers you greatly. I am of the latter group. For those like me:


Continuing the Dragonlance series isn't a bad idea if you keep to Margaret Weis, the other authors really don't do the series justice in my eyes.

Wheel of Time series is amazing, albeit the first 200 pages of book one are possibly the most boring things in the world...

The Sword of Truth Series is good for the first few, then gets too predictable to really be enjoyable

The Belgariad and the Mallorian....well anything by David Eddings really

Deerskin by Robin McKinley, good book but isn't really for faint of heart.

The Historian....the author escapes me, wonderfully written however.

The Green Rider (and sequels) by Kristian Britain

Ender's Game good sci-fi concept

Catherine Asaro's works also sci-fi, her work is a bit older and harder to find on a regular basis

The Wicked Years Trilogy by Gregory McGuire, a different side of the Wizard of Oz, Darker and thought provoking.


To those who do not mind or even like drier writing:

Tolkien's works

Dune (and subsequent books) by Frank Herbert

The Sword of Shannara series by Terry Brooks


New User
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎09-18-2009

Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

Wheel of Time Series is by far my favorite.

LE Modesit is a decent writer, his order of recluse series intrigues but jumps so much I cannot follow it sometimes between books.

Of course Tolkien, and Piers Anthony.

The Chronicle of Narnia, though I think all of these were mentioned.


Posts: 6
Registered: ‎02-14-2010

Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

I am glad that I found this book club, I have been looking for some new series to get into.


I will have to say the Terry Brooks, the Shannara series and the Word and the Void Series.  I really like how he brought them together and I look forward where he takes us next.


I also like the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, Piers Anthony Xanth, Incarnations on Immortality and the Adept Series, Terry Brooks Magic Kingdom of Landover, finally I just got started on the George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire I need to figure out what one I left off with to get back into it again.



Posts: 363
Registered: ‎12-21-2009

Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

I am a huge fan of:

   George R. R. Martin - Hopefully he gets to wrapping it up, though.  He may eventually begin to ramble and lose my interest if he tries to follow Jordan's footsteps and write 12+ novels.  I just started collecting Jordan's novels with the intent of reading them later because I became pretty bored (the first three novels, however, are pretty brilliant)


   David Eddings - The Belgariad.  Pretty much everything else he wrote was trying to capture the greatness of this first series.


   Sean Russel - I'm fond of any of the series he was written.  The magic in his novels seems much more magical due to its seeming sparseness.


   Tad Willams - Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy - This guy only knows how to write in epics.  I'm sure he was one of those kids in high school who when asked for a 2 page paper, barely squeezed his essay into 20.


For the young adult crowd:  His Dark Materials trilogy, by Phillip Pullman. The characters and their motivations are much more relevant and their actions have consequences that have far reaching effects.  I liked Harry Potter but I loved these books.


A fairly new author I've really gotten into is Karen Miller.  Kingmaker, Kingbreaker and the Godspeaker trilogy were both pretty good.

New User
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎02-28-2010

Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

I would have to nominate Arthur C. Clarke's Rama series. It was spell-binding, thought provoking, and great hardcore science fiction in a way only Clarke could deliiver. In my literary opinion it is a crime to the sci-fi world out there that theres not a film adaption of it yet! Whats with that? 

Reader 2
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎02-27-2008
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Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

bkwdayton..... Three of your first four authors would be my picks as well. Although I have not read any of Robert Jordans works, I would be so inclined since you group him in with the others I have read voraciously.


On a side note, Janny Wurts work with Feist on the Empire series was fluid and undetectably collaborative. Often when writers join forces to work within one or the others world, you can see the differences in style. Not in that series!

Posts: 11
Registered: ‎03-03-2010

Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

[ Edited ]

The problem of replying to a thread that's a few pages deep already, is that all of the key "Epic" series' have already been named...  so I'll just echo a few...


LotR - Obvious 1st pick of any fan of fantsy

Dragonlance - Someone said it earlier, but start with any book written by Weis and Hickman... move on from there

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Is this not a great series or what?

Harry Potter - I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed this series...


Ok, but we all know those series...  here's two that I didn't see mentioned, maybe not necessarrily "epic", but definitely worth adding to your reading lists.


Guardians of the Flame Series - By Joel Rosenberg.  Fantastic story that deals with a group of college kids, playing D&D, and getting transported to the fantasy world they're playing in, forced to live their character's lives... The story spans about 10 books.


The Giver Trilogy  - by Lois Lowry.  Another great read, and a quick one too.  It'll take you about a week or two to read the entire trilogy, but the characters and the story will stick out in your mind for years afterward.

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 89
Registered: ‎08-25-2009
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Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

I have several fantasy favorites. Lets see....

Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

Symphony of Ages by Elizabeth Hayden

The Moonshae Trilogy by Douglas Niles


The Green Rider series by Kristen Britain

Those are just a few that I really like.


New User
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎03-14-2010
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Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

[ Edited ]

Among the series I would have, many have been mentioned...but here we go:


Hobbit and Lord of the Rings by Tolkien


Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan


A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin


Magician series by Raymond Feist (I used to recommend this as a good fantasy starter for the nearly 10 years I worked for B&N!).  I probably reread the original 4 books every couple of years.


Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind


The original Dragonlance trilogy by Weis and Hickman


Any of RA Salvatore's Forgotten Realms books


David Eddings Belgariad and Mallorean series


Dave Duncans Kings Blades books - highly entertaining


Robert Newcomb - can't remember series name but 1st book is The Fifth Sorceress


many others, but drawing a blank at the moment :smileyhappy:



Oh yeah, also of course Terry Brooks Shanarra stuff (though the later stuff isn't as good IMHO), and also underrated is Melanie Rawn's 2 Dragon trilogies!






Reader 2
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎03-15-2010
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Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

I'm going to throw in:


The Dragons of Argonath - Christopher Rowley



Might be better placed in the little known greats thread I saw a few threads down.

Or maybe I just jogged a few peoples memories. :smileytongue:

The first book of the series is called Bazil Broketail, published in 1992. One of my all time favorites, and also my first fantasy book series I ever read.




Posts: 850
Registered: ‎03-06-2010
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Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

Robert Jordan's (and now Brandon Sanderson's) Wheel of Time

Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth

(These are two of my favorite series of all time even if they did start out great, get dull, then get AWESOME)


Piers Anthony's Xanth Series

Stan Nichol's Orc Series

J.R.R. Tolkien's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings

Stephen Lawhead's Pendragon Cycle

- JJ

Dovie'andi se tovya sagain.

FACT: Childhood cancers are the #1 disease killer in children - more than asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, and pediatric AIDS combined.
Distinguished Correspondent
Posts: 176
Registered: ‎12-22-2009
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Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

[ Edited ]

  Everyone has mentioned so many great books, but what about Simon Green? First with the John Taylor series and then the Drood books. He is one of my favorites. Also the Jaz Parks series by Jennifer Rardin is really good too.

New User
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎03-24-2010

Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

As for series that I have loved, Lord of The Rings, of course, and The Hobbit.

Robert Jordan's, The Wheel of Time (which I am re-reading currently),

The Vlad Taltos series...


The Sword of Truth... up to about pillars, and then I just couldn't stomach all the rape and abuse to women that went on and had to put it down.


Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind, I read that one in a single weekend of snow over Christmas this year.


I love Anne Bishop's Dark Jewels Trilogy... I read that one about once a year.


The Eragon series... and as a young adult/older child's point of view, the Septemus Heap books are fantastic.


I too read the Twilight series, just so I would have a clue what my daughter was reading, as well as the House of Night series.


The Rose of the Prophet series was my first foray into fantasy, prior to that I had only really read LOTR and The Hobbit.


I am sure I am missing a bunch that I really enjoyed, however these are the ones I refer to people who are just getting started. OH! um, Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, I find those quick, witty, humorous, and fun.


That's all I can think of right now...




"Never kiss a girl whose brothers have knife scars."
-Robert Jordan, The Fires of Heaven