If you’re like most Game of Thrones fans, you’re getting impatient waiting for April 12, when Season 5 of the TV version of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice series gets started.
Fortunately there’s a lot of other newly written fantasy fiction to gorge yourself with while you wait. As Martin himself recently pointed out, there’s never been so much new epic fantasy published as there is now.
To help you navigate all these new epics, we collected seven of our favorite series below, along with a recommended book to start with and the description from its publisher.
The Accursed Kings by Maurice Druon
Start With: The Iron King
‘This is the original game of thrones’ — George R.R. Martin
From the publishers that brought you A Game of Thrones comes the series that inspired George R.R. Martin’s epic work.
France became a great nation under Philip the Fair — but it was a greatness achieved at the expense of her people, for his was a reign characterised by violence, the scandalous adulteries of his daughters-in-law, and the triumph of royal authority.
The Cousins’ War by Philippa Gregory
Start With: The White Queen
The inspiration for the critically acclaimed Starz miniseries The White Queen, #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory brings to life the extraordinary story of Elizabeth Woodville, a woman who rises from obscurity to become Queen of England, and changes the course of history forever.
Elizabeth Woodville is a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition. Her mother is Jacquetta, also known as the mystical lady of the rivers, and she is even more determined to bring power and wealth to the family line. While riding in the woods one day, Elizabeth captures the attentions of the newly crowned King Edward IV and, despite her common upbringing, marries him in secret.
When she is raised up to be his queen, the English court is outraged, but Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for her family’s dominance. Yet despite her best efforts, and even with the help of her mother’s powers, her two sons become pawns in a famous unsolved mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the lost princes in the Tower of London.
In this dazzling account of the deadly Wars of the Roses, brother turns on brother to win the ultimate prize: the throne of England.
The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss
Start With: The Name of the Wind
The riveting first-person narrative of a young man who grows to be the most notorious magician his world has ever seen. From his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that transports readers into the body and mind of a wizard.
It is a high-action novel written with a poet’s hand, a powerful coming-of-age story of a magically gifted young man, told through his eyes: to read this book is to be the hero.
The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson
Start With: Gardens of the Moon
The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting and bloody confrontations. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dread Claw assassins.
For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, surviving cadre mage of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.
However, it would appear that the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand.
Conceived and written on a panoramic scale, Gardens of the Moon is epic fantasy of the highest order — an enthralling adventure by an outstanding new voice.
The First Law by Joe Abercrombie
Start With: The Blade Itself
Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and increasingly bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer extraordinaire, is trapped in a twisted and broken body — not that he allows it to distract him from his daily routine of torturing smugglers.
Nobleman, dashing officer and would-be fencing champion Captain Jezal dan Luthar is living a life of ease by cheating his friends at cards. Vain, shallow, selfish and self-obsessed, the biggest blot on his horizon is having to get out of bed in the morning to train with obsessive and boring old men.
And Logen Ninefingers, an infamous warrior with a bloody past, is about to wake up in a hole in the snow with plans to settle a blood feud with Bethod, the new King of the Northmen, once and for all — ideally by running away from it.
But as he’s discovering, old habits die really, really hard indeed… especially when Bayaz gets involved. A bald old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he’s about to make the lives of Glotka, Jezal and Logen a whole lot more difficult.
Gentlemen Bastards by Scott Lynch
Start With: The Lies of Locke Lamora
An orphan’s life is harsh — and often short — in the mysterious island city of Camorr. But young Locke Lamora dodges death and slavery, becoming a thief under the tutelage of a gifted con artist.
As leader of the band of light-fingered brothers known as the Gentleman Bastards, Locke is soon infamous, fooling even the underworld’s most feared ruler. But in the shadows lurks someone still more ambitious and deadly.
Faced with a bloody coup that threatens to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the enemy at his own brutal game — or die trying.
The Dagger and the Coin by Daniel Abraham
Start With: The Dragon’s Path
All paths lead to war… Marcus’ hero days are behind him. He knows too well that even the smallest war still means somebody’s death. When his men are impressed into a doomed army, staying out of a battle he wants no part of requires some unorthodox steps.
Cithrin is an orphan, ward of a banking house. Her job is to smuggle a nation’s wealth across a war zone, hiding the gold from both sides. She knows the secret life of commerce like a second language, but the strategies of trade will not defend her from swords.
Geder, sole scion of a noble house, has more interest in philosophy than in swordplay. A poor excuse for a soldier, he is a pawn in these games. No one can predict what he will become.
Falling pebbles can start a landslide. A spat between the Free Cities and the Severed Throne is spiraling out of control. A new player rises from the depths of history, fanning the flames that will sweep the entire region onto The Dragon’s Path — the path to war.