Book picks similar to
Heroes Die by Matthew Woodring Stover


fantasy
science-fiction
fiction
dark-fantasy

The Way of Shadows


Brent Weeks - 2008
    For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art-and he is the city's most accomplished artist. For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he's grown up in the slums, and learned to judge people quickly - and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint.But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins' world of dangerous politics and strange magics - and cultivate a flair for death.

The Blade Itself


Joe Abercrombie - 2006
    Caught in one feud too many, he’s on the verge of becoming a dead barbarian – leaving nothing behind him but bad songs, dead friends, and a lot of happy enemies. Nobleman Captain Jezal dan Luthar, dashing officer, and paragon of selfishness, has nothing more dangerous in mind than fleecing his friends at cards and dreaming of glory in the fencing circle. But war is brewing, and on the battlefields of the frozen North they fight by altogether bloodier rules. Inquisitor Glokta, cripple turned torturer, would like nothing better than to see Jezal come home in a box. But then Glokta hates everyone: cutting treason out of the Union one confession at a time leaves little room for friendship. His latest trail of corpses may lead him right to the rotten heart of government, if he can stay alive long enough to follow it. Enter the wizard, Bayaz. 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 Logen, Jezal, and Glokta a whole lot more difficult. Murderous conspiracies rise to the surface, old scores are ready to be settled, and the line between hero and villain is sharp enough to draw blood.

The Black Company


Glen Cook - 1984
    Some feel she is evil itself. The hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must, burying their doubts with their dead. Until the prophesy: The White Rose has been reborn, somewhere, to embody good once more. There must be a way for the Black Company to find her... So begins one of the greatest fantasy epics of our age—Glen Cook's Chronicles of the Black Company.Librarian note: an alternate cover for this edition can be found here.

Homeland


R.A. Salvatore - 2005
    But Homeland first reveals the startling tale of how this one lone drow walked out of the shadowy depths of the Underdark, leaving behind a society of evil and a family who want him dead. It is here that the story of this amazing dark elf truly began.

Transformation


Carol Berg - 2000
    He has been a slave for sixteen years, almost half his life, and has lost everything of meaning to him: his dignity, the people and homeland he loves, and the Warden's power he used to defend an unsuspecting world from the ravages of demons. Seyonne has made peace with his fate. With strict self-discipline he forces himself to exist only in the present moment and to avoid the pain of hope or caring about anyone. But from the moment he is sold to the arrogant, careless Prince Aleksander, the heir to the Derzhi Empire, Seyonne's uneasy peace begins to crumble. And when he discovers a demon lurking in the Derzhi court, he must find hope and strength in a most unlikely place...

The Innocent Mage


Karen Miller - 2005
    The Doranen have ruled Lur with magic since arriving as refugees centuries ago. Theirs was a desperate flight to escape the wrath of a powerful mage who started a bitter war in their homeland. To keep Lur safe, the native Olken inhabitants agreed to abandon their own magic. Magic is now forbidden to them, and any who break this law are executed. Asher left his coastal village to make his fortune. Employed in the royal stables, he soon finds himself befriended by Prince Gar and given more money and power than he'd ever dreamed possible. But the Olken have a secret; a prophecy. The Innocent Mage will save Lur from destruction and members of The Circle have dedicated themselves to preserving Olken magic until this day arrives. Unbeknownst to Asher, he has been watched closely. As the Final Days approach, his life takes a new and unexpected turn ...

Weaveworld


Clive Barker - 2001
    With its volatile mix of the fantastical and the contemporary, the everyday and the otherworldly, Weaveworld is an epic work of dark fantasy and horror -- a tour de force from one of today's most forceful and imaginative artists.Barker turns from his usual horror to epic-length fantasy for this account of the Fugue, a magical land inhabited by descendants of supernatural beings who once shared the earth with humans. The Fugue has been woven into a carpet for protection against those who would destroy it; the death of its guardian occasions a battle between good and particularly repulsive evil forces for control of the Fugue. Weaveworld is rich with memorable characters, exciting situations, and pockets of Barker's trademark horror.

Magic Casement


Dave Duncan - 1990
    Think again, for "A Man of His Word" may well be the most original fantasy you ever read. The magic is unique and applied in unexpected ways, some of which the late Lester del Rey admitted he had not met in fifty years as writer and editor. The world itself is unique - there are no humans in Pandemia, only imps, elves, gnomes, jotnar, and many more, all of whom you will recognize as "human."In MAGIC CASEMENT the tale begins gently, even slowly, with Inosolan enjoying an idyllic childhood in her father's tiny backwater kingdom, too innocent even to understand that the feelings she shares with her friend Rap are more than friendship. Mystery, menace, and the gods appear in short order, and from then on the story grows in scope and power to straddle the world, and adversity thrusts rapid maturity on Rap and Inos. Populated by unforgettable characters - Aunt Kade, Little Chicken, Doctor Sagorn, and many more - Pandemia is an incredible world of credible people and infinite surprises.

Feast of Souls


C.S. Friedman - 2007
    Friedman challenged readers to imagine what a world would be like if sorcery required the ultimate sacrifice-that of life itself. Now, in Feast of Souls, she introduces us to a terrifying world in which the cost of magic is just that...in which the fuel for sorcery is the very fire of the human spirit, and those who hunger for magical power must pay for it with their lives. In this epic tale of nightmarish shadows and desperate hope, the greatest threat of all may not be that of ancient enemies returned, or ancient wars resumed, but of the darkness that lies within the hearts of men.

The Deed of Paksenarrion


Elizabeth Moon - 1992
    It takes place in a fictional medieval world comprised of kingdoms of humans, dwarves, and elves. The story begins by introducing Paks as a headstrong girl of 18, who leaves her home (fleeing a marriage arranged by her father) to join a mercenary company. Through her journeys and hardships she comes to realize that she has been gifted as a paladin. The novel was originally published in three volumes in 1988 and 1989 and as a single trade edition of that name in 1992. The three books included are The Sheepfarmer's Daughter, Divided Allegiance and Oath of Gold.From publisher Baen: "Paksenarrion, a simple sheepfarmer's daughter, yearns for a life of adventure and glory, such as was known to heroes in songs and story. At age seventeen she runs away from home to join a mercenary company and begins her epic life . . . Book One: Paks is trained as a mercenary, blooded, and introduced to the life of a soldier . . . and to the followers of Gird, the soldier's god. Book Two: Paks leaves the Duke's company to follow the path of Gird alone—and on her lonely quests encounters the other sentient races of her world. Book Three: Paks the warrior must learn to live with Paks the human. She undertakes a holy quest for a lost elven prince that brings the gods' wrath down on her and tests her very limits."

Wizard's First Rule


Terry Goodkind - 2003
    . . and more. His world, his very beliefs, are shattered when ancient debts come due with thundering violence. In a dark age it takes courage to live, and more than mere courage to challenge those who hold dominion, Richard and Kahlan must take up that challenge or become the next victims. Beyond awaits a bewitching land where even the best of their hearts could betray them. Yet, Richard fears nothing so much as what secrets his sword might reveal about his own soul. Falling in love would destroy them—for reasons Richard can't imagine and Kahlan dare not say.In their darkest hour, hunted relentlessly, tormented by treachery and loss, Kahlan calls upon Richard to reach beyond his sword—to invoke within himself something more noble. Neither knows that the rules of battle have just changed . . . or that their time has run out.This is the beginning. One book. One Rule. Witness the birth of a legend.

Gardens of the Moon


Steven Erikson - 2005
    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.

Legend


David Gemmell - 1984
    His skill in battle has earned him a fearsome reputation throughout the world and the stories of his life are told everywhere. But the grizzled veteran has spurned a life of fame and fortune and has retreated to the solitude of his mountain lair to await his old enemy, Death.Meanwhile, barbarian hordes of the Nadir are on the march, conquering all before them. All that stands before them and victory is the legendary six-walled fortress of the Drenai empire, Dros Delnoch. If the fortress falls, so do the Drenai. Druss reluctantly agrees to come out of retirement. But can even Druss live up to his own legends?Held by many to be Gemmell's most iconic work, the book is considered a classic in the heroic fantasy genre.

The Lies of Locke Lamora


Scott Lynch - 2006
    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 Broken Sword


Poul Anderson - 2014
    Now the elves need the weapon for their war against the trolls. Only Scafloc, a human kidnapped and raised by elves, can hope to persuade Bolverk the ice-giant to make Tyrfing whole again. But Scafloc must also confront his shadow self, Valgard, the changeling in his place among men.