Tired of looking longingly out your window while stuck inside? Then escape into these fantastic worlds each offering endless hours of aural pleasure! Each of these first books in their respective series represent a different flavor in the enormous fantasy pie. Have a slice, or better yet try them all! Happy listening.
The Belgariad Series by David Eddings, read by Cameron Beierle
This epic fantasy classic is filled to the brim with all of the tropes and archetypes that have come to define the epic fantasy genre. The book opens with an excerpt from an ancient text- a historical accounting of sorcerers and magic, gods and mortals, and a wondrous orb of untold power. Then the story begins in earnest on a small farm in a serene countryside. There an orphan boy named Garion is about to take his first steps towards fulfilling his destiny. On his journey, fraught with danger and secrets waiting to be revealed, he will be guided by his Aunt Pol, an old vagrant storyteller who he calls Mister Wolf, and an ever-growing cast of adventurers. Following in the footsteps of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring and Terry Brooks’ The Sword of Shannara, David Eddings’ The Pawn of Prophecy rightfully takes its place on the shelf aside those masterworks of epic fantasy.
The Imager Portfolio Series by L.E. Modesit Jr., read by William Dufris:
Rhennthyl is born the son of a successful wool merchant in the capital city of the most powerful nation in the world. Living a relatively simple life, he has no interest in business and trade, but instead has his sights set on developing his talents as a portraitist. He is apprenticed to a master artist and growing renowned for his own abilities, when suddenly tragedy strikes and his world as he knows it is razed in flames. From the ashes though, a spark is born within Rhennthyl and he is whisked away to a magical college where he must now study to become an Imager, one of the rare few who possess the ability to create objects through the power of thought. There he will find that his life has become much more complicated and he will have to navigate politics and intrigue to survive threats both near and afar.
The Eddie LaCrosse Series by Alex Bledsoe, read by Stefan Rudnicki
Eddie LaCrosse is your typical no-nonsense private investigator intent on hiding from his past, but unable to escape it. A self-described “sword jockey” of some minor renown, and maybe a little ill repute depending on who you ask, he has a different sword to suit each occasion. And he never forgets the knife in his boot. You lose something, or need to find someone, he’s your man. For the right amount of gold that is. His latest job was simple – find a missing princess. That is until the web of lies he’s been told begin to unravel, and he finds himself entangled in a mystery most foul and much more dangerous than he bargained for. He should have asked for more gold. This title is a fascinating genre-blender – equal parts fantasy and hardboiled noir. What you get is something that is no longer “Sword and Sorcery”, but rather something I’d like to call “Sword and Cigarettes”.
The Riyria Revelations Series by Michael J. Sullivan, read by Tim Gerard Reynolds
Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn are a lot of things – mercenaries, thieves, outlaws. Yes. All of the above. But king killers? Definitely not the job they signed up for. When these two renowned rogues accept what appears to be a simple parcel procurement job (steal a sword), making money couldn’t be easier, that is until things go sideways and they suddenly find themselves framed for the murder of a king. Now on the run, the pair are embroiled in a vast conspiracy involving neighboring nations and a powerful church. Join this pair of lovable rogues in a swashbuckling fantasy adventure filled with action, comedy, and intrigue reminiscent of William Goldman’s The Princess Bride.
~posted by Darren N.