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'Quest of the Riddle-Master'
by Patricia A McKillip (1976)


Long after the last wizard had vanished, a prince of farmers masters the riddles that hold all knowledge. When evil forces start replacing all his friends with shape changers, he sets off with a companion to try and solve the riddle of the three stars on his forehead. So begins Patricia McKillip's superb 'Quest of the Riddle-Master' trilogy, now available in an omnibus edition.





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The Silmarillion
by J R R Tolkien (1977)


Posthumous work written over three decades and edited by Tolkien's son Christopher. The book outlines the First Age of the Middle Earth world depicted in Lord Of the Rings. It tells of the struggle for control of the Silmarils in the historical lead-up to the War of the Ring. Some good stuff, but essentially for devoted fans only and certainly not the place to start with Tolkien.





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'The Belgariad'
by David Eddings (1982)


Formulaic epic fantasy from one of its most popular proponents. The official line for Pawn of Prophecy reads: "The farm boy, Garion, begins a dangerous quest to recover the magic Orb and prevent the evil Torak from seizing power over the world." And from there another four rather long volumes complete The Belgariad series. One of the better epics if you like this sort of stuff.





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'The Black Company'
by Glen Cook (1984)


Those who are weary with do-gooder fantasies might want to check out Glen Cook's Black Company series. Told from the viewpoint of a group of renegade mercenaries, the first book of many focuses on the search for the White Rose - the embodiment of good. Of course there are plenty of evil figures to deal with along the way. This volume will probably be sufficient for most.





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Bridge Of Birds
by Barry Hughart (1984)


Delightfully sensitive and humorous book from the Master Li trilogy set in "an ancient China that never was". When a disease strikes down children a peasant and his sage set out to find a cure in the Great Root Of Power. Beautifully drawn characters that aren't out to conquer all evil, just the bits that affect the ones they love. A cut above the typical quest novel.





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'Percy Jackson and the Olympians'
by Rick Riordan (2005)


The debut novel in the 'Percy Jackson & the Olympians' children's book series introduces the twelve-year-old hero as the demigod son of a mortal and the Greek god Poseidon. Here he deals with a prophecy from the Oracle that leads him to the Underworld to stave off a war between the gods of Olympus. A monster bestseller that has since been adapted for the big screen.





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'Graceling Realm'
by Kristin Cashore (2008)


In a world where people born with an extreme skill - called a Grace - are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of the skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. When she first meets Prince Po, who is Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. Farm girl who always had a book to read comes up with a winning young adult fantasy.





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'The Stormlight Archive'
by Brandon Sanderson (2010)


The story of Roshar, a world of stone and storms. It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain - mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. The quest for an ancient text called 'The Way of Kings' begins. Jordan disciple comes up with a winner.


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