The Grave Is No Bar: Six Books With Some Necromancy

Credit astromoali

The theme of this Wyrd & Wonder list is exactly what it says on the tin. Necromancy. Lets see what books I awaken from their slumber for this one…

1. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

We’ll start with a gimme. If this book was any more morbid, it’d be thrown out of Sisters of Mercy gigs. Pretty much every page is dedicated in some way to using magic to get dead things to done for you – or Gideon mocking that. Honestly, the only problem with mentioning this one is its so necromantic there’s nothing else to say.

2. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

From the obvious to the potentially perplexing, although I’m sure some of you saw this coming from the title. To me, The Wheel of Time is a fascinating choice here as while there’s no overt discipline of magic studying life after death, the book is suffused with it. Put the Horn of Valere aside for a moment and each of the three boys has some sort of connection to the death – Perrin has Hopper, Mat has lots of people’s memories, and Rand has Lews Therin. Also Balefire. Raising the dead by wiping the killer out of existence is one way of doing it.

3. The Hammers of Ulric by Dan Abnett

The traditional role of the Undead in many a fantasy novel is to be raised up by some obsessive maniac with the intent of conquest and death, providing guilt-free warfare. That’s exactly what we get in this romp from the Warhammer world, which I remember with great if possibly misguided fondness.

4. Jirel of Joiry by CL Moore

There’s one particular short story I’m thinking of here, where Jirel regrets her hasty response to a suitor and decides to put things right by bringing him back from the dead. By going to hell. A lovely little phantasmagoric adventure.

5. The Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

We are primarily here for Lord Soth, unliving proof that just because you are cursed to an eternity of walking undead anguish as a result of fucking up big, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself making sure nobody else does. That’s exactly Lord Soth’s game and why he’s become an iconic D&D villain.

6. Sabriel by Garth Nix

We close this out with another iconic tale of a Necromancer, here Nix’s YA heroine Sabriel, the guardian of the Northern Border. Not every Necromancer is there to see that the dead get up to misbehaviour, after all; some want to prevent it.

There we go. This list is a little lacklustre as I feel like someone has raised me from the dead too. Let me know below about your favourite fantasy books where you can’t keep a good corpse down…


8 thoughts on “The Grave Is No Bar: Six Books With Some Necromancy

  1. I have been seeing Sabriel on a lot of lists, which got me thinking about books with necromancy themes – and lo, I found your post! I’d add Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard to the list – I’ve near read the series but people promise it is comic fantasy at its darkest best.

    Liked by 1 person

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