Top 25 Best Assassin Books
There are a lot of different choices when it comes to fantasy. Sprawling epics, fairy tale adaptations, urban, the list goes on.
However, sometimes you're just in the mood for some good old fashioned killing, and the Fantasy Assassin genre fits this craving perfectly.
Assasin Fantasy is a broad term that often covers various underworld activities such as thievery, spying, and other 'outlawed' occupations. So don't think every book we cover is about a shadowy assassin -- thieves are part of the mix too.
Loveable rogues are on the rise, and though these characters certainly aren't lovable, there are few things more awesome than a magic-infused dagger.
Unfortunately, it can be hard to find those stories among the huge volume of books, with the vast amount of 'assassin fantasy' often of dubious quality.
So we've honed our own literary blades and curated a list of some of the best assassin/rogue fantasy around so you can skip straight to the best.
Books in The Acts Of Caine Series (4)
Books in Night Angel Series (2)
Books in Vlad Taltos Series (26)
Books in Tale Of The Kin Series (0)
Books in First Law World Series (6)
Books in Ile-rien Series (5)
Sherlock Holmes for the Victorian era and the master criminals
Books in Study Series (5)
Books in Shadowdance Series (5)
Books in Riyria Revelations Series (5)
Books in Left Hand Of God Series (2)
Books in His Fair Assassin Series (2)
Books in Graceling Realm Series (3)
Books in Mistborn Series (12)
Books in Lord Ermenwyr Series (2)
Books in Throne Of Glass Series (5)
Books in Tales Of The Otori Series (3)
Books in Fallen Blade Series (10)
Books in Six Of Crows Series (1)
Books in Gentleman Bastards Series (10)
Of course, it's a given that you should read the sequel books to Lies of Locke Lamora. The third book Republic of Thieves was released in the later part of 2014 and book four is due sometime this year (2015).
Give The Name of the Wind a try for another book with a very strongly characterized protagonist. The protagonist is not a scoundrel type, however.
If you like the dry, sarcastic tone of the narration and dark humor of the Locke books, you should give Joe Abercrombie's novels (starting with The Blade Itself) a read -- both the trilogy and the stand alone books. Probably the closest you'll find that matches the style and pacing found in Lynch's books, though Abercrombie is darker.
You might enjoy Michael Sullivan's The Crown Conspiracy which is the story of a falsely accused criminal trying to set his name right. It's a light-hearted, over-the-top fantasy tale about a pair of roughish thieves; not as dark as Scott's books and Sullivan is not as talented a wordsmith as Lynch. A fun romp though and Sullivan is one of the more active authors on forums, reddit, and social media platforms.
You might give Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos series a read. Like Locke, the main character is a criminal, and the setting the action takes place is an urban one. All the supporting characters are well developed -- something that Lynch does well when writing about Locke's sidekicks.
Give Chris Wooding's Retribution Falls (Book 1 of the Tales of the Ketty Jay) a read; it's got some of similar elements: a motley crew of somewhat unsuccessful sky pirates, interesting characters, adventure fantasy on the high seas (or shall I say, high skies), and wise-cracking characters. Similar in a lot of ways to Scott Lynch's work, though not as dark. The plot follows the crew of the Ketty Jay, a down-and-out sky ship to which fate has not been kind -- both the captain and the crew are running from past demons of some sort. When the captain schemes to commit a robbery that will make them all rich, things take a turn for the worse when it all goes horribly wrong; the crew and captain find themselves running for their lives with only once chance only: to find the pirate city of Retribution Falls.
Robin Hobb's The Farseer Trilogy is also coming-of-age story which features some of the same conventions used by Lynch, such as a strong protagonist, flashbacks to younger years, a troubled childhood, the journey from nothing to something, etc. The plot is completely different, however.
If you like the whole "band of merry adventurers against the world" sort of thing, then you might give Tigana a try; it's the story of a band of musicians who double as revolutionaries seeking to overthrow and evil sorcerer.
You might also like the Mark Charan Newton's Nights of Villjamur for a similar style of fantasy (in tone, not plot).
Along the lines of gritty fantasy made into a non-epic fantasy, read Sam Sykes' Tome of the Undergates.
Another recommendation you might find interesting is Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser if you are a fan of the Gentlemen Bastards books. Jean is a much less raunchy version of Fafhrd and Locke is a far more risk taking and reckless version of Gray Mouser.
If you like Lies of Locke Lamora, you are almost sure to like Among Thieves (Hulick's work is first person while Lynch does 3rd person). It features that sort of roguish misunderstood man with a chip on his shoulder vs the greater world theme of Lynche's books. The protagonist, Drothe, is a low level criminal in a sort of thieves guild. His best bud is a master swordsman. You should start to see some parallels here. The city setting itself mixes the baroque with the filthy, with the city sort of a Ventian reflection of Lynch's Camorr.
The Broken Empire series by Mark Lawrence. A broken world with remnants of a more advanced civilization scattered about. An anti-hero character who ends up on the wrong side of justice. Witty and sarcastic dialogue. You may just like reading about Honorable Jorg Ancraft if you are a fan of Locke.
The Ballad of the Whiskey Robber -- a book that's as shocking as it is true. Sometimes art imitates life and life imitates art. I'm not sure which is the case here, but this is a TRUE story about a gentleman rogue, a real life version of Locke.
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas is an absolute classic of literature, but if we are going to talk about rouges becoming gentlemen for a mission of revenge, this book has to be mentioned. And hey, if you have never read this book, then shame on you. Start. The count is the original Locke.