This article will help you determine where to start reading when it comes to the many different Dungeons & Dragons books available.
I started reading D&D novels (official and not) back in the 1980s. The Guardians of the Flame series by Joel Rosenberg was one of my favorites even though it didn’t specifically deal with Dungeons and Dragons. I also heavily read the Gord the Rogue books by Gary Gygax and, of course, the Dragonlance saga by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.
Over the years, Wizards of the Coast and other publishers have put out many interesting novels that take place in the D&D universe. In many cases, the novels actually give a better description of certain kinds of adventures than what you find in the Dungeon Master’s Guide . In this article, I’ve attempted to help you find some of the best novels set in the D&D universe.
- Best Books to Start Reading D&D
- The Dark Elf Trilogy (Forgotten Realms Books)
- Icewind Dale Trilogy (Forgotten Realms Books)
- The Cleric Quintet (Forgotten Realms Books)
- The Moonshae Trilogy by Douglas Niles
- The Chronicles Trilogy (Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Dragons of Winter Night, and Dragons of Spring Dawning)
- Return of the Archwizards by Troy Denning
- Voyage of the Mourning Dawn (Heirs of Ash #1) by Rich Wulf
- The Verdant Passage (Prism Pentad Book 1) by Troy Denning
Best Books to Start Reading D&D
The following D&D books are listed in the best reading order (in our opinion) so you know where to start reading!
The Dark Elf Trilogy (Forgotten Realms Books)
The Dark Elf Trilogy by R.A. Salvatore is the first series of books that I’d recommend. The first novel, Homeland , was Salvatore’s first book in the D&D world. It is a classic story in which the main character, Drizzt Do’Urden, escapes his home village with his mother and his sister after dark elves killed his father. Drizzt is a drow—one of the evil elves who live in the underworld of the Underdark.
Drizzt grows up and becomes a Hunter, one of the elite warriors of his race. But he rejects the evil ways of the drow and makes a life for himself above ground. He lives in the forests as an outcast. This trilogy follows Drizzt as he fights battles against evil, befriends a dwarf, and falls in love. The trilogy also includes Homeland , The Exile , and Sojourn . The Dark Elf Trilogy is considered by many to be the best series of books by R.A. Salvatore.
Icewind Dale Trilogy (Forgotten Realms Books)
The Icewind Dale Trilogy is the second excellent series of books by R.A. Salvatore.
The first book in the series, The Crystal Shard , follows the adventures of the drow ranger, named Wulfgar, and the barbarian, named Bruenor. Wulfgar and Bruenor are traveling around the North to find their fortune when they get caught up in an army conflict. Bruenor plans to form his own dwarven kingdom in the North. This fun and exciting adventure has new twists and turns at every page turn. It is a great book to set up the trilogy.
The second book, Streams of Silver, continues the story. The main characters in this book are Drizzt, Brueonor, and Catti-Brie. They are all searching for the magical kingdom of Mithral Hall.
The third book, The Halfling’s Gem, continues the series of adventures and leads us toward the finale. In this third book, the heroes work to foil the plans of the evil assassin Artemis Entreri.
The Cleric Quintet (Forgotten Realms Books)
The Cleric Quintet is another great series that takes place in the Forgotten Realms.
The books in the series are very different from the Drizzt books, but this is not a bad thing. In fact, this is what makes the series so enjoyable.
The first book in the series, Canticle, follows a young cleric named Cadderly. He was meant to be as far away from Drizzt as possible. Salvatore had written six Drizzt books at this time.
In the second book, In Sylvan Shadows, Cadderly must defeat the evil unleashed on the lands.
The third book, Night Masks, is the best book in the series. It is a classic story of good versus evil.
The fourth book, The Fallen Fortress, is the weakest book in the series. It is a bit of a disappointment after the third book.
The fifth book, The Chaos Curse, is a bit better than the fourth book. It is a fun story with a lot of action.
The Moonshae Trilogy by Douglas Niles
The Moonshae Trilogy is another great series of Forgotten Realms books.
The first book in the series, Darkwalker on Moonshae, is a classic story of good versus evil. It is a fun and exciting adventure with new twists and turns at every page turn.
The second book, Black Wizards, is a bit of a disappointment after the first book. It is a bit slow and boring.
The third book, Darkwell, is the story of Legionnaires and native warriors fighting side by side in Maztica.
Overall, this is a strong series of D&D novels that do well to introduce readers to the world of Dungeons & Dragons albeit with a bit of a South American flavor.
The Chronicles Trilogy (Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Dragons of Winter Night, and Dragons of Spring Dawning)
The Chronicles Trilogy is the first series of books in the Dragonlance saga. Written by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, the first book in the series, Dragons of Autumn Twilight, is a tale of friendship and adventure. Once you start reading, it’s easy to see why this book is a bestseller.
The second book, Dragons of Winter Night, is a bit more political and is a bit harder to read than the first book.
The third book, Dragons of Spring Dawning, is the best book in the series. It is a classic story of good versus evil.
Overall, this series is considered must-read material by most D&D fans. The excellent writing skills of Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman and the creative use of the Dragonlance (which is actually a magical spear) make these books a great read.
Return of the Archwizards by Troy Denning
The Return of the Archwizards is a trilogy of novels by Troy Denning centered around the elf Galaeron Nihmedu, an Evereskan tomb guardian.
The first book in the series, The Summoning, deals with an ancient evil beneath the dune seas of Anauroch. It’s a rip-roaring adventure that helps build the lore of the Forgotten Realms.
In the second book, The Siege, the evil returns. (No spoilers!) The book continues the story from the first book, of course, and is just as good in my opinion. The Sorcerer is the third book and really brings it home with an epic climax that really sums up the D&D experience.
If you’re looking for a good D&D book to start with, this series is a great place in my opinion.
Voyage of the Mourning Dawn (Heirs of Ash #1) by Rich Wulf
This book is amazing if you’ve ever wondered about the airships in D&D, this is a good tale. In it, the crew of the airship Mourning Dawn and Seren, a young street thief, learn about Ashrem’s Legacy. Why do they need to find it, you’ll have to read to find out!
In all seriousness, this isn’t a well-known D&D novel, but it’s one of my favorites. Personally, I love the Dungeons & Dragons novels that feature a character who isn’t all powerful. That might be why I enjoy Voyage of the Mourning Dawn so much.
The Verdant Passage (Prism Pentad Book 1) by Troy Denning
This book is a classic D&D story that will thrill long time readers of the game. Troy Denning’s post-apocalyptic world of Athas remains one of the most talked-about settings in the Dungeons & Dragons universe. While brutal, it offers a bleak landscape fit for heroes seeking their place in an unforgiving world.
The first book in the series, The Verdant Passage, is an excellent example of what sets the novels in this world apart from other D&D books. The story starts with a revolution by a group of unlikely heroes. The book is set in the Dark Sun setting and really helped make that world even more popular in the D&D universe. (Wizards, if you’re listening, bring back Dark Sun!) Ahem.
Moving on. The list above is a great place to start reading if you’re interested in Dungeons & Dragons novels. Have your own favorites we missed? Leave a comment below and let us know!