As someone who reads voraciously, and this year alone have read 27 books, it’s a question I always struggle with, which genre do you pick, which authors and their work do you leave out? It is also a movable feast because some authors improve as they write more books. Does a book have to be first-class writing to be in the top 10? Or does it also have to hold something else, something intangible, some nostalgia for what it meant at the time?

1. Lion of Macedon by David Gemmell

This book meant so much to me that one of its characters, Parmenion, became my online name, my shop name, and every log on since.

It’s a tale that was originally written as historical fiction and then was changed to fantasy because the author’s editor didn't want to confuse his brand. I would love to have read the original text. It was this book that ignited my thirst for Historical Fiction when I had previously read crime and fantasy.

2. Luciano's Luck by Jack Higgins

I struggled to pick which Jack Higgins novel to have in my top 10 as so many of his books are just fantastic. I have read every book dozens of times and enjoyed them just as much as the first read. He really is the master thriller writer of his day.

3. God of War by Christian Cameron

Christian Cameron is one of the finest writers in the Historical Fiction genre. The action is so real it leaps from the page. I think this comes from the author’s personal experience as a historical re-enactor. When you couple this with his deep knowledge of history, his background in the military and a love of the subject that is unparalleled, you get the best of the best. I chose this one because once again we meet Parmenion.

4: The Empire Trilogy (RiftWar Cycle) by Raymond E. Feist and Jenny Wurts

(OK so this is a cheat, these are 3 books, but you cannot split this trilogy)

The Riftwar and Serpent War series, and spin-offs are some of the most magical and exciting fantasy books written. It is escapist fantasy, before people had even thought of grim dark, and brings real world issues into fantasy. It is as wide in scope and imagination as Tolkien and, for me, better written.

5: Waylander by David Gemmell

This is the third Drenai book, in a series that will always rank as my all time favourite fantasy series. So many rich lands, people and characters. David Gemmell was and always will be my favourite writer, not because he is the best, but because of who he was, how kind he was and how much he inspired me to do things better, smarter and with integrity. His flawed heroes should be an inspiration to all.

6: Last Light by Alex Scarrow

After several years of research into an issue that affects us all, Alex Scarrow has written a chilling thriller that depicts in a harrowing convincing way just how fragile our society really is, and how we are only a hair's breadth away from its collapse.

This is a mixture of great idea well-executed, and with great characters, but the one that tips it into the top 10 is that it is the first time I have been in a book. I won a competition to be a character in this title, as Lt Robin Carter.

Take all of that and mix it into one of the scariest modern "What if" scenarios and you have a great read.

7: Wolf of the Plains by Conn Iggulden

Wolf of the Plains is the first in his Ghengis series, and was one of those books that reminded me of how close Historical Fiction and Fantasy can be. In the Drenai (Gemmell) you have the nadir, based on Genghis Khan's mongol horde. So it tied a past love to new one, fantasy to Historical fiction.

8: Vlad the Last Confession by C.C. Humphreys

When I first decided to have a go at writing, I took a look at what was out there.  When I saw lots of vampires, it reminded me that the legend of Dracula was based on Vlad the Impaler.  I spent 6 months researching Vlad and then I saw an advert for this book. A multi POV story with a fantastic voice. It’s a no holds barred plot, with an unforgiving yet non-judgmental story. When it was released it was my book of the year.

9: Shakespeare’s Rebel by C.C. Humphreys

All the quality of the author’s previous work mixed with a true love of the subject (his background in acting has given him a deep affection for Hamlet), this book encompasses the time period and Shakespeare himself.

10: Brother’s Fury by Giles Kristian

Following in the footsteps of Bernard Cornwell, Giles Kristian continues his thrilling and acclaimed story of the Rivers family, whose lives are turned upside down by that most brutal and tragic of wars - the English Civil War.

Giles has always made me feel like a friend, not some obscure blogger. He is one of life's truly talented people. He has been a singer, modelled the odd watch and each and every book he writes is better than the last, which he already made difficult by setting the bar so high with his first book.

There are so many other authors who deserve to be in this list and who delight my reading world every year. SJA Turney (one of the finest writers I call friend), Simon Scarrow, Bernard Cornwell, Andy McDermott, David Gibbins, Mike Arnold, AL Berridge, Nick Brown, Saul David, John Wilcox, Angus Donald, Robert Fabbri, Justin Hill, Douglas Jackson / James Douglas, Ben Kane, Robert Low, Anthony Riches, Manda Scott, Harry Sidebottom, Henry Venmore-Rowland, Russ Whitfield, James Wilde, Ben Aaronovitch, George MacDonald Fraser, Luke Scull (a new face with loads of potential). This list could go on and on.

The key thing when looking for your next read is to not be put off by critics. It is harder to say why you love a book than to tear it down. Share what you enjoy with others and Good Reads is a great place to do this.

Parmenion Books was set up by Robin Carter to help people find books and get hold of signed 1st edition copies of books they love.

Robin writes a blog  

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