Since I discovered audiobooks I’ve been able to smash through dozens of books a year. As I write this, I’ve completed 106 books for 2022. It’s fair to say that audiobooks are my favourite form of entertainment, ranking above TV, film, music, and gaming. One question I am often asked is what my favourite books are. It would be difficult to come up with a list of my top five, ten, or even twenty books, as I’d always be stressing about leaving certain books out. Instead, I will share a few of my favourite series of books. I’m not going to include series that are still in progress, but rather focus on those that are complete. Mild spoilers will follow each series listed.
- The Century Trilogy by Ken Follett;
- Fall of Giants
- Winter of the World
- Edge of Eternity
I was not initially a fan of Ken Follett. I found the Pillars of the Earth to be quite dull. The Century Trilogy does not, on the face of it, sound that exciting but as the story progressed I was gripped. The books follow several families in the UK, Russia, and the US against the backdrop of world history. We are introduced to these families in the early 20th century, and then we see how their fortures rise and fall through the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War, the Cold War, all the way to present day.
Favourite Scene: There are many to chose from, but the concert in West Berlin in the third book was an emotional scene.
- The Warlord Trilogy by Bernard Cornwell
- The Winter King
- Enemy of God
I’ve read this series more than any other over the years, and I’ve listened to the incredible audiobook version narrated by Jonathan Keeble more than once. From all the books about Arthur published to date, this is the definitive version. Grounded in reality, these books follow the Celtic warlord Arthur, bastard son of High King Uther, as he attempts to unify the warring kingdoms of Britain against the Saxon invaders. The story is told from the point of view of Derfel, one of Arthur’s most trusted soldiers. This story is less knights in shining armour, and more spearmen in shieldwalls fighting bloody battles. Many of the traditional elements of the Arthurian legend are turned on their head, such as the portrayal of Lancelot, the Holy Grail, and the Round Table, but in my opinion Cornwell’s version is superior because of these changes. No matter how many times I complete this series, the ending always leaves me choked up and emotional.
Fans of the show The Last Kingdom will love this series; it’s the same author, and The Last Kingdom works almost as a loose sequel to The Warlord Trilogy.
Favourite Scene: The Battle of Lugg Vale, towards the end of the first book.
- The Expanse by James S. A. Corey
- Leviathan Wakes
- Caliban’s War
- Abaddon’s Gate
- Cibola Burn
- Nemesis Games
- Babylon’s Ashes
- Persepolis Rising
- Tiamat’s Wrath
- Leviathan Falls
Technically The Expanse series also includes a number of novellas that take place between the books of the main series, but it’s not essential to read them. The Expanse is just pure art. James S. A. Corey is the pen name of due Daniel Abraham and Ty Frank, the latter of whom worked with George R. R. Martin, the author of Game of Thrones.
If I had to describe The Expanse briefly, it would be Game of Thrones in space, but the good GoT that involved political intrigue, nuanced story telling, and tense action, as opposed to bizarre character turns, coffee cups in castles, and battles you can’t see in the dark.
The Expanse is set a couple of hundred years in the future. Humanity has colonised Luna, Mars, many of the Jovian and Saturnian moons, and The Belt. In this setting there are rival factions vying for supremacy against the backdrop of a newly discovered technology. Mars and Earth are at each other’s throats. The colonists of The Belt yearn for independence and respect. In some ways it’s like powder keg of Europe before the world wars. The characters we follow are the crew of the Rocinante, a salvaged warship, as they find themselves trapped between the various powers of the solar system.
Favourite Scene: The battle between the Rocinante and the Pella. I will not say anymore about it so as not to spoil the action for those who’ve not read it. It is the finest space battle put on the page. Incredible.
- The Cemetary of Forgotten Books by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
- The Shadow of the Wind
- The Angel’s Game
- Prisoner of Heaven
- The Labyrinth of Spirits
A Spanish series set in, and around, Barcelona in the first half of the 20th century. I started these books with some reluctance as the idea just didn’t grab me. I was wrong. I cannot praise these books highly enough. There are books that tell entertaining stories. There are classics. There are tales that cross into mainstream culture, and then there are works that are just pure art. The Cemetary of Forgotten Books can, technically, be read in any order, although most people recommend reading them in the order I’ve listed them. I don’t want to say much about these books because I think it’s best to go into them with no expectations. There are few books that resonate with me so deeply, but I loved these.
Favourite Scene: Impossible to choose just one. The whole series is just beautiful.
- Remembrance of Earth’s Past by Cixin Liu
- The Three-Body Problem
- The Dark Forest
- Death’s End
You may have seen posts on social media about the upcoming Netflix adaptation of The Three-Body Problem by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the guys who adapted Game of Thrones for TV. There is also a Chinese adaptation in the works which I suspect will be more faithful to the books.
The Three-Body Problem is a story of first contact with an alien civilization, the mystery surrounding a computer game, and a series of suicides amongst scientists who claim physics isn’t real.
The first book in the series is excellent, but for me the second book, The Dark Forest, may be the single finest science fiction book around. The name comes from a theory put forward by one of the characters to explain why space is so quiet, and we we haven’t made contact with aliens. The theory is simple, and horrifying. The scene in which this is discussed is one of my favourite scenes across all the books I’ve read.
Favourite Scene: Luo Ji and Da Shi discuss Dark Forest Theory.
- The Nemesis Saga by Jeremy Robinson
- Island 731
- Project Nemesis
- Project Maigo
- Project 731
- Project Hyperion
- Project Legion
I discovered Jeremy Robinson by accident. As I was scrolling through Audible I saw the cover for Infinite, and the summary was interesting so I bought it. It was then forgotten about as I got sidetracked with other books. I then found myself craving Kaiju stories, and I came across The Nemesis Saga. The series follows the adventures of Jon Hudson, an agent of the paranormal section of Homeland Security in the US. During a routine investigation he uncovers a shady group experimenting with Kaiju DNA.
The series, like all of Jeremy’s work, features great dialogue and the characters feel real, albeit with some traits dialled up to eleven.
Favourite Scene: When we first encounter the full sized Nemesis.
I hope you found this interesting and I’m sure this list will change over time as more series are completed. Some contenders for inclusion in future include,
- Chess Team by Jeremy Robinson
- The Stone Man series by Luke Smitherd
- The Lady Astronaut series by Mary Robinette Kowal
If you have read an incredible series that you think I might like, please leave a comment and let me know. Also, if you enjoy my writing please leave a tip in my virtual tip jar by clicking the image below:
2 thoughts on “Muchos Libros”
Met up with a friend this weekend and he told me that his son (at uni studying film or something) was an extra on The Three Body Problem show (Netflix). Not a speaking part, I think he played someone who was cryogenically frozen (I’ve only read the first book so assume this is in the later books).
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That’s cool! Yeah, it’s a plot point of the second and third books.
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