War, Warfare, and Warriors - Fiction War Novels

"War is not the answer, but if there's only one thing that'll make it better, then call me a warrior..." 
- from Admiral Tibbett's "War is Not the Answer"  

War. A definer of cultures and nations. Embedded in the psyches of the inhabitants of every "civilized" country. The embodiment of humanity's greatest evils, and yet the source of our highest ideals.

Courage  ~  Patriotism  ~  Honor

War creates heroes, but also has been the inspiration behind many great novels. 
Whether it is a war against the ultimate evil such as the war against Sauron in the Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien...

"The Shadow of Sauron" by Ted Nasmith link

Or the sparring of factions such as the houses in The Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin...

From The Art of The Song of Ice and Fire by Michael Komarck link

Most Popular Fiction War Novels:
Locked On by Tom Clancy
Though hard-core fans of Tom Clancy had mixed feelings about this novel, many reviews highlight the strong plot of this loved Locked On. A tale of modern military, terrorism, and political espionage.

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Though written over a century and a half ago, War and Peace is still one of the best-selling fictional war novels.

A recent review from Amazon:
Ever since I was a teen (I'm 51) I tried reading War and Peace. The furthest I ever got was something like Page 80. Six summers ago, I thought, what the heck, give it another shot. After Page 100 or so, the book picked up steam, and I was absolutely awed as I've seldom been by all the great books I've read in my life. That's what I want to share with potential readers of this great book. Stick with it. It's like a trickling stream that grows and grows from many tributaries into a grand wide raging river. It's got everything in it, as if it were written by God. Tolstoy saw everything. There are so many, many unforgettable scenes in it. My favorite two are the costume party at the country estate (pure magic!) and the great wolf-hunting scene in which the wolf actually takes on a personality under the all-knowing skill of Tolstoy's great pen.

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
A very personal following of a fictional soldier's experiences during the Civil War. Though not action-oriented, The Red Badge of Courage gives insight to the darker side of war.

The Forever War by Joe Handleman

Critical acclaim for The Forever War:
"If there was a Fort Knox for Science Fiction writers, we'd have to lock Joe Haldeman up."
--Stephen King, author of The Shining, The Dead Zone, The Stand
"The Forever War is not just a great Science Fiction novel, it's a great Vietnam war novel - and a great war novel, without qualification- that is also Science Fiction.  A classic to grace either genre."
--Iain M. Banks, author of Use of Weapons, The Player of Games, Matter
"FOREVER WAR is brilliant--one of the most influential war novels of our time. That it happens to be set in the future only broadens and enhances its message."
--Greg Bear, author of Moving Mars, Eon, The Forge of God

New Release in Fantasy, Fiction War Novels

Brother Betrayed by Danielle Raver
(my novel)
There are two elements of battle in this novel. First, the main characters are often engaged in hand to hand combat, their chosen weapons usually being swords. To write these scenes with some historical accuracy, I studied different types of swords and their uses in combat. It helps that my husband collects swords and built his own forge in the back yard. 

The other element of warfare in Brother, Betrayed comes from the main kingdom being at constant war with the surrounding tribes. These battles I modeled after battles fought in the Crusades. Though set in a fantasy world, there is a strong emphasis on knights, archers, cavalry, and siege weapons and tactics. 

Several sequences in Brother, Betrayed were based on the Siege of Antioch, where a small number of soldiers defended against a large army in the First Crusade.
An excerpt from a hand to hand combat scene from Brother, Betrayed:

The large man stepped back, drawing his sword. Syah watched him grasp the hilt with both hands and then stand still. “You strike first,” Malgar said, as usual, “gradually to start.”
Syah nodded again as he drew his sword. His mind moved ahead of his actions, calculating the trainer’s moves, his vulnerabilities with a larger, slower sword. The prince moved towards him, swinging his blade downward and stepping to the side.
Malgar parried. “Good, and again,” he ordered.
Syah turned and swung at him from the other side. The trainer parried again and the prince tried at him from a different angle.
“Now faster,” Malgar ordered, stepping back to avoid the prince’s novice blade. The prince could feel his breathing grow shallow and his pulse quicken. He felt a rush of energy, his mind clear, thinking ahead of his strikes, evaluating and executing.
“Good,” Malgar said, “now defend.” Syah changed his stance to block the trainer’s sword. He saw the man’s direction; he watched the position of his sword, predicting his actions. Syah felt satisfaction as he was able to block each of Malgar’s attacks.
“Very nice, you defend well,” the trainer praised. “You know the moves well. Now we’ll increase the speed.”
Syah shifted his sword as Malgar came towards him. The prince held his ground a moment, but stepped back after blocking several quick attacks. Malgar moved forward again. Syah glanced at the trainer’s face, seeing his eyes were narrow, resolute, angry. Syah tightened his hands on the hilt and continued to defensively position his sword to prevent Malgar’s attacks from following through. The weapons master pushed forward, but Syah was close to the wall and had no room to maneuver. The man’s flashing sword came at him faster; although the prince was able to block it, it was becoming more difficult. Syah tried to move to a more open position away from the wall, but his adversary’s sword prevented him.
Malgar emitted a low, furious battle cry and Syah shuddered.

The wars drive the tension between the brothers as they each try to prove their usefulness to the kingdom. Oman, the eldest, is schooled on war by the king:

“A battle is fluid, my son. We do not plan for a single moment, but a series of possible events.”
“Yes Father,” Oman answered.
“Commander Lenpece, you will lead the majority of our mounted troops behind the Marrian army and wait until we engage them. Then you will herd them towards the hills, where Oman will be waiting with a company of fighters and archers. We will keep some cavalry with the main force in case they decide to send archers to the hills to the west. And I will await them, blocking their way to Bafonville. They will perceive us as a possible victory, a fair fight, and perhaps they will grow spine enough to engage us in open battle.”
Oman watched his men gather around him as the king left, awaiting orders. The king looked back to him after mounting. “Shall the skies shine on our victory today,” he said and tugged on the reins.
“We shall let the king and his army gain ground. When the Marrians see him they will slow their advance. We desire our presence to be secret, so we will approach with care, and gain the opposite side of the hill, out of sight. It will be imperative that they see the king’s army first and decide to match them. We will attack at the opportune moment, giving their army a chance to pass us. When the king’s army tears them down and they retreat, they will be exposed to our attack from the hill. Mount, we will ride until we can see the eastern hills in the distance. Tell the archers to follow behind us. Be wary of enemy scouts crossing the area.” The prince mounted and was followed by his host of soldiers and knights.

For more information about Brother, Betrayed visit the Fantasy Island Book Publishing website 

Tags: war, fiction war novels, warfare, warriors,  "The Shadow of Sauron" by Ted Nasmith, Admiral Tibbett's "War is Not the Answer", The Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, Most Popular Fiction War Novels, Locked On by Tom Clancy, War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, The Forever War by Joe Handleman, Brother Betrayed by Danielle Raver, the Crusades, the Seige of Antioch, The First Crusade, knights, archers, siege, battles


  1. Love your post and I'm looking forward to your book coming out in print in November. I've given you a blog award. http://simplyscribblings.blogspot.com/2011/10/celebrations-abound.html