What do you eat? Who do you pray to? How do you dispose of your dead? Looking back on the three books I’ve written so far in the Thrones & Bones series (Frostborn, Nightborn, and the just-finished third manuscript), I shouldn’t be surprised to see that I address these questions in each of the narratives. They appear to be staples of the way I world-build. But that second one—who do you pray to?—is really interesting. I put in a lot of work hammering out the pantheon of deities for each of my imaginary countries, but very little of it shows up in the finished product. A god of luck makes a minor intervention in Frostborn. A god is said to be responsible for a supernatural incident that is related to but not witnessed by the leads in Nightborn. In book three—well, no spoilers, but book three has a strong Grecian influence, and so divine beings may be a little more active than in the previous books.
When I look back at the books that I’ve loved over the years, I see that a lot of them deal with gods and goddesses as very large participants in their world, practically characters in their own right. Here are five books that have made a particularly strong impact on me and the way I think of the divine in fantasy fiction.