In my previous novels Sorcery of Thorns and An Enchantment of Ravens, I shied away from addressing religion in the worldbuilding. I felt that if I did choose to explore faith in a fantasy setting, I would prefer to do so thoughtfully, as a centerpiece of the world—and in a way that allowed me to work the setting’s magic system into the religious hierarchy. I finally had the chance to do this with Vespertine, a book I like to pitch (thankfully not to my publisher’s total horror) as “medieval Venom starring a nun and a ghost.”
Vespertine is about a young woman training to be a nun who awakens an ancient undead spirit bound to a saint’s relic, and wields its staggering destructive power to battle the Dead. Here are five of my favorite books featuring fantasy clergy that inspired me while writing it, their premises combining religion, magic, and death.