An Introduction to John Gwynne’s the Banished Lands universe

John Gwynne’s series, The Faithful and the Fallen and Of Blood and Bone, are perfect for fans of epic fantasy like Game of Thrones. If you’re new to John’s work, here’s where to start.

John Gwynne is the author of two fantasy series, The Faithful and the Fallen quartet and the Of Blood and Bone trilogy. Set in the Banished Lands, where angels and demons wage war, his books are perfect for fans of epic fantasy like George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. If you’re new to John’s work or have yet to delve into his newest series, here’s everything you need to know.

Looking for more reading inspiration? Discover our edit of the best fantasy books. 

Often, the best heroic fantasy is both intimate and epic, whether our hero is triumphing over inner demons – or the ones rampaging across the countryside. And John Gwynne is no stranger to either conflict. His books, set in the Banished Lands, sweep masterfully from bloody battlefields to fraught personal dilemmas, which culminate in tense, explosive climaxes.

Here’s a primer on the Banished Lands, its conflicted human occupants, and the forces of light and darkness determined to claim the world.


The Banished Lands

Plenty of books deal with the celestial versus the demonic. In the Banished Lands, angels and demons wage war against one another in a landscape heavily inspired by Paradise Lost. At first, the protagonists seem obvious; the Ben-Elim are the angels, bringers of light, while the brutal Kadoshim are the harbingers of darkness and death.

But not everything is so black and white. The Ben-Elim reveal themselves as brutal rule enforcers, with their human followers often paying the price. And the demonic Kadoshim offer tantalising freedom. Through wonderfully conflicted characters, Gwynne explores the classic dichotomy of angels versus demons.


The Faithful and the Fallen quartet

The Faithful and the Fallen centres on Corban, a young man on his quest to become a warrior and protect the Banished Lands from the forces of darkness.


by John Gwynne

Young Corban dreams of becoming a warrior, to wield a spear and protect his king’s realm. But ancient evils are stirring in the Banished Lands, as angels and demons renew their fight to claim dominion. Corban finds himself caught up in a prophecy of two champions of light and darkness, the Bright Star and the Black Sun – and the battle between them could decide the fate of the world.


by John Gwynne

His homeland conquered, Corban flees with his companions to sanctuary. But the journey is treacherous, taking them past warbands, giants and the vicious wolven in the mountains, and he must grapple with his new status as the mythic Bright Star, the Banished Lands’ saviour. Meanwhile, the war intensifies, as High King Nathair and cunning Queen Rhin plot their conquest.


by John Gwynne

The Banished Lands are engulfed in war. High King Nathair and Queen Rhin plan to summon the demonic Asroth and his host of Fallen to the Banished Lands to decide the realm’s fate once and for all. But Corban is determined to fight. With his companions, he travels to the fabled fortress Drassil, where it is prophesied that the Bright Star will stand against the Black Sun.


by John Gwynne

High King Nathair has seized Drassil. With it, he grows closer to summoning Asroth and his demon horde. Meanwhile, Corban has been captured by the Jotun, warrior giants. His warband scattered, Corban must make new allies if he is to stand against High King Nathair and the demonic threat. His life – and the fate of the Banished Lands – hangs in the balance.

Of Blood and Bone trilogy

Set a century after the events of Wrath, Of Blood and Bone focuses on Drem, a trapper, and Riv, a young, tempestuous soldier. They both carrying life-changing secrets – ones which will change the Banished Lands forever.

A Time of Dread

by John Gwynne

The Ben-Elim once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished Lands with an iron fist. When Drem finds mutilated corpses in the forest, he discovers that their ancient enemy may not be as crushed as they thought. And in the south, hot-headed Riv is faced with a dangerous rift within the Ben-Elim themselves.

A Time of Blood

Book cover for A Time of Blood

At the battle of Starstone Lake, Drem and his companions witnessed unforgettable horrors, like a demon rising from the dead. They flee to warn the Order of the Bright Star, as the demons gather their mighty war host. Meanwhile, Riv must contend with a deadly new secret – one that will set her against the Ben-Elim. Together, Drem, Riv and the Bright Star’s warriors must fight to save the Banished Lands. But can the light triumph when the dark is rising?

A Time of Courage

by John Gwynne

Angels, demons and heroes face the final battle for the Banished Lands in this epic conclusion to the Of Blood and Bone trilogy. Asroth, the King of the Underworld is finally free and is armed with fearsome weapons he intends to use to crush the warrior-angels for good. The Ben-Elim are desperately trying to unite the opposition to Asroth, but armies are gathering across the Banished Lands to settle ancient grudges . . . 

If you're looking for even more inspiration for your next read, discover our edit of the best new fantasy books and the best fantasy books of all time.