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Shirley Rousseau Murphy's Fantasy Novels

Here's what the critics said about these novels. Note: Although all except The Catswold Portal and the omnibus edition of the Dragonbards trilogy are out of print, they are available as ebooks and print editions can be found in many public libraries.

Click on book cover to read an excerpt

The Catswold Portal (Adult Fantasy)
The Catworld Portal cover

NAL/ROC hardcover, 1992; paperback, 1993
EOS paperback, 2005
HarperCollins ebook, 2009

"You don't have to love cats to appreciate this fantasy novel in which a race of shapechanging cats are the key to the fate of a Netherworld.... Ms. Murphy's characterization of Melissa is truly remarkable, making the reader fully alive to the vibrant, sensual world of the feline. Masterfully orchestrating this cat's cradle plot, Ms. Murphy will make you take a second look at the next cat you see." -- Romantic Times

"Delightful fantasy.... Murphy...balances her rich, detailed Netherworld with a vividly characterized earthly realm. Her cat people, in particular, ring true." -- Publisher's Weekly

"A captivating feline fantasy.... Characterizations are dynamic, whether human or otherwise, and the growing relationship between Braden and Melissa--as cat and as human--is ingeniously handled as is Melissa's Catswold heritage. Murphy has carefully created two well-realized, disparate worlds linked by the dramatic struggle to defeat the evil queen. Romantic fantasy with plenty of action and sure appeal." -- Booklist

"Murphy's true sorcery is in her deft juggling of two different but inextricably related worlds...and a cast of exotic beasts, outlandlish creatures and intriguing characters caught in a compelling turmoil that swirls them between those worlds.... Some of the finest moments are Murphy's convincing portrayals of the problems faced by a creature who is a cat and a woman.... The Catswold Portal is an enchanting, inventive and ingeniously plotted fantasy, and Murphy's insight into feline nature is remarkable. A word of warning: Don't pick up this book in the evening, intending to read yourself to sleep. You'll be awfully tired the next day." -- Cat Fancy

The Dragonbards Trilogy (Young Adult)

Dragonbards Trilogy cover New! The complete trilogy in one volume:
Nightpool, The Ivory Lyre, and The Dragonbards
Paperback and ebook editions, June 2016

"Scenes that fairly soar infuse the tale with mythical qualities, which are buttressed by vitalized characterizations (the otters, foxes and dragons as well as Teb are developed in loving detail while the evil ones are truly evil). An enthralling fantasy that begs a sequel, better yet a series of sequels." --ALA Booklist (on Nightpool)

"A riveting sequel to Nightpool.... A finely crafted story filled with scenes of chilling horror as well as courage and beauty. Murphy's dragon lore exhibits an exciting immediacy; her scenes of dragons in flight exalt the reader.... Anne McCaffrey, make room." --ALA Booklist (on The Ivory Lyre)

"Once again Murphy demonstrates a fine sense of storytelling, high adventure, scene setting, and characterization--human, animal, and evil monster. And her dragons remain some of the most appealing in contemporary fantasy." --ALA Booklist (on The Dragonbards)

Nightpool cover


Harper & Row, 1985; Harper paperback, 1987
Ebook edition, 2010

"A sense that communication with animals once existed but has been lost permeates all of human lore. Georgia writer Shirley Rousseau Murphy's forte is her ability to vicariously compensate for this loss through her stories. In Nightpool she is in top form." --Atlanta Journal and Constitution

Nightpool ebook cover

(ebook edition)
The Ivory Lyre cover

The Ivory Lyre

Harper & Row, 1987; Harper paperback, 1988
Ebook edition, 2010

"This well-crafted fantasy has a depth and scope reminiscent of Tolkien." --Publisher's Weekly

The Ivory Lyre ebook cover

(ebook edition)
The Dragonbards cover

The Dragonbards

Harper & Row, 1988; Harper paperback, 1989
Ebook edition, 2010

"The concluding volume of the author's generally acclaimed Dragonbards trilogy ... assumes a harrowing narrative pace that builds to a grand, good-over-evil finale.... This is rollicking high fantasy...." --Christian Science Monitor

Dragonbards ebook cover

(ebook edition)

The World of Ere Series (Young Adult)

(Formerly titled The Children of Ynell series)

The Ring of Fire cover


The Ring of Fire

Atheneum, 1977; Avon paperback, 1979; Ebook edition, 2011

"First of a projected series about the land of Ere and the telepathic Children of Ynell.... An intricate adventure story with appeal for fantasy lovers." --ALA Booklist

The Wolf Bell

Atheneum, 1979; Avon paperback, 1980; Ebook edition, 2011

"The enjoyable tale rises above the pack on the strength of the author's unique and compelling 'warts and all' portrayal of Tayba, a multifaceted, real, and fascinating woman." --School Library Journal

The Shattered Stone ebook cover

Omnibus ebook edition containing The Ring of Fire and The Wolf Bell.

The Castle of Hape cover



The Castle of Hape

Atheneum, 1980; Avon paperback, 1981
Ebook edition, 2011

"The many episodes involving the race of winged horses are magnificently imagined." --School Library Journal

Caves of Fire and Ice

Atheneum, 1980; Avon paperback, 1982
Ebook edition, 2011

"The fourth novel set on Ere . . . moves into the past, the present, and the future ... a mind-boggling time sequence." --The Alan Review

The Joining of the Stone

Atheneum, 1981; Avon paperback, 1982
Ebook edition, 2011

"The dramatic climax in a series of five fantasies about the inhabitants, human and otherwise, of the land of Ere. Although each book stands alone, Shirley Murphy satisfactorily draws together the strands (and her incredible images) of good and evil that have woven in and out of approximately a thousand pages of adventure." --Atlanta Journal and Constitution

The Runestone of Eresu ebook cover

Omnibus ebook edition containing The Castle of Hape, Caves of Fire and Ice and The Joining of the Stone.

(This book will appeal to an older audience than the earlier books, including readers of adult fantasy.)

See a complete phone-friendly list of all the adult, YA, and children's books by Shirley Rousseau Murphy.