Book Recs: King and Lionheart

Initially, I had not a clue what my second rec list this month would be. Spooky season recs was an obvious one, but after that, I was stuck. But then along came Shri and told me to rec books that fit the king and lionheart trope.

Before we start, though, a quick definition, courtesy of Shri, again:

it’s like hero burdened with the main problem and person who is unconditionally loyal to them and a protector. their rock if you will.

For want of a better example, think Merlin and Arthur from BBC’s Merlin. And since what’s better than a trope, than that same trope made gay, I come bearing recs (sometimes romantic, sometimes not).


The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps


Kai Ashante Wilson
Rep: Black bi mc, Black gay li

Why Should I Read It?

I don’t really know how to describe this book, in all honesty. If you haven’t read one of Kai Ashante Wilson’s novelettes/novellas before, I’m begging you to rectify that ASAP. He has this amazing knack of pulling you into the story so you find yourself fully immersed in the world he’s created and never want to put it down. And the yearning. What is a king and lionheart trope without yearning?




Elizabeth A. Lynn
Rep: gay mc
CWs: internalised homophobia

Why Should I Read It?

This book is honestly the height of the king and lionheart trope. I don’t think I’ve read a single one on this list that is more so. It’s also a book that, when I finished, made me want to fling* it across the room in frustration (the good kind I swear!). Like the feelings it evokes in the last chapter are indescribable.

*I didn’t, since I was reading it on my laptop.


City of Lies


Sam Hawke
Rep: bi mc, lesbian mc

Why Should I Read It?

First, a mini disclaimer: this is a slowburn, not (yet!) canonically romantic king and lionheart trope. But boy does it hit the trope so well. It’s very much about the Yearning, which I am sure we can all relate to. And on top of the king and lionheart, it has an excellent f/f romance in the second book too! (If you’re interested in reading it, right now, I’m running a readathon on twitter in the lead up to book 2. Just saying.)


The Darkest Bloom


P. M. Freestone
Rep: bi mc

Why Should I Read It?

Can I get a hell yeah for UNREQUITED king and lionheart? No? You don’t like angst as much as I do? Well, you’re missing out, truly. What’s more king and lionheart than going on a quest to find the ingredients to an antidote when your king (who you are in love with!) is poisoned? And against orders too!




Tracy Deonn
Rep: bi li, lesbian, gay & nonbinary characters

Why Should I Read It?

There was no way this book wasn’t getting on this list, let’s be real. Arthur/Lancelot/Merlin dynamics are one of the OG king and lionheart dynamics and this book does it so well, with the twist that it also at first is a broken king and lionheart dynamic. Also, the ending of this book is the sexiest ending to a book I’ve read this entire year and I desperately now need book 2.


The Wicker King


K. Ancrum
Rep: bi mc with anorexia, anxiety & depression, bi mc with peduncular hallucinosis, polyamory
CWs: child neglect

Why Should I Read It?

Take the king and lionheart trope, gently gently tip it into codependency*, and you get something like this book. And it is so intense, you won’t be able to put it down. Plus it also fits the best friends to lovers trope (aka the best trope in existence).

*This is pointed out as not being healthy in the book, don’t worry.


These Rebel Waves


Sara Raasch
Rep: gay mc, mlm li
CWs: past child abuse, past torture

Why Should I Read It?

So the king and lionheart-ness of this book doesn’t really become clear until the sequel (all the more reason to read both!) but when I say it’s SO. GOOD. I really mean it. I mean, it has that added angst of said lionheart being willing to do anything to keep their king alive, even if it means the king hates them afterwards.


The Unspoken Name


A. K. Larkwood
Rep: lesbian mc, wlw li, gay mc, bi character

Why Should I Read It?

Unlike the other books on this list, the king and lionheart trope in this isn’t romantic at all. It’s also mixed up with a lot of other potential kings and lionhearts and truly, you might even say it’s about a lionheart discovering a new king. Perhaps.


The Winter Duke


Claire Eliza Bartlett
Rep: lesbian mc and li, bi side character, nonbinary side characters

Why Should I Read It?

Think king and lionheart but if said king and lionheart were forced into a political marriage and neither of them really knows the other beforehand. A slowburning king and lionheart, you might say. The relationship between Ekata and Inkar is what makes this book.


What would you rec?

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5 Replies to “Book Recs: King and Lionheart”

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