With a number of books spread across multiple series — and several of those series taking place in the same shared world — it can be tricky to figure out where to dive into Schaefer’s work. We’re here to help. As of 2019, his books spread across two different continuities (with one special exception at the end).
The First STory
“And moments like that…well, they’re pure magic, in the metaphorical and the literal sense. The story made a mark. Left a scar across the entire universe, a scar that couldn’t heal.”
— Detonation Boulevard
Imagine a multiverse of countless worlds, parallel Earths like an endless string of pearls in a vast and infinite night. Some of these worlds look just like ours — close enough you might not even realize you’ve slipped sideways until it’s too late — and others are bizarre, twisted, deadly. Some are battlegrounds. This is the continuity of the First Story, and four of Schaefer’s series (two of them now complete, two ongoing) take place here.
The Daniel Faust series is fast and pitch-dark neo-noir, a tale of mobsters and magicians in the demon-haunted underworld of Las Vegas. Its companion series, Harmony Black, follows an outgunned and desperate team of government monster-hunters as they navigate a world of conspiracies and espionage. The four-volume Revanche Cycle takes place on an Earth next door; this epic Renaissance-inspired fantasy tale follows the struggle for control of a papal throne and lays the groundwork for later, cosmic-scale events. And finally, the Wisdom’s Grave trilogy is an epic crossover featuring characters from all three series as they intersect with the Witch and her Knight, heroines cursed to a cycle of endless reincarnation and death by the first story ever told.
Each series stands on its own; you won’t miss any crucial details if you only read one or two. However, if you read them all, you’ll find crossover characters, foreshadowed events, and Easter eggs galore. Here’s the author-suggested order:
The Complete Revanche Cycle (* see below)
The Long Way Down (Daniel Faust #1)
The White Gold Score (Daniel Faust #1.5)
Redemption Song (Daniel Faust #2)
The Living End (Daniel Faust #3)
A Plain-Dealing Villain (Daniel Faust #4)
The Killing Floor Blues (Daniel Faust #5)
Harmony Black (Harmony Black #1)
Red Knight Falling (Harmony Black #2)
The Castle Doctrine (Daniel Faust #6)
Glass Predator (Harmony Black #3)
Double or Nothing (Daniel Faust #7)
Cold Spectrum (Harmony Black #4)
“A Drive in the Country” (short story, available right here on the site!)
The Neon Boneyard (Daniel Faust #8)
Sworn to the Night (Wisdom’s Grave #1)
Detonation Boulevard (Wisdom’s Grave #2)
Bring the Fire (Wisdom’s Grave #3)
Right to the Kill (Harmony Black #5)
“Sixty-Six Seconds” (short story, in the Urban Enemies anthology)
The Locust Job (Daniel Faust #9) — Coming Late 2019
(* The Revanche Cycle — comprised of Winter’s Reach, Instruments of Control, Terms of Surrender, and Queen of the Night, takes place on its own parallel world and doesn’t have to come first. If you’re going to read everything on the list, though, read it before you get to The Castle Doctrine: that’s the book where Revanche characters start intersecting with the modern-world series.)
The Secret History
“This is New York City, sir. All the hotels are haunted by someone or other. You just have to pick the one with the ghosts that suit you.”
— Ghosts of Gotham
The Secret History is a new continuity, separate from the overlapping worlds and series of the First Story novels. The Secret History is inspired by dark romanticism, drawing from literature and myth and centered around one of the most magical places in the world: New York City. There are witches in the shadows of New York, ghouls haunting colonial graveyards, and centuries of buried secrets. As of 2019 the first book in this saga is complete — Ghosts of Gotham — and a follow-up is being written.
Right, we said there was one special exception. The Charlie McCabe series from Thomas & Mercer Publishing (starting with The Loot, in August 2019) is a pure crime/thriller series with no fantasy elements. As such, technically it doesn’t fit into either of the above continuities.