John Gardner Books

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John Gardner was an American writer, literary critic, essayist and a university professor. His prolific writings include the 1971 novel Grendel which narrates the Beowulf myth from the monster point of view. He was born and raised in New York to a dairy farmer and a lay preacher father. His mother was an English teacher at a local school. Gardener parents were fond of Shakespeare and mostly recited Shakespeare literature together. As a child, the author attended public schools and most times worked at his father farm where his younger brother was accidentally killed y a cult packer which Gardener was driving. He carried the blame for his brother’s death which resulted in him experiencing flashbacks, nightmares his entire life. This incident formed a foundation of Gardner’s criticism and fiction.

Order of Boysie Oakes Series

1The Liquidator 1964Description / Buy
2Understrike 1965Description / Buy
3Amber Nine 1966Description / Buy
4Madrigal 1967Description / Buy
5Hideaway (Short Story) 1968Description / Buy
6Founder Member 1969Description / Buy
7Traitor's Exit 1970Description / Buy
8The Airline Pirates 1973Description / Buy
9Air Apparent 1973Description / Buy
10The Assassination File 1974Description / Buy
11A Killer for a Song 1975Description / Buy

Order of Derek Torry Series

1A Complete State of Death 1970Description / Buy
2The Corner Men 1976Description / Buy

Order of Detective Sergeant Suzie Mountford Series

1Bottled Spider 2002Description / Buy
2Streets of Town 2003Description / Buy
3Angels Dining at the Ritz 2004Description / Buy
4Troubled Midnight 2005Description / Buy
5No Human Enemy 2007Description / Buy

Order of Herbie Kruger Series

1The Nostradamus Traitor 1979Description / Buy
2The Garden of Weapons 1981Description / Buy
3The Quiet Dogs 1988Description / Buy
4Maestro 1993Description / Buy
5Confessor 1995Description / Buy

Order of Professor Moriarty Series

1The Return of Moriarty 1974Description / Buy
2The Revenge of Moriarty 1975Description / Buy
3Moriarty 2008Description / Buy

Order of Railton Family Series

1The Secret Generations 1985Description / Buy
2The Secret Houses 1987Description / Buy
3The Secret Families 1989Description / Buy

Order of James Bond (Extended) Series

1Colonel Sun ( By: Kingsley Amis) 1968Description / Buy
2License Renewed 1981Description / Buy
3For Special Services 1982Description / Buy
4Icebreaker 1983Description / Buy
5Role of Honor 1984Description / Buy
6Nobody Lives Forever 1986Description / Buy
7No Deals, Mr. Bond 1987Description / Buy
8Scorpius 1988Description / Buy
9Licence to Kill 1989Description / Buy
10Win, Lose or Die 1989Description / Buy
11Brokenclaw 1990Description / Buy
12The Man from Barbarossa 1991Description / Buy
13Death Is Forever 1992Description / Buy
14Never Send Flowers 1993Description / Buy
15SeaFire 1994Description / Buy
16GoldenEye 1995Description / Buy
17Cold Fall 1996Description / Buy
18Zero Minus Ten ( By: Raymond Benson) 1997Description / Buy
19Tomorrow Never Dies ( By: Raymond Benson) 1997Description / Buy
20The Facts of Death ( By: Raymond Benson) 1998Description / Buy
21The World is Not Enough ( By: Raymond Benson) 1999Description / Buy
22High Time to Kill ( By: Raymond Benson) 1999Description / Buy
23Doubleshot ( By: Raymond Benson) 2000Description / Buy
24Never Dream of Dying ( By: Raymond Benson) 2001Description / Buy
25The Man With the Red Tattoo ( By: Raymond Benson) 2002Description / Buy
26Die Another Day ( By: Raymond Benson) 2002Description / Buy
27Devil May Care ( By: Sebastian Faulks) 2008Description / Buy
28Carte Blanche ( By: Jeffery Deaver) 2011Description / Buy
29Solo ( By: William Boyd) 2013Description / Buy
30Trigger Mortis ( By: Anthony Horowitz) 2015Description / Buy
31Forever and a Day ( By: Anthony Horowitz) 2018Description / Buy

Order of John Gardner Standalone Novels

1The Censor 1972Description / Buy
2Every Night's a Bullfight 1973Description / Buy
3The Director 1973Description / Buy
4To Run a Little Faster 1976Description / Buy
5The Werewolf Trace 1977Description / Buy
6The Dancing Dodo 1979Description / Buy
7Golgotha 1980Description / Buy
8The Last Trump 1980Description / Buy
9Blood of the Fathers 1992Description / Buy
10Day of Absolution 2001Description / Buy
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Gardner started his university studies at DePauw University, but he received his degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 1995. He got his Ph.D. from the University of Lowa and later became a distinguished professor.

John Gardner best-known books include The Sunlight Dialogues which narrates the story of a disaffected cop who is asked to confront a madman who is fluent in classical mythology. October Light tells the story of an embittered sister and brother living and clashing with each other in Vermont. Gardner died in a motorcycle accident two miles from his home in Susquehanna County on 14th September 1982.


October Light was the winner of the 1976 National Book Critics Circle Award.


These are three best books written by John Gardner, Mickelsson’s Ghosts, Nickel Mountain and Grendel.

Mickelson’s Ghost: The last novel that John Gardner wrote before his tragic death. The book narrates the sad tale of Peter Mickelsson, a once an upcoming philosopher, now a lecturer at Binghamton University divorced and almost broke, drunk, hounded by I.R.S and probably going mad. As the book opens up, Peter is seeking refuge from the heat of his apartment that his money had forced him to take, from the 3rd floor of an old house on Binghamton West Side- the beautiful part of the town.

With that move, Peter Mickelson finds himself in a strange territory, in the midst of water diviners, occasional religious cults and rumored haunting and soon discovers that the house he is living in is said to be haunted. Peter, the proud philosopher, starts a romantic affair with a young prostitute, a former colleague from the University. He starts contemplating robbing a man his money and begins seeing the rumored ghosts. His life is crashing down, and not his philosophy can save him.

John Gardner weaves one beautiful tale of a tortured soul. The novel is beautifully written, the story is sad, suspenseful, funny and philosophical as well.

Nickel Mountain: This is a remarkable love story. At the age of 42, the obese and anxious Henry marries Callie Wells, a 17 year old girl expecting a child of another man. It is more than the age difference that defines the distance between them. However, the beauty of this book is the revelation of the bond that forms as the two incredible couple experiences courtship and marriage, the birth of a son, forgiveness, isolation, and work. The plot eventually turns out tragic, possibly due to the acts of will or accidents involving a cast of character that includes a religious hysteric, an amputee veteran, and a roving goat lady. Questions of innocence, guilt, redemption, and humility begin to arise which results in the discovery of grace by Henry Soames.

Grendel: This is the retelling of an epic poem “Beowulf” told from the Grendel point of view. The poem was written between 8th and 11th century. In this novel, the narrator, a monster has been residing in a cave with his mother. He listens to Shapers; a blind harpist narrates a beautiful tale about ancient warriors. Upon reaching adulthood, he asks the philosophical question of a dragon that has a fatalistic point of view of life. This makes Grendel confused as he has heard Shapers heroic view in his narration. The dragon rewards Grendel with a magical gift such that no weapons could penetrate his skin.

Sharper narrates the tale of the sons of Adam, Cain, and Abel. Humans are the descendants of Abel, while Grendel is the descendant of Cain and even though the look different, Grendel and the humans shared a common language, heritage and ways of thinking. Grendel always felt lonely and isolated and found life boring since he had no companions to share with. Grendel would keep an eye on the Scyldings and attacked them for 12 years, until the day when Beowulf and Geats arrive to help Scyldings bring an end to the monster.

When Does The Next John Gardner book come out?

John Gardner doesn't seem to have an upcoming book. Their newest book is The Liquidator and was released on November, 25th 2010. It is the newest book in the Boysie Oakes Series.

1 thought on “John Gardner”

  1. I give Gardner credit for his foray into the Bond series, but unfortunately his efforts fell flat. I will admit I only read the first book in the series so far, but it didn’t blow me away. I have yet to decide if I’ll continue reading the series, but perhaps I’ll take a break and venture into some of Gardner’s other books. Any suggestions as to where to being are appreciated.

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