From Academic Kids


Xanth is a fantasy world created by author Piers Anthony, for his highly popular series of novels.

The series is noted for its punny and somewhat humorous style. The author's habit of using (and crediting) reader notions is another factor in the popularity of the series, as it includes readers in the creation process. Anthony has gone so far as to create a popular character based on a young reader.



The name Xanth is in itself a pun, which matches the playful tone of the books. Xanth is both derived from the prefix xantho- for yellow, as well as the sound made by combining the last part of the author's first name and the first part of the author's last name.

Anthony commonly states that he originally intended for Xanth to be a trilogy, and after the wild success of the first three books decided to expand the series to nine books. An extremely devoted fan base persuaded the author to continue writing the series, which is now open-ended. He has since declared, in the Author's Notes of Cube Route, that this 27th book ended the first "trilogy" and that he was beginning a new one with the 28th, punning on the fact that 27 is the third power of three, i.e. three cubed.

The world of Xanth

Each human character in Xanth is born with a unique magical ability. These abilities never repeat in individuals throughout the entire history of Xanth. Though many abilities are limited in scope, the series focuses on individuals with "Magician" caliber abilities (one of the criteria for serving as King of Xanth).

Xanth has a connection with the normal world, which is referred to as "Mundania". Xanth was colonized in several waves by groups of invaders and nomads. The series ties these colonization events to actual historical events on Earth, most notably the punic wars.

In addition to the human characters, Xanth is populated by centaurs, naga, merfolk, golems, dragons, demons, harpys, nymphs, zombies, gargoyles, ogres and all other manner of fictional beasts. Though they were initially introduced as obstacles to the human characters, they have become main characters in the later books of the series.


Xanth is often criticized for its abundant use of puns. Some readers also feel that the original novel was a good fantasy book on its own, but that the series has further degraded as it became more punny. Some have also criticized the series for a repetitive and formulaic nature after the inital nine books. Many critics believe the series has misogynistic overtones. Still, the devoted fanbase of the series continue to buy the books en masse.

Book List

  1. A Spell for Chameleon (1977)
  2. The Source of Magic (1979)
  3. Castle Roogna (1979)
  4. Centaur Aisle (1981)
  5. Ogre, Ogre (1982)
  6. Night Mare (1983)
  7. Dragon on a Pedestal (1984)
  8. A Crewel Lye: A Caustic Yarn (1985)
  9. Golem in the Gears (1986)
  10. Vale of the Vole (1987)
  11. Heaven Cent (1988)
  12. Man from Mundania (1989)
  13. Isle of View (1990)
  14. Question Quest (1991)
  15. The Color of Her Panties (1992)
  16. Demons Don't Dream (1993)
  17. Harpy Thyme (1994)
  18. Geis of the Gargoyle (1995)
  19. Roc and a Hard Place (1996)
  20. Yon Ill Wind (1997)
  21. Faun & Games (1997)
  22. Zombie Lover (1998)
  23. Xone of Contention (1999)
  24. The Dastard (2000)
  25. Swell Foop (2001)
  26. Up in a Heaval (2002)
  27. Cube Route (2003)
  28. Currant Events (2004)
  29. Pet Peeve (finalizing, due 2005)
  30. Stork Naked (writing in progress)
  31. Air Apparent (proposed)

Also related

  • Encyclopedia of Xanth (1987, by Jody Lynn Nye) a Crossroads Adventure role-playing game book
  • Piers Anthony's Visual Guide to Xanth (1989, with Jody Lynn Nye)
  • Letters To Jenny (1993, nonfiction)
  • Companions of Xanth (a computer game described in and following the plot of Demons Don't Dream)


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