The Ordshaw Reading Order

With Dyer Street Punk Witches, the Ordshaw Series is about to reach 7 full books long, covering 4 separate story arcs, so it felt like time to produce a summary post to introduce what’s going on overall. Hopefully this will help new or returning readers to navigate the books as a whole.

What is the Ordshaw series?

The Ordshaw series is a set of sometimes independent, sometimes interconnected contemporary fantasy thrillers. They take place in the modern world (technically starting in 2017), often in or around the fictional UK city of Ordshaw, where unusual things are going on. The stories essentially fall under the umbrella of urban fantasy, with supernatural mysteries and fast-paced adventures in urban settings – but they contain unique creatures and elements of magic which lean at times closer to science fiction and cosmic horror. It might also help to think of them as thrillers with supernatural elements, as they blend in aspects of horror and hard-boiled crime.

The series starts with Under Ordshaw, opening The Sunken City Trilogy (together with Blue Angel and The Violent Fae), concerning dark secrets in the city’s subterranean labyrinths. There’s now also The City Screams (taking the supernatural action to Japan), The Ikiri Duology (Kept From Cages and Given to Darkness; an adventure focused on an unsettling power in the Congo) and Dyer Street Punk Witches (a crime thriller back in Ordshaw). Then there’s the Ordshaw Vignettes, a series of complementary short stories that pop up from time to time.

Each of these entries are separate stories, with separate characters and plots, so are designed to be read in any order, though the books within the trilogy and duology should naturally be read in sequence. However, if you want to read the stories as they written, for the most chance to pick up on all the references, I’d suggest starting in chronological order.

The Ordshaw Series Chronological Order

 Here’s a graphic to show all the books in order of when their events take place:

ordshaw reading order

Click the image to get a higher res.

This is the typical route to take, which goes from Under Ordshaw through the first trilogy, then the first volume of Vignettes for a few additional stories (totally optional, these ones), then The City Screams, The Ikiri Duology, and finally Dyer Street Punk Witches.

It’s the order of release and follows a liner timeline, though that might not be immediately apparent from the books. While the stories aren’t always closely tied, you might notice references to events that occurred in previous books.

What about reading in a different order?

As I’ve said, the current 4 arcs of the series don’t have to be read in order at all. If you’ve picked up a different book first, then you can chop around. There are currently 4 places you can start the series without needing to have read the other books: Under Ordshaw, The City Screams, Kept From Cages and Dyer Street Punk Witches. You could also try the Vignettes to get a taster. There are only 3 books you shouldn’t start with: Blue Angel, The Violent Fae and Given to Darkness.

If you start with Under Ordshaw it’s best to move on to Blue Angel, and Kept From Cages is best followed by Given To Darkness. Here’s a pic to illustrate how the different starting points work – where an arrow doesn’t follow a book, you’re free to go back to a different starting point.

urban fantasy books starters

This covers all the books so far, but it will be expanding. The next step will include sequels to The City Screams and Dyer Street Punk Witches. However, those books are designed as standalones, so the sequels shouldn’t stop you reading the other books in between. In fact, most likely the sequel to The City Screams will be best read after also completing The Sunken City Trilogy.

Where will you find the different characters?

Finally, a quick note on which characters pop up over different story arcs, which might affect the order you wish to read the books in. This is just for the major characters, and you might want to stop reading now to avoid spoilers as to who makes it from one book to another!

  • Pax Kuranes & Letty: First seen in Under Ordshaw, then Blue Angel and The Violent Fae. Likely to return for the sequel to The City Screams.
  • Sam Ward: First seen in Blue Angel and The Violent Fae, returns in Kept From Cages and Given To Darkness.
  • Tova Nokes: First seen in The City Screams, set to return in her own sequel.
  • Agent Sam Tasker: First seen in The City Screams, takes on a bigger role in Kept From Cages and Given To Darkness.
  • Reece Coburn & The Cutjaw Kids: First seen in Kept From Cages, then Given To Darkness; likely to return later.
  • Katryzna Tkacz: First seen in Kept From Cages, then Given to Darkness, likely to return sooner.
  • Kit Hamley & The Punk Witches: First seen in Dyer Street Punk Witches, set to return in her own sequel.

There are other minor characters with some crossovers, but I’ll leave them to you to spot!

Any questions on any of this, feel free to leave a comment. Otherwise, go forth and read!