clock mechanism plus numbers

Optimal Order: Reading the Herbert West Series

When I wrote the four books that make up the Herbert West Series, I intended them to work as stand-alone novels. And they do, sort of, but to fully appreciate the second through fourth books, it’s really helpful to have read the first one.


To complicate things, I also wrote and published four Supplements to the series, short stories that fit within or between the four books.

The first book of the series, The Friendship of Mortals, and all four Supplements, are available as free downloads. More information here.

From July 1st to 31st, Books 2, 3, and 4 of the series will be available at 50% off the regular prices, at the Smashwords store only, as part of the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale.

For readers new to the series, here is the optimal order in which to read the books and supplements:

  • Book 1, The Friendship of Mortals
  • Supplement 1, The Nexus : a portal to the Herbert West Series
  • Supplement 2, From the Annexe : an untold tale
  • Book 2, Islands of the Gulf Volume 1, The Journey
  • Book 3, Islands of the Gulf Volume 2, The Treasure
  • Supplement 3, A Visit to Luxor
  • Supplement 4, One of the Fourteen
  • Book 4, Hunting the Phoenix.

In whatever order a reader may wish to read, it’s best to save Book 4, Hunting the Phoenix, for the end — well, because it’s the end.

Herbert West Series Composite

HW Series Supps Composite

Featured image courtesy of Pixabay, enhanced with Canva.


    1. I suppose it sort of looks that way — all those numbers! But you can’t go wrong just reading the four Books of the series in order. After that, if you want more details, read the Supplements in order. Thanks for your comment, Alexis!

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  1. Looks perfectly simple to me, a nice symmetry to the running order of novels and supplements. I wrote short story fillers as a way of giving people something to read between the novels being written, but as I don’t have thousands of followers waiting for the next book to come along there’s the risk of a stray reader reading something in the wrong order and coming across tons of spoilers.

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    1. That’s the thing. My novels and stories could be read in any order and deliver a good reading experience (says I), but the final book of the series does contain some fairly substantial spoilers. On the other hand, books that are well-written and richly interesting are pretty much spoiler-proof.

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