I believe that I started a thread like this a couple years ago, but reading The Judging Eye has encouraged me to start another with a more specific focus. I'm nearing the end and Achamian and his crew has entered Cil-Aujas; the entire book I've been looking forward to this sequence and so far I'm loving it. Here's what the thread title refers to: the feeling that fantasy writers sometimes (too infrequently, imo) inspire: it is akin to the classic scifi "sense of wonder," but I would call it a "sense of mystery." Not mystery as in Agatha Christie, but as in ancient history, myth, lost civilizations, reference to a past that no longer is, elder/dead races, mythic creatures and gods, artifacts, ruins, and so forth. R Scott Bakker does a good job invoking this - in particular his two ancient races, the Nonmen and Inchoroi, but also Cil-Aujas. Another author that is good at this is Steven Erikson; his references to a deep history, and in particular the elder races of the Jaghut and others evoke this sense of mystery. And of course J.R.R. Tolkien set the bar - the mythic history, the fantastic locations, especially the Moria sequence and perhaps most especially the Balrog itself. Le Guin's Earthsea and McKillip's Riddlemaster also had strong elements of this, particularly through their dense atmospherics. So my question is this: What authors and books do this for you? As a secondary question, how important is it to you, as a reader? For me it may be the most important quality of a book. If a book has other strong qualities but little sense of mystery, I might still read it; on a very rare occasion I might even love an author that doesn't specialize in this (Guy Gavriel Kay), but that author has to be very good at other qualities (which Kay is). But overall this really is my favorite spice in the fantasy soup.