Robertson Davies

Robertson Davies was a Canadian novelist, playwright, critic, journalist, and professor. He is one of Canada's best known and most popular authors and one of its most distinguished 'men of letters', a term Davies is variously said to have detested or to have relished. Davies was the founding Master of Massey College, a graduate residential college associated with the University of Toronto. He is best known for his Deptford Trilogy of novels, 'Fifth Business', 'The Manticore', and 'World of Wonders'. His works often explore themes of mythology, morality, and the life of art and the artist.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. The Deptford Trilogy

    "The Deptford Trilogy" is a series of interconnected novels that explore the life of a man from a small Canadian town named Deptford, and the ripple effects of a single childhood event that shaped the lives of three boys. The narrative weaves themes of love, guilt, art, and the complexity of human nature. The story is told from multiple perspectives and spans several decades, providing a deep exploration of the characters' psychological and spiritual development.

  2. 2. Fifth Business

    The novel follows the life of Dunstan Ramsay, a man haunted by a childhood accident that he believes he caused. The book explores his guilt and its impact on his life, as well as his relationships with others, including a woman he loves but cannot have, a brilliant but troubled friend, and a saintly fool. Throughout his life, Ramsay seeks redemption and understanding in the realms of history, mythology, and religion.

  3. 3. The Cunning Man

    The novel follows the life of a Toronto doctor who uses his knowledge of medicine and his understanding of human nature to treat his patients. He believes in the healing power of the human spirit and often uses unconventional methods to treat his patients. The narrative is filled with his interesting patients and their stories, as well as his own personal journey. The book also explores themes of spirituality, love, and the complexities of human nature.

  4. 4. The Rebel Angels

    The novel is a satirical and erudite exploration of the clash between the spiritual and the carnal, set within the hallowed halls of a Canadian university. It follows the lives of a group of scholars who become embroiled in a series of events sparked by the death of a wealthy art collector. As the academics vie for the deceased's valuable collection, the narrative delves into themes of gnosticism, alchemy, and the complexities of human desire. The story weaves together the personal ambitions, romantic entanglements, and intellectual pursuits of its characters, revealing the moral and ethical dilemmas that often accompany the quest for knowledge and power.

  5. 5. The Manticore

    The novel follows a man who, after the death of his father, seeks therapy to understand the complex relationship he had with him. Through the therapy sessions, the protagonist uncovers the depth of his father's influence on him, as well as his own personal identity. The narrative explores themes of self-discovery, the power of the subconscious mind, and the influence of past generations on the present.

  6. 6. World of Wonders

    "World of Wonders" is the third novel in a trilogy that follows the life of a man named Paul Dempster, who is kidnapped as a child by a magician and later becomes a world-renowned illusionist himself. The story, narrated by his childhood friend, explores themes of identity, fate, and the magic of life itself. Through a series of flashbacks and current events, the protagonist's life from childhood to adulthood is unveiled, revealing a complex character who has been shaped by a series of extraordinary experiences.