Discussion Forums - Fantasy

Topic: Need recommendations from those in the know

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Bruce -
Subject: Need recommendations from those in the know
Date Posted: 10/7/2010 2:45 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2008
Posts: 3,412
Back To Top

A coworker who reads fantasy novels almost exclusively gave me the Song of Fire and Ice series by George RR Martin. I am a big fan of historical fiction and love Bernard Cornwell and David Liss especially. I don't care much for fantasy novels with fairies, dwarfs, dragons, wizards, etc but absolutely loved A Game Of Thrones and the sequel novels. I also am a big fan of Peter Brett's The Warded Man series. These books read like historical fiction but have elements of fantasy in them (just for the record - the storyline of Daenerys Targaryen is my least favorite in the SOFAI series mostly because of the dragons). That said, just wondering if anyone could recommend more fantasy novels similar to Martins and Brett's. Much thanks.

Date Posted: 10/7/2010 5:43 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 25
Back To Top
You might enjoy the series by Naomi Novik which takes place during the war between England and France in the early 1800's. Novik adds an element of fantasy in the form of a dragon aerial corps fighting in support of the Navy. The first book is called His Majesty's Dragon.
Bruce -
Date Posted: 10/7/2010 5:49 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2008
Posts: 3,412
Back To Top

Thanks, I'll check it out.

Date Posted: 10/7/2010 8:09 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
Back To Top

Bruce, My tastes are similar to yours. I'm a hardnosed historical fiction lover. I like accurate HF and fairies, dwarves, dragons and such don't have a place. Or, so I thought until I read The Game of Thrones. It was kind of a an ah-ha moment.

Anyways, have you tried Stephen Lawhead? I loved Byzantium, which is a wonderful mix of history and fantasy. But there are no magical creatures.

I haven't yet read his Robin Hood series, but several folks in the HF forum have raved about it. I did read Taliesin, which is the first book in a seris on Merlin and King Arthur (Pendragon Cycle). That was enjoyable. I believe there is another series called Albion, which I own, but haven't started.

You might also enjoy the Deryni books by Katherine Kurtz. This is a huge series, but individual books are short. I started with Deryni Rising, which is the first in publication order.

I liked Marion Zimmer Bradley Firebrand, which is about the fall of Troy. I did not care for the more well-known Mists of Avalon.

Another book that looks good to me, but which I haven't read yet, is The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. It's intended to be an epic series like Song of Ice and Fire.

BTW, I loved The Whiskey Rebels and I've read most of Cornwell's books. Have you tried Conn Iggulden? He's written a series on Julius Caesar and Ghengis Khan. The Khan series looked more interesting to me so I picked it up. It's wonderful.

Bruce -
Date Posted: 10/8/2010 8:38 AM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2008
Posts: 3,412
Back To Top

I've read Igulden's Ceasar series - it was pretty good but not up to Cornwell standards. I've got the Khan series on my list but I'm not rushing out to get it. I've noticed Lawhead's name popping up often so I will definitely go find his books and I will also check out all the other suggestions. Thanks for the suggestions.

Date Posted: 10/8/2010 5:26 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 25
Back To Top

One more recommendation.  Guy Gavriel Kay has several books that are historical with touches of fantasy.  Some take place in ancient Rome.  One I recall at the time of the Vikings.  He also has a fantasy trilogy that is quite good but not historical.  Just a thought.

Date Posted: 10/9/2010 9:44 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
Back To Top

I just finished Martin's series, too, and came here hoping for more rec's. Try Joe Abercrombie's First Law series! This series is similar in that it has a realistic world with touches of magic. I really loved both series.

I'd also recommend Scott Lynch; start with "The Lies of Locke Lamorra" - http://www.amazon.com/Lies-Locke-Lamora-Scott-Lynch/dp/055358894X/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1286630795&sr=1-3

And, you might like Patrick Rothfuss. His Kingkiller Chronicles starts with "The Name of the Wind" - http://www.amazon.com/Name-Wind-Kingkiller-Chronicles-Day/dp/0756405890/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1286630931&sr=1-3

I've only read one of Guy Gavriel Kay's books, but will definitely seek out more. The one I read is "A Song for Arbonne" which is set in a somewhat recognizable medieval world with even less magic than Martin's or Abercrombie's books. It had a bit of a slow start for me, but I ended up really enjoying it.

If you don't mind some smut in your reading, try Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series. The first book is "Kushiel's Dart". I wouldn't say that these books are all that similar to the others I mentioned, but it's one of the only other fantasy series that I've read so far and really loved. Of course, I haven't read many fantasy books yet, but this is one that I have to tell people about and urge them to try.

If anyone else has any rec's, please tell us about them!! Now that I've read these few fantasy books, I'm craving more!!

 

 

Does anyone think there is a possibility that Martin will NEVER finish the Song of Ice and Fire series? I kind of wish I hadn't even started this series because now I'm dying to know how it ends and it seems like there is some possibility that Martin may never get around to finishing it.

Date Posted: 10/10/2010 10:38 AM ET
Member Since: 4/6/2006
Posts: 236
Back To Top

I'd wholeheartedly second Guy Gavriel Kay, especially his ancient  Byzantium duo:The Sarantine Mosaic for early history.  His Lions of Al-Rassan is one of the best things I've ever read.  His work is really thinly disguised history, it's just set in a "different" world- there are 2 moons- and the religious elements have different names but are easily recognizable as Christian, Judaism and Islam.  Judith Tarr has done many similar books, history in a "fantasy" surrounding.

I see Lawhead recommended a lot, I have to say didn't like his Celtic Crusades Tril. by the third I was yawning it was so unbelievable but predictable in plot and I couldn't care about the characters.  His overly Christian take on things was not to my taste either.  But maybe his others are better.  If we all liked the same things it would be a boring world.  Ha. 

Cheers, Margaret

Date Posted: 10/10/2010 11:22 AM ET
Member Since: 4/6/2006
Posts: 236
Back To Top

Forgot to mention Wilbur Smith, he's very like Cornwell in style and scope but all set in his native Africa, some ancient times some 18th C-ish.  His Ancient Egyptian series is amazing, the first is set in modern day, solving a mystery from ancient times, then the rest are the ancient story itself. 

Cheers,

Margaret

Date Posted: 10/10/2010 11:58 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
Back To Top

Are there any fantasy elements in the Wilbur Smith books? I've been wanting to try his Courtney series because they sound as if they'd be full of adventure and I love that, but I just haven't gotten around to getting the first book. I thought they were straight historical fiction though. I'm craving fantasy so I'd be happy if the books contained a bit of fantasy. ;-)

Bruce -
Date Posted: 10/10/2010 8:09 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2008
Posts: 3,412
Back To Top

Thanks. I have added most, if not all, of your suggestions to my reading list.

Date Posted: 10/11/2010 8:42 AM ET
Member Since: 4/6/2006
Posts: 236
Back To Top

Re Albookbugg's question about Wilbur Smith:  I haven't read any of the Courtney series, didn't want to get into such a large set, but I don't think there's any fantasy in those.  I've read the Egyptian saga, which has a little supernatural element, and Sunbird, also just a small amount.  But he is such a good writer that I didn't miss anything.  I just thought he'd be a better read than Lawhead (ducking the rotten tomatoes LOL)

Cheers, Margaret

Date Posted: 10/14/2010 10:55 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
Back To Top

Thanks, Margaret! I might try the Egyptian saga first because it's a shorter series and I actually already have a copy of "River God" which I think is the first book. It sounds like a good one. ;-)

The Courtney series is a LOT longer than I thought. 13 books! :-O

Date Posted: 10/15/2010 11:45 PM ET
Member Since: 5/17/2006
Posts: 50
Back To Top

Judith Tarr has written some pretty good medieval-historical fantasies -- Alamut, Ars Magica, The Hound and the Falcon, etc.

Date Posted: 10/25/2010 1:45 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2008
Posts: 83
Back To Top

S.M. Stirling has written a number of fantasy books; here is a list with short descriptions (from his website, smstirling.com)

Island in the Sea of Time

S. M. Stirling has written the wonderful "Island in the Sea of Time" trilogy, where the island of Nantucket and the U.S. Coast Guard training ship "Eagle" are thrown back in time to 1250 BC.

  1. Island in the Sea of Time
  2. Against the Tide of Years
  3. On the Oceans of Eternity

Dies the Fire (Emberverse I)

  1. Dies the Fire
  2. The Protector's War
  3. A Meeting at Corvallis

A trilogy set in the world that the island of Nantucket left behind when it became an "Island in the Sea of Time". This world is hit by "The Change" causing electricity, high gas pressures, and fast combustion (including explosives and gunpowder) to stop working.
This is very bad news for the majority of the population, but the books follow some of the survivors and show how different groups choose different ways to adapt to the changed world.

The Change (Emberverse II)

  1. The Sunrise Lands
  2. The Scourge of God
  3. The Sword of the Lady
  4. The High King of Montival

A series set in the same world as the "Dies the Fire" trilogy.
It's Change Year 22, a generation after high-energy technology died in a catastrophe most of the human race didn't survive. The children born after the Change are now starting to take center stage?and Whoever or Whatever was behind the Change itself may be taking a hand in their rivalries. An expedition must travel to Nantucket across a strange and hostile continent to find

STAND ALONe NOVEL
Conquistador

A Parallell Worlds/Alternate History novel, published in 2003 by ROC. The book is set in an alternate world where the Europeans never conquered the Americas, and there is a "gate" between our California and the alternate California.

 

 

 

Date Posted: 10/26/2010 5:48 PM ET
Member Since: 11/17/2006
Posts: 182
Back To Top

I'll second The Name of the Wind.  It's awesome, and not a typical elves/dwarves/wizards type of fantasy.  The downside is that it is the first book in a series, the only one published so far, and it's taking Rothfuss a LONG time to get the second book out.

I also have enjoyed Brandon Sanderson's books a lot.  I haven't read his co-authored Wheel of Time stuff yet, but I have read his original works.  They are all very original and not the typical elves/dwarves thing, but they all involve fantasy elements like magical power.  You might try Elantris, or his Mistborn trilogy to start with, just to get a taste for his stuff.  I recently finished his Way of Kings - it may actually be your best bet because you like historical fiction, but be warned that it's big and it's the beginning of a large epic series akin to Martin's Song of Fire and Ice, but is the only book out right now, and the next won't be for a couple of years because he has to finish the final Wheel of Time book first.

Date Posted: 11/15/2010 8:12 PM ET
Member Since: 11/4/2005
Posts: 1,983
Back To Top

I would recomend David Gemmells three book historical fantasy ( very, very light on the Fantasy ) about Troy.  the first book is lord of the silver bow.

 

Mike