Fantasy Recommendations for the Unenlightened 2

BAYLOR

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Merlin's Ring by H. Warner Munn an underrated classic (y)

The Lost Continent by C J Cutcliffe Hynd written 1899. it was the first fantasy novel sealing with Atlantis. In terms of style it's very modern , like it was written today. The book is an excellent read. (y)
 

Woofdog2

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Authors I’ve known of but currently investigating

1. Roger Zelazny Amber Series. Considered as a “classic” in this genre, from the late ‘60’s through to the 90's*. Considered a great of the genre.
2. Gene Wolfe- Book Of The New Sun duology. Considered by several critics as one of the best literary writers in modern America full stop never mind just fantasy. Definitely on my list of books to read. Also considered one of the greats of this genre. Maybe more SCI-FI than fantasy but apparently good stuff. Have also heard good things about the current duology Wizard Knight.
Zelazny could write in different voices/tones to such a degree that you wouldn't know it was the same author. there is a 6-volume collection of his short fiction out which is completely different (and I like it much better than) than amber.

Wolfe - I read all his published work for the first time this year and I agree, he is an excellent author. the Wizard Knight series is excellent. New sun series I actually reread a few months after first reading, which I have never done before. His narrative structure may drive a new reader (to his work) nuts at first, and dont get me started on the ending to A Soldier of Arete.

If you haven't read any Gene Wolfe, I cannot recommend him highly enough, with caveats such as above.

Other fantasy -
The Tower of Fear, glen cook. also dread empire series by same author.
 
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Woofdog2

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The Wizard Knight books are underappreciated.
I would say Wolfe is underappreciated more generally. I have no idea how I could be reading sci-fi/fantasy 30 years and only discover him this year. many of his books have left lasting impressions beyond what is normal for me.

All that said, I am a bit dismayed that Latro's story will very possibly have no resolution. Nothing I have seen anywhere suggests wolfe has been working on a 4th book, and his comments on it (if he writes another book, latro gets his memory back, but if not, no) were some times ago iirc.
 

hitmouse

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You will find a lot of love for Wolfe on these boards, particularly for BOTNS.
 

Inari Writer

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Wolfe - I read all his published work for the first time this year and I agree, he is an excellent author. the Wizard Knight series is excellent. New sun series I actually reread a few months after first reading, which I have never done before. His narrative structure may drive a new reader (to his work) nuts at first, and dont get me started on the ending to A Soldier of Arete.

If you haven't read any Gene Wolfe, I cannot recommend him highly enough, with caveats such as above.
Definitely agree that Wizard Knight is worth reading. It has the weight and heft of actual mythology. I'm tempted to go back and read it again someday because I'm sure that there's a lot of subtle details that slipped past me the first time.
 

Reivax26

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Drenai Series by David Gemmell. His Stones of Power series is really good as well. In fact just read everything that the man ever wrote. Even his worst book is better than a majority of things you will read. I am also a big fan of the Chronicles and Legends Trilogies from Dragonlance by Weis and Hickman.
 

Titus Groan

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Not sure if they've been mentioned yet, but Kate Forsyths' The Witches of Eilinien series is fantastic.
 

AndrewT

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Four Authors that have been catching my eye at the bookstore:

Brian Staveley - Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne
Brian McClellan - Powder Mage
Bradley Beaulieu - The Song of the Shattered Sands
John Gwynne - The Faithful and the Fallen

Looks like more doorstopper series with pretty dustjackets. Any comments about whether these are good or just mediocre or in between? Enough people liked Gwynne that I may try that one.
 

vanye

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The series by Stavely started very strong, but the subsequent books got weaker by the chapter and the ending then disappointed me. Just a personal opinion, though. All in all, the story is above average and the craftmanship of the author certainly leaves nothing to be desired. So if you like a dark story, this might be for you.

Gwynne, though, I found unbearable after only reading the first book. Unoriginal and trite is my personal experience, but as always your mileage may vary.
 

Grendel

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Clive Barker gets forgotten by many: The Great and Secret Show is a classic. His Thief of Always is another darling of a fantasy book. Imajca, Weaveworld, and his Abarat series is another winner.

Those looking for a different bent on sword and sorcery, try Karl Edward Wagner's Kane series.
 

Caledfwlch

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I'm quite enjoying this newish fantasy subgenre as mentioned above "gunpowder fantasy" I have book 2 to read of the "iron elves" series.

It's an argument I used to have with a friend about why if you like traditional fantasy for want of a better word, mages, elves, dragons etc are always located in a medieval style setting, culture and technology level. His argument was that science and tech cannot progress in a world with magic, its a concept Terry Brooks played with in the shannarah novels but I don't see why 18th century level technology could not exist - after all, some science and tech exists, else where did swords, bows and the ability to make stone buildings etc come from, and muskets, gunpowder, and various other elements are not much more advanced from the medieval period.

Esp since the use of magic is always shown to be available to a very few people born or trained with the ability to perform it. So the larger mass of unmagicked people are going to Have to find mundane solutions to every day problems whether that's gaining the upper edge in battle, or indeed building a house etc.
Most people even if wealthy would be unable to call upon a mage to perform tasks esp since a minority group of those with magic and the skills to use it are likely going to be in the employ and control of kingdoms, King's and prince's, not at the neck and call of a humble banker or cloth merchant..
 

thaddeus6th

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Caledfwlch, that reminds me of the Terrarch Chronicles by William King. Read the first few entries in the series and rather liked them (it's a fictional world but with musket level technology plus magic). Pretty good actually. Maybe I'll check them out again when I finally finish the Chronicles of the Black Gate (slow going because I also use my Kindle for proofreading, which takes priority).
 

Caledfwlch

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Thaddeus - sounds like my kind of series! Thanks for the recommendation :)
It am hoping we will get a gunpowder fantasy novel or series that perhaps has more. Use of Magic combined with musket era warfare - perhaps artillery that has been finessed by Mages so that it either fires magical energy blasts as or more destructive as conventional cannon, or the magic operates in such a way that a finessed cannon is able to be reloaded faster, get more range and so on, equally the same could apply to the muskets themselves. Its certainly an interesting way to make a small or much less powerful nation suddenly able to punch above its weight perhaps in response to invasion by a larger empire/power, muskets with some sort of duplication spell so that for every ball and powder charge loaded the cannon, musket or rifle is able to actually fire 3 shots, a capability such as that could make it possible for a fantasy nation ike my homeland, Wales much smaller than our English neighbour able to actually put up a real credible resistance with a chance of success, if the invading England analogue does not also possess this ability.

One thing I loved about the gunpowder mage trilogy, is that whilst we have the traditional mage trope of a powerful, feared but at the end of the day minority elite able to wield and manipulate the raw force & power of creation, the GM has seen an iirc very recent development/evolution or as the "proper" Mages and powers see it, abboration, the birth of the aptly titled Gunpowder Mages, ordinary men and women, oft peasants, and it seems like, more numerous than the old school "proper" Mages with 1 very simple and limited power, the ability to manipulate gunpowder and the weaponry that uses. It as its power source.
It seems such an obvious idea the GMs but it took till now for someone to come up with it as a plot device.

I don't recall if the powder Mages have anything to do with artillery within the story but I imagine that what they do with muskets can surely be adapted to field artillery..

I suppose the most famous example of gunpowder fantasy around at the moment to those who haven't read any (instill have a couple of novels to go) is the Temeraire series! To those unfamiliar, Tem is set during the Nappleonic Wars between the Coalition Forces & powers (Great Britain, Portugal, various German States, & depending on the Year, the Netherlands, the Spanish Empire) vs Napoleon and the French Empire.
The difference is, this is a world where dragons are niot only real, but are sentient thinking beings who can talk and any nation of substance maintains an Aerial Corps using dragons in all the varied roles planes in our world would eventually perform.
Ao I would argue its a gunpowder fantasy series :)

What I have read so far, my only issue is that Novik, the author appears to try and make as much of our history remain intact as possible but surely the addition of Dragons and aerial combat going back even as far as roman times is going to utterly change history right across its length and breadth. It would have made far more sense for Dragons to have been myth, then they suddenly begin awakening or eggs are found which begin to hatch....
 

thaddeus6th

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Non-medieval type fantasy can be interesting. I've toyed, briefly, with the idea of a WWI-type tech level. Wooden planes coupled with dragons, radio comms and seer stones, that sort of thing.
 

Brian G Turner

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Caledfwlch

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Hola Bryan - I have the third book on my phone to read, I have read the first two, those are the power mages I was mentioning with the ability to manipulate the range, angle and accuracy of their muskets - I can't recall if gpm trilogy also has an equivalent to the #British Baker Rifle, or Indeed the Kentucky Long Arms as I beliieve "rifled long arms" were sometimes known in the US,or if the gpm world only had unrifled muskets.

#the Baker Rifle of course, was the standard issue firearn of the "Chosen Men" of the 95th Rifles, the British entirely Light Infantry regiment made famous by Bernard Cornwell in the Richard Sharpe novels and TV. Adaptions where Sharpe was played by Sean Bean. They were even in the Peninsular/Napoleonic wars era, different from the Line Regiments of the British Army, who of course were also known as the Redcoats, due to the colour of the standard British Jacket - whilst the Riflemen of the 95, and the ouple of other rifle regiments wore Instead dark bottle green, and chosen men also had the option to wear a kind of early beret in the same shade rather than the Shakoe hat that British and European infantry tended to wear (rifle shakoes were again in dark green)

TVs Sharpe never iirc explained why Sharpes laddies were referred to as Chosen Men, back then a Chosen Man was what we would now call a Corporal, the rifles as a new experimental unit required its men to be proven expert shops and part of the reward of passing into the rifles was promotion into a chosen man, so there were no privates in the 95, the rank and file were effectively slightly higher than the rank and file of a regular line unit. Also every member from. Chosen Man to Colonel proudly referred to themselves as a "rifleman" in the 95 there was no social or class status attached to the term, being a rifleman was a term of pride, proof you were a crack shot, and a cut above. Even chosen men did not carry Bayonets - the Baker Rifle was too long and clumsy to fit the standard issue British army bayonet, & the Baker rifle itself too long and clumsy to use for bayonetting. Instead Chosen Men like their Officers carried short swords, and in situations that required their use, Instesd of the standard infantry command of "fix bayonets" the rifles command was draw swords.
The 95h Rifles were effectively the first evolution of the modern infantryman, men trained to think for themselves instead of acting as drones in a large formation all working together as one beast. Riflemen worked in pairs 1 covering the other as they worked forward using movement and manoeuvre and so on to advance, 1 advancing whilst covered by his oppo.
They were considered ungentlemanly by standard soldiers a bit like the early submariners were by the rest of the navy in early days - riflemen were trained to target and take out enemy officers and ncos to cause confusion and disrupt the chain of command and issuing off orders. And of course like modern infantry their uniforms were coloured to allow them to blend in more with the landscape..
.
Napoleon bafflingly never saw the possibilities and potential of rifles, and of new experimental units like the 9th, and so the Imperial French Army made no use of them. You would think they would have recalled how France had decided not to invest in War Bows as a military weapon and how devastating therefore, Welsh & English bowmen would prove to be.

Incidently, the "Baker Rifle" was actually designed by a French Gunsmith, & a London Smith, Thomas Baker took this excellent French design and rebuilt it as the Baker Rifle for the British Army and the 95th etc.
 

Caledfwlch

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Thaddeus I love your concept of a ww1 era power being at war with a power that has to rely on magic and magical beings.
Maybe the Imperial German Army find a large portal into another dimension and decide to raise add the place to the Kaisers collection!
 

Tom Jacks

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Great list Brys, I'm just rereading Prince of the Blood now for a bit of inspiration. I'd have to add the Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb to that lot.
 
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