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Ben P.




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Oct, 2009 8:17 pm    Post subject: Accurate Fantasy         Reply with quote

I'm looking for some fantasy books (in english) that as well as being fresh, original and well written are accurate when it comes to things like armour, terminology, weapons, ranks, battles, wars, sieges, etc.

Can anyone help me?
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Michal Plezia
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PostPosted: Tue 13 Oct, 2009 12:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

'Narrenturm ' trilogy by Andrzej Sapkowski is great. It is about hussit wars plus some magic and mitological cretures. I don't know if it is available in english, but I saw german translation, so there is a chance... The original is in polish.
www.elchon.com

Polish Guild of Knifemakers

The sword is a weapon for killing, the art of the sword is the art of killing. No matter what fancy words you use or what titles you put to
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Jo Thomas




Location: Doncaster, England
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PostPosted: Tue 13 Oct, 2009 9:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've always enjoyed The Deed of Paksenarrion books by Elizabeth Moon. Not being an expert myself, I can't really say how accurate the warfare and fighting are. They seem so and as Elizabeth is a student of historical fencing - particularly Renaissance styles - I assume she's done her best to get some reality past the editors Wink There's a web-site with some background here.
Jo Thomas
http://www.journeymouse.net/
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Eric Hejdström




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Oct, 2009 10:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd reccomend The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elisabeth Moon. Long time since I read it but for it's time and genre it was good. The first two books are the ebst in my opinion, the last one is a bit too much fantasy for my taste. George R R Matrin's Song of Ice and Fire is also very good but might not have as much detailed stories about large battles but intrigue and personalities are very good. And if general medieval history is interesting I strongly suggest Ken Follet's Pillars of the earth. It's extremely well researched and well written.

A bit tired at the moment but if I come up with anything else I'll try to remember and post it here.
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Ben P.




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PostPosted: Fri 25 Dec, 2009 8:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Any other reccomendations?
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John Facundus




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PostPosted: Fri 25 Dec, 2009 9:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Check out Bernard Cornwell. An accurate historian and his books are written in the Historic fiction story telling mode. Historic events from the perspective of a regular soldier ie; the battles of Crecy,Poitiers, Agincourt through the eyes of an archer. Sieges of several cities in the hundred years war from an accurate but exciting and graphic way. Archers Tale series and I believe another series is the Last Kingdom series. All time favorites of mine and IMO very well written and accurate for the most part in regards to weapons and tactics etc...Bloody and fun, I hope you enjoy these...I got hooked and have read almost all of his books including a most excellent series on the American Civil War. http://www.bernardcornwell.net/ I belive you will be very happy with these. John...Merry Christmas
"Live as brave men; and if fortune is adverse, front its blows with brave hearts." Marcus Tulius Cicero
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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Fri 25 Dec, 2009 10:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I second Bernard Cornwell. His Arthurian series (The Winter King) is absolutely great. It is not "fantasy" per se, but does have some fantastic elements to it. He's just a damn good writer too.
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sat 26 Dec, 2009 5:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bernard Cornwell is one of my favorites too. If you have not read any of his yet, there are probably a half a dozen good ones (Archers Series, a couple of Viking era stories, etc.) on the shelf at any large book store chain that sells them.. Because of their quality, you may find his books located in the regular novels section instead of "Fantasy" or "Science Fiction" sections of books.
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Marko Susimetsa




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PostPosted: Sat 26 Dec, 2009 7:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
Because of their quality, you may find his books located in the regular novels section instead of "Fantasy" or "Science Fiction" sections of books.

It's not the quality - it is the content of the majority of his books. Since the bulk of his works (e.g. Sharpe!) fall into the "historical fiction" genre, all of his books tend to be grouped there. Personally, I love Cornwell's novels, but he is by no means the best author I've read (Patrick O'Brien would be one of the better ones).
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Boris R.





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PostPosted: Sat 26 Dec, 2009 11:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Guy Gavriel Kay writes very good fantasy based on real historical epochs of Europe - A song for Arbonna (medieval france in time of troubadours and minstrels), The lions of Al-Rassan (El Cid -esque clash of civilisations in Spain), Sailing to Sarantium + Lord of Emperors (Byzantium at cca 600A.D), The Last Light of the Sun (welsh cattle raids in the time of Saxon invasion). all his works contain at least a bit of ancient paganry and magic.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
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Carl Goff




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PostPosted: Sat 26 Dec, 2009 6:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Seconding the George R.R. Martin recommendation.

Harry Turtledove's fantasy stuff is generally pretty good as well. No matter what the other elements of the setting are, the weapons and armor, siege equipment, hand-to-hand combat, cavalry, and archery are pretty realistic. Don't expect any fancy duels, though.

If Bronze-Age equipment and thundering chariot charges appeal to you, try Wisdom of the Fox and Tale of the Fox:

http://www.amazon.com/Wisdom-Baen-Fantasy-Har...pd_sim_b_1
http://www.amazon.com/Tale-Fox-Harry-Turtledo...t_ep_dpi_4

If a pseudo-Byzantine (pre-Muslim) world is your idea of a good time, try these:

The Time of Troubles:

http://www.amazon.com/Time-Troubles-Bk-Harry-...t_ep_dpi_5
http://www.amazon.com/Time-Troubles-II-Bk/dp/...t_ep_dpi_1

(There's a lovely scene in the first one where a blacksmith rants about how hard it is to make mail by hand.)

The Tale of Krispos: http://www.amazon.com/Tale-Krispos-Rising-Vid...t_ep_dpi_2

(Heavier on intrigue, but with a few good large-scale battle scenes and one or two small-scale fights.)

Thessalonica deals with the Slav and Avar invasions of Greece in a world where magic works:

http://www.amazon.com/Thessalonica-Baen-Fanta...t_ep_dpt_7

His Opening of the World trilogy is good as well:

http://www.amazon.com/Golden-Shrine-Harry-Tur...t_ep_dpi_6
http://www.amazon.com/Breath-God-Harry-Turtle...t_ep_dpi_4
http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Opening-World-Ha...pd_sim_b_2

Oh, East of sands and sunlit gulf, your blood is thin, your gods are few;
You could not break the Northern wolf and now the wolf has turned on you.
The fires that light the coasts of Spain fling shadows on the Eastern strand.
Master, your slave has come again with torch and axe in his right hand!
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Ben P.




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PostPosted: Sat 26 Dec, 2009 6:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Carl Goff wrote:
Seconding the George R.R. Martin recommendation.

Harry Turtledove's fantasy stuff is generally pretty good as well. No matter what the other elements of the setting are, the weapons and armor, siege equipment, hand-to-hand combat, cavalry, and archery are pretty realistic. Don't expect any fancy duels, though.



George R.R Martin is the exact opposite of accurate (the typical swords are forty pounds and medieval combat is crude hack and slash) As is Kay (that and he and Martin are both sex obsessed and I have no patience for that)

I'll check Turtledove, I don't much care for fancy duels anyway so no worries there
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Dec, 2009 4:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I didn't get the "swords are 40lb heavy and combat is crude hack and slash only" feeling with Martin or Kay. Especially not Kay. But they aren't really accurate and they are sex obsessed. One could say Cornwell is a bit sex obsessed too. And a pretty bitter anti-church guy too. I don't mind some criticism but he maybe goes too far.
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Marko Susimetsa




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Dec, 2009 9:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sex happens - none of us would be here without it. That's why I don't mind a realistic amount of it in books that I read - as long as it doesn't go as far as describing the humidity or temperatures of certain body parts. And Kay, Martin and Cornwell all stay clear of that extreme.
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Ben P.




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Dec, 2009 11:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
I didn't get the "swords are 40lb heavy and combat is crude hack and slash only" feeling with Martin or Kay. Especially not Kay. But they aren't really accurate and they are sex obsessed. One could say Cornwell is a bit sex obsessed too. And a pretty bitter anti-church guy too. I don't mind some criticism but he maybe goes too far.


It's there they both mention swords, armour and maces being heavy, and he has the knights wearing tournament armour to the field of battle and there are no infantrymen to speak of, their terminology is bad too.

I have no patience for anti-church bitterness either, I don't mind debate and critisism either but when I read a book I want a good story not someone's rant

Marko Susimetsa wrote:
Sex happens - none of us would be here without it. That's why I don't mind a realistic amount of it in books that I read - as long as it doesn't go as far as describing the humidity or temperatures of certain body parts. And Kay, Martin and Cornwell all stay clear of that extreme.


I know that, but Martin and Kay are both excessive and graphic and it adds nothing to the story and the story would a lot better without it and it's not essential to the plot either.
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Dec, 2009 1:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Its been awhile since I read Martin's books. I don't even recall the sexual interludes to which people are objecting. I do remember him having someone using a sword to cut (not thrust into a chink or seam) into plate armor.

I don't object to Cornwell's anti-Church stance. I don't see it as anti-Christian, just against the people running the show. What does bother me is his use of the same stock characters from book to book. I loved his Arthur trilogy and the Stonehenge book - the others, not so much.
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Dec, 2009 1:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If "fantasy" and include historical fiction, and "fresh and original" can include stuff a half-century old, then you might like to try Mika Waltari's "Michael the Finn" and "The Sultan's Renegade" a.k.a. "The Adventurer" and "The Wanderer". Might not be in print, but perhaps you can find in a library. There's a strong military element, with the sack of Rome (as in 1527) a key event in the first book, and the siege of Vienna a few years later in the 2nd. Either can be read alone, but perhaps the first is better for this.

More fantasy-ish is Henry Treece "Oedipus". In some ways, perhaps ultra-realistic. I recall some of Treece's books as being aimed at the younger reader, but Oedipus holds up well for adults IMO.
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Mon 28 Dec, 2009 7:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Realistic fantasy books are few and far between, IMO... thats why I read history now mostly its' the only thing that 'scratches the itch'. But there are a couple I've found...

Harry Harrisons Hammer and the Cross

http://www.amazon.com/Hammer-Cross-Harry-Harr...=8-1-spell

Keith Tyalors Bard

http://www.amazon.com/Bard-Keith-Taylor/dp/04...amp;sr=1-3

I think Jack Vances dying earth is quite realistic on a certain level but it's also a bit like a Hyronemous Bosch painting.

http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Dying-Earth-Jack-...amp;sr=1-1

Interestingly George R. R. Martin edited this sort of tribute book of 'Vance-Esque' short stories by various famous modern authors, which was mixed but had some very good stories in it... it just came out and is already become very expensive:

http://www.amazon.com/Songs-Dying-Earth-Georg...amp;sr=1-3

This may come as a surprise but I also personally think the original Conan books were fairly realistic, Conan wears armor, (which can't be cut through) can't defeat hundreds of people or fly around like a superhero etc.... all that came later mostly from other authors.

http://www.amazon.com/Coming-Conan-Cimmerian-...amp;sr=1-2

I also like Fritz Liebers fafhred and the grey mouser books

http://www.amazon.com/Lankhmar-Book-1-Swords-...amp;sr=1-2

Finally, the Arabian knights, particularly the Sinbad tales, are wonderful reads which (to me) have a far more realistic feel than most modern fantasy novels

http://www.amazon.com/Arabian-Nights-Thousand...amp;sr=1-1

But the truth is, once you know a bit about history or fighting, precious few modern Fantasy holds up very well. You may find you can do better with Historical novels.

Not fantasy per say but a good Historical novel set in the early Middle Ages, Louis L'Amours the walking drum

http://www.amazon.com/Walking-Drum-Louis-LAmo...amp;sr=1-1

Another very good historical series with some elements of magic, (excellent films made from these as well)

http://www.amazon.com/Fire-Sword-Henryk-Sienk...amp;sr=1-1

This one is good too on the Teutonic Knights though very hard to find in English now

http://www.amazon.com/Teutonic-Knights-Henryk...pd_sim_b_7

Also, non fantasy but a good historical novel, Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose... quite a good yarn

http://www.amazon.com/Umberto-Author-Weaver-W...amp;sr=8-3

J

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

Essays on Hroarr

Introducing the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic
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Andrew Maxwell




Location: New Zealand
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PostPosted: Mon 28 Dec, 2009 12:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
Also, non fantasy but a good historical novel, Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose... quite a good yarn


I would second Umberto Eco- his Baudolino is one of my favourite books.

He's the only author I know of who writes medieval characters. Every other author of fantasy/historical novels write modern characters transplanted into medieval bodies- there is such a huge difference between thinking about medieval things and thinking in a medieval way.

Also, Baudolino is woth reading just for the philosophical conversations- the debates about "why a vaccuum can't exist" and also "why the earth is shaped like a Tabernacle" are just brilliant.
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Carl Goff




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PostPosted: Mon 28 Dec, 2009 5:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If we're branching out into historical fiction, Michael Jecks writes really excellent historical mysteries -- heavily researched, lots of cultural background detail, accurate combat, etc... There's also a lively sense of humor.

http://www.amazon.com/Michael-Jecks/e/B001I9QC5E/ref=sr_tc_2_0

Mind you, I prefer the older tapestry-style covers. The new covers are occasionally inaccurate -- The King of Thieves has a guy in a spectacle helm, for Heaven's sake. Not something that should be on the cover of a book set in 1325.

Oh, East of sands and sunlit gulf, your blood is thin, your gods are few;
You could not break the Northern wolf and now the wolf has turned on you.
The fires that light the coasts of Spain fling shadows on the Eastern strand.
Master, your slave has come again with torch and axe in his right hand!
-Robert E. Howard
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