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Phil U




Location: Seattle
Joined: 07 Nov 2010

Posts: 44

PostPosted: Tue 22 Nov, 2011 7:23 pm    Post subject: Fiction recommendations         Reply with quote

Interested in your input on enjoyable fiction wherein swords and weapons and armor and such have a place.

Here's my list, bias towards northern Europe sort of stuff. Fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, it's all in:

Most everything by Joe Abercrombie. Start with The Blade Itself or Heroes. Stunning.
Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay.
The Deepest Sea by Charles Barnitz. Best book you've never heard of.
Whose Song is Sung by Frank Schaefer. Beowulf story. Very very good and another one you havent heard about
The Religion by Timothy Willocks
Bernard Cornwell's Arthur series starting with Winter King
B Cornwell The Last Kingdom. Alfred story, first few are good but series goes downhill shortly

Okay that's a start what can you add?
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Adam Bohnstengel




Location: Spring, TX
Joined: 24 Aug 2011

Posts: 72

PostPosted: Tue 22 Nov, 2011 7:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe Abercrombie is AMAZING!!! Great first author for this list. Happy

I would add:

The King Killer Chronicles (the Name of the Wind and Wise Man's Fear so far) by Patrick Rothfuss.
A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin (now a kick butt HBO program)
The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (now dead, continued by Brian Sanderson)
The Mistborn trilogy by Brian Sanderson


That's all I can think of off the top of my head. I reread all of those books often, and I can hardly wait for the next installments from Sanderson, Rothfuss, and Martin. It's agonizing really. Sad

Violence is the supreme authority from which all other authority is derived.
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Thomas Peters




Location: La Farge, WI
Joined: 19 Oct 2011

Posts: 27

PostPosted: Tue 22 Nov, 2011 8:13 pm    Post subject: Fiction.         Reply with quote

I also really enjoyed Robert Jordans Wheel of Time series. It was sad that he passed before he could finish the series.

One I would recommend is the Deryni series by Katherine Kurtz. I have 11 of the books she put out in this series but I believe there were more published.

Tribe Woden Thor historical re-enactors.
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D. S. Smith




Location: Central CA
Joined: 02 Oct 2011

Posts: 221

PostPosted: Tue 22 Nov, 2011 8:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mine are all fantasy, not "authentic" medieval history.

Terry Brooks- Sword of Shannara series, followed by many other series. Brooks sort of brought fantasy back to the mainstream for the first time in many years (basically since Tolkien)

I read the first two books of the Wheel of Time series by Jordan. I enjoyed the first two but I heard the series went way downhill after the early books. I have read the first Mistborn book by Sanderson, and was very impressed (though if you go into it expecting a typical sword and sorcery book you will be very surprised, because it's not).

I really enjoyed the Belgariad (5 or 6 books) by David Eddings. In fact, Terry Brooks was firmly in the lead for my fantasy tastes until I read the Belgariad. Eddings series was extremely well done. I have started the Mallorean (his next series) and so far I'm not as impressed.

I've come to realize that I much prefer series that have a group of main characters as opposed to the one or two hero styles. I've also come to realize that nobody in fantasy is very original. Even rattling off the most famous and successfull authors; Patrick Rothfuss started his book off in a small town with rumors of a great war and distant evils approaching. So did Eddings. The idea of a collection of "country bumpkins" that begin life as good natured farm folk and become saviors of the world has been done over and over. David Eddings coppied it from Terry Brooks. Terry Brooks copied it from Tolkien. And even Tolkien wasn't original (heresy, I know). He copied heavily from a number of great authors before him. Some sections of Lord of the Rings were blatant copies of H. Rider Haggard's "She".

In the end, I guess originality seems to be overrated in the fantasy genre. But honestly, as long as the characters are enjoyable and the world is well thought out, it's still a fun read.

Lo, they do call to me.
They bid me take my place among them,
In the halls of Valhalla!
Where the brave may live forever!
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Adam Bohnstengel




Location: Spring, TX
Joined: 24 Aug 2011

Posts: 72

PostPosted: Tue 22 Nov, 2011 8:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

D. S., while the Wheel of Time does start slowing down around book 5, it does pick up again later in the series. Even the slow books are still enjoyable, just not up to the level of the better ones. I highly recommend that you pursue the whole series, it's a very in depth world, and that's really what slows it down as the characters gain responsibility and get bogged down. I would have listed Terry Brooks as well (I read the first 7 Shanara books as a kid, and loved them), but they haven't aged well to me. Great books for young kids and teens to get them interested, but as an adult, they've fallen behind more talented authors.

Phil, what "Heroes" books are you referring to by Abercrombie? I haven't seen any of his other books, though I admit I haven't really had the time to look.

Violence is the supreme authority from which all other authority is derived.
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Phil U




Location: Seattle
Joined: 07 Nov 2010

Posts: 44

PostPosted: Tue 22 Nov, 2011 9:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Adam Bohnstengel wrote:

Phil, what "Heroes" books are you referring to by Abercrombie? I haven't seen any of his other books, though I admit I haven't really had the time to look.


http://www.amazon.com/Heroes-Joe-Abercrombie/...amp;sr=8-1

Drop everything and go get it if you like his books. Same world as Blade itself and some of the same characters.
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Scott Moore




Location: Maine,USA
Joined: 22 Aug 2006

Posts: 18

PostPosted: Tue 22 Nov, 2011 9:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I heartily recommend The Long Ships ,by Franz Bengtsson ,an old title recently back in print. It is my hands-down favorite historical novel,written in the style of a saga, about real historical events,with engaging characters and wry wit. Don't let the horrid 60s' movie dissuade you .The book is a gem.
Grip Fast.
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Andrew W




Location: Florida, USA
Joined: 14 Oct 2010

Posts: 78

PostPosted: Tue 22 Nov, 2011 10:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I haven't read them for a long time, but I like the historical fiction of Rosemary Sutcliff. The Shining Company (6h c. Britain) is my favorite.
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D. S. Smith




Location: Central CA
Joined: 02 Oct 2011

Posts: 221

PostPosted: Tue 22 Nov, 2011 10:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Adam Bohnstengel wrote:
I would have listed Terry Brooks as well (I read the first 7 Shanara books as a kid, and loved them), but they haven't aged well to me. Great books for young kids and teens to get them interested, but as an adult, they've fallen behind more talented authors.



Hi Adam, I appreciate the recommendation to continue with the Wheel of Time. Maybe I'll give it a go again.

I completely hear what you're saying about Brooks. I recently tried re-reading the Sword of Shannara and found I'd liked it much better the first time. But don't give up on Brooks yet. In my opinion, some of his most recent books have been FAR better written than his earlier, more famous, books. The two trilogies I'm referring to are his "urban fantasy" books, starting with "Running with the Demon". The "Word and Void" series and then the "Genesis of Shannara" series. The word and the void took me a while to get into because it is anything but a traditional fantasy book. It's a story about a teenage girl in a tiny town in the midwest. None of these things are of the slightest interest to me. Laughing Out Loud But the character development was superb and the story gradually builds momentum over the course of the next three books. It is one of the few books where I was almost ready to put it down many times and in the end was very glad I hadn't.

The genesis of shanarra series follows the word and the void, and is a post-apocalyptic trilogy largely taking place in the Pacific Northwest. Very believable characters and locations, but with the beginnings of a few elves scrattered in. All in all, it was my favorite Brooks series ever. So, to make a long story short, if you read these 6 books with an open mind, you might find they are head and shoulders above his earlier works. At least they were for me.

Lo, they do call to me.
They bid me take my place among them,
In the halls of Valhalla!
Where the brave may live forever!
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Paul Mullins





Joined: 22 May 2006

Posts: 120

PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2011 1:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robert E. Howard
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Job Overbeek





Joined: 21 Apr 2011

Posts: 49

PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2011 2:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Coldfire and Magister trilogy by C.S. Friedman is great Coldfire is the more unorthodox IMO, but a little hard to get into.
The Symphony of Ages by Elizabeth Haydon is nice as well, kind of Numenor-like story with the flight of a people from a doomed island.
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David Huggins




Location: UK
Joined: 25 Jul 2007

Posts: 490

PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2011 2:26 am    Post subject: Fiction         Reply with quote

Raven Blood-Eye series by Giles Kristian

http://www.gileskristian.com/

take a peak on the webpage at the promo video too for latest title in the series 'Odin's Wolves' , gives a flavour of what to expect.

bst
Dave

and he who stands and sheds blood with us, shall be as a brother.
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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Reading list: 13 books

Posts: 945

PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2011 4:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Three Musketeers! Believe it or not, it's a classic for many good reasons - most of all because it's simply a really, really fun read.

Fritz Leiber's stories of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser. They almost fall prey to the Dirty Old Man Syndrome at the end, but the start is good and the middle - including such classics as "The Adept's Gambit", "Lords of Quarmall" and "Lean Times in Lankhmar" - is truly excellent.

Most of the stuff by David Gemmel, starting with Legend. It's his debut novel, which shows, but in a good way, IMO - it's somewhat unpolished, but also very raw and compellingly earnest, with a ton of sheer heart poured into the writing. I actually blew right through it in one sitting kinda by accident: I picked it up to have just a little peek before bed, and simply couldn't put it down until I reached the back cover at around seven in the morning. Eek!

Several of the longer stories by Lord Dunsany, like "The Sword of Welleran" and "The Fortress Unvanquishable, Save for Sacnoth". We're talking about some of the earliest roots of modern fantasy, here, and it's some heady stuff, alright. Dunsany had a really unique writing voice: there's an incredible lyrical beauty to to his prose - which he sometimes deliberately spoils, for hilarious effect - and his stories have this wonderful dreamlike quality that's really hard to explain - the best I can do is that it reminds me of really vivid watercolors, somehow... but what the hell, just go read it. His stuff's in public domain, and easily found on Project Gutenberg or Wikisource. His shorter stuff doesn't have much swords in it, but all of it is also worth your time, I should think - for an example, here's my personal favorite one of his short pieces, "The Songless Country" from Fifty-One Tales:

Quote:
The poet came unto a great country in which there were no songs. And he lamented gently for the nation that had not any little foolish songs to sing to itself at evening.

And at last he said: "I will make for them myself some little foolish songs so that they may be merry in the lanes and happy by the fireside." And for some days he made for them aimless songs such as maidens sing on the hills in the older happier countries.

Then he went to some of that nation as they sat weary with the work of the day and said to them: "I have made you some aimless songs out of the small unreasonable legends, that are somewhat akin to the wind in the vales of my childhood; and you may care to sing them in your disconsolate evenings."

And they said to him:

"If you think we have time for that sort of nonsense nowadays you cannot know much of the progress of modern commerce."

And the poet wept for he said: "Alas! They are damned."


I dunno, maybe it's just me but no matter how many times I've read it, that response just cracks me right up every time. Laughing Out Loud

Of course, it's shortly followed by "The Demagogue and the Demi-Monde", another top favorite of mine for much the same reasons... (FYI, a "demi-mondaine" was essentially a prostitute.)

Paul Mullins wrote:
Robert E. Howard

And not just Conan, either, but also King Kull, Bran Mak Morn, Turlogh Dubh, Solomon Kane, and all his other fantasy stories - besides which he also wrote some really ripping (semi)historical yarns like "The Grey God Passes", about the Battle of Clontarf, "Shadow of the Vulture", set in the 1526 Siege of Vienna and featuring the one and only real Red Sonya (whose Cordoban leather boots Marvel's bikini bimbo isn't worthy to lick), and a whole host of sword-and-gun adventures in the Far East (think Lawrence of Arabia, only set in Afghanistan and with loads more action). Heck, from Bran Mak Morn onwards even the fantasy stories are semi-historical, set in historical times and locations and sometimes featuring historical figures and events... he was an enthusiastic amateur historian, after all, and used fantasy mostly as an excuse to write exciting tales inspired but not constrained by real history.

One of the great things about Robert E. Howard, BTW, is how accessible he is right now. Not only is much of his work in the public domain and readily available for free at places like Wikisource and Project Gutenberg, there's also a wonderful series of anthologies published by Del Rey/Wandering Star that painstakingly reconstruct the original texts where possible, based on Howard's own manuscripts, purged of the rampant third-party revisions and rewrites (and outright frauds) that have so far riddled his legacy to the point that nobody really knew where Howard's actual work ended and the pastiches started. Plus they're illustrated by some of the greatest talents in contemporary fantasy art, and include some really nice bonus materials - maps, notes, alternate versions, unfinished fragments, analytical essays - that really help put ol' Two-Gun Bob and his stories in context.

(Oh, and if you like Howard, don't miss The Whole Wide World, a film about him and Evalyne Pryce. It's kinda awesome.)

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Jim Adelsen
Industry Professional



Location: WI
Joined: 28 Dec 2005

Posts: 137

PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2011 4:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

George RR Martin, Joe Abercrombie, and Terry Brooks are probably my current favorites. Glad to hear others like Joe too.

I would like to add in some great books by Poul Anderson. War Of the Gods, Mother of Kings, Hrolf Kraki's Saga, and The Last Viking trilogy are all great. Based on Viking sagas.

www.viking-shield.com
www.thevikingmuseum.com
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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Reading list: 13 books

Posts: 945

PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2011 4:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

D. S. Smith wrote:
I've also come to realize that nobody in fantasy is very original. Even rattling off the most famous and successfull authors; Patrick Rothfuss started his book off in a small town with rumors of a great war and distant evils approaching. So did Eddings. The idea of a collection of "country bumpkins" that begin life as good natured farm folk and become saviors of the world has been done over and over. David Eddings coppied it from Terry Brooks. Terry Brooks copied it from Tolkien. And even Tolkien wasn't original (heresy, I know). He copied heavily from a number of great authors before him. Some sections of Lord of the Rings were blatant copies of H. Rider Haggard's "She".

In the end, I guess originality seems to be overrated in the fantasy genre. But honestly, as long as the characters are enjoyable and the world is well thought out, it's still a fun read.

Nonsense! Just because writers who more or less deliberately(*) copy each other all sound the same does not mean the whole genre is like that. You just have to look a bit further afield. There's an actual reason besides snobbery why "Big Book Fantasy" is often considered a separate genre in its own right...

For example, have a gander at Tanith Lee's Cyrion (it's hard to find these days, but "A Hero at the Gates" at least was reprinted in The Mammoth Book of Fantasy 2001), C. L. Moore's Jirel of Joiry stories (at least "The Black God's Kiss" if nothing else), almost any short story by Clark Ashton Smith (even the ones that are more conventional in terms of plot throw in some curveballs, like "The Black Abbot of Puthuum" or "The Charnel God", and then there are the likes of "The Door to Saturn" which just play merry hell with your preconceptions of how a fantasy story should go), or basically anything by Jack Vance including, but not limited to, his Dying Earth stories... and that's just among the classics!

Moving towards more recent times, there's stuff like the New Wave, Michael Moorcock (perhaps Hawkmoon and Corum rather than Elric) and M. John Harrison's Viriconium sequence (The Pastel City, A Storm of Wings and so on), or Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber, surprisingly much of Terry Pratchett's Discworld...

...and, honestly, I'm only talking about mainstream fantasy, here. There's a lot of really weird stuff out there, too, but you have to sort of trek beyond the major tourist attractions to find it.



(*) I know it's 100% intentional with Eddings, at least, as he makes this very clear in The Rivan Codex - which, BTW, you should not miss if you like The Belgariad and/or The Malloreon; and I think the foreword, specifically, is worth reading to anyone interested in mainstream fantasy.

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Tim Mathews




Location: St Paul MN
Joined: 02 Oct 2004

Posts: 164

PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2011 9:42 am    Post subject: Favorite Fiction         Reply with quote

Hello ,
Great topic !
I grew up reading the Lancer paperback Conan stories ... The older I got the more I enjoyed his historical fiction - particularly the stories set in Outremer during the Crusades ...I have revisited them 30 years later and they are still a fun read ...
I have really enjoyed the Bernard Cornwall series - The Arthur saga - The Winter King - Enemy of God - Excalibur -
Also I loved the ongoing series set in England during the time of Alfred - my understanding is there will be a new book in that series out after the first of the year ... I loved the Archer books and in addition Agincourt was terrific ...
Also the Rome series by Colleen McCullough was wonderful - The First Man in Rome - The Grass Crown - Fortunes Favorites are the first three books
Mary Renault`s books on Alexander were amazing - Fire from Heaven - The Persian Boy - Funeral Games ...
I will stop babbling now...
Best
Tim

Tim Mathews
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Phil U




Location: Seattle
Joined: 07 Nov 2010

Posts: 44

PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2011 10:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Poul Anderson rec is spot on, those are great books from a great writer.

Never heard of the Raven Blood-Eye series so this thread has paid off already for me at least.

Another one to look into is Parke Godwin. She wrote excellent books based on old stories like Beowulf and Arthur. Her two books on Arthur (Firelord and I forget the second) deserve special mention for her treatment of the different cultures of that time. Arthur dies in the first book and Gwenivere goes off to live with Vikings.

Finally, Harry Harrison, best known for his Stainless Steel rat books, wrote a great series based starting with Hammer and the Cross.
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Adam Bohnstengel




Location: Spring, TX
Joined: 24 Aug 2011

Posts: 72

PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2011 7:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

D. S., my brother says the same thing about Brooks, maybe I will pick him up again. I'm just worried about tarnishing my good opinion of him that I still have from when I was little.

Phil, thanks for the link! My wife is out buying it for me now. Big Grin He's one of a nice crop of new, original authors that are absolutely rocking my literary world.

I would also recommend the author Stephen Pressfield. He does "historical fiction", basically taking real events and inserting stories into them. Gates of Fire, The Afghan Campaign, and Killing Rommel were all great reads. He does a lot of research into the subjects, and seems very accurate for the period he's writing.

Violence is the supreme authority from which all other authority is derived.
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Justin H. Núñez




Location: Hyde Park, UT
Joined: 24 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2011 7:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Andrew W wrote:
I haven't read them for a long time, but I like the historical fiction of Rosemary Sutcliff. The Shining Company (6h c. Britain) is my favorite.



Hear, hear! Sword at Sunset is what started me in the historical fiction. I read it so many times when I was young and reread it about every two years or so. To be read slowly, savoring the prose and smelling the mountain mist and horse sweat. Don't forget The Lantern Bearers. I also read not too long ago “Black Horses For the King”, Anne McCaffrey. Also very good, though kind of short.

Anybody read The Walking Drum? Also a favorite...

"Nothing in fencing is really difficult, it just takes work." - Aldo Nadi
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Brandt Giese




Location: Everett. Wa
Joined: 06 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Sat 26 Nov, 2011 11:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Tales
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