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I just saw this board in Selena's list over on New Boards, Notable Boards....so glad to have found this place!!!

I LOVE reading, always have. However, in the past few months, I wander around and around the bookstore looking for something to read and coming up empty handed. Part of the problem is that I don't know where to start (too much choice), and lots of books you just can't judge by the cover.

I like reading what I call "High Fantasy" and Historical Fiction. My definition of "High Fantasy" are the books where it is an imaginary world, maybe with some magic and the odd mythical creature, but not scores of different races (elves, dwarves etc - a la Tolkien).

Some series I have read, and HIGHLY recommend include:

Jack Whyte - Arthurian series starting with "The Skystone"
Guy Gavriel Kay - Any books except the "Fionavar Tapestry" books, especially Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emporers
George R.R. Martin - Fire and Ice series mentioned in an earlier thread
L.E. Modesitt - any Recluse books (easy but engrossing read)

On the historical fiction side, I've enjoyed books by:
Colleen McCullough - Masters of Rome series (i.e. "Caesar")
Wilbur Smith - Any, especially the ones about the Courtney family

Can someone recommend any new authors/series similar to these books?

Snie
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Robin Hobb for sure. Same texture as Kay.

-mapletree
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Robin Hobb for sure. Same texture as Kay.

Wow, that was quick! Is there a particular book or series I should start with?
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Can someone recommend any new authors/series similar to these books?

Harry Harrison's "Hammer and Cross" trilogy is simply excellent. The middle ages as they *might* have been.

You might also look at Poul Anderson's The Golden Slave.
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I like reading what I call "High Fantasy" and Historical Fiction.

To me, the very definition of a book that combines fantasy with historical fiction is John M. Ford's The Dragon Waiting, which won the World Fantasy Award almost 20 years ago. Love this book. Vampires and wizards in the Middle Ages. But Ford gives some a headache, so this may be an idiosyncratic recommendation.
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I like reading what I call "High Fantasy" and Historical Fiction. My definition of "High Fantasy" are the books where it is an imaginary world, maybe with some magic and the odd mythical creature, but not scores of different races (elves, dwarves etc - a la Tolkien).

You might like Harry Turtledove. He is a history professor who writes alternate histories. You might like the "Darkness" series which starts out with "Into the Darkness". This is basically a retelling of World War II on an different world with Dragons instead of airplanes, Leviathans instead of tanks, Wizards, etc. It is kind of cool.

He has several straight alternate histories, some with Sci-Fi bend and some just "what would have happened if things had happened a little differently."

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I liked Robin Hobb's "Assassin" trilogy (think the first one is "Assassin Apprentice).

I also liked the George R. R. Martin series, but only read the first two, he takes a long time between books and by the time the third one came out I couldn't remember all the story lines.
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snie:

I like reading what I call "High Fantasy" and Historical Fiction. My definition of "High Fantasy" are the books where it is an imaginary world, maybe with some magic and the odd mythical creature, but not scores of different races (elves, dwarves etc - a la Tolkien).

Me:

I've just finished Kushiel's Dart, a first novel by Jacqueline Carey, and I enjoyed it so much that I immediately began its sequel, Kushiel's Chosen. I've also got a soft spot for both Thomas Covenant trilogies by Stephen R. Donaldson, but I think they may be a little too "fantastic" to fit your definition of "high fantasy." The Jacqueline Carey novels are set in a clearly recognizable alternate version of Europe, and I suspect that you would enjoy them. --Bob
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Two writers of historical mysteries I enjoy are:

The Falco series by Lindsey Davis. Falco is a detective in Vespasian's Rome. The first in the series is "Silver Pigs".

The Lord Meren series by Lynda S. Robinson. Lord Meren is the "Eyes and Ears" of the Pharoah Tutenkhamen. The first in the series is Murder in the Place of Anubis.

Fantasy, I highly recommend the Vlad Taltos series by Steven Brust. The first is Jhereg.

I also like Cordelia's Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold. I really don't care for the rest of the series, but I really liked the first one.

Thuvia




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Also, C. J. Cherryh's Cyteen is written in a style I think you would enjoy, althought it is SF instead of fantasy.

mapletree, will scour bookshelves later.
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Fantasy, I highly recommend the Vlad Taltos series by Steven Brust. The first is Jhereg.

I agree, I really liked Brust's novels.

I'm not much of a fantasy fan, but I'd also recommend the old novel by White 'The Once and Future King' and it's follow up. I think it was titled 'Merlin' but I'm not sure.

l1soul
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Sorry to double post, but I just thought of Ursula LeGuin's novels. Some are Sci/fi some are Fantasy and some are a mix. You'll find it hard to beat the Earth/Sea stories, 'The Wind's Twelve Quarters' (Fantasy), 'The Lathe of Heaven' and 'The Word for World is Forest'(mostly sci/fi and among my favorite books of all time), and 'Rocannon's(sp?) world' (mix). I can't think of a book she's has written that I have read that really disappointed me. They are all great fun, and most are very insightful.

Enjoy.

l1soul
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I'm not much of a fantasy fan, but I'd also recommend the old novel by White 'The Once and Future King' and it's follow up. I think it was titled 'Merlin' but I'm not sure.

l1soul


I tried reading The Once and Future King. It really ticked me off when Arthur didn't recognize Morgan Le Fay when they had their roll in the hay that I gave up in disgust. Perhaps I was unduly harsh and should give it another try. After all, that is the story.

Thuvia
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I tried reading The Once and Future King. It really ticked me off when Arthur didn't recognize Morgan Le Fay when they had their roll in the hay that I gave up in disgust. Perhaps I was unduly harsh and should give it another try. After all, that is the story.

Thuvia


For me, the price of the book was paid in one short chapter. Victorious King Arthur and Merlin stand on a battlement and discuss what would happen if Arthur were to intentionally kill an innocent man standing guard below. Merlin makes it clear that Arthur, as popular as he was at that moment, could do what he wished without negative repercussions.

Everything before and after that was worth it just to 'see' that scene.

l1soul
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Sorry to double post, but I just thought of Ursula LeGuin's novels. Some are Sci/fi some are Fantasy and some are a mix. You'll find it hard to beat the Earth/Sea stories, 'The Wind's Twelve Quarters' (Fantasy), 'The Lathe of Heaven' and 'The Word for World is Forest'(mostly sci/fi and among my favorite books of all time), and 'Rocannon's(sp?) world' (mix). I can't think of a book she's has written that I have read that really disappointed me. They are all great fun, and most are very insightful.

Enjoy.

l1soul


I was going to suggest anything by Ursula LeGuin too but particularly the EarthSea Quartet.

I guess you are already aware of the "Magician" series by Raymond Feist?

The Terry Goodkind series beginning with "Wizard's First Rule" is well written but contains rather too much graphic and prolonged violence for me. (in the same way that the SF books by Iain M. Banks do).

TK
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The Terry Goodkind series beginning with "Wizard's First Rule" is well written but contains rather too much graphic and prolonged violence for me.

Anyone read the latest in Goodkind's "Sword of Truth" series, Faith of the Fallen? I followed the first five and picked it up last week for vacation reading. I was amused to discover that apparently, Mr. Goodkind has been immersing himself in the philsophical writing of Ayn Rand, since his characters in the sixth book tend to channel John Galt from Atlas Shrugged most of the time. What I found irksome was no suggestion anywhere in the book that this philosophy was not Mr. Goodkind's personal thoughts but the thoughts of another. The dialogue of Mr. Goodkind's characters was almost verbatim from Ayn Rand's works. I find this questionably close to plagerism.

From the ending, we have at least one more book in this series to which we can look forward.

Moonglade
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I gave up on Goodkind after, I think, the fourth book. It seemed to me that the series was getting rather strange while not leading anywhere.

I have given up on fantasy in general, for the most part, this tendency to write series with five or seven or ten books is a bad idea, IMHO, nobody can keep up the quality of the books over such a long stretch (and don't even get me STARTED on Robert Jordan, lol).

Give me a good three books, like Philip Pullman (and the first three Jordan books), and I'm happy.
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I gave up on Goodkind after, I think, the fourth book. It seemed to me that the series was getting rather strange while not leading anywhere.

I have given up on fantasy in general, for the most part, this tendency to write series with five or seven or ten books is a bad idea, IMHO, nobody can keep up the quality of the books over such a long stretch (and don't even get me STARTED on Robert Jordan, lol).

Give me a good three books, like Philip Pullman (and the first three Jordan books), and I'm happy.


I agree wholly with you on the Goodkind and Jordan series. It becomes a source of easy money for them and saves them having to think of new ideas. Unfortunately the public keep buying them.

There oughta be a law - three books and you're out!
TK
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I gave up on Goodkind after, I think, the fourth book. It seemed to me that the series was getting rather strange while not leading anywhere.

I have given up on fantasy in general, for the most part, this tendency to write series with five or seven or ten books is a bad idea, IMHO, nobody can keep up the quality of the books over such a long stretch (and don't even get me STARTED on Robert Jordan, lol).

Give me a good three books, like Philip Pullman (and the first three Jordan books), and I'm happy.

I agree wholly with you on the Goodkind and Jordan series. It becomes a source of easy money for them and saves them having to think of new ideas. Unfortunately the public keep buying them.

There oughta be a law - three books and you're out!
TK


I agree with you for the most part. Some writers though kept up the quality of their books for an extraordinarily long time. Patrick O'Brian is the perfect example. From what I recall, so did Ellis Peters's Cadfael series.

Thuvia
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Some writers though kept up the quality of their books for an extraordinarily long time. Patrick O'Brian is the perfect example.

There were lulls. I tend to almost completely forget the storyline in books 8-10, then another lull later in the series (before The Truelove). And you could almost feel O'Brian getting very old by the very last books - places where he summarized what he would ordinarily show, or resorted to an image or portrayal that he had used before.

Even in the "weak" books though (and fans will disagree on precisely which books were "weak") there were still wonderful, wonderful moments and passages. The books are like dear friends - you forgive an occasional lapse.
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http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0345416880/qid=1023113707/sr=1-17/ref=sr_1_17/104-9307022-0197568


Orson Scott Card's Enchantment. It's good reading, and a nice mix of historical fiction and fantasy examining the archetypal roots of fairy tales.

6
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Here's another: (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0312875304/qid=1021490449/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_1/002-0603434-8967214)

Magic/fantasy ancient Ireland setting, good villains, good heroes, complex ethics. I'm now on the second book in the trilogy, which I'm reading slowly since I don't think the third book is out yet. Good femle lead characters, too. There are mentions of faerie people and all that but in the "oops I stepped in a ring of toadstools" sense not any big mythical people's battles stuff.

6
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There oughta be a law - three books and you're out!
TK

I agree with you for the most part. Some writers though kept up the quality of their books for an extraordinarily long time. Patrick O'Brian is the perfect example. From what I recall, so did Ellis Peters's Cadfael series.

Thuvia


I love Patrick O'Brian and have read all his books.

When I made my flippant statement about a maximum of three books in a series I was thinking mainly of the traditional Fantasy/SF Genre, where writers seem to fall more easily into a comfy niche, and keep churning out the same old stuff over and over again.

I have only read a couple of Ellis Peter's Cadfael series (but seen more on television) but there is so much detail that he and Patrick O'Brian can draw from real history. Whereas the pure fantasy writer has to create everything anew. That is so much harder and why so few are able to do it.

I have quite a few of David Gemmell's Legend series, and I never tire of them, so perhaps in the end it all comes down to personal taste.

Keith
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When I made my flippant statement about a maximum of three books in a series I was thinking mainly of the traditional Fantasy/SF Genre, where writers seem to fall more easily into a comfy niche, and keep churning out the same old stuff over and over again.


A good example is the Xanth series. I tried reading some of the later ones and I just couldn't get into it. I also couldn't read some of the later Pern series either.

Thuvia
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I have eight words for the people who think a writer can only write 3 good books: Terry Pratchett, JRR Tolkien, and C. S. Lewis.

Terry Pratchett-22 Discworld books(not counting the ones with no plot). Over 3 million books sold all over the world. I rest my case.

JRR Tolkien-5 good books about Middle Earth: LotR, The Hobbit, Silmarillion. Need I say more?

C. S. Lewis-The Narnian Chronicles were, I think, his best-known works. Also, the Screwtape Letters, which my mom loved.

Let's see, did they write more than 3 books? Why, yes, they did! Are they still widely read and enjoyed? Why, yes, they are! How odd!
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TK and I were speaking about a book series, not about individual books. Just compare the latest Spenser with the first couple in the series. It's hard enough writing one book, imagine trying to keep up the quality over 10-15 books. Of course there are exceptions and you've listed a few.

By the way, LotR was one book. Tolkein's publishers made him break it up. He wasn't pleased about it.

I've starting hearing a lot about Pratchett. I'm going to have to check him out. Thanks for reminding me.

Thuvia
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JRR Tolkien-5 good books about Middle Earth: LotR, The Hobbit, Silmarillion. Need I say more?

Make that 4 good books. The Silmarillion was really not that good. Also you could argue that LOTR was really just one long book. That's what JRRT said. So now we're down to 2 really great books and 1 so so book.
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TK and I were speaking about a book series, not about individual books

Orson Scott Card's Ender series.
David Brin's Uplift series.

6, challenging
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TK and I were speaking about a book series, not about individual books

Orson Scott Card's Ender series.
David Brin's Uplift series.

6, challenging


McCaffrey's Pern series
Anthony's Xanth series
Conant's Holly Winter series

Thuvia
<counter-challenging>

P.S. Thanks for reminding me to read the Ender series. I need to write these things down.
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P.S. Thanks for reminding me to read the Ender series. I need to write these things down.

Just hie thee to Amazon right now and get the first two. They're not expensive and believe me, you won't have to be reminded to get the rest.

6
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I also need to read the Earthsea stuff by LeGuin. I'll order the whole kit and kaboodle when I order the Crest whitening strips. Do those things work?

Thuvia
<improving a dazzling smile>
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I'll order the whole kit and kaboodle when I order the Crest whitening strips. Do those things work?


I dunno, let me know and I'll get some too. I'm the coffee queen.
You seem to be saying you can order them via Amazon.com??

6
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TK and I were speaking about a book series, not about individual books

Orson Scott Card's Ender series.
David Brin's Uplift series.


I would argue that both of these SUPPORT the hypothesis. The Ender books AND the Uplift series both start to go downhill after #3.

-mapletree
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I would argue that both of these SUPPORT the hypothesis. The Ender books AND the Uplift series both start to go downhill after #3.

We can talk about Ender, but the Uplift series kicks butt all the way through.

6
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We can talk about Ender, but the Uplift series kicks butt all the way through.

I hate to say it, but he's stopped paying attention to his editor. The stories got more and more complicated to the point where it was difficult to remember what was going on. The first two books of the first series were much better than the second trilogy.

-mapletree
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The first two books of the first series were much better than the second trilogy.

Yes. There's no reason to read past "Speaker".
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I thought Ender was one of the best science fiction novels I have read, but could never get into the sequels.
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