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There are a series of books by David Eddings that I enjoy very much and are in the same genre. The series is called The Belgariad and the six books are: Pawn of Prophecy, Queen of Sorcery, Magician's Gambit, Castle of Wizardry, Enchanter's End Game and Belgarath the Sorcerer.

If you are interested in going back to the earlier days of King Arthur, you might enjoy The Once and Future King by T.H. White, which I'm currently rereading.

~Mari

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I love the scene in The Once and Future King where Peligrad and some other knight go about bashing each other for what seems like hours in their full plate armor. I have no idea if it's realistic, but it's so contrary to Hollywood's depiction of fighting. A very good laugh.

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Dragonlance Cronicles by Margaret Weis and Tracy hickman. There are more books by them, which continue on that story, other 'expanded' books by other authors are not that good.

Lots of Dragons, Wars and Magic (having one of the best wizard characters out there IMO, Raistlin) :)

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How ´bout Homer´s THE ODYSSEY?

Joking or not, Hector is really doing you a favor recommending this book, KM. This is as good as fantasy can get. That is, of course, if you haven't read it yet. A great pleasure, although it does go a little bit further back than the Middle Ages.

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thanks,you guys.I ask because when I walk into my local Chapters and look at to the fantasy section,there's thousands of titles to choose from.I might as well just close my eyes and pick one at random.But I don't want to buy a book and get bored after 50 pages.

K.M.

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The fantasy series by Lloyd Alexander that begins with The Book of Three is quite good. I'm not sure what the series as a whole is called (Prydain Chronicles?), but it's comprised of five books: The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron (also an animated film), The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer, and The High King. Very good fantasy books, probably similar to Narnia and LOTR, though closer in style to Narnia and HP.

Ray Barnsbury

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What I liked about HP is that the perspective is always around Harry's,so the storyline is always in focus.I don't like when it's too disjointed and you have to wait several chapters before finding out what happens to the main characters because the book skips to some some other events or place.That's my main problem with LotR after the fellowship breaks up.

K.M.

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Try reading The Mirror of Her Dreams and its second part A Man Rides Through by Stephen R. Donaldson. Great stuff.

If you want a frustrating read try his Thomas Covennant books. Also fantastic, but with a main character that is very much the anti-hero.

Oh, if you want fantasy that will make you laugh, try any of Terry Pratchett's discworld novels. The first one is called The Colour of Magic. Wonderful.

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The fantasy series by Lloyd Alexander that begins with The Book of Three is quite good.

Ray, I was just going to recommend these myself until I read your post! :wave: The Chronicles of Prydain are an amazingly good read. Certainly it seems oriented more at younger readers but that should never detract from the fact that this is a marvelous story, very well told. I must have read The Book of Three about, oh, four times now... ;)

K.M. - my personal recommendation would be Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea novels. I have only recently discovered them and they have swiftly become some of my favourite fantasy stories ever. The novels in sequential order are A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, Tehanu and The Other Wind. Sure there are wizards and dragons but the main attraction is the devastating style and intelligence of these novels. I wish I could explain more, but I just can't put my affection and admiration for this series into words today.

Have you read Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow & Thorn series? I have yet to get around to this, though I have heard high praise. Perhaps if you told us what fantasy books or series you have actually already read, we could offer more informed responses. Anyway, let us know what you finally end up reading :).

CYPHER

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R.A. Salvatore has some good books out there, also someone already mentioned Weiss and Hickmans original trilogy, Dragons of Autumn Twilight is the first in the trilogy, and you can also try Anne McCaffrey's Dragon riders of Pern books, but that is a little different as you don't have all the races like elfs and all the others.

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Really? Bummer. I know that the last one is pretty dear (and it doesn't actually have anywhere near as much content as the others). You should be able to find the first four books collected in a nice little omnibus which shouldn't be too expensive. Nowadays I haven't been able to find any of this series second hand either. I own the first three books but have borrowed the subsequent novels from the public library and have been hoarding them for most of the year now. It helps that my buddy used to work at the library and can extend my loans ad infinitum! (Insert maniacal laugh here - where's the emoticon for this honestly? :music:).

I don't know anything about this Terry Goodkind series of which you speak, but Wael's right about the early series of DragonLance. They certainly have some merit and are quite enjoyable. Good luck deciding anyway.

CYPHER

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Wow....you guys're stealing all the best ideas! And I can't help but add my vote to a couple of them....

Alexander's Prydain Chronicles are superb. I picked up The High King when I was younger, only to find it was the fifth in the series. I went out, found The Book of Three, and proceeded to lose myself in one of the most wonderful fantasy worlds I've encountered. What's perhaps most interesting is that they're written at what's currently termed the "young adult" level, which only means that they're that much more accessible to a wider audience. The characters are some of the most memorable and interesting you'll find, even in the more "mature" books out there. (One frustration I did have was the lack of maps....did anyone else find that a pain?)

I was also going to suggest Eddings' Belgariad (the one Mari offered--Pawn of Prophecy, Queen of Sorcery, etc.). Among other factors, two things made those books great: their intelligent and thoughtful approach to sorcery, and the rich and profound texture of the different races, cultures, and political enclaves. The characters were great in that one, too.

I'm also in the middle of another Eddings series, The Elenium. That one takes a much more militaristic point of view, and comes much closer to mimicking the social orders of the "real" Middle Ages (especially in its dealings with the church). There's plenty of magic in it, though, and it's a prime example of a story efficiently told, mostly through dialogue (and therefore through character).

A couple more that might interest you....Spellfire, by Ed Greenwood, is a purely pulp-fantasy romp through the Forgotten Realms--the first, actually, to be written for that RPG world. It's great fun, and isn't quite as taxing as a trilogy or longer series (although there are two sequels, neither of which is important to the first, self-contained story).

I've slowly been trying to work through Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time books. The first one (Eye of the World) was very good, but I haven't gotten further than the second--and it isn't what I'd call light fantasy reading, either (which I like, but it's not for everyone, so....).

If you like the whole Middle Age military thing, I found Elizabeth Moon's The Deed of Paksenarrion to be a pretty good read. It's another trilogy--the first is Sheepherder's Daughter, but you can buy the whole thing in a single volume. Not a whole lot of magic, but great for the details of military life.

If the legend of King Arthur appeals to you, you won't find a much better retelling of it than Stephen R. Lawhead's Pendragon Cycle, which combines the age-old tale with another myth, the legend of Atlantis. (For sheer word power and strength of narrative, this guy's one of my favorite authors.)

Man....I could go on, but you've already earned quite a list from everyone here. If I had to make a do-or-die recommendation on the spot, I'd have to go with either Prydain or Eddings' Belgariad. Both are easy to start and hard to put down.

- Uni

(P.S....with the exception of the Lawhead books, all of the above are told almost exclusively from the main character's point of view.)

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Thank you Uni for your suggestions!

The legend of King Arthur appeals to me and I hadn't heard of the Pendragon Cycle. I just finished The Once And Future King last weekend and was wondering what to read next! I think I'll have to check out that book. ROTFLMAO

Mari, who was fortunate enough to have seen Richard Harris in a live performance of Camelot

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you know,set in the middle ages,spells,magical creatures and wizards,clever story..etc

Can i subsitute magical creatures for worms, and wizards for mystical sisterhoods etc?

If so, then i highly reccomend the Dune novels. Not fanatsy as such. Yet, not really Sci Fi either.

I always like that genre,and am wondring what series to read now.

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The Sword of Shannara, by Terry Brooks................if you like The Lord of the Rings, then read this! It's got a whole lot of the same elements (kinda a ripoff), but hey, a ripoff on a good thing isn't usually too bad :mrgreen: And this book turned into a really really good read. Very descriptive in its settings. Brooks has a similar style to Tolkien in some ways.

Anyone else read this book?

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The legend of King Arthur appeals to me and I hadn't heard of the Pendragon Cycle.  I just finished The Once And Future King last weekend and was wondering what to read next!  I think I'll have to check out that book. :)

The first book is called Taliesin, and stands behind LOTR alone as the best book I've ever read.

Mari, who was fortunate enough to have seen Richard Harris in a live performance of Camelot

Wow....that must mean even more now than before. That's really great.

I'm looking for the The Book of Three(Lloyd alexander),that one seems be mentionned a lot,but I haven't found it a bookshops yet...

Don't forget to look in the Young Adult section. Most bookstores don't even shelve it with the mainstream sci-fi/fantasies.

The Sword of Shannara, by Terry Brooks................if you like The Lord of the Rings, then read this! It's got a whole lot of the same elements (kinda a ripoff), but hey, a ripoff on a good thing isn't usually too bad  And this book turned into a really really good read. Very descriptive in its settings. Brooks has a similar style to Tolkien in some ways.  

Anyone else read this book?

I tried. I really did. But it turned out to be too much of a Tolkien rip-off for my tastes....and I swear, the man could not for the life of him get the hang of a paragraph break. Flip to just about any page in Sword and you'll see what I mean; y'get an average of two paragraphs per page, maybe three if you've eaten your veggies. It slogs the story down horribly. It may seem a small nitpick, but that sorta thing can ruin a novel for me. (Still, it's another on my list of future conquests. If I could find an unabridged audio version, I'd go for it. That would at least solve the paragraph problem.)

Incarnations of immortality by Peirs Anthony. VERY VERY VERY VERY GOOD READ!

Yes they are! About as perfect a balance between sci-fi and fantasy as you're bound to find, and full of thoughtful and provocative discussions on the issues of death, fate, war, etc. Great series.

- Uni

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Flip to just about any page in Sword and you'll see what I mean; y'get an average of two paragraphs per page, maybe three if you've eaten your veggies. It slogs the story down horribly. It may seem a small nitpick, but that sorta thing can ruin a novel for me. (Still, it's another on my list of future conquests. If I could find an unabridged audio version, I'd go for it. That would at least solve the paragraph problem.)

Yes,I tried that book a long time ago.The narrative was so tedious to read i stopped about halfway.That's the reason I'm wary of the Wheel of Time books also mentionned in this thread

But I also read a few of Terry Brooks "Landover" novels too,which were much better and a lot more fun.

K.M.

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Incarnations of immortality by Peirs Anthony. VERY VERY VERY VERY GOOD READ!

Yes they are! About as perfect a balance between sci-fi and fantasy as you're bound to find, and full of thoughtful and provocative discussions on the issues of death, fate, war, etc. Great series.

- Uni

I know Piers Anthony from the Xanth novels.The first few books were a lot of fun but after a while I couldn't stand the puns anymore.

K.M.

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I'm looking for the The Book of Three(Lloyd alexander),that one seems be mentionned a lot,but I haven't found it a bookshops yet...

Don't forget to look in the Young Adult section. Most bookstores don't even shelve it with the mainstream sci-fi/fantasies.

- Uni

I shall then :)

K.M.

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Yes,I tried that book a long time ago.The narrative was so tedious to read i stopped about halfway.That's the reason I'm wary of the Wheel of Time books also mentionned in this thread

Yeah, but Jordan manages to keep the "Wheel" turning more efficiently than Brooks's efforts. The first couple chapters of Eye of the World had me a little iffy, wondering if he had anything in store; then everything went haywire, and the story took wings. That might be one of the most involving narratives I've read in a long time, particularly in its ability to detail "real time" events while remaining completely character-oriented, which is essential.

Still, it's thicker than a lot of others out there (in both size and density), and the thought of ten of those honkers is a pretty daunting thought. You're probably still best off warming up in Prydain.

Hey, everybody, while we're on the subject....I just picked up a new one myself last night, something I've never heard of. (See, here's how it works....I have three or four in line waiting to be read, but whenever I'm in a bookstore, you know I just have to broaden my library, so I'll get something just in case the floor falls out from under the novels ahead of it on the waiting list.) It's called A Game of Thrones, and it's by George R. R. Martin. So far, he has two things working in his favor: first, the double-R middle initials boast a pretty strong precedence, and the first two pages are packed with blurbs from the likes of Robert Jordan, Anne McCaffrey, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and others among their contemporaries. (One of the best ways to find a good genre book is to see what all the other great authors in the genre are reading and loving, and follow their example.)

In spite of their praise, however, I wouldn't mind a more personal opinion or two. Anyone else taken a whack at this Song of Ice and Fire trilogy?

- Uni

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I know Piers Anthony from the Xanth novels.The first few books were a lot of fun but after a while I couldn't stand the puns anymore.

I didn't have much use for Xanth either, but Incarnations was completely different. A much more mature and compelling series than just about anything else he's done. (I never could get into his Adept series either, although I understand that one was pretty popular too.)

- Uni

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The first book is called Taliesin, and stands behind LOTR alone as the best book I've ever read.

Thanks Uni! I picked it up today. 8O

I am a tremendous fan of all the LOTR books, and am always excited when I learn of other books that can reach the emotional depth of that series!

~Mari

:nono: Angela's Ashes (sans dialogue)

p.s. Thanks K.M. for the advice! The disc arrived today, and you are right, "Back To America" is the emotional heart of the score!

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Thanks Uni!  I picked it up today. :(

I am a tremendous fan of all the LOTR books, and am always excited when I learn of other books that can reach the emotional depth of that series!

Great! You won't be disappointed. While I can't say it reaches the historical depth of those books (how many can?), and while the emotions are somewhat different (obviously), for sheer depth these books definitely serve up the goods.

It isn't until the next two books (Merlin and Arthur) that it really begins to breach the Arthur legend, but you'll be fascinated by how it goes about doing so. The connections it makes between the more well-known facets of the classic tale and its own unique storyline are exhilirating in their creativity. I also like them for the fact that they follow the original Celtic myth--the way it was known before the French romanticists got their hands on it and turned it into a soap opera--much more closely than other stories, right down to the authentic Celtic names (Llenlleawg was once Lancelot's "real" name, Gwenhwyvar was Gueniviere (sp? :roll:))....which means if you really go in for the whole thing between those two characters, you might be a little disappointed (though what he does do with them raises a fair conflict of its own).

The first one sets up the epic in an epic way, though, and contains one of my favorite and most thrilling scenes in all literature (I think you'll know which it is when you read it). You probably had to settle for the mass-media paperback, the only one in print anymore; years ago, I got the trade paperbacks as a gift. Much larger, with gorgeous cover art and woven celtic patterns throughout. It definitely made for a greater reading experience.

(One warning: Though the first three books are classics, a few years ago he followed them up with two more--Pendragon and Grail--which go back and give details on a couple of significant events during Arthur's reign. While it was interesting revisiting that version of ancient Britain, they were pretty pale shadows after the first trilogy. Bottom line, you might want to go on to them, but you wouln't necessarily be missing much if you skipped those last two.)

Enjoy your reading--and keep me posted on where you are! ;)

- Uni

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And while we're still talking great fantasies here (and though I know you've probably already filled your reading list for the next five years, KM), there was one more honorable mention I wanted to offer. A while back, I heard about another reputedly accomplished fantasy author, David Gemmell. I thought to give him a go, so on a whim, I picked out one of his single books (he hadn't yet earned trilogy/series merit yet). It was called Knights of Dark Renown.

I was blown away. I don't know that I've ever seen such a complete and richly conceived world fashioned and presented in so short a work (the thing's a scant 310 pages). The characters are varied and intricately realized, the plot holds you fast, and when it wanted to be, it was actually chilling. If you want a fairly quick read that still manages to weigh in like a full-scale epic, you could do a lot worse than this one. (I loved it so much, in fact, that I haven't read a single other book by Gemmell....hmmm....:?)

- Uni

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So true, Ren, so true ...

K.M. you may be the one all these book recommendations are intended for but I guarantee you you're not alone in taking some of these title suggestions on board for future reading possibilities. But there are just too many of them! :sigh:

Mantra: Patience and moderation in all things

Repeat.

Repeat.

Okay I feel much better now ;). Now for some quick comments:

- Uni, I totally agree with you about the desperate need for a map to accompany The Chronicles of Prydain. In fact I found one a couple of years ago, printed in a short story by Lloyd Alexander called The Foundling (?). I didn't buy the book because it was only about 40 pages and cost a bomb but I would really love a copy of that map. I tried looking for it on the net at the time but I couldn't find a copy of it. Maybe some kind soul will have posted it in the intervening years? (fingers crossed).

- As much as I love Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, I would suggest you steer well clear K.M. You said you didn't like fractured storytelling with mutiple perspectives etc? Well this series has it in spades! Each chapter is told roughly from a single character's perspective and there can be up to ten or fifteen different 'narrators' in each novel alone. This technique is frequently quite effective, but if you're opposed to this sort of thing, then consider yourself formally warned ;).

CYPHER

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- Uni, I totally agree with you about the desperate need for a map to accompany The Chronicles of Prydain. In fact I found one a couple of years ago, printed in a short story by Lloyd Alexander called The Foundling (?). I didn't buy the book because it was only about 40 pages and cost a bomb but I would really love a copy of that map. I tried looking for it on the net at the time but I couldn't find a copy of it. Maybe some kind soul will have posted it in the intervening years? (fingers crossed).

I have a book called The Foundling, and Other Tales of Prydain. It must not be the one you saw, since there's no map (:mrgreen:). It's a volume of short stories, giving some of the background on a few characters (Dallben, Coll, Fflewddur, etc.) and some of Prydain's history. Light reading for those already familiar with that little corner of myth.

Only now I'm aware there's a map out there....and how can I rest until I find it? ;) (I wonder if there are some web sites out there devoted to these stories; I would think there'd have to be.)

- Uni

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[Thanks?] for that Cypher!

No worries :)

I have a book called The Foundling, and Other Tales of Prydain. It must not be the one you saw, since there's no map (). It's a volume of short stories, giving some of the background on a few characters (Dallben, Coll, Fflewddur, etc.) and some of Prydain's history. Light reading for those already familiar with that little corner of myth.  

Only now I'm aware there's a map out there....and how can I rest until I find it?  (I wonder if there are some web sites out there devoted to these stories; I would think there'd have to be.)  

It would make sense wouldn't it? Maybe someone who's a better net searcher than I can find it ... I remember that the book with the map was a hardcover release, published in the late 1990s and it only contained "The Foundling" and no other stories. I guess the coveted map was some form of compensation ;) .

CYPHER

PS - Uni, are these short stories any good? When you say "light reading" I'm getting the impression they're fun but far, far from essential reading. Also, an idea when they were written in relation to the original chronicles?

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PS - Uni, are these short stories any good? When you say "light reading" I'm getting the impression they're fun but far, far from essential reading. Also, an idea when they were written in relation to the original chronicles?

I haven't read the stories in a while, but they are indeed a mighty distance from essential reading (meaning that skipping them altogether would probably do nothing to impede your impressions of Prydain overall). They're mostly just a few jaunts into the past, dealing with the backstory of a few characters. If you liked King Flam, for instance--and I loved him--you'll like the story of how he got his harp. That sort of thing.

They were written after the other books. Alexander specifically states in the intro that they're not meant to really "deepen" the whole Prydain experience, just give his readers a chance to revisit the place.

- Uni

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