Author Topic: Recommended reading  (Read 2143 times)

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Offline X-Mhoired (Dan)

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Recommended reading
« on: September 28, 2008, 04:39:19 am »
So I may be preaching to the choir here, but for anyone who hasn't checked these out yet, allow me to recommend the series by George R.R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire. The first book, A Game of Thrones, is relatively self-contained in its own right, but serves as an introduction to a story of intrigue among nations, epic legends, and personal drama.
Like others on the forum this series served  to reignite my interes in the Birthright setting, and years later I learned our DM had been hooked on these books while running our BR campaign. To some friends I've described it as The Sopranos meets King Arthur, but to others I've said it was the single best work of fantasy literature I've read to date. It's mature, but can be quite funny in places as well! Quite a ride (Caveat emptor: This is expected to be at least a six book series, of which only four have currently been published)...
What do the rest of you think? And are there any other books out there, fiction or otherwise, people would like to spotlight as well?
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Offline X-Tornilen/SM (John)

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Re: Recommended reading
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2008, 04:54:13 am »
I often recommend Colleen McCullough's series of books on late Republican Rome c110 BC - c48 BC (there's also a newish addition to the series covering Octavius vs Mark Antony).  The books are very good for the web of family and faction interactions and obligations which it looks as though this game has, as well as very interesting politics.  I'd recommend the first few books in the series over the later books, as in the later books the personalities dominate more over the politics - but they are all good (with the possible exception of the Octavius vs Antony book which I haven't read yet).

I'd also recommend Sharon Penman's novels set in medieval England.
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Offline X-Ilien & PCE

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Re: Recommended reading
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2008, 12:17:07 pm »
Two highly political series that spring to mind are Raymond E. Feist and Jane Wurts's Empire books as well as some of Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan series. Latter is, of course set in a futuristic society, but there still is a lot of clan politicking.
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Offline X-Roesone/ARR (Robert)

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Re: Recommended reading
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2008, 12:34:13 pm »
I can't think of any other works of fantasy fiction I could recommend apart from Song of Ice and Fire even though I doubt the series will have a conclusion. Martin suffers from a writer's block visible from orbit even if he refuses to admit it and he's not the fittest and healthiest person around, not to mention that he's old :(
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Offline X-Mhoried/Constantine Mhor (Wiktor)

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Re: Recommended reading
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2008, 11:21:30 pm »
Not "reading" and a bit too modern in concept but I'd say 'Yes Minister' and 'Yes Prime Minister' along with Black Adder (4 series + extras) are also very good examples regarding politics in Cerilia.
His Grace Constantine Mhor the Duke of Mhoried

Offline X-IHH (Murphy)

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Re: Recommended reading
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2008, 06:37:03 am »
I've started reading "A Game of Thrones" at the suggestion here, and I've never been more horrified by characters in a novel.  The amount that I hate Targie, mostly.  Hate hate hate.

Offline X-Medoere & RCS/KE (Thorsten)

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Re: Recommended reading
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2008, 09:15:48 am »
I've started reading "A Game of Thrones" at the suggestion here, and I've never been more horrified by characters in a novel.  The amount that I hate Targie, mostly.  Hate hate hate.

He he he... There are so many characters, in R.R. Martin's books, that i have developed a love/hate relationship to. This is just the beginning!

Offline DM B

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Re: Recommended reading
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2008, 10:26:28 am »
I like the series, but I have to say that I think quality has given way to quantity. Mind you, it is still good reading, but the last book(s) do not have the superior quality that A Game of Thrones has. Mr. Martin is milking his cash cow, and I can't really argue with that.

What I like best about the series is the characters...and the sense of mortality that the setting invokes. But lately too many key characters have died, to be replaced by less interresting ones. It is a difficult balance I imagine, but I find myself bored when yet another character dies (because by now I've stopped caring and the novelty of main character dying are long gone) and that REALLY degrades the series.

Oh, and that stuff about what happens in far-away lands are nowhere near as well written as the Kingdom stuff - it lacks all the little details that makes the Kingdoms seem a real place...too bad there is so much of it in the later books.
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Offline DM B

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Re: Recommended reading
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2008, 10:28:03 am »
Two highly political series that spring to mind are Raymond E. Feist and Jane Wurts's Empire books...

Agreed. While certainly high fantasy, the political part of this series was a source of inspiration for the first RoE game...but to give credit where it is due...I sense a lot of Wurts and less of Feist in this series...
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Offline X-DM Jon

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Re: Recommended reading
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2008, 11:10:54 am »
Gene Wolfe's series "The Book of the New Sun". Comprising four books.

 An awe-inspiring tale of an exiled apprentice torturer.

Offline X-Elinie (Dan)

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Re: Recommended reading
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2008, 08:23:09 pm »
The Malazan Books of the Fallen by Steven Erickson are very good also.  The first book, "Gardens of the Moon" sets everything up and the follow on books really pick up the pace, good high fantasy stuff.  The best thing is that the gods are very involved in trying to shape events.  Kind of like what I would want a birthright game to be.
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Offline X-Alamie (Alex)

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Re: Recommended reading
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2008, 05:51:29 pm »
I quite enjoyed Greg Keyes' first two books in the Briar King serie, though I did not go very far, failing to find the subsequent books.

I would recommend to stay away from the poorly outfitted Swan War by Sean Russel. Whilst the firt book sets up a nice plot, it is incredible how starting with the second book and finishing with the third the plot unravelling is poorly written and you realise that the world presented in the first hundred pages has no more depth than... say something very thin.

Offline X-Haelyn's Aegis/RK (Andy)

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Re: Recommended reading
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2008, 09:51:05 pm »
The Darwath trilogy by Barbara Hambley is good in my view - although later additions lack the political infighting.  Not a real 'thrones' book it does show some interesting power struggles between law/temple/source holders including misunderstandings and the like.

There are some interesting pick-ups in her other works too, although the politics tends to be backstage - although Silicon Mage (I think, its been a while since I read the series) gives an interesting example of what happens when the court wizard goes bad in a land where other spellcasters are basically just magicians...
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Offline X-Coeranys/WD (Greg)

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Re: Recommended reading
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2008, 05:04:15 am »
Loved "A Game of Thrones" the most out of the series, though all of George R.R. Martin's Fire & Ice novels make for interesting fantasy-political-warfare reading (what extreme characters!).  Loved it so much I purchased the D20 "Game of Thrones" RPG, and had a blast DM'ing that for about a year.  The series is definitely inspiring reading for Birthright!  ;)
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Offline DM B

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Re: Recommended reading
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2008, 11:15:40 am »
D20 "Game of Thrones" RPG is actually a nice fit for BR games, except that the magic system doesn't work too well (its much too low-magic).
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