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Fantasy setting

Russ Whitfield
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Fantasy setting

Post by Russ Whitfield » Mon September 13th, 2010, 2:17 pm

Hi - I used to read lots of fantasy novels - David Gemmell, David Eddings, Terry Brooks...that sort of thing.

Almost all the stuff I've read is set in a medieval European setting and I was wondering if anyone knew of heroic fantasy set in an Ancient Greece/Ancient Rome style world.

The only ones I can really find (outside of Gemmell) is The Videssos cycle where a bunch of Romans get transported to a Byzantine-esque world, and "The Ten Thousand" (Paul Kearney) - that's a fairly recent book that I really enjoyed.

Any suggestions gratefully received.

Cheers

Russ

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Anna Elliott
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Post by Anna Elliott » Mon September 13th, 2010, 6:44 pm

Jo Graham writes historical fantasy set in the ancient world. I very much enjoyed her Black Ships. Her latest is called Stealing Fire, I believe.

Author of the Twilight of Avalon trilogy
new book: Dark Moon of Avalon, coming Sept 14 from Simon &Schuster (Touchstone)

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annis
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Post by annis » Tue September 14th, 2010, 3:59 am

Have you read Gene Wolfe's Soldier series?

Soldier of the Mist
Soldier of Arete
Soldier of Sidon

Here's a review of the 3-in-i omnibus called Latro in the Mist

Then there's this one which I just found on Joe Kenney's "Swords, Sandals, Sex & Sin" list -sounds like fun
The Shattered Horse, by SP Somtow

"1986. Historical fantasy reworking of the Aeneid, with Hector's son Astyanax replacing Aeneas, walk-ons from most of the Olympian gods, rites and rituals straight out of Frazer's Golden Bough, and the mummy of Pharoah Akenhaton."

I've just been reading M D Lachlan's Wolfsangel, but that has a setting more reminscent of the Vikings and the Nordic myths -quite eerie and violent, good stuff :) Its frozen world is so vividly described you feel as if you are in the Norse Hel, which is an eternally icy realm. Best read in warm weather!
Last edited by annis on Tue September 14th, 2010, 7:54 pm, edited 10 times in total.

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parthianbow
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Post by parthianbow » Tue September 14th, 2010, 8:30 am

[quote=""annis""]Have you read Gene Wolfes' Soldier series?

Soldier of the Mist
Soldier of Arete
Soldier of Sidon [/quote]

Thanks, Annis, I should have thought of them.
Russ, I have these after they were recommended as the best books another RATer had read. Of course I haven't read them yet! Gene Wolfe wrote the Shadow of the Torturer fantasy quartet which you might have read?
Ben Kane
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Spartacus - UK release 19 Jan. 2012. US release June 2012.

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Ludmilla
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Post by Ludmilla » Tue September 14th, 2010, 4:34 pm

I love Megan Whalen Turner's YA series, The Queen's Thief(four books so far). The setting is inspired by ancient Mediterranean societies with some similarities and differences, making it something of her own. She's made the mythology similar but unique as well.

If you don't mind SF over Fantasy, Dan Simmons gave The Iliad a SF spin in his books, Ilium and Olympos.

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Post by fljustice » Tue September 14th, 2010, 5:37 pm

[quote=""annis""]Here's a review of the 3-in-i omnibus called Latro in the Mist[/quote]

Thanks for the link, Annis. I have Latro in the Mist on my to read pile and think I might move it up.
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Russ Whitfield
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Post by Russ Whitfield » Wed September 15th, 2010, 9:35 am

Hi guys - thanks so much for all the suggestions...the only one I've read from these is The Shattered Horse which was...weird. And I'm loving the "Swords, Sandals, Sex & Sin" list...and am a little hurt that "Gladiatrix" isn't on there *lol*

I think that Ludmilla has nailed what I'm looking for - fantasy novels but an ancient setting (as opposed to Historical Fantasy - ie historical fiction in the real world with a fantasy twist).

So many fantasy's are set in a medieval world and I think it would be neat to see the ancient world template (a la Paul Kearney) a bit more. But in any event...I'm really grateful to see all these new books that I'm not aware of, thanks so much guys.

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parthianbow
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Post by parthianbow » Wed September 15th, 2010, 7:29 pm

I forgot to mention Interregnum, the fantasy Roman novel by SJ Turney, he of Marius' Mules. It was self pubbed, but got some good reviews, so Interregnum might be worth a look
Check out the first 3 chapters at http://www.sjaturney.co.uk/
Last edited by parthianbow on Wed September 15th, 2010, 7:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ben Kane
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Spartacus - UK release 19 Jan. 2012. US release June 2012.

http://www.benkane.net
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Post by annis » Wed September 15th, 2010, 8:34 pm

There are a few oldies , like L. Sprague de Camp's Lest Darkness Fall (more alt. history) and Dragon of the Ishtar Gate (historical adventure with a touch of fantasy set in ancient Persia). Naomi Mitchison's Corn King and Sring Queen is set in an ancient Scythian type society, Morgan Llywelyn early Rome world for Etruscans:Beloved of the Gods


Then there are John James' clever, funny novels Votan and its sequel, Not for all the Gold in Ireland, tales about Photinus, a smartass Greek-speaking Roman in the first century AD, whose picaresque adventures become mixed up with Norse and Celtic legends. "Votan" and "Not for all the Gold" in Ireland have a particular appeal for those (like me) who have an anarchic sense of humour (If you like Monty Python and Terry Pratchett, you'll probably love these). They were published as historical fiction in the '60s. and again as fantasy in the '80s, but for some reason they just never took off, which is a great shame. Neil Gaiman acknowledges "Votan" as an inspiration for his novel American Gods, and I noted earlier this year that Gaiman plans a reissue of "Votan" at some stage- see Anthony Brockway's post onBabylon Wales AB puts it well when he says of "Votan", "James's skill at inhabiting and subverting a mythological framework is what really sets this book apart from other Dark Age fictions."

Hard to find now, though still available relatively cheap from secondhand online booksellers if you look around, or through library interloan.
(I've already talked about these on other forums, so apologies to those who've already seen me babbling about James' books elsewhere :) )

I can see what you're looking for, but a lot of fantasy with an ancient world setting does tend to be of the time-travel, alt.history sort. Pity Guy Gavriel Kay hasn't done something similar to his Sarantine Mosaic books, set in an alternate Byzantium, but with an earlier setting. He did do one called Ysabel which is a time-swap set in modern and ancient Provence. It's based on the massacre at the Celtic Oppidum d'Entremont by the Romans in 123 BC, but I didn't think it worked as well as his usual style of novel.

Have you ever read Richard Sapir's Far Arena? It's a fantastic book- not fantasy, but more, I suppose, time-travel, about a Roman gladiator brought back to life in modern times.
Last edited by annis on Thu September 16th, 2010, 9:16 am, edited 6 times in total.

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Nefret
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Post by Nefret » Thu September 16th, 2010, 2:12 am

[quote=""Anna Elliott""]Jo Graham writes historical fantasy set in the ancient world. I very much enjoyed her Black Ships. Her latest is called Stealing Fire, I believe.[/quote]

I don't have the new one yet. But I liked the other books.
Into battle we ride with Gods by our side
We are strong and not afraid to die
We have an urge to kill and our lust for blood has to be fulfilled
WE´LL FIGHT TILL THE END! And send our enemies straight to Hell!
- "Into Battle"
{Ensiferum}

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