Late Delivering Writers


There have been some great new writers come forth the last few years and established writers doing their best work ever. George RR Martin, who has been writing a very long time, has grown into the preeminent epic fantasy writer of this generation. Gaining accolades left and right are new writers Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind) and Scott Lynch (The Lies of Locke Lamora), both of whom are a breath of fresh air. It is an exciting time to be reading fantasy!

But here comes a massive grain of salt–these writers are late!

That’s right. I said it. They are late. They have not been able to deliver their respective manuscripts as planned and promised. Now, I’m not one of the rabid fans out there upset about this; in my view, there are many books to read and I’m not even close to finishing the numerous stacks that fill my home. But there are fans out there angry about books they were looking forward to with bated breath being pushed back and pushed back and pushed back… You get the picture. In a way, that anger is testament to how great those writers are.

Well, here are some other great books you may not have read. While you wait on A Dance With Dragons, Wise Man’s Fear and The Republic of Thieves, try these:

The Briar King by Greg Keyes
Some people have described this four-book series as “George RR Martin-light.” I only describe it as “My gawd, great!” I strongly feel The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone series is one of the best I have read, filled with great characters, a fast-paced fun story and adventure of the highest order. Keyes approaches the series with galvanized experience, bringing his extensive education with him and building a magnificent tale. It is truly a wonderful epic.

Most important though: The series is finished!

There are thousands of George RR Martin fans I think would greatly enjoy what Greg Keyes has done. If you are tired of waiting on Mr. Martin and want something similar, try The Briar King!

Two thousand years ago, the Born Queen defeated the Skasloi lords, freeing humans from the bitter yoke of slavery. But now monstrous creatures roam the land—and destinies become inextricably entangled in a drama of power and seduction. The king’s woodsman, a rebellious girl, a young priest, a roguish adventurer, and a young man made suddenly into a knight—all face malevolent forces that shake the foundations of the kingdom, even as the Briar King, legendary harbinger of death, awakens from his slumber. At the heart of this many-layered tale is Anne Dare, youngest daughter of the royal family… upon whom the fate of her world may depend.

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks
I have not read The Way of Shadows; it is in one of my before-mentioned book stacks. But several people I trust have enjoyed it and like to equate the story of an assassin to that of Locke Lamora.

Two great things about this: 1) Brent Weeks is still very accessible to his readers and fans of the genre, and 2) The first three books in this series are already written, already edited, and are coming out every month in paperback for three months. Very cool.

Anyone read this? Just curious what others have to say about it. Scott Lynch is an amazing writer and we need more stories about assassins!

For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art-and he is the city’s most accomplished artist.

For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he’s grown up in the slums, and learned to judge people quickly—and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint.

But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins’ world of dangerous politics and strange magics—and cultivate a flair for death.

Shadowmarch by Tad Williams
Trying to find an alternative for Patrick Rothfuss was not easy. The Name of the Wind is an exceptional book not seen before and trying to compare it with others was difficult.

But I decided to take a circuitous route and mention Tad Williams as both Tad and Pat share the same agent. Most fans have read The Dragonbone Chair and sequels—and if you haven’t, do it as you are missing out on one of the best in history—but many have not read Tad’s second foray into epic fantasy, Shadowmarch. Tad is a wordsmith; he is just a beautiful writer and excellent storyteller. Read it if you haven’t! The third and final novel in this series will be coming out in 2009.

The first Marchlands kingdom, Southmarch (commonly called “Shadowmarch”), lies directly on the edge of the mysterious Shadowline, a shroud of endless mist that marks the entrance to the realm of the fairy-folk, the Qar. Crossing the Shadowline is said to drive any human mad, but, as far as anyone knows, the line has not moved any further south for centuries. Now, inexplicably, it has begun to creep slowly but surely deeper into the lands of Southmarch, bringing an unknown menace with it.

Coupled together with this threat is the dissension and endless political maneuvering of many of Southmarch’s nobles. The king of Southmarch has been captured and is imprisoned in a distant land, and when the prince regent is murdered, the burden of rule falls to the inexperienced princess, Briony, and her moody brother, Barrick. Faced with invasion, betrayal, and conniving nobles seeking to take advantage, it is up to them alone to hold Southmarch together.

Got any other authors you think might be great alternatives for those three writers? Post your thoughts here!

3 Responses to “Late Delivering Writers”

  1. Rob B says:

    All great picks Shawn, though you shouldn’t be too surprised I agree with you about Greg Keyes! As for Weeks, I’ve read the first two and have to say I’m really impressed, think a liberal mix of Robin Hobb and Scott Lynch and you might have a good idea of what’s going on in the books.
    One of my first recommendations is always going to be Matthew Stover, people can start with Heroes Die for his stellar work.
    Brandon Sanderson just finished his terrific Mistborn trilogy.
    Most folks who like Scott Lynch enjoy Joe Abercrombie, including myself.

  2. I must admit, as a long-term fan of Keyes’ Star Wars and B5 books, I was disappointed with the way Kingdoms fell apart over its length. The first book was excellent, the second was okay and the third was weak. I haven’t read the fourth yet but pretty much every review I’ve read seems to agree it is the most disappointing book in the series so far.
    For my money, far more appropriate alternatives to Song of Ice and Fire would be Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, which shares much of the same bloody-mindedness and fantastically vivid characters, or Scott Bakker’s Prince of Nothing Trilogy, which is mixes the dark grittiness of GRRM (although PoN is so dark it makes ASoIaF occasionally read like Eddings) with Frank Herbert’s philosophising-but-relevant-to-the-story and Tolkien’s worldbuilding. Very impressive.
    I’d also suggest Williams’ Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series as an alternative to Rothfuss over his new work, which again has attracted very mixed reviews.

  3. Dave S. says:

    In between book releases in a series is a great time to explore new authors. For that matter, any of the series written by Robin Hobb are excellent: The Farseer Trilogy, The Liveship Traders (a trilogy), and The Soldier Son Trilogy. Again, all of these are also complete.
    Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow and Thorn is a good replacement for any series, but I think that Guy Gavriel Kay’s Fionovar Tapestry is the most beautifully written series available. Although it is critically acclaimed, it is frequently overlooked and not as popular as some series. It would make a great read in between books by Martin, Lynch, or any of the other newer authors. On a side note, anything by Kay is worth reading.
    To top it off, if you haven’t started Steven Erikson’s The Malazan Book of the Fallen series, if you start now you might finish by the time he publishes the last two books (the volumes are epic in size and scope), probably in the next couple of years. You have probably never read anything like this series, and I am not sure anyone will ever attempt something on this scale again.

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