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Showing posts from June, 2016

Epic Fantasy: More Than Just Swords

Epic Fantasy: More Than Just Swords by Gail Martin What makes epic fantasy so ... epic?   Some of it is scope. Epic fantasy series tend to think big: the rise and fall of kingdoms, the machinations of kings, huge battles, the fate of the world in the balance.  Epic fantasy, almost by definition, tends to be in a medieval setting. Monarchs, walled cities, pre-industrial technology, battles with trebuchets, catapults and ... swords. Swords and sword fights are definitely part of epic fantasy, along with knives, crossbows, longbows and other medieval armaments. If you think that limits the inventiveness of battle, take a look sometime at Leonardo DaVinci's schematics for war machines. I've used some of those machines in conflicts in my prior books, and they were fun game changers.  There's so much more to epic fantasy though than just the swords. Sure, understanding the battle tactics and weapons that are period-authentic is important for credibility,

Book Review: Hope and Red

Hope and Red by John Skovron, Empire of  Storms Trilogy #1  In a fracturing empire spread across savage seas, two young people from different cultures find common purpose. A nameless girl is the lone survivor when her village is massacred by biomancers, mystical servants of the emperor. Named after her lost village, Bleak Hope is secretly trained by a master Vinchen warrior as an instrument of vengeance. A boy becomes an orphan on the squalid streets of New Laven and is adopted by one of the most notorious women of the criminal underworld, given the name Red, and trained as a thief and con artist. When a ganglord named Deadface Drem strikes a bargain with the biomancers to consolidate and rule all the slums of New Laven, the worlds of Hope and Red come crashing together, and their unlikely alliance takes them further than either could have dreamed possible.   There are a lot of leading authors in the Epic Fantasy genre, breaking through is a challenge. One thing that piqued me

Book Review: Dancer's Lament

Dancer's Lament by Ian C. Esslemont, Path to Ascendancy #1 For ages warfare has crippled the continent as minor city states, baronies, and principalities fought in an endless round of hostilities. Only the alliance of the rival Tali and Quon cities could field the resources to mount a hegemony from coast to coast -- and thus become known as Quon Tali. It is a generation since the collapse of this dynasty and regional powers are once more rousing themselves. Into this arena of renewed border wars come two youths to the powerful central city state that is Li Heng.  One is named Dorin, and he comes determined to prove himself the most skilled assassin of his age; he is chasing the other youth -- a Dal Hon mage who has proven himself annoyingly difficult to kill. Li Heng has been guided and warded for centuries by the powerful sorceress known as the "Protectress", and she allows no rivals. She and her cabal of five mage servants were enough to repel the Quon Tali Iron L