Sunday, April 06, 2014

Epic Fantasy Revisited

Epic Fantasy is the largest category in the genre overall. More books in this category are published each year with several making it on to the bestseller lists. Most of this genre expanded with the help of Tolkien’s _Lord of the Rings_. There are many books that have grown into popular series over the years, written by interesting authors who set their books in Fantasy worlds of their own creation. These worlds are as popular as Middle Earth.

Robert Jordan created a vast Epic Fantasy story with his "Wheel of Time" series. Consisting of ten books, so far, the story is about the coming final battle between the Dragon reborn and evil dark lord Shaitan. Jordan set this story on a continent of many different nation   s and cultures. Many interesting characters are involved in the vast tapestry of the plot, caught up in a destiny that readers eagerly wait for the next book. The first book in the series is _The Eye of the World_.

Women authors have written excellent Epic Fantasy books too. Patricia McKillip contributed a vivid story with her _Riddlemaster of Hed_ (contained in one volume) trilogy. In her world, hereditary rulers of kingdoms have a bond to their lands. Morgon is a young prince of Hed, but loves to solve riddles. This draws him into a big riddle that changes him and brings great changes to his world. McKillip is a talented creator of many fascinating worlds and magic in her descriptive stories.

Some authors mix elements of mythology into their books to give them deeper themes and meaning. Guy Gavriel Kay did this with his trilogy of _The Summer Tree_, _The Wandering Fire_ and _The Darkest Road_. The books have elements of Celtic and Arthurian myth woven into a story of five college students from our world drawn to the world of Fionavar. In this world, they each find their destinies while helping to save all of creation. It is a memorable trilogy for readers.

Another woman that writes excellent Epic Fantasy is Melanie Rawn. Her books are long with strong plots and memorable characters. _The Dragon Prince_ is the first book of a series that tells the story of Prince Rohan of a desert kingdom and his Sunrunner wife Sioned. They must fight a ruthless High Prince and his vicious daughter to bring freedom to the kingdoms of their land. After six books in this series, Rawn turned to another series that began with _The Ruins of Ambrai_. This trilogy remains incomplete at this time.

George R.R. Martin created a vivid world in Westeros for his ambitious series. _A Game of Thrones_ takes place on a world with a rich history and where seasons last for years. A long winter is coming. Enemies to the north plot to invade the kingdoms. Two families begin a struggle for the Iron Throne. This begins a long series with a complex story that will be told in six books. Different character viewpoints provide interesting views on a vast struggle.

David Drake created an interesting series of which _Lord of the Isles_ is the first book. This series tells the story of four young people in a kingdom made up of islands with one king. There is a vast history to this world of magic and battles. The first book begins the stories of four young people from a small village that end up in an epic struggle of intrigue an danger. Mr. Drake is an expert of militar   y things. His books contain vivid descriptions and captivating plots. Readers will enjoy the epic scope of each book.

Finally, Terry Goodkind writes a powerful series that begins with _Wizard’s First Rule_. In this series, a magical wall is about to come down, which will bring a new menace to the land. One man possesses the Sword of Truth and other magic knowledge that can save or harm the land. He travels the land with a woman and wizard with the goal of defeating a dangerous mage who could destroy the world. The book is a good beginning to a popular and interesting series of eight books so far.

Many readers love stories of epic proportions with great battles, romance and a mythic feel. Epic Fantasy is a large sub-genre that appeals to people who love these types of books. Tolkien began a tradition that continues to grow every year. As long as readers continue to want stories of epic scope, the genre will continue to grow.

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