Looking for a fantasy novel containing mercy, understanding and non-standard races


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Unnecessary background info (but should help paint what I'm looking for):

Spoiler:

Here's the thing, I've read Drizzt novels in the past and while I hated the unbeatable swordsman aspect (while it may be fun reading about a skilled swordsman taking on several at a time, it's another thing entirely when you know that no other single swordsman can ever take him) I very much enjoyed the understanding/accepting aspect (I mean he didn't simply kill evil creatures on the spot (at least not all the time)) of his character (which got a better focus on the trilogy featuring his life in the underdark).

I may have been interested in books with lots of 'slay ALL the evil!' stuff going on a few years ago, but I've just lost interest after a while. I remember reading a short story from a Magic the gathering anthology where the main character meets a minotaur (and in that setting, minotaurs are supposed to be noble creatures) and they travel together for a while, in addition to another story where a king (mistakenly) trusts a lich because there was no alignment system in MtG and the lich COULD'VE been a good person (he wasn't). I read another story where an elf (MtG) meets up with a goblin and guess what? He's JUST a goblin, she befriends him for the rest of the (trilogy?) and even in that very same novel they tangle with a nutty goblin cult (although overall, the quality of those stories weren't interesting enough for me to finish the book series). There was even a (dragon lance?) book about a female fighter who befriends a strange lizardman (who apparently in his culture is something close to a paladin) and even temporarily befriends a red dragon (who initially wanted to kill and eat her, so this might not be the best example to add) who helps her out (well, perhaps 'befriends' is a bit of a strong word...).

I remember reading an article on Keith Baker's website on alignment and I read about how Eberron ESSENTIALLY doesn't have any evil races (daelkyr don't count, they're not local to the world and neither do their creations since they logically follow the aspect of their creators), just strange cultures and biologically problematic (for instance ogres would cause any settlement's food to dwindle fast) races. He mentioned his queen of stone novel and I just had to get my hands on it.

While queen of stone (warning, minor spoilers (not plot-related) ahead) didn't have me glued to the book, seeing the races in such a normal light (for example the ogre guard who's frustrated/bored of escorting his charge because he'd rather be out partying, or the tribal-like gnolls who aren't evil, just perhaps very rough around the edges, or the medusa who begrudges the fact that the human nations see them as vile monsters but is ready and eager to end that chapter of the world(peacefully)) was EXTREMELY exciting for me. This meeting of cultures nearly DID have me glued to the book.

I honestly don't want to read about another character for whom killing comes easy or a world where pretty much half the races (or perhaps moreso) are born flat out evil. Also I'm bored of elves, dwarves, halflings and gnomes (unless we're talking Valenar elves from Eberron, cannibalistic halflings from dark sun or vile dwarves from dragon age), I'd like to read about characters who either are (from exotic races), adventuring or dealing with exotic races and their strange cultures in a peaceful setting like how the gnolls were presented in queen of stone (we didn't really see anything of the medusa's culture). The spirit of cooperation and kindness between the main character and the gnolls (from the queen of stones novel), while minor, was one of the best parts of the book for me.

I would love if the setting was based in Eberron, but I can go with any other fantasy heavy (as in eberron, forgotten realms or even MtG) setting but am not interested in stuff like Conan or worlds with a lack of many races or magic.


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The codex alera series isn't set in a tabletop inspired universe but it is a fantastic series with a non-standard hero amongst non-standard races. His greatest strength being that his weakness has forced him to be more thoughtful and creative, thus he is willing to look at solutions no one else will consider.
Especially after the first book. It really picks up. The magic for each race is unique and thought out.
The first book is called: Furies of Calderon
The series is by Jim Butcher the guy behind the Dresden Files which isn't bad but not what your looking for.


Check out the Dragon Below and Legacy of Dhakaan trilogies by Don Bassingthwaite both of which are set in Eberron and heavily feature the Darguun goblin empire and the (non-evil) orcish Gatekeepers respectively.


The Fall of the Towers by Samuel R Delany might scratch that itch for you. (God, that plot summery is awful, but the trilogy is well written, I promise.)


Psalms of Isaak by Ken Scholes could suit you. There is war and atrocities, but several of the main characters struggle with the choices they have to make during its course. There are none of the usual fantasy races, as well. But there are some warforged-like beings.

You could also continue reading Eberron novels, especially Heirs of Ash. Just stay away from Parker DeWolf (as his character is a bastard) and anything written by James Wyatt and Matt Forbeck (because they're bad).

The Exchange

cmastah -

Have you already read Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series? I'm not saying they're uniformly great, but real attention is paid to questions of good and evil, and the standard fantasy races do not appear - unless you count griffins as 'standard'. All the other nonhuman/semi-human sapient creatures are of Lackey's own creation.


Hey guys, thanks for the tips!

I managed to get my hands on the first codex alera book and finished the first three chapters (bit of a thick book, intimidating but will certainly continue reading :P) and am definitely interested. Thanks for the tips on the Dragon below and the legacy of Dhakaan, I'd seen those on Amazon and wasn't sure if I should get them until you brought it up in addition to a comment I read somewhere on Amazon about Bassingthwaite being a good author.

I'm thinking I'll also get the first fall of the towers book as well to decide if I want to get the other two books of the trilogy (and don't worry about the breakdown, I used to watch horror movies from the 80's, I'm used to bad plot summaries ;) ).

I'll be getting psalms of Isaak and one of the Valdemar books (turns out there's quite a few in that regard :P) and probably start my reading on a Valdemar book after the codex alera.

Thanks guys, the murder hobo trend was getting old for me and it's nice to read about characters who've actually got a conscience. There was another series of books I've been thinking of getting into, one of the Dark Sun series that had a character that one guy called a 'mary-sue' who was worse than Drizzt, which while it may not be fitting for a character who lives in Athas....I'm still interested in reading it :P


THE MALAZAN BOOK OF THE FALLEN.

It has tons of non-standard races and a major theme of the books is mercy and compassion. There's still wars and battles and deaths, but the ethics of how these things are handled is a key theme. Two major characters, Anomander Rake and Caladan Brood, spend a large amount of the third volume debating the morality of them marching to war to relieve a beleaguered city, when their moral act may get more people killed.

It's not a tabletop setting but the story is based (loosely) on a roleplaying campaign that began with AD&D and moved to GURPS in the 1980s. There's also a lot of books as it's being written by two people. Between them, there are seventeen books out so far with more to come. Luckily, they're mostly stand-alone with recurring and linked subplots.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
cmastah wrote:

Unnecessary background info (but should help paint what I'm looking for):

** spoiler omitted **...

IF you're insistent on Eberron, then whatever novel you find will be human based.

Your best bet, probably your only bet, would be "Tales of Talislanta" a collection of short stories set on that famous game world.


Thanks for the tips guys, I've got a few books to read through but I'm certainly adding these to the list. I don't mind war and death in my reading selection, I don't mean to sound ghoulish but they can be quite fun and exciting, but I do certainly like my protagonists to be human, heroic and considerate (by human I mean...humane? They don't need to be actual humans, just not murder hobos, I also like my villains to be human as well, I don't mind cruelty at all if there's a humanity to their backstory or personality but the protagonist(s) is the main concern).

I also looked up Talislanta, I was surprised to find out that it's a TTRPG system (along with a setting). The world (from the youtube link they had on the website) certainly sounds well developed.

I've been reading the first codex alera book and even though a few of the beginning chapters were kind of slow (except for the first chapter, that was EXTREMELY exciting), I actually find myself now (just started chapter 16) to be pretty excited with the book. The characters (including one villain) are quite intelligent; I find myself loathing certain villains, while being impressed by others and also finding a few of the good guys to have a really touching humanity about them. I find myself hoping against the worst at the prospect of death for certain secondary characters(at least I don't think they're the main characters).


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Werthead wrote:

THE MALAZAN BOOK OF THE FALLEN.

It has tons of non-standard races and a major theme of the books is mercy and compassion. There's still wars and battles and deaths, but the ethics of how these things are handled is a key theme. Two major characters, Anomander Rake and Caladan Brood, spend a large amount of the third volume debating the morality of them marching to war to relieve a beleaguered city, when their moral act may get more people killed.

It's not a tabletop setting but the story is based (loosely) on a roleplaying campaign that began with AD&D and moved to GURPS in the 1980s. There's also a lot of books as it's being written by two people. Between them, there are seventeen books out so far with more to come. Luckily, they're mostly stand-alone with recurring and linked subplots.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!? Those books are some of the most bloody slaughterfests I've read. Yeah, about every character is some sort of warrior-philosopher who can't shut his inner gob about "boo-hoo-hoo my immortality, I hate so much being awesome" this and "why do I need to kill so much" that. But then you got the gigantic and not-that-gigantic slaughterfests, the detailed descriptions of people being tortured and generally a crapton of violence.

Don't get me wrong, the books have some fantastically well written elements to them, but they would be the last thing I would recommend if you are looking for novels containing mercy and understanding.


Yeah, seriously.

Especially the book(s) following that one barbarian dude guy that's like "I kill s$**, it's what I do. I like it." and then the rest of the book is him straight up murdering any human or nigh-unstoppable god creature that gets in reach of his sword because he wants to prove his balls are bigger than everyone else'.


As OP says above, he doesn't have a problem with violence in his books, just not pointless violence or violence without some sort of underlying theme of compassion or understanding behind the motivations. That's the key theme of the MALAZAN books, that's what the whole series is about:

Spoiler:
The Bonehunters travel to the other side of the planet to save an empire of people they've never even heard of before from the Crippled God's machinations, then march through a horrendous desert, face a near-unstoppable foe and then, when confronted with the Crippled God, instead of slaughtering him out of hand, offer him an escape from his suffering.

Also, Karsa's story arc does start off like that but does get a little bit more nuanced later on. Not much more, it has to be said, and his storyline is partly there to counterpoint everyone else's willingness to talk subjects to death.


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

My memory's a bit hazy on the details, but if you don't mind a bit of SF in your Fantasy (or vice versa), you could check out Alastair Reynold's short story Sledge Maker's Daughter.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Banewrecker and Godslayer by Jacqueine Carey is a reinterpetation of LOTR from the perspective of the dark forces. It has some non-standard races and unusual perspectives.

Her Kushiel series is a pretty fantastical alternate history, all humans, but with some unusual moralities.


Sorry friend. Can't think of anything like that.


You know what I'm kicking myself for not mentioning until SmiloDan revived the thread? Lord Valentine's Castle. That one would suit Cmastah's wants to a T. :)

The Exchange

1)Not a fantasy novel, but the science fiction novel "fire upon the abyss" has the most interesting non human races Iv'e ever seen, and it's not a very violent book - while there is violence, it's considered a bad thing, and as far as I recall the main characters are not very keen on killing.

2) Warbreaker, by Brandon Sanderson - only kinda fits your description, I admit. But it has some very positive main characters, there is an interesting and unique magic system, and all in all relatively little violence for a fantasy book.

3) The Liveship Traders, by Robin Hobbs, is an excellent trilogy (even though it does collapse under it's own weight in the last pages of book 3). It has an interesting non human race, and of course the liveships as well can be considered a race I think. Main characters are mostly very gentle and don't kill or use violence when they don't have to. A very good option.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

If it's aliens you want, check out CJ Cherryh, particularly her Chanur series and Foreigner series. The Foreigner series in particular is more diplomatic and political than violent.


Hmmmm.

Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls by Bujold should fit the bill, and they are fantasy. Her Miles Vorkosigan SF books would too.

Not novels, but the Valerian and Laureline comics were the first thing I thought of from the description. Again, SF.

Fantasy isn't big on mercy and compassion, is it?


The Way of Kings by Sanderson

Silver Crusade

Lincoln Hills wrote:

cmastah -

Have you already read Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series? I'm not saying they're uniformly great, but real attention is paid to questions of good and evil, and the standard fantasy races do not appear - unless you count griffins as 'standard'. All the other nonhuman/semi-human sapient creatures are of Lackey's own creation.

Hmmm...

Is the Last Herald-Mage trilogy a good place to start? That is, will a reader be lost starting there and does it deliver on the things sought out in the OP?


Thanks for the extra helpings guys :)

@Sissyl, I do have to agree, it seems most of the recommended novels (even the sledge-maker's daughter, the short story) is SF. I was leaning away from SF because I didn't want to get into anything resembling robotech in novel form (I don't read much SF, so I have no clue where they might lean towards, even though I've read novels like one of the obernewytn books). There was a line I heard somewhere that seems to fit how most fantasy novels go: "Join the army! You'll get to meet people from all around the world and then kill them!"

Heheh, when you mentioned the valerian and laureline comic, I thought that it was the comic version of an animated movie I saw ages ago called valerian, thankfully it's not :P

Admittedly it thankfully seems there is more to SF novels than space ships and blasters (I feel I should ironically know that given I've read several SF books by now, none of which contain those) :P

Hitdice wrote:
You know what I'm kicking myself for not mentioning until SmiloDan revived the thread? Lord Valentine's Castle. That one would suit Cmastah's wants to a T. :)

This proclamation has me intrigued, I'm currently about to start a different novel that I think I might be able to get my hands on, but I think I'll put Lord Valentine's Castle next and before the Valdemar book (black gryphon, mage wars book 1, apparently it's chronologically speaking the first book in the series, though not the first published apparently). :)

After finishing the first codex alera book, I didn't have another novel within reach other than the first prism pentad (dark sun) book and got to work reading it (down to the last two chapters). While it shows me what Dark Sun is like, it's lacking in pretty much anything else (and I would include intelligent dialogue when I say that) :/


Science fiction is an aging beast by now, one that has entirely different ideological connotations and options than fantasy. To the point, I would say the spectrum of generic views are much wider in SF, from the extremely conservative to the radically progressive, where fantasy typically (almost by definition, no?) deals with worlds of authoritarian, often feudal, leadership. While there are many good examples of deviations from this norm, I find this overgeneralization to be at least somewhat applicable, even today.

Oh, right. If you haven't read them already, LeGuin's Earthsea books probably fit your bill.


This might be a kinda odd suggestion, but if you're looking for non-traditional fantasy literature, there's also a couple of works by Astrid Lindgren that might qualify, such as "Mio, My Son" and "The Brothers Lionheart".

While they are more aimed at children, there's enough subtext there that I still find the stories quite enjoyable.


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

It doesn't hurt that Lindgren's prose style is in the very good to brilliant range.


Werthead wrote:

THE MALAZAN BOOK OF THE FALLEN.

It has tons of non-standard races and a major theme of the books is mercy and compassion. There's still wars and battles and deaths, but the ethics of how these things are handled is a key theme. Two major characters, Anomander Rake and Caladan Brood, spend a large amount of the third volume debating the morality of them marching to war to relieve a beleaguered city, when their moral act may get more people killed.

It's not a tabletop setting but the story is based (loosely) on a roleplaying campaign that began with AD&D and moved to GURPS in the 1980s. There's also a lot of books as it's being written by two people. Between them, there are seventeen books out so far with more to come. Luckily, they're mostly stand-alone with recurring and linked subplots.

This +1 - by far my favorite fantasy series ever.

Also I didnt see it metioned but the Wheel of Time series has some very non-standard races and in depth cultures. The Aiel in particular go out of their way (when fighting each other) to nto kill their enemy as its more honorable to just graze their opponent. And some of the men's complete reluctance to do harm to women despite said women's intent on killing them is right in line with what you're looking for.


Stiehl9s wrote:


Also I didnt see it metioned but the Wheel of Time series has some very non-standard races and in depth cultures. The Aiel in particular go out of their way (when fighting each other) to nto kill their enemy as its more honorable to just graze their opponent. And some of the men's complete reluctance to do harm to women despite said women's intent on killing them is right in line with what you're looking for.

Though a little over the top and annoying as well.

And the Ogier are the only real non-human race. Other than monsters, that is. The various cultures are nicely differentiated though.


thejeff wrote:
Stiehl9s wrote:


Also I didnt see it metioned but the Wheel of Time series has some very non-standard races and in depth cultures. The Aiel in particular go out of their way (when fighting each other) to nto kill their enemy as its more honorable to just graze their opponent. And some of the men's complete reluctance to do harm to women despite said women's intent on killing them is right in line with what you're looking for.

Though a little over the top and annoying as well.

And the Ogier are the only real non-human race. Other than monsters, that is. The various cultures are nicely differentiated though.

I couldn't agree more about the annoying.

There are two other non human races:
Don't forget the Snakes and Foxes


Stiehl9s wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Stiehl9s wrote:


Also I didnt see it metioned but the Wheel of Time series has some very non-standard races and in depth cultures. The Aiel in particular go out of their way (when fighting each other) to nto kill their enemy as its more honorable to just graze their opponent. And some of the men's complete reluctance to do harm to women despite said women's intent on killing them is right in line with what you're looking for.

Though a little over the top and annoying as well.

And the Ogier are the only real non-human race. Other than monsters, that is. The various cultures are nicely differentiated though.

I couldn't agree more about the annoying.

** spoiler omitted **

I had. But they're not really prominent through most of the series. Though their actions have serious ripples. They're more like outsiders meddling with mortals.

Not PC races. :)


I had considered the wheel of time series but decided against it when I realized I'd be in there for 15 books (and probably still rising). I might try giving it a shot one day though (my buddy told me the magic system was extremely well thought out and designed). If I DO decide to try it out, should I read the prequel first or head to the first book instead?


Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen has an ever better thought out magic system. Much deeper and more diverse IMO. But again, you'd be buying into a 13 or so book series.

I just got the prequel for Wheel of Time but haven't read it yet. Its short so you could probably run through it quick and then make a decision on whether or not you wanted to read the rest.


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I started to read the wheel of time books in high school, but didn't get past I think book 6 or 7. The main plotline just got bogged down in so many side plots and tangents, which never were resolved, that any actual forward movement in the plot was glacial.

Project Manager

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Mercy and understanding? The Riddlemaster trilogy, by Patricia McKillip. There's not much in there with nonstandard races (basically, there are humans, there are wizards, and there are shape shifters), but it's one of the most moving meditations I've read on mercy, vengeance and compassion.

It also has some pretty badass adventuring stuff.

Also, Guy Gavriel Kay's Tigana.


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Anything by Terry Pratchett. He does a lot of brilliant satire but many stories do have very good plots and mercy does actually play a role in the proceedings.

I really must recommend his Night Watch series, starting with Guards! Guards! It is a great series dedicated to the hapless guards of the fantasy world.

Going Postal is another good one, followed by Making Money. Hogfather is a great seasonal tale.


@Stiehls, Damn, I actually thought Malazan book of the fallen was a series of standalone books or at least a series of several trilogies/series rather than one long story.

Jessica Price wrote:

Mercy and understanding? The Riddlemaster trilogy, by Patricia McKillip. There's not much in there with nonstandard races (basically, there are humans, there are wizards, and there are shape shifters), but it's one of the most moving meditations I've read on mercy, vengeance and compassion.

It also has some pretty badass adventuring stuff.

Also, Guy Gavriel Kay's Tigana.

Thanks, I'm actually looking for mercy specifically rather than books without violence (these series sound a lot like what I'm looking for). I actually DO like violence in my novels (and pretty much any other medium of story-telling, visceral or non-gruesome), it's just that I like characters who understand the value of life (which is easier to do in a world where there's no such thing as 'evil races'). Werthead hit the nail on the head, I'm not looking for pointless violence, compassion and mercy are primarily what I'm hoping to find.<----EDIT: In retrospect, when I typed this it might sound like a note I'm making for Jessica, but the truth is I mean this in general for the books I'm looking up from the recommendations. I'll try and find the books recommended, though as to recommendations like the foreigner series, it sounds interesting but I still like quite a bit of violence in my novels (just not characters killing for the fun of it (which eventually drizzt began to feel like)). Malazan (from the comments), sounds like it's saturated with violence while at the same time compassion and mercy being important and recurring themes.

@Ptolmaeus, I'm assuming you're talking about the discworld stuff. I'd heard about it but decided against getting into the series because it seems more focused on comedy (also, I actually watched the hogfather in movie form, not bad but a little long. I DID like that death was actually a compassionate character who didn't like people dying).


Actually, I still remember one quest from dungeons and dragons online that I honestly felt was brimming with this. There's a kobold outside a sewer entrance who needs help to get rid of some wild dogs who've moved in and scared his family out and away from it. The catch? He understands that they're just in need of a home and asks that you don't kill them, just get them to leave without harming them. There was so much innocence in that character and just so much compassion and understanding in such a simple quest.

I remember from the dark sun book I read (first prism pentad book), a character finally releases his slave (who loved his master but betrayed him because he wanted his freedom), understanding his pain of being a slave and while it's cliched (and expected, knowing the character, he wasn't just going to strike him down or even punish him really) it was still a moment I liked in the book.

The first codex alera book didn't have much mercy or compassion (there were moments of it), but that's only because the main characters didn't take any lives in the book (even a few villains were moved/hurt by some of the violence they'd caused or at least accepted that a loss had occurred rather than 'lol, another one bites the dust!'). The main characters were also painted in such a -human- light, which made me realize that in a lot of other fantasy novels I'd read, the characters are usually stoic in the face of violence or unmoved by even the very first sight of true evil (Isana's very human reaction to some of her first conflicts with Kord and his awful kid Bittan were something I'd never seen in other novels. Jim Butcher truly is an amazing author).

Project Manager

Both books I recommended deal with war -- they're certainly not non-violent. But they both also focus on personal vengeance and its cost, rather than just on war.


cmastah wrote:
I had considered the wheel of time series but decided against it when I realized I'd be in there for 15 books (and probably still rising). I might try giving it a shot one day though (my buddy told me the magic system was extremely well thought out and designed). If I DO decide to try it out, should I read the prequel first or head to the first book instead?

No, it's finished. Book 14 was the last one and the editorial team have agreed not to get anyone to write any more. There's an out-of-universe companion/encyclopedia guide coming in 2014, but that's it.

And start with Book 1. The short story version of the prequel is good but the book version is pretty bad.

Quote:
Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen has an ever better thought out magic system. Much deeper and more diverse IMO. But again, you'd be buying into a 13 or so book series.

Erikson's magic system is very random and never really explained, and on occasion he seems to change the rules or contradict what came earlier, so I cannot entirely agree with that. It's an interesting system, but pretty vague, whilst the WoT system is much more clearly explained and the author seems to find great ways of using it despite clearer restrictions.

OTOH, WHEEL OF TIME is one continuous story: the story that begins on page 1 of Book 1 does not end until the final page of Book 14. MALAZAN is more of an interlocking cycle of stories. You can read most of the first five books as stand-alone novels (with 3 as a sequel to 1 and 4 as a sequel to 2). Then there's the 10-volume main series and then Esslemont's side-books. In almost all cases (except maybe 6/7 and 9/10 of the main series) the books have their own dominant storyline which is resolved within that book.

Quote:
I started to read the wheel of time books in high school, but didn't get past I think book 6 or 7. The main plotline just got bogged down in so many side plots and tangents, which never were resolved, that any actual forward movement in the plot was glacial.

A common complaint. 1-7 are pretty good. 8-10 are very slow-moving and feature lots of filler. 11 starts getting good again and 12-14 are excellent (some timeline issues aside). 14 actually, surprisingly, works as a good pay-off for the entire series which is fairly unusual. Most of these series have really lame endings. MALAZAN is another series which has a pretty good ending as well.

Quote:
Also, Guy Gavriel Kay's Tigana.

Oh hell yeah, Kay is probably the OP's question answered fully. Not just TIGANA, but especially THE LIONS OF AL-RASSAN, UNDER HEAVEN and RIVER OF STARS, and to a slightly lesser extent A SONG FOR ARBONNE, THE SARANTINE MOSAIC duology and THE FIONAVAR TAPESTRY trilogy as well. I'd very highly recommend THE LIONS OF AL-RASSAN.

Quote:
I actually thought Malazan book of the fallen was a series of standalone books or at least a series of several trilogies/series rather than one long story.

It's a bit complicated. The best analogy I can find is to imagine a series of novels telling the story of WWII, but on a global scale. So Book 1 is set during the invasion of Poland, Book 2 is set on a British warship playing hide-and-seek with a German battleship in the South Atlantic, Book 3 is back with the Germans in Poland, Book 4 is about Stalin using the distraction of the war to invade Finland and Book 5 is about the Japanese war in China and planning Pearl Harbour etc.

The main MALAZAN series (by Steven Erikson) is essentially chronicling a period of time in the history of this world which results in crises all over the planet, on multiple continents. Books 1, 3 and 8 are set on one continent and in one city, with Books 2, 4 and 6 set on another continent during a civil war (but some characters from Book 1 leave to take part in the events of Book 2, and Books 2 and 3 take place simultaneously with characters talking to another from one book to the other via magic). Book 5 introduces a completely different continent, Book 6 shows how that situation interfaces with the established storylines and Book 7 then has characters from all three theatres of the conflict teaming up. Books 9 and 10 then feature that combination of characters bringing the main plot of the series to a resolution.

Ian Esslemont has then written a series of side-novels that deals with secondary plots and issues related to the main series. They're mostly optional, although a few of them do resolve outstanding plot points from the main Erikson series.


Try the Earthsea series (for a very different and alignment-not-based-on-their-color take on dragons), the Abhorsen series (where there are good and evil undead/outsiders), or the Bartimaeus series (wherein the narrator and protagonist is an "evil" outsider).


The Bartimaeus Trilogy is pretty great.


See if you can find a digital copy of the Last Ringbearer. It gives a slightly different view of the whole war of the ring, than you see in Tolkien's writing. Kind of an interesting take.

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