Thursday, April 26, 2007

I just finished The Charnel Prince and The Blood Knight by Greg Keyes. These are the 2nd and 3rd entries in a fantasy series. I picked up The Blood Knight while I was in Italy and wanted to re-read The Charnel Prince to re-fresh my memory before I read the new one.

The necessity of doing that kind of re-reading is one of the main problems I have with books in modern fantasy series. Many of them do not stand as independent works and long gone are the days of the standard trilogy format. Many of the most popular modern series do not seem to have an end in sight and in some cases I suspect that the authors are simply enjoying having a successful series and do not have a resolution in mind from the start.

Aside from that issue, this is one of the better modern fantasy works. Keyes does a good job of walking a fine line between realism and romanticism by keeping the characters and the background very likelike while still incorporating some fantastic plot twists and mythology.

I'm hoping he wraps up the series in the next installment to avoid over-extending it.

Amazon Links: The Charnel Prince, The Blood Knight

Monday, April 23, 2007

I just finished Persian Fire by Tom Holland.

This is a non-fiction book about the clashes between the Persian Empire and the Greeks but unlike most other books on this subject, it gives more than just lip service to the Persian side of the conflict. In addition to the usual info about the Spartans and Athenians, it gives a detailed background of the founding of the Persian Empire and the succession of rulers that lead up to Darius/Xerxes attempts to conquer the Greeks and punish the Athenians.

Nicely written and a good starting point for anyone interested in ancient Greek history.

Amazon Link: Persian Fire