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Gold Room Meets Blue Room

Michael Chabon has a new book coming out today. And it's totally Gold Room. This is the Michael Chabon I love best. Kavalier and Clay might have won some big-deal award, but at heart it's for us sci-fi/fantasy geeks. Gentlemen of the Road: A Tale of Adventure is a rollicking page-turner. We're talking sword-fighting and mistaken identities and mysterious merchants on camels. Although nothing "fantastic" happens — there are no elves or magic — it is historical fantasy nonetheless. And it gets my highest compliment: I wanted to call out sick to finish reading it.

Our subsection Historical Fantasy is a place where worlds collide. A master of this subgenre is Naomi Novik. Her series, which begins with His Majesty's Dragon, is a delight. It's the Napoleonic wars but fought with dragons. What's not to love? If you want great characters, historical accuracy, and dragons, check it out.

I'm looking forward to reading Wealtheow: Her Telling of Beowulf by Ashley Crownover, out in December. Wealtheow, for those of you not up on your old English poetry, is Hrothgar's wife. Old, weak Hrothgar's beautiful, young wife... I should mention that.

Speaking of Beowulf... Seamus Heaney's wonderful translation gets a new look on November 5 with Beowulf: An Illustrated Edition. For another spin on Beowulf, take a look at Michael Crichton's wonderful Eaters of the Dead. It's all you'd expect from the man who brought you Jurassic Park.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. Gentlemen of the Road: A Tale of...
    Used Hardcover $6.50
  2. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier...
    Used Trade Paper $7.50
  3. His Majesty's Dragon
    Used Mass Market $5.50
  4. Wealtheow: Her Telling of Beowulf Used Trade Paper $8.00
  5. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation
    Used Trade Paper $7.50
  6. Beowulf: An Illustrated Edition Used Trade Paper $13.50
  7. Eaters of the Dead: The Manuscript...
    Used Mass Market $3.50

2 Responses to "Gold Room Meets Blue Room"

    Carrie October 31st, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    Another wonderful blog, Beth! As a history buff, I'm always a bit suspicious of mixing fantasy with historical, but you and Carla keep working on me. (I appreciate it, truly.)
    One of my favorite historical fantasy books is Marion Zimmer Bradley's hefty epic, The Mists of Avalon. (Though almost all of what we consider 'the Arthurian legend' isn't actually based on historical fact... oops, there I go again.)
    I also greatly enjoyed reading Making History by Stephen Fry, a historical and futuristic fantasy romp on what the world might have been like if Hitler had never been born.
    Another interesting book is Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. While not in the historical fantasy section (though it should be) is about Kivrin, a young time-traveling student who is stranded in England during the Black Plague.
    That is all for now... I'm certain Carla will soon give us her two cents worth.

    lynnr “aka” the viper November 2nd, 2007 at 11:32 am

    Ditto to Carrie's comment - we love your blog!

    Beth, I haven't read Chabon, but now I want to! I am enjoying "Traveler", which you thought I'd like - I couldn't put it down last night!

    I gave His Majesty's Dragon to my nephew for Xmas last year and he loved it. I especially liked the fact that it was historically accurate and hoped it would encourage him to be more interested in history, which it seems to have done. See what a good book can do!

    Time-traveling...mmm, well I like Harry Turtledove's "Guns of the South" - what would happen if someone from the future supplied the South with some modern arms? Turtledove has a whole series around this and some other time travel/fantasy series that I haven't got to yet, but they are on my list! Also, there is Diana Galbadon's series "The Outlander" - it so does NOT deserve to be stuck with the Romance genre. The Stephen Fry book sounds very interesting - I'll have to try it!

    Beth - I'm at 127... :-)

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