All posts filed under: Fantasy posts

The amazing Game of Thrones TV series: This changes everything.

Whilst travelling in Australia back in 1999, I started reading the first novel in the series of a Song of Ice and Fire.  This novel was of course Game of Thrones, and I knew straight away that this book was something that went beyond any normal fantasy epic – this was excitement bound up with characters of rare depth and intrigue, and a story of such magnificence that it could rise to the top of the fantasy genre.  Little did I expect back then however, that Game of Thrones would change the rules in how we now define commercial success. gamesofthrones.wikia.com However, when I first heard that HBO were going to make a TV adaptation of one of my favourite fantasy series, my overwhelming thought was not one of enthusiasm or anticipation, instead it was trepidation – please don’t let them mess it up!  Why the lack of faith?  Apart from the obvious fear that they might try and dumb it down or water down the more shocking bits (Ha! If anything, they made it more …

Game of Thrones: What makes the novels so good?

  picture from sidereel.com Gravitas – One of the problems that fantasy novels often face is that books from this genre are not taken as seriously as novels from other genres.  This is completely unfair and does a disservice to a great and vibrant genre that has so many fantastic and imaginative authors.  However, as unfair as this may be, this reputation still persists.  Game of Thrones doesn’t suffer from this prejudice as much as some novels however.  So how has George R R Martin managed to gain gravitas from a cynical world?  The answer in part is due to the complex family histories and rivalries that course through the books, so reminiscent of the power struggles of Medieval Europe, such as the War of the Roses in Medieval England.  The Wall is clearly identifiable as an extreme version of Hadrian’s Wall, and the tourneys and heraldry of the knights are believable because they are so recognisable from the history of our world.  The complexity and research put into these books are so rich and thorough …

Coming up on the site soon! Game of Thrones!

Coming up on the site soon! Recently, I have been writing quite a few posts on historical fiction, so I think it is about time I turned my attention back to fantasy.  A while back I discussed the importance of The Lord of the Rings to the fantasy genre, and the impact that both the books and the films made.  This week I will be addressing the other hugely successful fantasy series that now is rivaling Middle Earth in popularity.  I am of course talking about George R R Martin’s magnificent Game of Thrones.  The first post coming out later this week, will concern the novels in the series.  I will discuss what made the Game of Thrones books so popular and how George R R Martin managed to create such an exciting and vibrant world.  The following week I plan to write a post on the impact of the Television series, how this may affect the legacy of the novels, and how the fantasy genre could now be viewed differently thanks to the overwhelming …

Thinking of writing your first book? This is my writing process.

Recently a friend of mine sent me an email.  She told me how much she used to enjoy writing, but over the years she had let her passion fall away.  She told me that the release of my novel rekindled her desire to write, but was unsure how to start.  She wondered if I could help.  I wasn’t sure if I could, as I have absolutely no idea whether my method of writing could be of any use to anyone other than myself.  But I figured it couldn’t hurt to try, so I sent her a breakdown of the process I use in constructing a novel.  There are no big secrets here, so if anyone else is interested in how I write, this is it.  I must make it clear that different writers, have different methods, and I don’t pretend to have all the answers. This is just the process I use when writing. Please forgive the informal and personal tone of this post, remember, it was written in the form of a letter originally. …

Eight alternatives to swords

A great swordsman is a wonderful asset to any historical or fantasy novel, but it would be a pretty ordinary literary world, if the only weapon we ever came across in such literature was that versatile and elegant weapon.  Variety is a virtue in itself when it comes to writing, and just as the Roman’s discovered in their gladiatorial contests, sometimes matching opponents with contrasting weapons and skills often made for the best shows.  Take for example the unarmoured Retiarius armed with net and trident, matched against the heavily armoured Murmillo with sword and shield.  I have no tridents in this list, but I have a few options to arm your literary characters with. victorbrenntice.hubpages.com The Mace. In the Dark ages, only the richest of warriors could afford chain mail, and therefore it was relatively rare.  However as we approached the 11th Century this form of armour became more common and therefore protagonists often found that more damage was inflicted by heavier concussion weapons rather than penetrative or edged weapons such as swords.  The mace …

Visions of Zarua by Suzanne Rogerson, Released today!!

This is very exciting, Visions of Zarua has just been released today by Suzanne Rogerson, who is a reader of this site.  She has very kindly agreed to write a post on the background to the novel and the process she used in producing the book.  (Thomas Brooke) Log line Two wizards, 350 years apart. Together they must save the realm of Paltria from Zarua’s dark past. An ancient darkness haunts the realm of Paltria. Apprentice wizard Paddren is plagued by visions of a city on the brink of annihilation. When his master Kalesh dies in mysterious circumstances, the Royal Order of Wizards refuses to investigate. Helped by his childhood friend, the skilled tracker Varnia, and her lover Leyoch, Paddren vows to find the killer. The investigation leads Paddren down a sinister path of assassins, secret sects and creatures conjured by blood magic. But he is guided by a connection with a wizard from centuries ago – a wizard whose history holds the key to the horror at the heart of the abandoned city of …

The Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. How magic should be done.

The Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson.  With the news that Brandon Sanderson has released a new Mistborn novel (sorry, if I’m a bit late on this) I thought I better waste no time in giving my thoughts on the earlier trilogy of books in the Mistborn saga.  These start with the novel, ‘The Final Empire’.  For those that don’t know, Brandon Sanderson is a very talented fantasy author who is renowned for creating vivid characters, and for developing and describing mystical and highly developed forms of magic.  The Mistborn series is set in a gloomy world ruled by an absolute immortal ruler, who has ruled for a thousand years after allegedly saving the world from destruction.  Class conflicts divide the land and Kelsier leads a band of rogues, thieves, and confidence tricksters who end up rebelling against the burdensome yoke of an aristocracy who rule with a typical sense of arrogance and disdain for the peasantry known as the Skaa.  The nobility are suitably dastardly, enough to get our blood boiling, whilst at the same time living a lifestyle …

10 great maps of fantasy worlds!

In no other genre, is a map at the start of the novel as important as fantasy.  I put a map at the start of my own historical novel Roman Mask, but as that map is essentially of Europe with Roman names, I realise is doesn’t really hold the same importance to a reader as a fantasy novel’s would.  A fantasy novel’s map is more than just a piece of cartography, it is a depiction of the world the writer has created in their mind, and a glimpse into a new world.  The rivers, valleys, forests, and mountains can sweep across continents and seas, creating the perfect avenue of escapism that makes the fantasy genre so appealing.  As my cousin used to say to me when we were eleven and first discovering fantasy books, ‘you can always tell it’s going to be a good one by its map, I always judge a fantasy novel by its map!,’ A bit harsh maybe, but that’s eleven year old’s for you, and it shows how important this aspect …

Guest Post by Philip Martin, What’s in a Label?

This week, I have a guest post to showcase.  Philip Martin has written two books on fantasy writing: A guide to Fantasy and The purpose of Fantasy.  In the post he has kindly donated to be shown on this site, he discusses the merits or otherwise of genre labels.  It was first shown on his own site on fantasy literature.  It’s great to get the opinions of other writers and readers alike (we hear enough from me!) so if anyone wants to write a guest post, drop me a line via the contact me section of my site and I’ll see if I can make a spot.  Many thanks and over to Philip! Thomas M D Brooke Fantasy Books . . . What’s in a Label? BY PHILIP MARTIN How useful are genre labels? Book categories? Age-range banding of books for children or adults? Affixing “labels” to writers, living or dead, is an inept procedure . . . a childish amusement of small minds. . . . at best it overemphasizes what is common to a …

Sunday update and book giveaway!

I hope you have enjoyed the Lord of the Rings season on this site, which was concluded on Friday with my final post of the series, with the search for the next Tolkien to grab the fantasy world’s attention.  I will return to other fantasy works soon, but I think on my next post I should come up with a post more centred on historical works…after all, this site does cover both genres.  It can be quite difficult to get the balance right, but as I’ve stated many times in the past, I think the two genres have more in common than they have differences. I try to be quite open to new ideas for this site, therefore in an endeavour to help involve my readers in the running of this site, I have come up with a new giveaway competition.  I will be giving away three copies of the paperback version of my book Roman Mask.  Possibly you haven’t purchased it yet, and even if you have you may only have read it on …