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'The Chronicles of Amber'
by Roger Zelazny (1970)


The first instalment in the long-running 'Chronicles of Amber' introduces readers to Corwin - the rightful successor to the crown of Amber. After waking up in a hospital on Earth with a dose of amnesia Corwin uses his paranormal powers to bluff his way back into his royal clan. Plenty of court intrigue and high tension ensue. An easy read and still worthwhile.





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'The Elric Saga'
by Michael Moorcock (1972)


The adventures of an albino king bring the 'Elric Saga' to life in this unusual fantasy tale by popular British author Moorcock. A sort of anti-hero, Elric's physical shortcomings are targeted by his brutish cousin Yrcoon in a bid for power. The climactic battle sees Elric left in control of the powerful runeblade Stormbringer, setting the stage for future volumes.





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The Princess Bride
by William Goldman (1973)


Splendid juvenile fantasy with pirates, evil princes, sorcerers and - of course - a beautiful princess. While it may be hard to take any supposedly evil prince with a name like Humperdink too seriously, perhaps that is the point. Just a lot of good old-fashioned swashbuckling on the road to discovering true love. Made into a topnotch feature film.





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'Dragon Prince Trilogy'
by Melanie Rawn (1988-89)


Typical sword and sorcery epic fantasy in which an arranged marriage between a prince and a 'Sunrunner' with magical powers is seen as the answer to uniting the kingdom. A rotten-to-the-core High Prince, however, has other ideas and the land is doomed to war. Starts with Dragon Prince (1988) and followed by 'The Star Scroll' and 'Sunrunner's Fire' (both 1989).





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Tigana
by Guy Gavriel Kay (1990)


Terrific stand-alone epic fantasy for those who find lengthy series a bit frustrating. The surviving inhabitants of Tigana struggle for their freedom in a land that has fallen to two tyrannical warrior sorcerers. Under the leadership of the young prince Alessan the band plots to turn the tyrants against each other. Another winner from Kay.





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'A Song of Ice & Fire'
by George R R Martin (1996)


This projected seven-volume saga has been wildly successful, even spawning a popular fantasy TV series. In the debut, A Game of Thrones, with a lifetime-long winter encroaching two families struggle for control of the Iron Throne in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. Emphasises sword over sorcery and laden with subplots galore featuring a typical raft of fantasy characters.





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'The Tamir Triad'
by Lynn Flewelling (2001)


Lynn Flewelling's 'Tamir Triad' kicks off with a story about the struggle for the throne of Skala. An ancient prophecy dictates that as long as the throne is held by a daughter of Thelatimos the land shall be free. When despotic Queen Agnalain takes the throne however the people start to forget the prophecy, leaving the door open for a male usurper. Well written and worth a look.





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'Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone'
by Greg Keyes (2004)


Greg Keyes is a production line writer who pens a range of speculative fiction. Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone is a stock-standard foray into the fantasy epic field. The peace of the kingdom is shaken when the prophecy of the waking of the Briar King starts to happen. In panic some turn to the old ways of human sacrifice. Only a queen of the Dare lineage can prevent disaster.


Royal Ramifications
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