1. Cretacskies
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    Cretacskies New Member

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    Adventurous novels.

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Cretacskies, Jun 9, 2016.

    I am curious if there is a fantasy novel that focuses on the adventures of the characters rather than defeating the main antagonist. Basically, I am looking for a fantasy novel that is not a heavy read. Any suggestions?
     
  2. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    You could do worse than investigate Kage Baker's writing. She wrote the much-loved Company series, which began with In the Garden of Iden, and carried on through many other books which can be read out of sequence, if need be.

    She starts the series with the very intriguing premise: What if there is a huge corporation (called, simply, The Company) that exists in the future, with the ability to send trained 'operatives' back in time to rescue artifacts that were lost in natural disasters? These rescues take place just before the disasters occur, and save things we assume have disappeared forever. Lost scrolls, lost paintings, treasures from Pompeii and other places, lost historical records, animals and plants that have gone extinct, etc. The Company operatives 'rescue' the items and bring them back to the 'future,' where they are sold to collectors for vast sums of money.

    Interesting idea. And what makes the story very 'human' is that these 'operatives' have been rescued themselves. They come from many time periods of history—including The Neanderthal period, the period of the Spanish Inquisition, etc. They are all humans whose disappearance was not noticed in their own time. Most of them are orphans from periods of history where orphans are just discarded. These rescued orphans are not only trained by The Company, but are modified with physical alterations that essentially make them immortal. They can communicate with one another via implants, and are trained to fit in to their surroundings so that when the moment is right, they can nip in, steal the objects, and get out just before the disaster occurs and people notice the theft.

    Kage's writing is full of very funny moments, interspersed with moments that make tears well up. However, there is no 'bad guy.' It's just that these cyborgs—which is what they are—struggle to feel useful and wrestle with the fact that they are both human AND immortal. Everything they love will die, while they will not.

    Kage Baker has written other series as well. There is her River series (sort of medieval-y fantasy), which I personally love to bits. I read Bird of the River first, but it's actually the final book in the three-book series. No problem. I just went back and bought the other two later, and enjoyed them just as much.

    She also wrote a series set on Mars, and a Steampunk series as well—both of which have been continued by her sister Kathleen Bartholomew, who is also a very talented writer, and who was privy to all Kage's notes, etc. Kage Baker died of cancer in 2010. She was only in her mid-fifties. Fortunately for us left behind, she was a prolific author. Her stories are lively and very easy to read. She's one of the least pretentious, most intriguing authors I've read in any genre.

    You could do a lot worse than try Kage Baker's stuff. I'd start with In the Garden of Iden, if you want to read The Company books. This story is mainly set in Tudor England, with a few scenes set during the Spanish Inquisition as well as the 'future' where the operatives are trained. Each book in the series is a stand-alone, and takes place in a different time period from the others. It helps to get to know each of the operatives and how they work, so I would recommend you try to read them in some semblance of chronological order.

    One of the funniest short story/novellas she wrote is titled Mother Aegypt. In fact, it's the story that first drew my attention to Kage Baker's writing. Of course I took the story at face value, and didn't realise that one of the characters in it was an 'operative,' because I didn't know the Company history yet. Now that I do, it makes Mother Aegypt even better.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2016
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  3. Cretacskies
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    Cretacskies New Member

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    Thanks, Jannert! I would most definitely check out The Company books. I am actually very interested in lost artifacts or just cultural things in general, which makes what you described more intriguing to me. I am very intrigued when you mentioned there are no 'bad guys,' because it is another thing I have always been looking for in a novel.
     
  4. Raven484
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    Raven484 Contributing Member

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    Thieves' World is a shared world fantasy series created by Robert Lynn Asprin in 1978. The original series comprised twelve anthologies, including stories by such science fiction authors as Poul Anderson, John Brunner, Andrew J. Offutt, C. J. Cherryh, Janet Morris, and Chris Morris.

    I read these in the early 90''s. It's like a collection of short stories about characters that live in a city called Sanctuary. I loved them at the time.
     

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