George R.R. Martin names favourite hidden gem novels

Maurice Druon and Jack Vance have writer’s stamp of approval.

The author of A Song of Fire and Ice, the basis for TV series Game of Thrones, has named Maurice Druon and Jack Vance as his hidden gems of fantasy fiction.

Maurice Druon’s historical series Accursed Kings covers a tumultuous 30-year period of French power struggles in the late Middle Ages.

According to Martin, the seven-book collection contains “all the good stuff that’s in my books, minus the fantasy,” he said in conversation with Entertainment Weekly ahead of a Game of Thrones fourth season.

Originally published in French between 1955 and 1977, George R.R. Martin has now provided an introduction for HarperCollins’ new English reprint of The Accursed Kings.

Its third part, The Poisoned Crown, is due in North America on April 1, while British readers received that tome in January and are on to part 4, The Royal Succession, as soon as April 24.

Martin’s second pick for wider recognition was from the hand of Jack Vance, who passed away last year at the age of 96.

While the author was especially well praised for early works The Dragon Masters, The Last Castle, as well the mid-1980s French-English fantasy Lyonesse, Martin selected Vance’s “Dying Earth” series for particular recommendation.

“Vance was a name in SF and fantasy series, but remains relatively unknown outside the genre,” he told EW. “But his ‘Dying Earth’ stories are classics of the genre, and by rights should be as well-known and widely read as Tolkien and Howard.”

And those are no empty words – Martin co-edited the 2009 collection Songs of the Dying Earth in tribute to Vance’s original four book series; its 22 contributing authors included Mike Resnick, Glen Cook, Neil Gaiman, Tanith Lee and Elizabeth Moon. – AFP Relaxnews

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