There have been plenty of overviews of this source material--see here, here, and here, for example. And because that list of inspirational reading is decades old, folks have been suggesting additions to the literary canon.
Which brings me to my question: What are three relatively new (published within the past three decades or so) works that you would suggest to inspire fantasy gamers?
Here are my suggestions, all of which have great settings and, just as important, great characters:
- The Deed of Paskanarrion series by Elizabeth Moon: A sheepfarmer's daughter joins a mercenary company, setting her on a path to become a paladin--but not before numerous battles with opposing armies and even creatures of darkness.
- Books of the Elements series by David Drake: Four citizens in ancient
RomeCarce defend their empire from creatures of the Norse sagas, Native American legends, African mythology, and Indian folk tales, with pulp elements like Atlantean flying ships thrown in.
- The Desert of Souls by Howard Andrew Jones: Two officials in medieval Baghdad team up to stop a plot against the Caliph in a swashbuckling tale that combines 1930s action with 21st century sensibility--and a djinn.
Your turn: Suggest three works (series or standalone novels) that are inspirational reading for you and your gaming.