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Favorite Castle Book?

Discussion of topics concerning life in the middle ages around the world, including architecture, history, and warfare.

Postby The Hag » Thu Dec 22, 2005 6:45 pm

Lord_Of_The_LEGO wrote:Oh, also, almost all the books by writer/illustrator David Macaulay are great inpirations to me, especially Castle and Cathedral.

Yeah, those are great ! I used to get those from the library all the time when i was a kid.. My dad has cathedral now...
hmm.. i should go and borrow a book now ..

*sound of crickets*
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Postby Hothir Ethelnor » Thu Dec 22, 2005 9:03 pm

I support Henry the V in my preference to Henty's books they are all historical fiction and I havn't found one out of 74 that I have read that I didn't enjoy :D However he only wrote seven or eight about the medieval time period :( however he also has some really interesting Ancient and Renaissance stories. :lol:
Last edited by Hothir Ethelnor on Fri Dec 23, 2005 12:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
"The lad parried it, and leaping back, struck at the horse's leg. The animal fell instantly, and as he did so Archie struck full on the helm of Sir John Kerr" Excerpt from, In Freedoms Cause by G.A Henty
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Postby Shadow » Thu Dec 22, 2005 9:11 pm

Hmmm... Henty books. In my opinion they are a bit too... well.... romanticized. I have read almost 15 of them and have enjoyed them yet they weren't my favorite :wink:
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Postby Sir Kohran » Thu Dec 22, 2005 10:54 pm

What about The Belgariad and The Malloreon by David Eddings... Many years since I read them but I remember loving them.

I liked them, because there was some good humour and the characters were likeable, but Torak and the Angaraks (the bad guys) were portrayed as pretty weak throughout the story. However, this going off-topic...

Also, Feist's Riftwar saga is good for having many historical details (and is currently being made into a comic book, which is cool, cause I can make minifigs based off of their character designs).

Yes, I enjoyed all of Raymond Feist's work, especially his Riftwar books. However, I actually prefered the Serpentwar Saga books, even if the last book was a bit weak.

I'll finish this post tomorrow.

- Matt

Seems kinda funny that almost half a year later I still haven't edited this post. But someday...perhaps. -11th June, 2006
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Postby LEGOFREAK » Fri Dec 23, 2005 4:13 pm

Lord_Of_The_LEGO wrote:Oh, also, almost all the books by writer/illustrator David Macaulay are great inpirations to me, especially Castle and Cathedral.

both fantastic books.. so is the Mosque. That book inspired me to build my own.
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Postby Damien » Fri Dec 30, 2005 9:43 am

Are we talking about novels here, or books in general? Because I have a veritable library of both.

I'll try to avoid mentioning things that have already been stated, just for the sake of not being redundant.

Dragonlance Fantasy Series. Particular books of interest: Legend of Huma, Lord Soth, Elven Nations and Dwarven Nations Trilogies, Ergoth Trilogy, Vinas Solamnus, Kaz the Minotaur, Land of the Minotaurs, Reavers of the Blood Sea -- to name but a few.

Eberron Books. Also published by Wizards of the Coast -- really interesting take on a sort of magic-modern medieval fantasy.

Anything by David Gemmell. The man is an excellent writer.

The Classics: The Iliad, The Odyssey, anything by T.H. White, Le Morte de Arthur, etc.

The Dark Classics: The Conan stories of R.E. Howard, the Elric Saga of Michael Moorcock, the series' of Druss and Kull.. all great stuff.

D&D books: While horrible for artistic interpretations of arms and armour, they have lots of interesting ideas and can spark your pseudo-medieval imagination.

Osprey Books: Some of the best 'beginners' history books around. Wonderful colour plates and concise descriptions and explanations. Personal favourites of mine include Armies of Medieval Burgundy, The Normans, Norman Knight, and many more.

And lots of other random books. It would be a painstaking process to even name a small portion of them.
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Postby rogue27 » Fri Dec 30, 2005 3:09 pm

George RR Martin has the most historically detailed fantasy I've ever read.

His short story The Hedge Knight was turned into a comic book series, and later a graphic novel compilation of the series. I would recommend that to everybody here, especially if you like knights and tournaments. It also has a few pages of (made up) coats of arms at the back which might inspire some customizers around here.

GRRM also has a series of novels called "A Song of Fire and Ice" which has 4 books so far: A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Feast for Crows. There will be at least 3 more novels in the series. This series is every bit as epic as anything else mentioned in this thread, moves at a good pace, and has great characters and dialogue. The stories are gritty and grounded in reality, but there is still a fair bit of fantasy elements. I'd recommend them to anybody who can handle mature content.
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Postby ottoatm » Fri Dec 30, 2005 3:12 pm

I would have to say my favorite series/author is still Terry Brooks and his Shannara stuff. I've read everything starting from "Sword of Shannara" and loved it all. I realize that some people really don't like his work, but it's what's kept me involved in castle/fantasy for so long, so I think I might be a lifelong fan. 8)

After that, I would say it must be Lord of the Rings, and although it's been awhile, the Narnia series, which was a very enjoyable, light read.

I have heard a lot of good things about Robert Jordan, but never read his stuff (yet).
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Postby Recluce » Fri Dec 30, 2005 3:25 pm

rogue27 wrote:His short story The Hedge Knight was turned into a comic book series, and later a graphic novel compilation of the series. I would recommend that to everybody here, especially if you like knights and tournaments. It also has a few pages of (made up) coats of arms at the back which might inspire some customizers around here.

Rogue, thanks for the plug! :wink:

I agree that the Hedge Knight series is beautifully illustrated and will serve to inspire some around here. The second series of Hedge Knight comics is being worked on, and its going to be equally good. Pick up the trade paperback of this first set of six comics, and if you like them, I'd reccomend you invest in a few of the novels. He writes top notch stuff!
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Postby Jacob C. » Mon Jan 02, 2006 6:40 am

I'd like to add that the Dinotopia books are chock-full of inspirational images

Yes, fantastic illustrations!
I'll have to relocate my Dinotopia book, I haven't seen it in about 4 or 5 years.
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Postby Jojo » Mon Jan 02, 2006 12:12 pm


Time for my monthly post.

I've been inspired by...

... The Lord of the Rings, naturally.
... Ronja Rövardotter and Bröderna Lejonhjärta by swedish childrens book authoress Astrid Lindgren. (Dunno the English titles, so I named the Swedish ones; would be something like "Ronja Robber's Daughter" and the "Lionheart Brothers".)
... Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.
... The Pysician by Noah Gordon.
... Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott.
... Der abentheuerliche Simplicissimus by H.J.C. von Grimmelshausen.
... several novels by Edgar Allan Poe.
... Der Erwählte by Thomas Mann (The Chosen One).
... Don Quijote by Miguel de Servantes Saavedra.
... Dyl Ulenspiegel (Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks)
... Faust by Goethe, and other adaptions of the plot by others.
... a children's version of the Robin Hood legend.
... Recently I read some novels by the German authoress Rebecca Gablé that deal with the period 1066 to 1400. It's literary trash, but since the writer has studied Mediaeval English History her books draw a nice picture of what life was like back than.
... Asterix in more than one ways.
... Greek and Germanic legends/myths/sagas as well as Grimm's Märchen (Fairy Tales). I should be naming the Bible as well.
... certainly several other books.

All of the above I'd like to recommend wholeheartedly.

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Postby The Blue Knight » Fri Jan 06, 2006 7:24 am

I would steer people away from Jordan's Wheel of Time. I got lost in the 5th book. 30+ principal characters, and 25+ are quite aggrevating, I kept wishing they would be killed off. Whole groups of characters are dropped for books at a time! What a disaster! The first 5 books could have been 2 with 1/4 of the characters. Hundreds of pages of no action whatsoever. Did I mention I didn't like it? But don't take my word for it, try it!

I agree with most of the others. Lord of the Rings is the Titan head and shoulders above all other. I'll throw Stephen R. Donaldson's "Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever."

Karen Wynn Fonstad has done several Atlases of fantasy worlds, most notably Donaldson's The Land, and Tolkien's Middle-earth. They are great resouces.

Stephen Biesty did a "Castle Cross Section" for Dorling Kindersley, jam packed with good stuff.

Michael Chrichton's "Eaters of the Dead" from which the movie "13th Warrior" comes.

Harry Harrison's "Deathworld 3" has an interesting take on mongolian-esque peoples.

"Gormenghast" is a story where the castle is so enormous that it is a world in and of itself. Been years or so since I read it, but it was made into a PBS miniseries which I missed.

Many classics - "Beowulf," "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," so on.

Great thread!
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Postby The Hordesman » Fri Jan 06, 2006 11:05 am

I should mention a good book, but I also hope noone takes this post religiously.

The Coran. In my opinion, it is better than the Bible since many gruesome stories are not here, and it is written a little more poetic. Also, new stories too. :)

Of course, Im an atheist so I dont take anything written seriously, just enjoying a good book. Have not read much though...
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Postby Unknown Knight » Sat Jan 14, 2006 5:00 am

I read lots of castle themed books, so I'll probably just go by 3 categories.

1. Everything Tolkien of course

2. Chronicles of Narnia

3. The Inheritance Series (Eragon, Eldest, and eventually the third book)

4. The Pendragon Cycle - It's an interesting take on the King Arthur story. Great series. It's made up of five books: Taliesin, Merlin, Arthur, Pendragon, Grail. Highly recommended. It sounds kinda historical. For example castles and timber forts are called Caer (insert name of fortification here). I am currently reading Arthur and am looking forward to the next two. Its written by Stephen R. Lawhead.

5. The Binding of the Blade Series - It like a mixture of Tolkien's and C.S. Lewis's books combined. Currently it's made up of two books, Beyond the Summerland and The Bringer of Storms. I'm guessing the series will end with three books?, anyway not sure. Very cool books; I am eagerly awaiting the third installment. It's written by L.B. Graham.

6. Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur - started reading it, but never finished it. Great battles in it from what i have read. Note! This book is probably not for younger aundiance than 10-13?.

7. Robin Hood? - Not sure if it goes with historical or not. Must reads though.

8. King Arthur? - Not sure if it goes with historical or not. Must reads though.

9. The Story of Roland - ancient book not sure if it is even in print anymore, but a fun read. The book is very much the story of a Lancealot-ish knight named Roland. The battles are fun because a famous seem to take on huge armies with the attitude of "I'll take all out" sort of thing :P . Kinda sad ending though.

Historical fiction
1. Ivanhoe - great book by Sir Walter Scott. A must read.

2. The G.A. Henty books from the medieval era.

3. The Last Kingdom - have not readit or got the book yet but desire it greatly. Great book from what I have heard.

4. The King's Shadow - A Chronicaler follows the event of the year of 1066 from King Harold's (saxon) point of view. Written by Elizabeth Alder.

5. Men of Iron - written by Howard Pyle, it follows the story of a young squire on his journey to knighthood to avenge his father's disgrace.

Unfortunately I do not have very many of these...
1. Medieval Weapons and Warfare - written by Terence Wise. Used it in soooo many reports and essays I've lost count. Very nice book.

2. The Lord of the Rings: Weapons and Warfare - written by Chris Smith. If you don't have a copy, get one. I know it is not historical but the stuff used in the movies was actually functional. They even have a dictionary in the back of parts of weapons and armor. I practically droolled all over this book seeing the weapons and armor with detailed explanations...just joking about the drool :lol: . I have actually used it in a couple of essays.

I definitely wish I had more nonfiction medieval themed books.

Finally the end... may have forgotten a few boks here and there, but oh well.
Sorry for the extremely long post...I don't post much so words tend to accummalate... :)
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Postby TwoTonic Knight » Sat Jan 14, 2006 8:59 am

Unknown Knight wrote:5. Men of Iron - written by Howard Pyle, it follows the story of a young squire on his journey to knighthood to avenge his father's disgrace.

Made into the movie, "Black Shield of Falworth" starring Jamie Lee Curtis' parents and Torin Thatcher (Sokurah in the 7th Voyage of Sinbad). I keep meaning to find this book, and I never do (yeah, I know, Amazon).
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