• ARRSE have partnered with Armadillo Merino to bring you an ARRSE exclusive, generous discount offer on their full price range.
    To keep you warm with the best of Merino gear, visit www.armadillomerino.co.uk and use the code: NEWARRSE40 at the checkout to get 40% off!
    This superb deal has been generously offered to us by Armadillo Merino and is valid until midnight on the the 28th of February.

Favourite Epic book series

#1
I'm currently working my way through George R. R. Martins monster "A Dance with Dragons" which is the latest in the Song of ice and fire series (game of thrones) and although i think there's a few things wrong with the books (too many viewpoints, not enough character developement, too slow in places) i've generally enjoyed them for their sheer scale and complexity.

so whats your favourite epic book series? i think to qualify it needs to be at least 3 books (and only if they're pretty large) and although often able to stand alone must contribute to a larger story.

Personally i enjoyed Tad Williams pretty bonkers Otherland books which were pretty mussive in scale and imagination but the series i've come back to re-read again and again are the Len Deighton Bernard Samson trilogy of trilogies.
 
#2
Read the Song of Ice and Fire series. Fantastic reading. Also recommend Robert Jordans Wheel of Time series, been reading that for years and it's on book 13 now. Robert Jordan himself died but the guy thats took over using his notes is doing a great job of it. Only one book left to go.
Terry Brooks Shannara series is also a great read. Those have been going for years as well and I've lost count of how many books are in it, and of course who could forget the Discworld series? Terry Pratchett is a literary god!
 
#3
Bernard Cornwells Alfred the Great series is the one I've most currently enjoyed. A couple of the books in this series have been fillers but then I tend to find with a lot of historical fiction it all follows a familiar route of story development and you just need to change the names of the character to suite your author.
 
#5
Of course Sir Terry Pratchett is a literary god and I hope he continues to write for as long as he is able.

There's also the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind, randomly picked up the first book of the series in Bosnia (Every few weeks a big box of books would arrive on camp for everyone), I picked it up because I thought the cover art looked good and wound up spending the next 12 years or so impatiently waiting for each new book to be released!
The same goes for the Riftwar, Serpentwar and Empire series by Raymond E Fiest, picked up the first book, Magician, from that very same table full of books





And of course we can only hope that the adventure of Eddie Nugent will become an EPIC book series....
 
#7
I always liked the Wilbur Smith books but his last couple have been pretty poor.
is that the Courtney family he follows over the years? i havent read them for donkeys but enjoyed them when i did. cant beat a bit of Sharpe for baddies, battles and bitches but still love Deighton for the continuation of one story across several completely different stories. This seems to be quite a difficult thing to do with authors either going for different stories with the same characters or just one massive story sawed into several books (lord of the rings being the best example).

Tim Powers wrote a good trilogy called fault lines (Last Call, Expiration Date, Earthquake Weather) where similar themes and ideas were worked through in two completely different books with different characters but these characters come together for the third and final book.
 
#8
Of course Sir Terry Pratchett is a literary god and I hope he continues to write for as long as he is able.

There's also the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind, randomly picked up the first book of the series in Bosnia (Every few weeks a big box of books would arrive on camp for everyone), I picked it up because I thought the cover art looked good and wound up spending the next 12 years or so impatiently waiting for each new book to be released!
The same goes for the Riftwar, Serpentwar and Empire series by Raymond E Fiest, picked up the first book, Magician, from that very same table full of books





And of course we can only hope that the adventure of Eddie Nugent will become an EPIC book series....
How could I forget Raymond Feist?? *slaps head* Love the guys books and have every one.
 
#10
I have spent hours wondering over "Where's Wally" but not sure thats what you're after here!

I have read almost all of Bernard Cornwell's books and really enjoy his take on history and placing characters in it.

Similarly have read all of Stephen King and enjoyed the Dark Tower series despite the fact that the ending was a con IMHO.
 
#11
If you like the icy Cold War stuff, John Le Carre's 'Smiley' series is good, although for atmosphere I prefer Alan Furst's wartime novels.

Can't stand Goodkind, Feist was OK at the start, and old Wilbur is very patchy. I always preferred his stand alone novels to the great, sprawling family dynastic epics where you could never remember which bloody Courtney you were dealing with. 'The Sunbird' was, however, brilliant.

Cornwell is OK, but I'd like him to finish off the American Civil War series.

Other than that, I'd recommend Julian Stockwin's 'Kydd' Series- A lot more accessible than Patrick O'Brien.

Edit- Also Philip Kerr's 'Berlin Noir' series about a pre and post War German private detective. Very good for atmosphere of the period.
 

jarrod248

LE
Gallery Guru
#13
is that the Courtney family he follows over the years? i havent read them for donkeys but enjoyed them when i did. cant beat a bit of Sharpe for baddies, battles and bitches but still love Deighton for the continuation of one story across several completely different stories. This seems to be quite a difficult thing to do with authors either going for different stories with the same characters or just one massive story sawed into several books (lord of the rings being the best example).

Tim Powers wrote a good trilogy called fault lines (Last Call, Expiration Date, Earthquake Weather) where similar themes and ideas were worked through in two completely different books with different characters but these characters come together for the third and final book.
Courtney's and Ballantines
 
#14
The Michael Connelly 'Bosch' Novels are a good read and character development is spot on, they're available in 3 book packages at a discount at the mo. Afterwards you can read the non Bosch books as he has a habit of inserting characters from that series into them to good effect.

I've read all the Jack Reacher novels, but compared to the Connelly's they're at bit lightweight but still good to while away a long haul flight.

A previous poster recommended the Le Carre 'Smiley' novels, I've read and re-read them many times, but last year bought his first two books, 'A Murder of Quality' and 'A Call for the Dead', both were fascinating as they introduce Smiley as a main character but without the espionage setting.
 
#15
I agree with Merchantman re Pat Barker: Regeneration. Excellent. No doubt there are other votes for war themed historical novels (Cornwell, Forester, Mallinson etc) but to my mind Regeneration takes the crown as the best of them all.

Having said that some of C.S. Forester's one-offs were awesome: Death to the French; The Gun; Brown on Resolution to name a few.

In the SF/Fantasy genre (which I suspect that this thread is more aimed at) the Stephen Donaldson books about Thomas Covenant were pretty good. Does the Lord of the Rings count? That was pretty good.
 
#16
not intentionally aiming at SF/Fantasy i think its just that SF/F authors seem to bang on a bit more than others and end up with ridiculously long books/series (when you can make up anything you like it was more room to grow arms and legs i think).
 

Bowmore_Assassin

MIA
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#17
The books by James Lee Burke about detective Dave Robicheux are superb crime novels; I suggest you read them in order and there are a lot of them.

Lord of The Rings by Tolkien are well worth the effort. It is also worth reading The Hobbit first.

The 9 book series, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, by Stephen Donaldson are epic in scale. The first 6 are excellent and could be read as a standalone series. He wrote the last three many years later; they are not as good but worth reading if you want the whole story.

Iain M Banks sci-fi, loosely connected, books about the 'Culture' are brilliant.

The 10 book series Chung-Quo by David Wingrove (sci-fi) is epic. The books are quite hard to find but Amazon is the way ahead; they can be pricey...
 
#19
You'd have to go a long way to beat the Patrick O'Brian Aubrey and Maturin series: each is a stand alone ripping yarn but they link well and grow in depth and characterisation as they progress. get over the first couple of chapters when the C19th English scans oddly and you'll be hooked - try and read them in chronological order to get the best impact (and most anticipation of the next in the series).
 
#20
The books by James Lee Burke about detective Dave Robicheux are superb crime novels; I suggest you read them in order and there are a lot of them.

Lord of The Rings by Tolkien are well worth the effort. It is also worth reading The Hobbit first.

The 9 book series, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, by Stephen Donaldson are epic in scale. The first 6 are excellent and could be read as a standalone series. He wrote the last three many years later; they are not as good but worth reading if you want the whole story.

Iain M Banks sci-fi, loosely connected, books about the 'Culture' are brilliant.

The 10 book series Chung-Quo by David Wingrove (sci-fi) is epic. The books are quite hard to find but Amazon is the way ahead; they can be pricey...
I agree that James Lee Burke is an exceptional writer, and I love Ian Bank's Sci-fi (although I'm not that struck on his other fiction, strangely enough).

I (heretic!) will have to say that Tolkien, brilliantly imaginative as he was, is a bit too in love with his own background-It stifles the plot. The Thomas Covenant novels- Well, what can I say? The author clearly fell in love with his horrible, self-pitying arse of a lead character. It's a rare fantasy novel where you end up cheering on the Evil Leader. ("Go on! Kill the whining diseased rapist!"). Epic in scale, epic in awfulness.

Try E.R Eddison, ('The Worm Ouroborous') for some beautifully written but rather odd fantasies from the pre-Tolkien era.
 

Latest Threads