In the meantime, I can recommend some authors and books that I’ve enjoyed immensely.
One of my current favorite authors is Joe Abercrombie. I was lucky enough to stumble onto him on his first book, The Blade Itself, and I’ve been happily devouring his works ever since. Joe’s books are chock full of black humor, violence, betrayals and sex, (not necessarily in that order, and often all at once) with the occasional hint of the supernatural. You won’t find any elves skipping merrily through the daffodils here.
Tad Williams is a fantastic writer who knows how to write epic fantasy and bring it all together into an equally epic climax. He’s also one of the first authors I ever encountered who was willing to reinterpret elves in a way that truly made them and their desires utterly alien. You might start with The Dragonbone Chair.
Glen Cook is often credited with having instigated a sea change in the way we approach epic fantasy, and his Tales of the Black Company is not to be missed, particularly in regards to the manner in which he handles military types in a fantasy world.
Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen was a healthy obsession for a good many years, as the former archeologist knows how to build worlds in ways that leave most of us in the dust (I suspect there’s some kind of pun there, but I’ll be damned if I can find it). Erikson admits to having been inspired by Cook, but he takes his ideas in amazing and unpredictable directions. Most noteworthy of all, Erikson knows how to wrap up each novel in a way that is as fulfilling as it is unforgettable. I could wax poetic, as Shakespeare might say, “For whole volumes, in folio” about other aspects of Erikson’s work, but I’ll leave it to you to discover them.
Years ago, I was looking for a new series when I stumbled upon Magician, by Raymond E. Feist. He quickly became my favorite author at the time and for a decade or more afterwards. His books are a little more straight Dungeons & Dragons than anyone else on this list, and, after reading through some thirty or so of them, I’m a little exhausted. Still, the man’s a master and doubtless inspired countless others in the genre.
You can’t really call yourself a fan of epic fantasy unless and until you’ve read Michael Moorcock’s Elric Saga, starting with Elric of Melnibone. I’m doing Moorcock an injustice, here, in even attempting to describe his work, but suffice it to say that Elric is essentially an albino elf sorcerer with a dark, sentient greatsword – and perhaps the inspiration for Erikson’s Anomander Rake?
Patrick Rothfuss is the much ballyhooed author of The Name of the Wind, the first book of the Kingkiller Chronicle. After a lengthy wait, I’m happy to see book three is coming out near Halloween. Anyway, Rothfuss’ protagonist, Kvothe, is part Bard, part Warrior and part…Harry Potter. Yes, yes, I know how that sounds, but Rothfuss pulls it off with incredible aplomb. I’m leaving a lot out, but that’s because I don’t want to spoil it for you! And his writing is simply beautiful.
R. Scott Bakker is another whose works I thoroughly enjoy. Like his friend Erikson, Bakker does away with many of the traditional trappings of epic fantasy and/or reinterprets them in ways that make them almost unrecognizable. The Thousandfold Thought is a great place to start reading Bakker.
George R. R. Martin – well, if you aren’t already familiar with the man and his work, I don’t know how I can possibly save you. There’s a reason Martin “doth bestride the narrow world/Like a Colossus, and we petty men/ Walk under his huge legs and peep about/To find ourselves dishonourable graves."
But fantasy’s not all I read.
I also enjoy Michael Connelly and his Harry Bosch and/or Mickey Haller novels.
And I learn something every time I read Stephen King. Every time. His son, Joe Hill, is quite talented, too.
So, you ought to be able to find something here that’ll keep you occupied until Tarmun Vykers returns to the fray. And he will return, because, if you remember rightly, he was extremely pissed off the last time we saw him…