Books with a Harnic Flavour (New)

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Neil
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A Good Read

#1 Post by Neil » Fri Jan 10, 2003 11:52 pm

My own favourites for a Harnic feel are the Cadfael books by Ellis Peters. Set in England at the time of King Stephen (& the Empress Maude) good stuff, but not fantasy. There are very few good fantasy books about the time period, though you could try some of the more historically realistic Arthurian books popular a few years ago (I'm at work but will try to find authors names later).

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#2 Post by Durgil » Sat Jan 11, 2003 12:06 am

This is totally non-fiction, but anything from Frances Gies and/or Joseph Gies such as Daily Life in Medieval Times: A Vivid, Detailed Account of Birth, Marriage and Death; Food, Clothing and Housing; Love and Labor in the Middle Ages and Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel: Technology and Invention in the Middle Ages.
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#3 Post by Shane » Sat Jan 11, 2003 12:23 am

If you want something less "medieval england" and more fantasy feeling, give Katherine Kerr's Deveryy series a read. Very good.

http://www.deverry.com/
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#4 Post by hrafn » Sat Jan 11, 2003 12:32 am

Try George R. R. Martin's novel series A song of fire and ice. Very gritty fantasy. I guess it is my favourite fantasy series.

If you plan to play in Orbaal or Ivinia, take a look at any translation of Old Norse sagas (my favourite: Laxdœla saga). Or you might enjoy Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla (The History of the Kings of Norway).
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Re: A Good Read

#5 Post by Spartan » Sat Jan 11, 2003 3:53 am

Neil wrote: There are very few good fantasy books about the time period, though you could try some of the more historically realistic Arthurian books popular a few years ago (I'm at work but will try to find authors names later).
Do you mean Jack Whyte?

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#6 Post by Hedge Knight » Sat Jan 11, 2003 4:45 am

Has anyone read any of Michael Jecks' books (The Tournament of Blood, etc..)?

I was thinking of buying some of his books, but I had never heard of him until a few days ago, from reading around on Amazon.com it seems that his stories would be good mood material as well.

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Leslie Barringer

#7 Post by Tharbad » Sat Jan 11, 2003 6:23 am

I can recommend the Neustrian Cycle from Leslie Barringer. The first titel is Gerfalcon. Its fantasy with little magic in a french setting. [/i]

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#8 Post by NicktheLemming » Sat Jan 11, 2003 7:29 am

Also see the newbie section here too, for other books that people have suggested over the years...


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#9 Post by Siukkis » Sun Jan 12, 2003 8:05 am

These I took from some long gone Finnish Harn-page:

Bibliographies for use with Hârn

- Barnes, Donna R. - For court, manor, and church : education in medieval Europe
- Clanchy, M. T. - From memory to written record
- Eco, Umberto - The Name of the Rose
- Follet, Ken - Pillars of Heaven
- Fossier, Robert - Peasant life in the medieval west
- Gies and Gies - Life in a Medieval Village
- Hallam, Elizabeth - Chronicles of the Crusades
- Hallam, Elizabeth - The Plantagenet Chronicles
- Johnson, Charles - The Course of the Exchequer by Richard, son of Nigel
- Ladurie, Emmanuel le Roy - Montaillou : Cathars and Catholics in a French village 1294-1324
- The Paxton Letters
- Reynolds, Susan - Fiefs and Vassals
- Violet le Duc, Eugene - Encyclopedie medievale
Welch, Martin - Discovering Anglo-Saxon England

I have no idea what those books are alike, I just wrote them all down from this printout I have. There is some more text after some of those books and if you need more information I please feel free to contact me... I promise nothing though :wink:
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#10 Post by Siukkis » Sun Jan 12, 2003 8:07 am

You could try Robin Hobb too :!:
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#11 Post by lymponus » Mon Jan 13, 2003 7:08 am

Bernard Cornwell also has several good books that are very Harnish:

One trilogy he has is based on the King Arthur legend, I belive it's called the Winter King series. Set in early England and written as how Arthur may have actually been. Very good series, one of those you can't put down.

A new series he's writing now is about a longbowmen in the 100 years war. A little late in history for Harn, but not so 'modern' it wouldn't work. First book is called The Archer's Tale.
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#12 Post by Kamran » Wed Jan 15, 2003 2:44 am

Patrick - S&S wrote:The best and easiest way to get in the Hârn mood is not some old dusty history book (although these are superb later on). Instead you should try to find a copy of Medieval Handbook printed for the 3rd edition of Ars Magica. It is perfect for what it is set out to do. I think Atlas Games still carries it but I am not sure. Otherwise try E-Bay. I will send my copy to the ungrateful bastard Richard. He should be getting some other handbook if I wasn't such a "nice guy". :lol:
Thanks, Patrick! I just picked up a copy on ebay for $1!! :D

I will, however, second (or third, or whatever it's up to now) the recommendation for anything by Gies and Gies. Excellent reading.

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#13 Post by AndyStaples » Thu Jan 23, 2003 6:56 am

I'll divide my recommendations up:

Fiction
Ellis Peters: the Cadfael series
Twee murder mysteries in mid-12th century England.
Ken Follett: The Pillars of the Earth
The lives and times of people trying to build a cathedral in mid-12th century England. Part soap-opera, part architectural treatise, all "good read".
George Shipway: Knight in Anarchy
Brutal account of one squire's baptism of fire into knighthood at the time of the 12th century Anarchy. Excellent on combat, arms and armour descriptions -- but not for those with a weak stomach.
Katherine Kerr: The Deverry series
Excellent fantasy series that builds from low magic beginnings to very high fantasy indeed.
JRR Tolkein: The Lord of the Rings
Nuff said, really.

Non-fiction
Robert Bartlett: England under the Norman and Angevin Kings
If you only get one history book, this is the one to have. It covers just about everything. Absolutely superb -- I never travel anywhere without it.
Geis & Geis: Life in a Medieval Village
Flawed, but very readable.
DM Stenton: English Society in the Early Middle Ages
Inexpensive, novel-sized paperback. Very readable and informative -- perfect for reading on the train.
Ronald B Tobias: Twenty Master Plots and How to Build Them
Eventually we all run out of ideas. This is possibly the most RPG-relevant of several creative writing books I have on the bookshelf.

Films and TV
Robin of Sherwood: superb British-made TV series from the early-80s. Atmospheric, moody, fake Celtic mysticism. I always think of Robin of Sherwood when I imagine Harn. And it's now available on DVD. :)
Robin Hood The little-known Patrick Bergin movie, made at the same time as Costner's abomination, and far, far better.
Braveheart Its history sucked, but it's a good story -- and it's surprisingly good on a lot of the little details of clothing, weapons, animals and the like.
The 13th Warrior Surprisingly good Vikings vs neanderthals romp. It's worth reading Eaters of the Dead, the Crichton book it was based on, as well.
And, of course...
The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers.

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#14 Post by Keith Mann » Thu Jan 23, 2003 7:32 am

There was a good thread on Slashdot the other day about new SF authors (which of course spilled over into Fantasy authors, too). Check http://ask.slashdot.org if you're interested.

In that thread, someone mentioned an interesting "Top 100" site for SF and Fantasy books, which you can find at http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Cavern/6113/top100.html
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#15 Post by Harshax » Thu Jan 23, 2003 7:38 am

AndyStaples wrote: Non-fiction
Robert Bartlett: England under the Norman and Angevin Kings
If you only get one history book, this is the one to have. It covers just about everything. Absolutely superb -- I never travel anywhere without it.
I'll definitely vouche for this one. In fact, I believe you suggested this to me months back. It is the best refence book I own.
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Books

#16 Post by Lowsonic » Thu Jan 23, 2003 9:53 pm

Narrowing the useful titles down is difficult, but some intersesting titles that I have been using of late:

Number one, sooooo useful fo GMs
The Handbook of British Archaeology by Lesley and Roy Adkins
... a must have

Plus
Dictionary of Celtic religion and Culture by Bernhard Maier
Romance & Legends of Chivalry by A R Hope-Moncrieff

A host of castle books.... my most recent purchase is
The Medieval castles of Ireland by David Sweetman
plus.....
The CADW / English Heritage / Heritage Scotland guides

The Yale English Monarchs series.... one per king and full of intrigue and machinations

On political and kingdom life...
The Welsh Princes 1063 - 1283 by Roger Turvey
Later Anglo-Saxon England / Life & Landscape by Andrew Reynolds
The Feudal Kingdom of England 1042 - 1216 by Frank Barlow
The Angevin Empire by John Gillingham

Oh, and a good dictionary on Heraldry.

I have quite a few more, but a list would be a bit long.... Mediaeval history

Reality is a great source of fantasy!!

rgds nick

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#17 Post by Ork » Fri Jan 24, 2003 2:43 am

and after you get tired of those Cadfael books that repeat themselves you can try the coroner series by Bernard Knight and Hugh Corbet series by Paul Doherty. (and now I must hide myself from the fans of Cadfael books). :wink:
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#18 Post by Ardeth » Fri Jan 24, 2003 3:03 am

post deleated by author
Last edited by Ardeth on Fri Feb 13, 2004 8:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#19 Post by Siukkis » Fri Jan 24, 2003 7:58 am

Here is the link I mentioned before about:


-Bibliographies for use with Hârn-

http://jumi.lut.fi/harn/misc/bibliography.html


HarnPage mirror that hasn't been updated for ages... I guess...
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#20 Post by Hepekerian » Sat Jan 25, 2003 11:19 am

Two of my favorites not mentioned among the worthy titles so far:

Sherwood and Robin and the King by Parke Godwin. Sets the Robin Hood story during the time of the Norman Conquest. Quite clever, especially the details on law, moot and tradition. Robin and the King is a wonderful treatise on politics.

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Re: Books

#22 Post by AndyStaples » Mon Jan 27, 2003 11:13 pm

Lowsonic wrote:Number one, sooooo useful fo GMs
The Handbook of British Archaeology by Lesley and Roy Adkins
... a must have
I have real problems with this one. Not as a GM resource (it may well be useful for that) but as an archaeological handbook.

Check the publication dates. The recent reprint is word-for-word the same as the 1981 original -- and archaeology, particularly medieval archaeology, has moved a long way since then.

Their simple assertion that any ridge-and-furrow less than 5m wide is post-medieval turned out to be completely wrong, and it cost me many hours of additional research (and led me up a blind alley) when I was writing my A-level thesis a few years ago. FOruntately, I did realise what was going on in time to correctly identify my R&F (2.6m wide) as medieval in time for the thesis submission.

I now -- and maybe unfairly -- regard Adkins & Adkins with extreme suspicion and always look for other sources first.

(Oh, and it doesn't help that Adkins and Adkins' bibliography is also dated, despite a promis ethat it's been improved.)

Curiously enough, the field handbook I do use is even older: Eric S Wood's Collins Field Guide to Archaeology (3rd edition, 1973). It's more detailed, and, though dated, did help me identify what I initially thought was spade-dug hillside terracing as natural soil creep. BUt, though Wood is useful to carry around when eyeballing a site for the first time, I use more up-to-date sources for a serious examination of a site.

Adkins & Adkins may well be a good reference for GMs, but I really can't think about it objectively... the memory is still painful. :)

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I am surprised

#23 Post by Lowsonic » Sat Mar 29, 2003 8:59 pm

I would be surprised if you didn't know the osprey books, although you may not know them as osprey. Osprey do the various Man-at-Arms and Campaigns series of books (and others). The Man-at-arms series forllow a formulaic layout. They are about 48 pages, 8 of which are colour plates with three uniforms studies per page. The text is brief of history - though more that adequate - and instead concentrates on equipment and uniforms. It is a great sourcebook for rpgs set is the given eras, and for figure painting guides for table top wargamers. I have about 20 of them collected over the years and i find them quite useful.

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I will

#24 Post by Will Kilmer » Sat Mar 29, 2003 11:43 pm

Since nobody has mentioned them;

Steps to the Empty Throne by Nigel Tranter

The Path of the Hero King by Nigel Tranter

The Price of the King's Peace by Nigel Tranter

These three form the Robert The Bruce trilogy. A companion worth a look is:

The Wallace also by Tranter

My volumes are from Coronet, the paperback division of Hodder and Stoughton, London and were in print in the UK as recently as 1984.

Nice novelistic compromise between heroic myth and gritty realism. Also a source for me of plot devices. (Haven't used the spurs and the shilling yet, but...)

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#25 Post by Walter » Thu Jun 26, 2003 9:49 am

To add to the list of Medieval Mystery writers, Alan Gordon's "Jester" series:
Thirteenth Night
Jester Leaps In

It's not great but might spark some ideas for people, it's a bit like James Bond meets Br. Cadfael with a bit of Andrew Vachss thrown into the blender.

The stories take place in 13th century Italy, Turkey centering around a "Fool's Guild" that keeps the peace. Yeah... it's that type of book.

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