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Fantasy of Manners Books

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A kind of fantasy book that focuses on the conflict not between armies and wizards but rather neighbors and peers, often set in an elaborate urban court setting. The characters are often Lords, Ladies, Dukes, and Kings.
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Gormenghast

by Mervyn Peake

3 avg rating
A doomed lord, an emergent hero, and a dazzling array of bizarre creatures inhabit the magical world of the Gormenghast novels which, along with Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, reign as one of the undisputed fantasy classics of all time. At the center of it all is the seventy-seventh Earl, Titus Groan, who stands to inherit the miles of rambling stone and mortar that form Gormenghast Castle and its kingdom, unless the conniving Steerpike, who is determined to rise above his menial position and control the House of Groan, has his way.

In these extraordinary novels, Peake has created a world where all is like a dream--lush, fantastical, and vivid. Accompanying the text are Peake's own drawings, illustrating the whole assembly of strange and marvelous creatures that inhabit Gormenghast.
Introductory Essays by Anthony Burgess and Quentin Crisp
Twelve critical essays
Fragment of the unpublished novel, Titus Awakes

"Mervyn Peake is a finer poet than Edgar Allan Poe, and he is therefore able to maintain his world of fantasy brilliantly through three novels. It is a very, very great work . . . a classic of our age."-- Robertson Davies

"[Peake's books] are actual additions to life; they give, like certain rare dreams, sensations we never had before, and enlarge our conception of the range of possible experience."-- C. S. Lewis

"This extravagant epic about a labyrinthine castle populated with conniving Dickensian grotesques is the true fantasy classic of our time."-- The Washington Post Book World

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Jonathan Strange

by Susanna Clarke

5 avg rating
At the dawn of the nineteenth century, two very different magicians emerge to change England's history. In the year 1806, with the Napoleonic Wars raging on land and sea, most people believe magic to be long dead in England--until the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers, and becomes a celebrity overnight.

Soon, another practicing magician comes forth: the young, handsome, and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell's student, and they join forces in the war against France. But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic, straining his partnership with Norrell, and putting at risk everything else he holds dear.

Time Magazine #1 Book of the Year « Book Sense Book of the Year « People Top Ten Books of the Year « Winner of the Hugo Award « A New York Times Notable Book of the Year « Salon.com Top Ten of 2004 «Winner of the World Fantasy Award « Nancy Pearl's Top 12 Books of 2004 « Washington Post Book World's Best of 2004 « Christian Science Monitor Best Fiction 2004 « San Francisco Chronicle Best Books of 2004 « Winner of the Locus Award for Best First Novel « Chicago Tribune Best of 2004 « Seattle Times 25 Best Books of 2004 « Atlanta Journal-Constitution Top 12 Books of 2004 « Village Voice "Top Shelf" « Raleigh News & Observer Best of 2004 « Rocky Mountain News critics' favorites of 2004 « Kansas City Star 100 Newsworthy Books of 2004 « Fort Worth Star-Telegram 10 Best Books of 2004 « Hartford Courant Best Books of 2004
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Swordspoint

by Ellen Kushner

The classic forerunner to The Fall of the Kings now with three bonus stories.

Hailed by critics as “a bravura performance” (Locus) and “witty, sharp-eyed, [and] full of interesting people” (Newsday), this classic melodrama of manners, filled with remarkable plot twists and unexpected humor, takes fantasy to an unprecedented level of elegant writing and scintillating wit. Award-winning author Ellen Kushner has created a world of unforgettable characters whose political ambitions, passionate love affairs, and age-old rivalries collide with deadly results.

Swordspoint

On the treacherous streets of Riverside, a man lives and dies by the sword. Even the nobles on the Hill turn to duels to settle their disputes. Within this elite, dangerous world, Richard St. Vier is the undisputed master, as skilled as he is ruthless--until a death by the sword is met with outrage instead of awe, and the city discovers that the line between hero and villain can be altered in the blink of an eye.
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Sorcery And Cecelia

by Patricia C. Wrede

A great deal is happening in London and the country this season.

For starters, there's the witch who tried to poison Kate at the Royal College of Wizards. There's also the man who seems to be spying on Cecelia. (Though he's not doing a very good job of it--so just what are his intentions?) And then there's Oliver. Ever since he was turned into a tree, he hasn't bothered to tell anyone where he is.

Clearly, magic is a deadly and dangerous business. And the girls might be in fear for their lives . . . if only they weren't having so much fun!
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Stardust

by Neil Gaiman

An enchanting fairy tale by master storyteller Neil Gaiman, full of unexpected adventures, true love, whimsy, wonder, and plenty of magic.

Tristran Thorn will do anything to win the cold heart of beautiful Victoria Forester—even fetch her the star they watch fall from the night sky. But to do so, he must enter the unexplored lands on the other side of the ancient wall that gives their tiny village its name. Beyond that stone barrier, Tristran learns, lies Faerie...and the most exhilarating adventure of the young man's life.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman comes a tale of the dark and miraculous—a quest for true love and the utterly impossible.

The book that inspired the hit motion picture starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Sienna Miller, Claire Danes, and Robert DeNiro!

BSFA
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A Matter Of Magic

by Patricia C. Wrede

When a stranger offers her a small fortune to break into a traveling magician’s wagon, Kim doesn’t hesitate. Having grown up a waif in the dirty streets of London, Kim isn’t above a bit of breaking-and-entering. A hard life and lean times have schooled her in one lesson: steal from them before they steal from you. But when the magician catches her in the act, Kim thinks she’s done for. Until he suggests she become his apprentice; then the real trouble begins.

Kim soon finds herself entangled with murderers, thieves, and cloak-and-dagger politics, all while trying to learn how to become both a proper lady and a magician in her own right. Magic and intrigue go hand in hand in Mairelon the Magician and The Magician’s Ward, two fast-paced novels filled with mystery and romance, set against the intricate backdrop of Regency England.

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Soulless

by Gail Carriger

5 avg rating
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

SOULLESS is the first book of the Parasol Protectorate series: a comedy of manners set in Victorian London, full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.
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Lyonesse Trilogy

by Jack Vance

1983 1st Ed, Berkley
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Tooth And Claw

by Jo Walton

Here is a tale of a family dealing with the death of their father, a son who goes to court for his inheritance, a son who agonizes over his father’s deathbed confession, a daughter who falls in love, a daughter who becomes involved in the abolition movement, and a daughter sacrificing herself for her husband.

Here is what sounds for all the world like an enjoyable Victorian novel, perhaps by Anthony Trollope…except that everyone in the story is a dragon, red in tooth and claw.

Here are politics and train stations, churchmen and family retainers, courtship, and country houses…in which, on the death of an elder, family members gather to eat the body of the deceased. In which society’s high and mighty members avail themselves of the privilege of killing and eating the weaker children, which they do with ceremony and relish, growing stronger thereby.

You have never read a novel like Tooth and Claw.
World Fantasy
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Gloriana

by Michael Moorcock

A fable satirizing Spenser's "The Fairie Queen" and reflecting the real life of Elizabeth I, tells of a woman who ascends to the throne upon the death of her debauched and corrupted father, King Hern. Gloriana's reign brings the Empire of Albion into a Golden Age, but her oppressive responsibilities choke her, prohibiting any form of sexual satisfaction, no matter what fetish she tries. Her problem is in fact symbolic of the hypocrisy of her entire court. While her life is meant to mirror that of her nation - an image of purity, virtue, enlightenment and prosperity - the truth is that her peaceful empire is kept secure by her wicked chancellor Monfallcon and his corrupt network of spies and murderers, the most sinister of whom is Captain Quire, who is commissioned to seduce Gloriana and thus bring down Albion and the entire empire.
John W. Campbell
World Fantasy
British Fantasy Society
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Crown Duel

by Sherwood Smith

Young Countess Meliara swears to her dying father that she and her brother will defend their people from the growing greed of the king. That promise leads them into a war for which they are ill-prepared, which threatens the very people they are trying to protect. But war is simple compared to what follows, in peacetime. Meliara is summoned to live at the royal palace, where friends and enemies look alike, and intrigue fills the dance halls and the drawing rooms. If she is to survive, Meliara must learn a whole new way of fighting-with wits and words and secret alliances.

In war, at least, she knew in whom she could trust. Now she can trust no one.

The Firebird edition of Crown Duel combines the hardcover editions of Crown Duel and Court Duel-and features a never-before-published story by Sherwood Smith!

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A Civil Campaign

by Lois McMaster Bujold

One cunning plan too many? It's spring in Vorbarr Sultana, and a young person's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love ...money ...bio-genetics ...love ...lack of money ...incompatible planetary sexual mores ...love ...District succession scandals ...the Emperor's wedding ...and, of course, love ...Lord Miles Vorkosigan, youngest Imperial Auditor to be appointed by the Emperor since the Time of Isolation, has a problem all his new power can't solve: unrequited love for the beautiful Vor widow Ekaterin Vorsoisson. Ekaterin is violently allergic to marriage as a result of her first exposure. But as Miles learned from his late career in galactic covert ops, if a frontal assault won't do, go to subterfuge. He has a cunning plan ...Lord Mark Vorkosigan has a problem: his love for the sunny Kareen, daughter of Commodore Koudelka, has just become unrequited again. But if all his new money can't solve their dilemma, perhaps a judicious blending of science and entrepreneurial scheming might. He has a cunning plan ...'It's another winner with all kinds of unexpected adventures ...Georgette Heyer has met her match for intrigue and style! A sprightly conducted romance with twists and turns that could only happen in a Vorkosigan-inspired novel...Boy, can she write!' -Anne McCaffrey.
Nebula
Hugo
Locus Science Fiction
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Stranger At The Wedding

by Barbara Hambly

After she has a premonition that her sister will die when she takes her marriage vows, a young wizard attempts to stop the wedding

It’s normal for a young girl to be jealous of her sister’s impending wedding, and Kyra is jealous indeed. A plain looking young magic student whose incipient wizardly abilities have done nothing to attract the attentions of the boys of her town, she is not surprised to learn that her sister has caught the eye of one of the city’s wealthiest merchants. But she is alarmed by some of the signs that are coming up in her prognostication lessons. Water turns to blood, the death card haunts her tarot practice, and finally she has a specific vision: that her sister will die the day she takes her vows.
 
Using every trick in her small magic arsenal, Kyra attempts to disrupt the wedding, going up against a force more powerful than any magic: an impatient bride.
 
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Barbara Hambly, including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.
 

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Illusion

by Paul Volsky

Arriving in the capital city of Sherreen to take her place at court, Miss Eliste vo Derrivale is suddenly stripped of her rank, home, and family during v'Aleur's reign of terror. By the author of The Sorcerer's Curse.
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The Serpent's Egg

by Caroline Stevermer

The members of Queen Andred's court attempt to convince her that the Duke of Tilbury is treacherously plotting to take her kingdom from her, but the Duke has two factors in his favor--the Queen's trust, and the sorcery of a serpent's egg
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The Beautiful Ones

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

"Truly one of the most beautiful books I've read in a long time. This sweeping tale of love lost and found is told with old-world elegance and grace with just the right touch of magic." ?M.J. Rose, New York Times bestselling author

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a sweeping fantasy of manners set in a world inspired by the belle époque.

In a world of etiquette and polite masks, no one is who they seem to be.

Antonina Beaulieu is in the glittering city of Loisail for her first Grand Season, where she will attend balls and mingle among high society. Under the tutelage of the beautiful but cold Valerie Beaulieu she hopes to find a suitable husband. However, the haphazard manifestations of Nina’s telekinetic powers make her the subject of malicious gossip.

Yet dazzling telekinetic performer and outsider Hector Auvray sees Nina’s powers as a gift, and he teaches her how to hone and control them. As they spend more and more time together, Nina falls in love and believes she’s found the great romance that she’s always dreamt of. But Hector’s courtship of Nina is deceptive.

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Virconium

by M. John Harrison

A magnificent city existing on the ringes of the past, and on the brink of destruction, Viriconium • With a foreword by Neil Gaiman

Available to American readers for the first time, this landmark collection gathers four groundbreaking fantasy classics from the acclaimed author of Light. Set in the imagined city of Viriconium, here are the masterworks that revolutionized a genre and enthralled a generation of readers: The Pastel City, A Storm of Wings, In Viriconium, and Viriconium Nights. Back in print after a long absence, these singular tales of a timeless realm and its enigmatic inhabitants are now reborn and compiled to captivate a whole new generation.
 
Praise for M. John Harrison’s Viriconium
 
“The world that Harrison depicts is intricate and authentic, peopled with a multitude of strange yet lifelike characters—a combination which serves to make his richly imagined empire of Viriconium feel very real indeed. . . . This omnibus collection from the author of Light is canon-reading for those who wish to know the genre's roots, as well as the heights, to which it can aspire.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Brilliant, beautiful, and absolutely essential reading. The breadth of vision and imagination alone in these books is unparalleled. It is truly one of a kind and will continue to haunt you in the best possible way for years.”—Jonathan Carroll, author of White Apples
 
“Harrison’s Viriconium sequence is the jewel in the crown of 20th-century fantasy, a work that proves irrefutably that fantastic literature can be Art with a capital A, holding its own alongside the very finest writing of our time, or any other.”—Elizabeth Hand, author of Mortal Love
 
“M. John Harrison is a true master of English prose. He possesses the eye of a painter, the ear of a bard, and a rigorous and playful intellect. The Viriconium novels and stories are infused with a haunting genius that never falters.”—K.J. Bishop, author of The Etched City
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Through A Brazen Mirror

by First Last

Through a Brazen Mirror is the third book in The Ultra Violet Library, Circlet's imprint of fantasy and science fiction by/for/about lesbian/gay/bi folk. Originally published in 1989 by mass market publisher Ace, the book was marketed as generic sword and sorcery and, in the way of mass market books, disappeared from sight shortly thereafter, before it had a chance to reach an audience who would appreciate its themes.

Based on an ancient Anglo-Scots ballad called "The Famous Flower of Serving Men" (a magical, tragic tale about a young woman who disguises herself as a man after the murder of her husband), Through a Brazen Mirror tells the tale of the witch Margaret, her daughter Elinor, King Lionel, and the extraordinary William Flowers, who saves the king from doom and Margaret's malevolent magic. With much richness of detail and folklore, Sherman uses the tale to explore issues of attraction, loyalty, and gender identity. For William is Elinor, who as William bonds with the young king and takes charge of a fate that was to be her undoing.

The book, though it takes place in a fictional kingdom, is no cleaned-up fairy tale, and presents a historical picture of life circa 1400. In an age when women are not taught to read or write, both Margaret, as an evil schemer, and Elinor, who must take on a man's name and countenance, fight for their self-determination, each in her own way.

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The Brass Bottle

by F. Anstey

This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book.
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