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Top Five Fantasy Series You MUST Check Out
By Ron Hartman

             The top ten fantasy books of all time…oh, excuse me, the top ten I’ve read.  That is quite a challenge, limiting it to only ten!  I could (jokingly) say the Prophecy Chronicles should be in there somewhere, but I’ll try to keep this serious.  I’m quite a voracious reader, so when I find an author I like, I tend to read everything they’ve written.  The result of this (aside from stuffed bookshelves) is that I frequently stumble on another book by the same author that I sometimes love even more than the one I originally picked up!  Due to that, and my varied tastes, my list may not be typical, but here goes…

            Number ten.  The Mirror of Her Dreams, by Stephen R Donaldson.  This is one of those I’d have never seen, if not for another by Mr. Donaldson that also shows up on this list.  This one opened my eyes like no book before it in the sheer erotic tension you could find in a fantasy novel.  Well worth picking up if you haven’t…and you’ll never look at mirrors the same way again!

            Number nine.   Time of the Twins, by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.  I did read most of the Dragonlance novels when they originally came out, but I actually started out of sequence, beginning with this one, which is actually the fourth in the series.  At the time I was in junior high and struggling with weight issues.  I must say, the transformation of Caramon Majere was quite a motivator for me.

            Number eight.  The Fellowship of the Ring, by JRR Tolkien.  For me, the Lord of the Rings books were a little heavy, but their place in the foundation of modern fantasy of course cannot be overlooked.  Almost everything is derivative in one way or another on what Mr. Tolkien created, so naturally he should be on anyone’s list.  I don’t exactly hold virgin territory here, but there are even aspects of The Prophecy Chronicles that are based on Tolkien themes…good versus evil, a long journey, the few against the many, a magical ring…no, wait, that last isn’t right.

            Number seven.  The Sword of Shanarra by Terry Brooks.  This was actually the very first novel I ever read.  At the tender age of nine I couldn’t believe that a book with no pictures could so move me!  I actually cried in the end when the dwarf Hendel died protecting the city of Tyrsis.  It was then that I saw how powerful fantasy could be, and that someday I wanted to be a part of it.

            Number six.  The Waste Lands, by Stephen King.  This series is more of a dark fantasy than your typical fare, but the series as a whole by Mr. King was phenomenal.   I was struck by how completely he realized the world his characters were living in, especially in The Waste Lands, the third in the series.  I try to be as convincing with the land of Naphthali in Prophecy Revealed…

            Number five.  Lord of the Silver Bow, by David Gemmell.  Okay, so this one might not strictly speaking be a fantasy novel.  It is more accurately considered historical fiction, but it and the entire Troy trilogy are truly Mr. Gemmell’s opus.  If I could write one book as moving a portrayal of perfection as this entire series is, I could die a happy author.

            Number four.  Homeland, by RA Salvatore.  Who doesn’t connect with Drizzt Do’Urden?  My favorite part about the Dark Elf Trilogy was that Mr. Salvatore brought to life, and fully realized, the world of the bad guys!  Nobody does that!  But seriously, no one can think of a dark elf and not envision the world RA Salvatore created.

            Number three.  Lord Foul’s Bane, by Stephen R Donaldson.  Here is the other entry by Mr. Donaldson.  This book, and the series that followed, are truly remarkable.  He took an antihero and made you love him, warts and all.  Not only that, but his protagonist came from our world and was drawn into another through a traumatic event…needless to say, this was the source material for what happens in The Prophecy Chronicles, when Daniel Marten comes into Naphthali, a stranger in a strange land…

            Number two.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by JK Rowling.  I didn’t really have much interest in reading this series when it first came out.  It was geared toward children, it was too commercialized, it took place in England…  I might never have read them, and thereby missed out on such an amazing series, if not for my wife giving me the first three books as a birthday present.  I was hooked about two pages in.  Ms. Rowling does such an amazing job blending the ordinary with the extraordinary.  She even weaves humor into nearly every level.  I remember when the last book was coming out, all of the press was about the fact that one of the major characters died…I kept thinking, “Please don’t let it be Harry, Hermione, or Ron, please!”  There aren’t many books that I made as strong an emotional connection with as this series.  To me, the last is certainly the best.

            And the number one fantasy novel I’ve ever read…The Talisman, by Stephen King and Peter Straub.  If The Sword of Shanarra was the first novel I ever read, The Talisman was the first novel I ever re-read, immediately after finishing it.  I know, it’s all been done before, and several times in the books on my list, but the horrible trials that Jack Sawyer went through and survived shook me, and have stayed with me to this day.  A lot of what happens to Daniel Marten in the Prophecy Chronicles is, directly or indirectly, because of what Mr.’s King and Straub created.  Truly superb!

Prophecy Revealed
The Prophecy Chronicles Book Two
Rogue Phoenix Press
Available at Publisher

Daniel Marten crossed the Burning Sea and convinced himself that he is the Prophesied One.  But what does that mean?  In this second installment of the Prophecy Chronicles trilogy, Daniel forges new alliances in his bid to save Naphthali from the Emperor.  He meets the Tene’breon, a magical race that has evolved to use the Weave as effortlessly as he breathes air.  The leaders of this race recognize him for what he is…but they also see something more.

            Naphthali has been dramatically altered by the rule of a new governor, a man whose power is tied to Daniel in a horrifying way.    How far will Daniel go to save Naphthali?  And what is the secret that binds his destiny with his new allies?  Only time will tell in The Prophecy Chronicles: Prophecy Revealed.


Excerpt:

Rage started to build inside Daniel. He closed his right hand into a tight fist and felt a dull ache that quickly gave way to burning pain. Of course that was alright too, because that was as it should be. He looked back to his desk and there, on the now cluttered surface was—Ah! His solace. The ones he turned to at his darkest moments. Ashley and the kids beamed at him from photos.

He turned to the thing doing a poor job of mimicking one of his closest friends. Her eyes flashed orange and she gave off a series of clicks as realization struck. She may be orchestrating this, but it's my mind, and I can control what happens. He looked at the pictures of his beloved family and considered his office, his refuge. She'd perverted it, desecrated it. Rage continued to build, and Daniel knew soon he would be powerless to stop it. Let it. He didn't want to stop. Still looking at the photos, he started to speak, his voice shaking with fury. "These are my family, my friends. I give them my time, and my care." He turned to not-Meg. "You are not one of them, and you will have no more." The last came out in a roar as he closed the distance between himself and his tormentor.

He opened his right fist and clamped it around not-Meg's throat, slamming her to the wall. The burning grew to encase his entire arm when he tightened his grip, but he refused to let go. He pulled his face to within inches of hers, and glared with suddenly steely eyes. "Who are you?" he growled.


About the Author:

Ron Hartman has had a life-long passion for the written word and is an avid reader.  The Prophecy Chronicles are his first written works.  The first in the series, Prophecy Foretold, was released in October of 2012.  Prophecy Revealed is the second in the trilogy.  Ron graduated from the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy in 2000 and lives in Ottumwa, Iowa with his wife and three children.








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Comments

Mary Preston said…
A great list. I've added to my reading thank you.
I really like the sword on the cover!
MomJane said…
I really loved this excerpt. This story sounds fascinating.
Alishea Durham said…
Great list. Many of them are on mine too.
bn100 said…
This sounds interesting
Ron Hartman said…
Thanks for all of the nice comments! Yes, I like the cover, too. The design team at my publisher, Rogue Phoenix Press, do a great job! I'm glad everyone is enjoying the excerpts. I hope you get a chance to read The Prophecy Chronicles. It was a lot of fun to write!
collenga said…
Great list, thanks for sharing!

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