George RR Martin has to be one of the best-known fantasy authors of the 21st century, following the success of A Song of Ice and Fire and its TV adaptation Game of Thrones. While the 72-year-old is heavily influenced by JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the author has now shared some contemporary favourites of his, including Bernard Cornwell. Praising the historical fiction writer, Martin wrote on his blog: “Bernard Cornwell is one of the writers who never fails to grab me by the throat.
Martin continued: “I have loved his Sharpe books, several of his standalones, his Thomas of Hookton series, his Arthurian triad… but my favourite is his long-running Saxon series, the tales of Uhtred son of Uhtred, some of which have been brought to television in the excellent series THE LAST KINGDOM.
“The latest instalment in Uhtred’s saga is WAR LORD, which arrived here just a few days ago. As always with Cornwell, it went right to the top of the stack, and I gulped it right down. Excellent, as always.
“No one writes better historical fiction than Cornwell… and the Saxon series is especially cool in that it brings to life a part of British history that I knew almost nothing about. (Other eras, while fascinating, have been done to death, in good books and bad ones).”
The Game of Thrones legend highlighted Cornwell’s battle scenes in particular, calling them “terrific”.
Martin wrote: “I like to read other stuff as well: historical fiction (like Cornwell), history, mysteries, mainstream, horror, classics, non-fiction… hell, all sorts of things.
“As well as rereading books I have read before, stories dear to my heart like LORD OF THE RINGS.”
The 72-year-old then highlighted a newer writer he met called S A Chakraborty, author of The Daevabad Trilogy.
And it was her 2017 debut novel, The City of Brass, that really stood out to the ASOIAF author.
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Martin highlighted: “I loved the protagonist, there was a nice cast of supporting characters, and the plot had some twists and turns that I did not see coming… and her style is vivid and colourful and very readable.
“The best thing, though, was the setting. Instead of drawing on the European Dark Ages and Middle Ages, like me and JRRT and a thousand other epic fantasists, Chakraborty evoked the flavours of the Middle East and ARABIAN KNIGHTS and the legends of the djinns.
“I enjoyed the novel hugely, and I just ordered the second and third books in the trilogy so I can may continue the adventure.”
The Game of Thrones creator signed off his latest blog post with a subtle reference to his long-delayed latest novel, The Winds of Winter.
Martin wrote: “Now pardon me. I have more books to read (and one to write, I know, I know, I know).”
The 72-year-old currently hopes to have The Winds of Winter published in 2021.
He’s been making good progress with the penultimate ASOIAF novel this year, squirrelling himself away in his remote mountain cabin from any distractions.
In his latest update on the book, he teased he was “inching closer” to the finish line.