Fantasy Masterworks, 2002. ISBN 0-575-07378-0
A (rather dark) fantasy novel set in an alternative history line of the WOTR.
The basic premise is that in this time line the Emp. Julian stayed in power longer and reversed the actions of Constantine therefore the Roman Empire did not split into two distinct units in the 4th century and Christianity never becam established as the offical religion of the Empire (though there was more then one form of Christianity at the time).
Being a fantasy novel there is also magic but it is largely sympathetic (if a mage curses you then you sicken and die because that's what you believe will happen) or coincedental (there are no fireballs but lucky shots on powder charges may cause the same effect). There are also vampires, but they are stricken with a disease, they don't shapeshift, can walk around in daylight if they are willing to put up with the pain and taunts and they don't drain bodies dry-in fact there isn't much difference between the way they are treated and the way lepers were treated (or the way that HIV/AIDs sufferers have been for that matter and I think the author has that in mind).
Not being someone who has a lot of interest in fantasy novels, or fiction in general for that matter I got this to read while away last week in a very wet Cardiff (the only dry day out we had was spent down a coal mine and i am wondering if this was the real reason behind the industry in Wales as every time I have visited it has been pouring down or bitterly cold) and really quite enjoyed it.
Of course being a work of fiction anything can happen, so in this book Richard III is a good guy and the hero who comes to his aid when all is lost at the Battle of Bosworth is... going to be a huge surprise to anyone who knows the history of the events following the death of Edward IV.
Anything with a vague historical bent
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I read this many years ago (and enjoyed it), and I was led to it because John M Ford had also written several Star Trek novels - there was a very good one about Klingon culture and another very funny one with a lot of movie references called How Much For Just the Planet?
"Take wrong turns, talk to strangers, open unmarked doors. And if you see a group of people in a field, go find out what they're doing."
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