Fiction recommendations?


Ah! I admit there's a lot about the book to criticize. And it does come from WW's heyday. Based on the blurb, I'd avoid it too.

It covers much of the same territory as American Gods. It is far less polished. It is rather more poorly researched. It does hit every cliche that the blurb threatens, like a child making sure to stomp in every puddle. But it covers the same territory with far fewer pages, it is well-structured, and it burns bright.

For this thread, though, I recommend it more for thinking about the Realms and mortality and make Europe mythic and what is really likely to matter to magi.



The Rivers of London series is good for a Modern-day Order feel - but it's history is that its order pretty much all died in WWII, and the (few) survivors don't really feel up to the task of restarting the whole thing. So you have the main character (essentially an Apprentice) walking around with his paren in the empty remains of what USED to be an order of hermetic magi.

Plus, (as others on this forum have pointed out), the author pretty much came out and said "yeah, this was originally supposed to be Prime Suspect crossed with Ars Magica 4th edition".

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Ha! That's a very interesting nugget I didn't know. I'm a big Rivers fan already, and I can now see just what you mean about it being inspired by AM. I can totally use the river fae idea directly too....

I couldn't agree more. They're an excellent source of material for Ars Magica, and most of them a real blast to read. They're also unusually mundane for medieval myths, particularly compared to scandinavian sagas which are way more fantastic, and that alone makes them interesting. I definitely recommend reading a few of them, since they're also quite short, and would personally recommend The Saga of Viga Glum.

The Reeve's Tale by Margaret Frazer is very good for giving a view of medieval life. It's part of the Sister Frevisse Medieval Mysteries series, which are all pretty good for getting a medieval feel.

Aaronovitch pulls a lot from ArM for the magic. Sir Issac Newton is Bonisagus as he makes the Arts into Forma. Magicians have sigils that can identify them and who trained them. Sensing magic is easier if you are Gifted. It acts like the sigils. Aaronovitch does a good job in having the apprentice try to figure out magic using Newton's scientific principles ( where is the power coming from?)

The magic sigils is very interesting in the books. A sigil is not simple. It is a lot of senses. The smell of old leather plus a song and clink of glasses. The feeling of wild abandonment, violence and a small dog barking

The Cadfael series is set about 100 years before the current edition but has great material
The Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis, is set about 100 years after but specifically touches on areas where research could fall short

The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth is good. Set immediately prior and post 1066 in England. Great for ideas of how to work in anachronisms like paganism. (edit:) Also good for ideas of how grogs might act / interact when left to their own devices.

It is written in a kind-of-bastard mix of old and modern English, but is surprisingly easy to read once you get going.

I find the fairies in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke to be very similar to how I perceive the fairies in Ars. Also there is a good tv mini-series done of the book.

Totally agree about Norrell and Strange!

I do also love the Austen-ish Regency setting of that novel.

I've picked up Thomas the Rhymer on this thread's recommendation and I'm definitely enjoying it. I'm in the section set in Faerie land at the moment, and this is good, but I also appreciated the earlier picture of medieval life on the land, for all that it is vague about exactly where and when it is.

The Royal Wizard of Yurt series by C Dale Brittain. It is not a perfect match, since wizards have moved from an apprenticeship system to a school system, and wizards are very much people who work for kings and dukes and such rather than being independent. To my mind it gives the best picture I can think of regarding how the Divine, Infernal and Magic Realms would interact.

I read John Saturnall's Feast several years ago, but just thought of it again as my current table top saga was planning a feast. The book is fiction about a kitchen boy who becomes a great chef cooking near magical food. The descriptions of the food made my mouth water, and the book includes some actual recipes at the beginning of each chapter.

The Companions of the Dusk (Les Compagnons du crépuscule) From François Bourgeon

A Graphic Novel setted in some place in Ocidental Europe at beggining of the 100 years war.

It's permeated with subtle-powerfull magic and one of the best examples off (no pixie like) Faerie you can hope to find.
All in all remember me of ArM