I'm back in the mood to read some good old fashioned sword and sorcery-style fiction after a decade or so away from the genre. This doesn't count my re-reading LotR and the collected works of Fritz Leiber every couple of years. Therefore, I am seeking recommendations.

This genre is always very hit or miss for me and currently it seems to be filled with new authors who are either following the tropes like a it's a paint-by-numbers canvas or are so arduously trying to break the strictures of the genre that every page screams "look at me! I'm breaking the strictures of the genre!" It seems that more and more contemporary authors are skipping the mandatory reading of Poul Anderson's marvelous essay On Thud and Blunder as they go about trope-harvesting. The popularity of the Tolkien movies seems to have attracted the hacks.

While a multi-book series is optimal for me, I am steadfastly seeking to avoid series that are currently incomplete or series that have morphed into cash-grabs that go on for decades until the authors ultimately have or will die before any plot resolution is achieved. Yes, I'm looking at you, George RR Martin and Robert Jordan. There needs to be a really compelling reason to go beyond a trilogy sized work, other than wanting to build a beach house in Costa Rica.

One series that was recommended to me was The Black Company series by Glen Cook. Evidently the perspective is from that of the footsoldier in a heroic fantasy campaign as opposed to the peasant lad or lass who is actually the prince/princess/chosen one and is the only one who can wield or destroy the magic MacGuffin and save the world from ultimate evil.


From what I can ascertain, The Black Company series is complete within its main arc, but continues to trickle out short stories and stand-alones. I'm cool with that.

What have you read lately in this genre?