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Lev Grossman: 'Magicians' trilogy, Post-Camelot Novel 'The Bright Sword'

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‘The Magicians’ author writing novel set in post-Camelot era

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By Associated Press September 28 at 8:33 AM

NEW YORK — The author of the best-selling “Magicians” fantasy trilogy will next take on the aftermath of King Arthur and Camelot.

Lev Grossman’s “The Bright Sword” will begin with the fall of Camelot and will tell of the knights following in the wake of King Arthur, Sir Lancelot and others of the Round Table, Viking told The Associated Press on Wednesday. No release date has been set.

Grossman, whose books include “The Magicians,” ‘’The Magician King” and “The Magician’s Land,” said in a statement that King Arthur’s time was a “strangely powerful lens” for looking at the present “and the way we live now.” Grossman’s “Magicians” books have been adapted into a TV series airing on Syfy.

 

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http://www.theverge.com/2016/9/28/13090002/lev-grossman-the-bright-sword-announced-magicians-author-books

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While The Magicians dealt with a group of characters just starting out in life, Grossman noted that he’s playing with people at different points in their lives. "At the same time, it's a huge canvas, very much on the epic scale, and the characters are in different parts of their lives from where the Brakebills magicians were. Some of them are middle-aged or even, in the case of Merlin, really really old." That said, fans of his earlier novels will recognize Grossman in his work: "In some ways, it's very much in the style of The Magicians. It's my voice. And it's still fantasy, filtered through a lens very much like the one that made The Magicians. If you liked The Magicians, there's a lot more of that in The Bright Sword."

Grossman told The Verge that he has spent the last year and a half writing the novel. "It's a longer book than any of the Magicians books, and unlike those books, it incorporates a huge amount of research, from late pre-Roman Iron Age British culture to the nitty-gritty of medieval longsword combat, which we know a lot more about now than we did in T.H. White's time."

Edited by Jussi

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That sounds very interesting, a Post-Arthurian Fantasy.

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I will absolutely read this.  I have to say I was happy to hear he was doing this instead of continuing with the Magicians world.  Some comments he made after the last book came out made it sound like he was exploring continuing with another aspect of that world.  This sounds much more interesting.

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16 hours ago, Calibandar said:

That sounds very interesting, a Post-Arthurian Fantasy.

Yeah, if only that could get a good author to write one.

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5 hours ago, Darth Richard II said:

Yeah, if only that could get a good author to write one.

There is another forthcoming Arthurian novel scheduled for early 2018 titled Lancelot: The Betrayal by historical fiction author Giles Kristian.I don't know how good he is but he's been praised by Cornwell.

Here's the info:

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Transworld has acquired an Arthurian legend novel, Lancelot: The Betrayal, from Giles Kristian.

Kristian, best known for his Viking trilogy The Raven Saga, will offer a "rather different" telling of the story of one of the most celebrated of King Arthur’s knights, described by his editor as "a warrior’s tale, full of battles and bloodshed". 

Transworld's Simon Taylor acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to Lancelot: The Betrayal plus a second novel from Bill Hamilton at A M Heath. Lancelot is scheduled for early 2018.

Taylor said: "This is such an exciting prospect, the dream pairing of a superb storyteller, renowned for his visceral, thrumming writing, with a tale that’s ready to be reimagined for our times. It’s a warrior’s tale, full of battles and bloodshed, of course, but it’s also a story of friendship, of betrayal – and let’s not forget there’s a great love story in there too. What’s more it’s a story imbued with the magic and superstition that was such an integral part of the enchanted landscape of post-Roman Britain."

Transworld publisher Bill Scott-Kerr added: "In Giles’ hands, this epic tale is going to be brought roaring to life for a new generation of reader. Here’s a historical novel that’s going to appeal across genders and genres."

 

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An update:

http://levgrossman.com/2017/11/transparency/

One of the great things about Arthur is that there is no real canon, and everybody chooses the elements and finds the balance that let them say what they want to say. I hope I’ll find my balance. It’s a long haul — I don’t even have a publication date yet — but I’m really proud of the work I’ve done so far. My whole focus is on getting it finished and into your hands ASAP.

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Someone should mail him a flowchart:

 

Are you planning to write a semi-realistic historical take on the Arthurian legend?

Yes.

Are you a better writer than Bernard Cornwell?

No.

Don't write the fucking novel.

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

Someone should mail him a flowchart:

 

Are you planning to write a semi-realistic historical take on the Arthurian legend?

Yes.

Are you a better writer than Bernard Cornwell?

No.

Don't write the fucking novel.



Well, two things:

He explicitly says in the blog post that he isn't trying to be realistic or semi-realistic, even if he's including 'grit',

and

He is a better writer than Bernard Cornwell.

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2 hours ago, polishgenius said:

He is a better writer than Bernard Cornwell.

*steeples fingers*

No, he isn't.

Grossman is a talentless hack without a single original thought in his body, who made a career out of ripping off J.K. Rowling by way of C.S. Lewis, has questionable prose skills and an attitude to female characters that stinks harder than Peter Brett's ("This female character needs a personality. I could give her one or talk about her breasts for a while," "This female character needs development. I could give her a satisfying story arc or I could have her sexually assaulted. Let's do that"). His characterisation skills are awful. He is responsible for the worst genre adaptation since Earthsea getting on the screen.

The guy is not fit to lick shit off Cornwell's shoes when Cornwell was doing his worst phoned-in 14th Sharpe novel written for the money, and certainly not when he is on top form.

Now let's talk about something less immediately clear-cut, like how Goodkind is a better writer than Martin or how the world is rhombus-shaped.

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My basic problem is that I find Cornwell close to unreadable. I got through Azincourt, but thought it was rubbish- the characters were terrible and I remember having some real problems with things like his scene transitions and PoV switches- and everything else of his I've tried, I've not been able to get into at all.


Whereas I really really like the Magicians series. I can buy that some see it as crossing the line between homage and rip-off, although I don't agree (though that's only with Narnia- the only thing it has in common with Harry Potter is that it's set in a magic school, and even then, only for half of one book: I've always found the comparison between them cheap and lazy) and you might not like what he does with the characters- and the two things you mentioned are indisputably terrible choices, though I'd argue that overall his women characters are no worse than his men, and he just generally writes about shitty people that put people off- but, in terms of prose at least, he isn't talentless at all.

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I definitely prefer Cornwell but I think Grossman probably is a better prose writer.  He's going to struggle to better the Warlord trilogy though, that is true enough.

But in any case, I'm pretty sure Grossman would consider himself a better writer than Cornwell so Wert's flowchart wouldn't work.

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7 hours ago, Werthead said:

*steeples fingers*

No, he isn't.

Grossman is a talentless hack without a single original thought in his body, who made a career out of ripping off J.K. Rowling by way of C.S. Lewis, has questionable prose skills and an attitude to female characters that stinks harder than Peter Brett's ("This female character needs a personality. I could give her one or talk about her breasts for a while," "This female character needs development. I could give her a satisfying story arc or I could have her sexually assaulted. Let's do that"). His characterisation skills are awful. He is responsible for the worst genre adaptation since Earthsea getting on the screen.

The guy is not fit to lick shit off Cornwell's shoes when Cornwell was doing his worst phoned-in 14th Sharpe novel written for the money, and certainly not when he is on top form.

Now let's talk about something less immediately clear-cut, like how Goodkind is a better writer than Martin or how the world is rhombus-shaped.

:agree:

I mean, Cornwell is one of my faves and Grossman is one of my most hated authors, so...

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Also the Harry Potter stuff comes from how much shit Grossman likes to talk about J.K Rowling, and how he was constantly calling his series HP for adults.

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15 hours ago, Werthead said:

Someone should mail him a flowchart:

 

Are you planning to write a semi-realistic historical take on the Arthurian legend?

Yes.

Are you a better writer than Bernard Cornwell?

No.

Don't write the fucking novel.

Someone should've told all of these people. :) More seriously, the Arthurian legend is one of the foundational stories of English and French literature; it's hard to imagine people will stop writing semi-realistic takes on it. Ironically, Grossman seems to feel mostly the way you do. From Jussi's link above:

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I’ve always loved Arthurian stories, but for a long time I felt like the last words had already been written on him, by, collectively, Malory, Tennyson, White, Sutcliff, Stewart, Zimmer Bradley, Cornwell and probably a few others I’m forgetting. Not much white space left on that particular map.

11 hours ago, polishgenius said:

Whereas I really really like the Magicians series. I can buy that some see it as crossing the line between homage and rip-off, although I don't agree (though that's only with Narnia- the only thing it has in common with Harry Potter is that it's set in a magic school, and even then, only for half of one book: I've always found the comparison between them cheap and lazy) and you might not like what he does with the characters- and the two things you mentioned are indisputably terrible choices, though I'd argue that overall his women characters are no worse than his men, and he just generally writes about shitty people that put people off- but, in terms of prose at least, he isn't talentless at all.

The problem in The Magicians is that he tries to do something tricky in a genre where this is unexpected. His narrator is not quite unreliable, but so self-centered and unpleasant that one most likely has to read the book twice just to see the misrepresentation. And yes, the nature of the narrator results in descriptions of other characters which partially cheat them of their personality. It pays off by the third book in that the narrator evolves from a pretty bad person into a pretty good one over the course of the series, but it's not to everyone's taste. I don't think the arc in the second book was that bad.

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11 hours ago, Darth Richard II said:

That doesn't excuse the rape as plot development criticism.

You're hilarious - isn't this a GoT message board? Rape, torture, sadism and bestiality are just part of the rich fabric of Westeros but, but, but that's different because of reasons? 

I like the warlord books and Magicians books both BTW.

Cromwell is a good writer in general but his work to me suffers from narrative flatness. I enjoy reading his stuff but it just doesn't stick with me after reading. It might be the historical accuracy - the warlord books in the end describe something smaller in scope and more mundane than stories like the Once and Future Kind, Mists of Avalon, the Crystal Cave, etc... Whatever Grossman does is, I suspect, going to be more fantastical than what Cromwell does with the same topic. 

 

As ever, YMMV.

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15 minutes ago, Vaughn said:

You're hilarious - isn't this a GoT message board? Rape, torture, sadism and bestiality are just part of the rich fabric of Westeros but, but, but that's different because of reasons? 

I like the warlord books and Magicians books both BTW.



The problem isn't with depicting rape per se- although some of GRRM's moments at least are skeevy as fuck, are you under the impression that people here don't criticise Martin?- but with the cliche of needing a bit of character development and dark moments for a female character to overcome, so insert a rape.

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Bestiality?

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