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May 3rd, 2002, 10:45 AM
Has anyone read Chaz Brenchley's Outremer books?

I have been looking for a while now for books (fantasy or no) influenced by the Crusades. According to Brenchley's website, these are (partly) inspired by Steven Ranciman's "History of the Crusades".

Apart from that, are these books well written? I'm tiring a bit of the poorly written stuff I'm labouring over right now: JV Jones' "Book of Words" trilogy ... or how sloppy writing can ruin a good storyline ...

[This message has been edited by whitebelly (edited May 03, 2002).]

Steven Savile
May 4th, 2002, 07:58 AM
Whitebelly, the one thing Chaz is is a classic writer, beautiful use of the language, sometimes it hampers the story because it lacks the killer instinct of some of the trashier fantasies, I think you will enjoy it... it is certainly well crafted.

May 4th, 2002, 12:08 PM
I finished the series some time ago and gave my opinion in "April reads". I must say that they are well written, he handles the homosexuality of the main characters very well and the general lay out is interesting. But ... the books are slow, much too slow for my taste.
Another thing is that he didn't really solve or finish his lines of action. He starts a lot of interesting conflicts but doesn't really seriuosly delve into them imo. So in the end of three huge books you have a very unsatifiying and forseeable ending.
The final duel between the two lovers of the hero - no real description.
The bride with two husbands, how will she deal with them? End of book.
The hero: will he be able to master his crazy gift? End of book.
I was quite disappointed with the series and felt a bit cheated, cause only my curiousity how the author would deal with these conflicts kept me going.
Regarding crusades: I'd say there's only a vague similarity as they provide a background for the general setting. The style of writing can be compared to Erikson imo but much slower.

[This message has been edited by Ntschotschi (edited May 04, 2002).]

Steven Savile
May 6th, 2002, 01:50 AM
The series was originally sold as a four book saga, but midway through the third book Chaz was informed by his publisher that he was going to have to wrap the whole series up in book 3, hence some unresolved issues - and Chaz himself often heard bemoaning the fact that there was no way he could finish it in such a small space... I haven't read the final entry into the books of Outremer, but I am pretty familiar with Chaz's work, even had the honour of being killed in one of his horror novels, Dead of Light, outside our favourite Italian restaurant in Newcastle - Chaz is as blind as the proverbial bat and has more than once commented that he leaves out visual description often because he simply doesn't see stuff with any kind of detail himself... but if it left you feeling cheated - complain to Orbit, they made the editorial decision to excise 800 pages of story resolution...

May 6th, 2002, 10:22 AM
That explains a lot of course. What a shame that he couldn't finish the books his own way. The possible outcome of this conflicts are intriguing.
Anyway imo he could have condensed other parts of the book which were too slow for me, especially the long travel through the desert.
I appreciated the style and quality of his writing though.
All the more because he's from Newcastle and we've been living there for some time.My husband and sons have been great Newcastle United supporters and the kids quickly acquired a Geordie accent. I still miss the beer and our favorite pub "Frenchman's Arms". http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif

Steven Savile
May 6th, 2002, 11:11 AM
Whey Aye, Pet... I lived in the Toon for a good few years, drank a few drinks in the Strawberry outside the ground... He's often found down the "Bridge" if you ever want to surprise him - always wearing sunglasses and a hat http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif

It is a huge shame that Chaz didn't get to finish it his way - because yes, had he known it was only three books I am pretty sure that he would have condensed a lot of the earlier stuff and given more room for the ravelling of plots together at the end... He was going crazy about it when last I saw him, which is a while back now (he was halfway through book three with no end in sight and no clue what to slash to make it fit...) but he did it, maybe not perfectly, but hell, losing 800 pages of space in a story... well, if it was Jordan I'm sure noone would notice, I mean he would have hardly cleared his throat ,) (ducks from the barrage of deadly Anti-Jordan-Seeking-Missiles)