Another mini-spotlight C.S. Friedman
Friedman has been a published novelist/writer (at least) since her debut novel In Conquest Born was published by DAW in 1986. While a Science Fiction novel, it plays very well against the Cold War era in which the novel was written. Her second novel, also Science Fiction was The Madness Season.
However, it was with the publication of Black Sun Rising, the first installment of her Coldfire Trilogy in 1991 when she made even bigger waves. The trilogy has a fantasy feel, considering the important role magic plays in the story. However, the action of the novel actually takes place on a human-settled planet far into our future and also has gothic overtones as well as a hint of vampiric urban fantasy. These hints don't come fully into light at first, but provide a key element into the politics of the world. The other two books in the trilogy are When True Night Falls and Crown of Shadows.
Here's the entry on The Coldfire Trilogy on Friedman's Web site.
Other Science Fiction novels followed: This Alien Shore a solid science fiction novel and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and The Wildling the follow-up/sequel to her first novel (In Conquest Born).
Her latest epic is The Magister Trilogy; the saga of a world divided by different methods of magic use and gender roles threatened by the return of demonic forces. The first installment, Feast of Souls was published to rather little fanfare (unfortunately) but very well received by those who read it, including myself. The second of the trilogy, Wings of Wrath, just published this month and is already accruing good word of mouth.
In all of her works (the only ones I haven't read are The Wildling and The Madness Season) she builds up a fully realized world, believable characters and manages to keep me turning the pages. Though not often mentioned in the same breath as Martin, Erikson, and Jordan as giants of Epic Fantasy, her work is consistent and most always engaging.
Here are some threads in our forums dedicated to her:
C. S. Friedman
November '06 Fantasy BOTM: Black Sun Rising by C. S. Friedman