A note from The Historical Fantasy Bundle curator and award-winning author Melissa Scott: My favorite fantasy novels are the ones that ground the fantastic in the historical — that use pieces of our known past to build their fantasy worlds. Partly, of course, that's because I was trained as a historian, and seeing bits of esoteric detail used to buttress an entirely new story is always a delight, but even when I don't know the period well, there's something tremendously satisfying about seeing the details of the past used as scaffolding for new stories. The historical imagination and the fantastic imagination have a lot in common, after all: both take known data points as scaffolding on which to hang a narrative. The difference, usually, is that the fantasy writer has created the data as well as the story. In these novels, however, fact and fiction mingle, whether the author is placing fantastic events in a real and familiar world or using that familiar history as a basis for a fantastic setting.
In this collection I've been able to bring together an extraordinary group of writers who draw their inspiration from Western history, in periods from Ancient Egypt through the Second World War. There are classics like the World Fantasy Award-nominated Lord of the Two Lands and the Nebula-nominated Death of the Necromancer, and newer novels like Daughter of Mystery and The Emperor's Agent — and Stag and Hound, just released in April. What these novels have in common, across these very different periods, is a depth to and delight in their worlds, in the precise detail and pitch-perfect moment that not only propels the story, but makes it utterly, dazzlingly real.
You can read more about how the bundle was assembled here, and make sure to click on each cover for reviews, a preview and a personal note from our curator!
The Armor of Light by Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett
"This is a good historical fantasy. They played around with the history, saving Sidney from his Dutch wound and Marlowe from his tavern in Deptford, and punched up the magic a lot. Marlowe would have loved that. What's more, they got the language right, they got the characters right, they got the society right, they sure as hell got the clothes right. It's set up like a play, in five sections, and each section does exactly the right thing. Sidney would have approved of it. Robert Greene would have given it a rave review. Cecil would probably have had them both silenced."– Delia Sherman
Steel Blues by Melissa Scott and Jo Graham
"Melissa Scott and Jo Graham tell yet another gripping story, and with their intense detail and snappy dialogue it is an adventure on the page."– Historical Novel Society
Between Worlds by Martha Wells
Readers enthused after reading these six stories from Six by Six are well prepared to explore any and all of the novels. Readers like myself, well familiar with all of Wells' oeuvre, will help find a lot of blanks filled in that were only hinted at within the pages of the novels.– Paul Weimer, The Skiffy and Fanty Show
The Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells
"The vivid setting of a gas-lit city, equal parts decadence and elegance, would eclipse lesser characters than these. Character construction and setting are so deftly interwoven with the swiftly moving plot that the prose literally swept me away. The reader should be warned in advance, it is difficult to close the covers of this book."– Robin Hobb
PIllar of Fire by Judith Tarr
The juxtaposition of the Exodus story with the events in the Egyptian court makes for an engrossing saga, and Nofret's shrewd skepticism in the face of such great events lends the tale intimacy. This is a highly entertaining blend of romance, drama and historical detail.– Publisher’s Weekly
Lord of the Two Lands by Judith Tarr
Lord of the Two Lands is as near to perfect as a book can get, filled with adventure, action, and tension yet also bittersweet and wildly romantic. It's one of those I return to again and again, and as an author I am always slightly disheartened knowing I myself could never write such clean sharp prose.– Gail Carriger
The Emperor's Agent by Jo Graham
"Courtesan, actress, medium, spy, soldier, wife, mistress, hostess, writer, this Dutch-born heroine lived through the French Revolution and the First Empire as a modern woman. Agent and counter-agent, she cross-dresses, fights, lies, reasons, sleeps her way through history, meeting a rich cast of characters whom, as a French reader, I recognise happily. This book, if anything, surpasses even the previous one."– A.E. Moutet
Daughter of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones
"Not every fantasy is a wild ride with sword fights, sorcerers and dragons. Daughter of Mystery is a different and very rewarding read indeed. It starts out so real that I first thought I had started a historical novel set in the 18th century in the Alpine region of Europe. And when Heather Rose Jones begins - nearly imperceptibly - to bend reality it took me a minute or two to realize that she now had led the reader into the realm of fantasy."– Bookgeek, Curve Magazine
The Virtuous Feats of the Indomitable Miss Trafalgar and the Erudite Lady Boone by Geonn Cannon
"This was everything I wanted from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, only with lesbians. Wildly inventive, delightfully romantic, and sneakily thought-provoking... steampunk fantasy of the highest quality!"– Melissa Scott, author of the Astreiant series
Stag and Hound by Geonn Cannon
"Mr. Cannon is the master of leaving the reader wanting more and I for one cannot wait until his next novel appears."– Chris, Inked Rainbow Reads
The Orffyreus Wheel by David Niall Wilson
"In The Orffyreus Wheel, David combines the same effortless pace of a good tale as he does with Ancient Eyes, but also manages to interweave two distinct stories - both of which share the same breathless excitement and wonder of their central characters."– Darren Pulsford, Freelance Editor
Pay what you want! You choose how much you want to pay for these awesome books. (Click on each book above to check them out.) You decide how much of your purchase goes to the author and how much goes to help keep StoryBundle running. If your purchase price beats $15, you get The Armor of Light by Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett, Steel Blues by Melissa Scott and Jo Graham, Between Worlds by Martha Wells, PIllar of Fire by Judith Tarr, Lord of the Two Lands by Judith Tarr and Stag and Hound by Geonn Cannon!
Zero DRM. There's no DRM on any of our books. None. Why? For one, we don't believe DRM actually stops people from sharing what they want to share. Second, and most importantly, we don't believe we should be treating our customers as criminals. So go ahead and put these on your tablets, Kindles and smartphones, but if a friend wants to read the bundle, please have them buy one for themselves. With pay-what-you-want, we believe there's a price for everyone. Or better yet, buy one for them as a gift. Help support indie authors!
Support nonprofits. Best of all, you can also give a portion of the proceeds from each bundle to charity. To learn more about these charities and those they help, click the "Learn More" link next the charities when you purchase.
Easy delivery. It's super convenient to get these ebooks onto your reader of choice—just download and sync. Better yet, if you have a Kindle or Kindle-enabled tablet or smartphone, we can send the books directly to your device. No computer required.
Missed our previous bundles? Check them out here.