Kindle is having a huge book sale, with many tempting items at $1.99 - $2.99. This includes multiple books by specific authors, like Barbara Hambly, Elizabeth Wein, Octavia Butler, Virginia Hamilton, Kate Elliott, Jonathan Carroll, and Mary Renault.

A few obscure books I wanted to mention are...

The Winter Prince, by Elizabeth Wein, one of my two favorite King Arthur novels. (The other is The Once and Future King.) Wein's is short and intense, narrated by Medraut (Mordred). In this version, there is no Lancelot and Arthur has two legitimate children, a son and a daughter; this makes it read very differently from other versions.

Dragonsbane, by Barbara Hambly. Beautiful fantasy novel about a middle-aged woman who once slew a dragon, who gets called out of retirement. Great concept, great characterization. This is a stand-alone novel with a terrific ending. Many years later, Hambly wrote some sequels. DO NOT READ THEM.

The Darwath Series: The Time of the Dark, The Walls of Air, and The Armies of Daylight, by Barbara Hambly. Portal fantasy! Very good portal fantasy, with vivid characters, excellent martial arts sequences, and a heroine whose research skills, learned while she was getting a degree in medieval history, come surprisingly in handy. This trilogy is complete in itself. There are sequels but I don't really recommend them.

A number of Hambly's books are on sale today, and I rec them all with the caveat to avoid belated sequels to stand-alones and trilogies. I especially adore The Ladies of Mandrigyn (the sequels are OK but not as good) and The Silent Tower/The Silicon Mage (ditto).

The Velvet Room, by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. A children's book in the "secret garden" mold, about a lonely girl who finds a secret room in a big house. Not fantasy, but definitely has a numinous feel. A number of her books are on sale today. I snapped up one I never even heard of before, Season of Ponies
, in which a girl gets a magical amulet which summons a herd of rainbow-colored ponies. All I can say is, my inner eleven-year-old is still alive and well and wants a herd of rainbow-colored ponies. Also a fire lizard.

Several good and obscure Jane Yolen books are on sale for $1.99. Cards of Grief is a poetic science fantasy novel about a planet whose art and culture revolves around grieving, seen partly through the perspective of its inhabitants and partly through the eyes of a perplexed space explorer. It's strange in a good way. Also Dragonfield: and Other Stories, short stories, mostly excellent.

Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot (The Cecelia and Kate Novels) and sequels, charming epistolatory Regency romance with magic.

Wild Seed , by Octavia Butler. Stand-alone fantasy/sf set in Africa, my favorite (and least depressing) of her novels. Two immortal mutants match wits through the years, a woman shapeshifter and a man who jumps into a new body when his old one dies, killing his host whether he wants to or not.

A Passage of Stars (The Highroad Trilogy). Space opera by Kate Elliott, whose existence I somehow failed to know of before.

I have never read anything by Mary Renault, though I keep meaning to. If you could rec one or two of her books to me, which should it be and why?


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