When an author gets laurels for his specific work, his other works, which are also worthy of the praise, go ignored or worse… unnoticed. I’m like any other reader, I confess – I target the popular stuff so as not to waste my time and brainpower in books people don’t like, or even don’t know about. There is no guarantee of their quality. Not to mention the fact that their reviews might be hard to find.
And on the whole, when it comes to books, what is popular is good. Good enough, anyhow…
Recently, I came across a few obscure books by some notable writers which I read and enjoyed. In one case, I liked the book even more than the author’s most celebrated work. These books, they aren’t as famed as their other writings, granted, but in terms of quality, they deserve to have their own special place in author’s bibliography, in my humble opinion.
I’m going to list three such books, one each by three of my favourite authors. You should be able to find all three of the books on Kindle Store (and Amazon Store too, if paper-book is your thing). I am pretty sure you will like them. Here we go:
(1) The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: I am certain most of you didn’t know that Sir Doyle wrote anything other than Sherlock Holmes. I don’t blame you, considering the insane popularity of sleuth in mind.
The White Company is a historical novel that follows the adventures of a group of archers and their leader, Sir Nigel. It is quite similar to one of my favourite classic books, The Three Musketeers, in a good way. The setting (feudal Europe) is very believable. Doyle did his research well. Writing is a little patchy but it is still a good read, I think. It is available for totally free on the Kindle Store.
(2) Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin: Everybody knows that George R.R. Martin is most famous for his A Song of Ice and Fire novels (on which Game of Thrones is based). But who knew a vampire novel by George R.R. Martin could be this good?
Fevre Dream is unarguably by favourite vampire novel among the ones I’ve read. And mind you, I’ve read a lot of vampire fiction, ranging from Anne Rice to Stephen King. Now, this book isn’t strictly a horror book, but it has enough chills to satisfy most of you. Indeed, it gets downright scary at times. But more than that, it has that earthy, gritty feel to it… which I like in my fiction. Check out my review of it to know more.
(3) Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay: All right, I know Under Heaven isn’t exactly lesser known as such, but it is understated. I mean, when people discuss Kay and his career, the books they generally talk about are either Tigana – his most successful (and most overrated, in my opinion) book, or Ysabel. Now, let it be known that I didn’t like either of these tomes. Tigana, well, simply bored me to death. I liked the premise. It seemed promising, indeed. But storytelling was incredibly dull. Kay couldn’t pull it off properly. Its only saving grace was beautiful prose – Kay does have an elegant way with the language. Ysabel… well, I guess I grew it off. It did seem to be catered at younger audience.
Under Heaven, set in China of bygone era (at the time of a certain Tang dynasty, I am told), was fantastic. The prose, if that was possible, is even better than Tigana. The poignant-themed story captivates you right from the start and keeps up your interest till the end. Speaking of end, it is, admittedly, not as good as the rest of the novel. It was a bit abrupt, I thought. Nevertheless, Under Heaven is an absolutely superb read. The prose itself makes it worth your time. I reviewed it back in July this year.