David Chandler is the author of the Ancient Blades Trilogy, comprising Den of Thieves, A Thief in the Night, and Honor Among Thieves, all of which are available now from Harper Voyager. There are elves and magic swords in his books, but he promises they’re especially gritty, and not what you’d expect.

A GAME OF SUBGENRES

The rise of “Low Fantasy” has surprised many of the genre’s traditional pundits. The books of George R. R. Martin and Joe Abercrombie, for instance, have captured enormous audiences even though they don’t look much like what fantasy used to be. There is very little magic in these books. There are no grand quests, no singing swords, and definitely no elves.

The “High Fantasies” which dominated the market for so long-most of them imitators, to one degree or another, of the works of J. R. R. Tolkien-seem to be receding from view. At a panel at New York Comic Con recently the question came up as to why this is happening. Why do people want gritty fantasy now? Why are they turning up their noses at the elves they used to love?

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