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Nonmagical fantasy books


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With the proliferation of various levels and types of magic that exist in different fantasy stories these days, I got wondering what stories exist in fantasy that possess absolutely no magic in any form. While GoT may have started off this way, magic did eventually appear both in the books and show, taking it out of the offering. I am looking for books that possess absolutely no magic from the start to the end, regardless if it is a solo or series. There can be references to higher beings, alchemical works (since that is more science than magic), or rumors of great deeds done in ancient time that has been lost. In any case, various magic users will need to rely upon tricks to make people believe that their "magic" is real instead of the hocus pocus that it really is.

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Try The Walking Drum by Louis L'Amour. While L'Amour was best known for his Westerns, this book is historical fiction. There is some alchemy and one prophetic vision (probably to let the readers know of the fate of a historical figure). Otherwise, there is nothing supernatural in the novel, although the hero mentions reading books on sorcery, among other subjects, in passing.


Also try The Shadow of the Vulture by Robert E. Howard. You may find a familiar character in the story.


Note: The Wikipedia links include the summaries of those stories, so you may not want to click on the link if you want to avoid spoilers.

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  • 1 month later...

Any Tarzan book.


Any Sci-Fi book, unless by "magic" you mean unproveable enabling device."


Most anything by Wells.


Eh...     Given what Hugh and I just learned, I think it might be best if you first gave us an idea of the particular framing or boundaries on what you are calling "non-magical fantasy," and maybe some hints about what you like in general with regard to action, time period, etc.





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  • 2 weeks later...

Several of Guy Gavriel Kay's books are set in a fantasy world without magic, drawing heavily on medieval history. A Song for Arbonne draws its inspiration from the troubadours of Languedoc and the Albigensian Crusade; Lions of Al Rassan from El Cid and the Reconquista.

To some extent all historical fiction is fantasy, as it's a fictionakisation of particular events. Some invent fictitious locations - Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth is notable; the town of Kingsbridge is fictional and loosely located somewhere in southern England. I pity the place - nearly every bad thing that happened anywhere in the 12th century Anarchy happened to Kingsbridge in that book. ;)

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