How about the Damiano
Trilogy by R. A. MacAvoy. Fantasy set in altered Renaissance Italy.
Reading this was like biting into a British Rail sandwich and (to one's stunned amazement) finding it delicious. Damiano carries, like spots of mildew, the outward danger-signs: it's a fantasy novel, by an American lady, volume 1 of yet another trilogy, with the usual rave recommendations from Anne McCaffrey and Andre Norton (who these days seem to spend more time plugging others' books than writing their own). Ho hum. But instead of swordsmen in fur jockstraps on the cover, there's a fine Alpine scene from Britain's very own Jim Burns; instead of routine fantasy questing within, we get a finely written mix of history and magic.