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Old 05-02-2012, 04:41 PM   #1
Kaitatsu
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Fantasy with MacGyver like protagonist

Hi,
at the moment I'm in a small anti-hero mood, searching for fantasy novels with not so typical heroes as protagonists. What I am looking for now is a story where the main protagonist is not relying on his strength or magic skills to stay alive, but use cunning, deception and tricks.

My dream character would be some mix between Tyrion Lannister (cunning, big mouth) and MacGyver (heavy use of small inventions / gadgets out of common stuff to get out of trouble)

I know it sounds a bit ridiculous but maybe someone has stumbled upon one book like that
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:51 PM   #2
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Jim Butcher's Tavi in the Codex Alera series is a bit like that but he's not so much an anti-hero as an underdog (non-magical surrounded by magical types, at least in the early books).
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:56 PM   #3
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The Repairman Jack books by F. Paul Wilson, whilst not being an exact match to your description, might be worth a look. The first one is called The Tomb.
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:58 PM   #4
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You might like Harry Connolly's "Twenty Palaces" novels. His main character is Ray Lilly. Ray has exactly one spell to call on, along with his fists, his wit, and sometimes a gun. Here's the blurb for the first book in the series.

Quote:
Ray Lilly is living on borrowed time. He’s the driver for Annalise Powliss, a high-ranking member of the Twenty Palace Society, a group of sorcerers devoted to hunting down and executing rogue magicians. But because Ray betrayed her once, Annalise is looking for an excuse to kill him–or let someone else do the job.

Unfortunately for both of them, Annalise’s next mission goes wrong, leaving her critically injured. With the little magic he controls, Ray must complete her assignment alone. Not only does he have to stop a sorcerer who’s sacrificing dozens of innocent lives in exchange for supernatural power, he must find–and destroy–the source of that inhuman magic.
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:13 PM   #5
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Pratchett's full of 'em.
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:43 PM   #6
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Thanks, I'll definitely give them a try.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carpetmojo View Post
Pratchett's full of 'em.
Which characters are you thinking of? I've read most of the witch, death and Moist von Lipwig novels, but cannot remember one such character (well, most likly Lipwig, but there the main focus is more in process modernisation than in actual tricks)
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:50 PM   #7
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I've always had a huge fondness for Aillas of Jack Vance's _Lyonesse Trilogy_.

Steven Brust's Vladimir Taltos of his Dragaera novels uses a lot of hidden weaponry and once has to improvise a witchcraft spell from the stuff in his pockets.
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:13 PM   #8
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Not an exact match either but "The Lies of Locke Lamora" is a fantasy novel about a group of con artists who rely more on brains than brawn.
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:08 PM   #9
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The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss fits this trope in spades. It's also got a bit of the unreliable narrator going for it.
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Old 05-04-2012, 10:22 PM   #10
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Try the stories of Miles Vorgison/Barryar novels from Lois McMaster Bujold.

A planet full of warriors and a high-ranking solder during an invasion gets tossed together with a Beata citizen (who have a fairly galatic view of things). The first book she is the reluctant heroin. In the later book they marry, she gets pregnant but a gas attack damages the fetus. The boy is born stunted with brittle bones. The world has suffered from atomic bomb wars in the past and they dont like 'mutants'. But the boy survives and has to figure out how to exist in a world of warriors. The situations are clever and interesting.

If you buy her latest book "Cryoburn" you get the entire series on a CD. You can also find the CD image on line.

The first 3 novels are:

Shards of Honor
Barrayar
The Vor Game
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:05 AM   #11
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Have you tried Glen Cook’s Garrett, P.I. series (Sweet Silver Blues, Bitter Gold Hearts, Cold Copper Tears, etc)?
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WillAdams View Post
I've always had a huge fondness for Aillas of Jack Vance's _Lyonesse Trilogy_.
I'd say the Cugel stories fit the OP's criterion even more (Eyes of the Overworld, Cugel's Saga). Cugel is an absolute bastard but you can't help but root for the poor guy. Best place to find them is probably in the omnibus Tales of the Dying Earth (and you get two more great stories to boot).

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Old 05-23-2012, 08:50 AM   #13
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Actually, I bounced on those two books --- I'm unable to enjoy books where I don't at least sympathise w/ the protagonist.
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