I recently received and read a book by fellow Catholic Phillip Campbell. Tale of Manaeth is an old school fantasy epic written in the narrative style like the Illiad or Tolkien’s Silmarillion. The scope is not as ambitious as Tolkien’s work in this style, but does cover a period of history around two centuries in a pre-Christian world full of both Pagan virtues and vices.
I must admit that the narrative style took me a little time to adapt until I was able to get into the plot and the characters. But this did not take very long and I was soon enjoying myself in this world where an arrogant king seeks to take the pick of the women from the surrounding nations and the resulting outrage when the daughter of another king is chosen. A tragedy results that ends up pitting on nation against the much stronger nation of the arrogant king.
The mythic elements are quite interesting though this is not the standard fantasy world staffed with various races. The best parts are the battle scenes with intricate strategies and memorable warrior characters. The title character is almost a kind of Xena, but without the silliness and a much more serious warrior working against the odds. The style of the book in some ways reminded me of Tolkien Children of Hurin, there is a sadness that envelops the characters — though not as overwhelming tragic as the Children of Hurin. The author is currently working on a sequel to this book.