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I've discovered a handful of very good authors based off GRRM's recommendations, and one guy who he likes that I discovered through a New York Times article (where the likes of Michael Chabon gushed about him).

Historical fiction authors: Nigel Tranter ("Macbeth the King"), Thomas B. Costain ("The Last Plantagenets"), Sharon Key Penman ("When Christ and His Saints Slept"), Cecelia Holland ("The Kings in Winter").

Other authors GRRM has recommended and that I liked (various genres): Daniel Abraham, James SA Corey, Howard Waldrop, Gene Wolfe, Harry Harrison, Roger Zelazny, Paula Volsky, Dennis Lehane, James Tiptree Jr, George MacDonald Fraser ("Flashman"), and Robin Hobb.

The guy mentioned in the NYT - and probably one of the more difficult authors to get into, albeit a very good one - is Jack Vance. In fantasy, try "Lyonesse" or "Tales of the Dying Earth", and for science-fiction try "The Demon Princes" or "Emphyrio".

Hope that helped.

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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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