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I've not got a whole lot going on in my life in general right now besides a few assignments which won't take me long to finish, so I figured I'd buy a new book or two. The last book I read was David Gemmell's "Dark Moon" which I enjoyed immensely.

Now I'm looking for a book (preferably fantasy but doesn't have to be) that centres around a (Scott Levy's) Raven-like character that wallows in self-pity and depression. Any suggestions?

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Well, given your specific request, I'm going to try to offer some suggestions.

I second the Dark Tower recommendation, as Roland is truly a self-pitying loner on a quest that threatens to destroy him and everyone around him, but he's willing to make bitter sacrifices to fulfill his destiny. Very Ravenesque, especially his early NWA:TNA push. It's not your conventional fantasy series, however, and non-Stephen King fans might be left cold by the constant cross-referencing. King seems eager to tie together everything he's ever written with this series. I don't mind, as I'm an SK mark, but the drama of "Oooh! I remember him!" might be absent for others.

For more conventional fantasy fare, I'd offer the classic Elric series by Michael Moorcock, at least up through Stormbringer. After that, it becomes a series of random Elric adventure which are pretty uneven. The basic synopsis is Elric is the heir to the throne of Melnibone, a decadent kingdom of sorcerous beings, somewhat like elves, who lord over the human Young Kingdoms with callous ruthlessness. The albino Elric finds himself an outcast, both due to his frail health and his conscience, and when faced with a bloody rebellion at the hands of his cousin Yrkoon, he's forced to draw upon foul sorcery and the black soul-sucking blade known as Stormbringer to wrest the throne back from the usurper. Given his work within the comics industry and interviews, there's no doubt in my mind that Scott Levy has read and been inspired by this series.

Lastly, in the realm of fantasy series that influenced Levy, but perhaps don't reflect his in-ring persona, I'd recommend C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. Now, a prospective reader should know that these are thinly veiled fantasy retellings of biblical fables, but Lewis' series is nearly as influential as The Lord of the Rings. Raven drew heavily upon scenes from the first book (The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe) when he booked his Hair Match vs. Shane Douglas & Minister Mitchell in NWA:TNA. His facial expressions are straight out of the animated adaptation. If you know what you're getting into and can put aside religious differences, it's actually a rather imaginative series with heel turns and sacrifice and such.

For a more historical approach, Bernard Cornwell's Grail Quest series starring Thomas of Hookton as a lowly English archer fulfilling prophecy during The Hundred Years' War is excellent. Well, at least the first two books (The Archer's Tale and Vagabond) are, I haven't yet read the concluding volume in the trilogy, but it'd have to be utter crap to ruin this series. It's not really fantasy, per se, but there's more than enough self-loathing and "victim of destiny" situations to fit the Raven vibe.

Hope that helps,


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