The Prince of Nothing by R. Scott Bakker
The Prince of Nothing series is astounding! The first book in the series sets the foundation with an introduction of several names and small amounts of action, but it heats up greatly once the crusade gets going. The action sequences are wonderfully described, keeping your heart racing and you fingers turning pages. Bakker goes to great lengths to develop the depths of each one of his main characters. No character can be placed into a generic category, each one has complex emotions and haunting internal struggles. The world Bakker creates offers an intricate weaving of magic, religion, and war, granting the reader a unique point of view toward realistic, yet complicated social development. The payoff at the end of the series is well worth every page that gets you there; and even then, you will continue to ponder what transpired after you've finished. Bakker takes higher-order thinking and delivers it to the fantasy genre, paving the way for more sophisticated story telling in a genre that's become inundated with simple-minded goblins, spells, and heroes. Bakker has emerged as the greatest fantasy writer of the new millenium.