The Wolfblade trilogy
It has been a long while since I read such a good fantasy trilogy: the series of Wolfblade, Warrior, and Warlord by Jennifer Fallon is altogether a very pleasant and enticing read! It has most of the attributes of standard heroic fantasy, but to a limited extent, in that political maneuvering is generally more important there than magical or military skills. The plot revolves around the Wolfblade family and its fight to keep the crown against external and internal enemies. The most detailed characters in the novel are from this family, or closely associated with it, and the female characters are quite exceptionally well-rendered, in particular the (young) family matriarch. Some turns in the story are very climactic and unexpected, like the sudden death of several important characters. There are times when the plot is slightly thinner and the pace too slow, while some choices made by the author, like the rather easy acceptance of slavery, are disputable, but this is nonetheless a high quality series that I found hard to put down!