While there are doubtless many obscure fantasies which are excellent and deserve a wider audience, this is one which won a World Fantasy Award- it's pleasures are not hypothetical, they've been bedecked with laurels by the high powers, beating out luminaries Ray Bradbury, Peter S Beagle & Michael Swanwick in the 'best collection' category.
Allow me to introduce the exceptional
Throne of Bones by Brian McNaughton.
I acquired a copy years back when it floated through the shop. The cover wasn't exactly inspiring, and it was a book club edition which are normally anathema, but I scanned the blurb & was brought up short by it's subject- life in a city of ghouls.
Zombies, everywhere. Vampires and werewolves practically have their own sections....even mummies have a decent enough bibliography in fantasy fiction.
They're like the zombies uncool country cousins, unlikely to turn up outside an old AD&D Monster Manual looking like this:
Just what a used book dealer wants to see. Books on uncommon topics have a special allure in the business, beyond potential salability. So I grabbed it, not with particularly high hopes but as a curiosity.
And it was terrific!
Redolent of old masters like Lovecraft & the better parts of Chambers without being in any way derivative, respectful of the classic tropes but filtered through a modern viewpoint.
After I finished I loaned it out to a friend and never got it back and it drifted out of my consciousness. Then my recent mini-obsession with eerie Mythos fiction tickled a memory.
"What was that book on ghouls I read years back?" I wondered, but the title was elusive.
Enter GOOGLE, the all seeing eye!
A quick search for "fiction ghouls necropolis" led me in short order to my quarry, which I promptly ordered.
So, there- excellent, award winning fantasy/horror fiction I'll bet you'd never heard of.
A re-review will be forthcoming.