“a well-told fantasy story that will intrigue adult and young adult readers alike” – review of Cold Fire on Risingshadow

Earlier this week Seregil of Rhiminee reviewed Cold Fire, the latest book from Peter R. Ellis (I would have mentioned it sooner but I’ve been laid up with flu for a few days). The book is the first of a series of standalone novels recounting the continuing adventures of September Weekes, the heroine of Peter’s Evil Above the Stars series.

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

Seregil starts by saying that it was a pleasure to read about September Weekes again because she’s an interesting and fascinating protagonist. He says that it is “just as good and interesting” as the Evil Above the Stars series, and points out that it is perfectly possible to read Cold Fire without having read the original series, adding that it is a suitable “entry point to the world of September Weekes” and although it has much “in common with the previous novels, it’s a whole new adventure and newcomers will be able to enjoy it”. He describes Cold Fire as “a well-told fantasy story that will intrigue adult and young adults readers alike” in which readers will find themselves immersed in the story as it unfolds.

Seregil compliments Peter’s good characterisation, and fluent writing. The “characters are resourceful and remind me a bit of the characters found in Enid Blyton’s novels” he says. He admits that even September’s nemesis, the Malevolence, has fascinated him since the beginning of the original trilogy – Peter has “created an ultimate evil entity, because it consumes everything it comes in contact with and leaves destruction in its wake”.

Seregil says that Cold Fire “combines elements of fantasy and science fiction in an entertaining way”, with Peter writing “intriguingly” about the alternative version of our world with creatures such as mermaids, unicorns and dragons (although they avoid men). Peter’s writing about the impact of human population growth on these other creatures and their ultimate fate has a “bittersweetness” says Seregil, revealing hidden wisdom beneath the story on the themes of extinction, indifference and fear of the unknown.

Seregil also enjoyed the descriptions of alchemy and how phosphorus and its qualities fascinated scientists. Peter manages to “convey the enthusiasm involved in the experiments to his readers in a splendid way”, which he thinks is a result of Peter’s background as a teacher “because you get a feeling that he knows what he is writing about”.

Summarising, Seregil says that what he likes most about Cold Fire and the previous trilogy is that they are intriguing and different. He is glad that the “Welsh elements – history, mythology, names etc – that readers have come to love in the previous novels can also be found in this novel. They’re an important part of the fascination and originality of the story, because they make this novel stand out among other fantasy novels.”

Seregil concludes by saying that Cold Fire is a “charming and delightfully old-fashioned yet intriguingly modern fantasy novel” that “combines the charm of classic fantasy books with modern storytelling in a successful way”.

You can read Seregil’s full review here.

 

“A fascinating fantasy adventure with strong elements of Welsh mythology. A finalist and highly recommended.” – Wishing Shelf Awards

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards 2015 FinalistSeventh Child by Peter R. Ellis, the first book in the Evil Above the Stars series, was a finalist in the 2015 Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards in the teenager category. The Wishing Shelf Awards are judged by their target readers, not a panel of ‘experts’. Feedback from those readers is subsequently sent to the author, and we would like to share it here:

A very good book. I lie fantasy so this was perfect for me. I liked the characters and the way the hero September is not perfect.’ Girl, aged 14

I thought this book was a bit different to most fantasy as it has a lot of myths in it which were interesting. Exciting ending which made me want to read the next book. The blurb was good and enticing but I didn’t like the cover much.’ Boy, aged 15

Gwlad, the fantasy land was well described. The only problem I had with the story was trying to pronounce the words. For example, Cludydd o Maengolauseren. I had to keep stopping to try to get my tongue around them which kept interrupting the story. I enjoyed it though.’ Girl, aged 15

I thought the was an exciting story. The plot was twisty which kept me interested and I think the author has a lot of imagination. A few odd words in there but they added to the fantasy. I understood all of the story and the characters and settings were well described.’ Boy, aged 14

 

Unity of Seven launch at Mancunicon

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

Also at Mancunicon, on Easter Sunday in fact, we had a launch party for Unity of Seven, the third volume in the Evil Above the Stars series by Peter R. Ellis.

Peter gave a brief overview of the main character of the series, September Weekes, with a hint at what had happened in the first two volumes. He gave a little background about the other land, Gwlad, where September has been combating evil and set the scene for Unity of Seven in which some of the story also takes place in Wales. He then read a few short extracts to help the audience better understand the characters of September and Malice as well as some of the locations.



Peter R. Ellis reading from Unity of Seven at the launch
Peter R. Ellis reading from Unity of Seven at the launch

Peter R. Ellis launching Unity of Seven at Mancunicon
Peter R. Ellis launching Unity of Seven at Mancunicon


Peter will be reading from Unity of Seven at the Great Oak Bookshop in Llanidloes on Friday 1st April and he will be hosting a Myth and Magic in Mid-Wales event in June which also includes a walk around some of the sites mentioned in the book.

 

“gripping and entertaining” – Review of Unity of Seven on Risingshadow

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

On Risingshadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has just reviewed Peter R. EllisUnity of Seven, the final volume in the Evil Above the Stars trilogy. Having previously read and enjoyed the first two volumes Seventh Child and The Power of Seven (which he also reviewed, see here and here) Seregil was very pleased to read Unity of Seven which he describes as “a fantastic final entry” in this “intriguingly different and compelling fantasy trilogy”.

Seregil admits that he is hard to please when it comes to YA fantasy because too many are clichéd and concentrate on annoying elements of paranormal romance; fortunately, he says, Peter R. Ellis has had the “courage to step out of the comfort zone that so many YA fantasy authors occupy and has created a story that feels fresh and exciting due to its Celtic and ancient elements that have nothing in common with teenaged girls falling in love with vampires, werewolves and shapeshifters.” He adds that Peter “writes classic epic YA fantasy in a modern and entertaining way” and that Unity of Seven is a modern fantasy novel yet it “has an old-fashioned charm to it that is lacking from many new YA fantasy novels”.

Another reason why he enjoyed this novel, Seregil says, is Peter’s “ability to write intriguingly about the Omniverse and elements related to time travel” in an “informative, but not too scientific a way so that readers will easily comprehend what he’s writing about”. These elements of science fiction are “charming, because you don’t normally find anything like this in modern YA fantasy”. In fact, Seregil says, Unity of Seven has “a good dash of imagination and originality”, because Peter “blends YA fiction, fantasy, science fiction, cosmology and Celtic elements in a satisfyingly unique and complex way”.

Seregil commends Peter’s writing style, which is “gripping and entertaining” and “delightfully vivid”, and says that it “will please YA readers, because it’s accessible and easy to read” and because Peter “writes well about things that concern his target audience”. The book is “delightfully different and original” and manages to “combine different elements in a fascinating way” to create “a good story” that is “an original vision of battle between good and evil, seen through the eyes of a teenaged girl”. He goes on to say “September is an interesting and realistic protagonist, because she’s not your normal kind of a beautiful heroine who charms everybody with her looks and falls in love with a charming hero or prince. She’s an actual human being who is a normal person with her own problems”.

Seregil concludes by recommending Unity of Seven to “young adult readers and adult readers alike” because it will charm both readerships with its “genuinely intriguing story and well-created protagonist”, a “different kind of a YA story” that will fascinate readers of all ages.

 

Third and final volume of epic Celtic fantasy series Evil Above the Stars published today

Embarking on a journey in space and time finally leads September Weekes to discover her true identity – the key to the survival of all the universes.

DARTFORD, KENT – 2 January 2016 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication today of Unity of Seven by Peter R. Ellis. Following on from The Power of Seven, it is the third and final volume in the epic Celtic fantasy series Evil Above the Stars. Launched a year ago with Seventh Child and then The Power of Seven, this series has been thrilling readers of all ages. Appealing right across the speculative fiction genre, it is especially popular with fans of JRR Tolkien and Stephen Donaldson.

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

September is back home and it is still the night of her birthday, despite having spent over three months in Gwlad battling the Malevolence at the seventh conjunction of the planets. She no longer has the Maengolauseren nor the powers it gave her. It is back to facing the bullies at school and her struggles with her weight and studies, but she worries about how well the people of Gwlad have recovered from the terror of the Malevolence. She is also unsure what happened to Malice/Mairwen as she’d been told that twins could be joined together. Is Malice inside her? Could she turn to evil?

She must discover a way to return to the universe of Gwlad, and the answer seems to lie in her family history. The five Cludydds before September and her mother were their ancestors. The clues take her on a journey in time and space which reveals that while in great danger she is also the key to the survival of all the universes. September must overcome her own fears, accept an extraordinary future and, once again, face the evil above the stars.

This exciting series from Peter R. Ellis explores intriguing possibilities: If old theories are correct until a new idea comes along, could it be that the universe actually changes with our perception of it? Were the ideas embodied in alchemy ever right? What realities were the basis of Celtic mythology?

Unity of Seven is published in digital editions today by Elsewhen Press. It will be published in a print edition in March.

Notes for Editors

About Peter R. Ellis

Peter R. EllisPeter would like to say he’s been a writer all his life but it is only since retiring as a teacher in 2010 that he has been able to devote enough time to writing to call it a career. Brought up in Cardiff, he studied Chemical Physics at the University of Kent at Canterbury, then taught chemistry (and a bit of physics) in Norwich, the Isle of Wight and Thames Valley. His first experience of publishing was in writing educational materials which he has continued to do since retiring. Of his fictional writing, Evil Above the Stars is his first published speculative fiction series.

Peter has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy since he was young, has an (almost) complete collection of classic SF by Asimov, Ballard, Clarke, Heinlein and Niven, among others, while also enjoying fantasy by Tolkien, Donaldson and Ursula Le Guin. Of more recent authors Iain M Banks, Alastair Reynolds and China Mieville have his greatest respect. His Welsh upbringing also engendered a love of the language (even though he can’t speak it) and of Welsh mythology like the Mabinogion. All these strands come together in the Evil Above the Stars series. He lives in Herefordshire with his wife, Alison, who is a great supporter.

 

FIRST LOOK: The cover of Unity of Seven

Unity of Seven, the third volume in Peter R. Ellis’ thrilling fantasy series Evil Above the Stars will be published in January. Today we get to have a first look at the cover, and an intriguing sight it is too!

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

The covers of the first two volumes in the series showed us an orrery depicting the positions of the heavenly bodies in the universe of Gwlad where September first finds herself in Seventh Child. Significantly, volume 2, The Power of Seven, gave us a view of the conjunction of the planets that presaged a great battle.

Now, in Unity of Seven, we can see that the orrery is looking rather the worse for wear and somewhat tarnished. But there appears to be a bright new planet in the sky. The stage is set…
 

September is back home and it is still the night of her birthday, despite having spent over three months in Gwlad battling the Malevolence at the seventh conjunction of the planets. She no longer has the Maengolauseren nor the powers it gave her. It is back to facing the bullies at school and her struggles with her weight and studies, but she worries about how well the people of Gwlad have recovered from the terror of the Malevolence. She is also unsure what happened to Malice/Mairwen as the Cemegwr said that Toddfa penbaladr, the universal solvent, would join the twins together. Is Malice inside her? Could she turn to evil?

She must discover a way to return to the universe of Gwlad and the answer seems to lie in her family history. The five Cludydds before September and her mother were her ancestors. The clues take her on a journey in time and space which reveals that while in great danger she is also the key to the survival of all the universes. September must overcome her own fears, accept an extraordinary future and, once again, face the evil above the stars.

 

Elsewhen Press launches new science fiction and fantasy titles at Eastercon in Heathrow

Launch events over Easter weekend for the latest in Christopher Nuttall’s bestselling Bookworm series, The Janus Cycle debut novel by author Tej Turner and the first two volumes in new Epic Fantasy series Evil Above the Stars by Peter R. Ellis

DARTFORD, KENT – 3 April 2015 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is thrilled to announce that this weekend’s Eastercon (aka Dysprosium 2015) will play host to launch events for the latest titles in the ever-expanding Elsewhen Press catalogue. As well as the official launch events, the authors will be taking part in various other activities throughout the Eastercon Convention, which is being held at the Park Inn Hotel at Heathrow.

Artwork: Alison Buck Library photograph: zens/shutterstock.com skull: leonello calvetti/shutterstock.com
Artwork: Alison Buck
Library photograph: zens/shutterstock.com
skull: leonello calvetti/shutterstock.com

Christopher Nuttall’s Bookworm III: The Best Laid Plans is the latest instalment in his best-selling Bookworm series. The first in the series, Bookworm, won the Gold Award for Adult Fiction in the 2013 Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards and the German translation rights were acquired by Random House for publication in January 2015 under their Blanvalet imprint (with the title Die Bibliothek der Schwarzen Magie 1 – Die Wissende). Released first as an eBook in February, Bookworm III immediately reached the top 10 in Amazon’s Fantasy bestseller charts in the US, UK, Germany and Australia.



The Janus Cycle cover image
Artwork: Alison Buck

Tej Turner’s The Janus Cycle is his debut novel, combining uncompromising realism with fantastic elements in a book that is simultaneously urban fantasy and science fiction. Best described as gritty, sexy and surreal, it tells the stories of eight different people who only have the Janus nightclub in common. But a strange girl keeps appearing to each of the protagonists to cajole them into being at Janus at the same time. Is she a mischief- maker having fun or, as some of them start to suspect, a time-traveller trying to prevent an impending disaster?



Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

Peter R. Ellis’s Evil Above the Stars is an intriguing new fantasy series set in a world that seems at once familiar and yet very different, combining Celtic mythology, the underlying principles of alchemy and Ptolemaic cosmology. Gwlad, the Land, is an almost mystical place where the planets really do revolve around the Earth, the power of the four elements is tangible and the people are under attack by an evil, known as the Malevolence. September Weekes is a teenage girl who finds herself transported to Gwlad and expected to defend the inhabitants.

Eastercon sees the launch of the print editions of these books, available from good booksellers.


Notes for Editors

About Christopher Nuttall

Christopher NuttallChristopher Nuttall has been planning sci-fi books since he learnt to read. Born and raised in Edinburgh, Chris created an alternate history website and eventually graduated to writing full-sized novels. Studying history independently allowed him to develop worlds that hung together and provided a base for storytelling. After graduating from university, Chris started writing full-time. As an indie author he has self-published a number of novels, but this is his seventh fantasy to be published by Elsewhen Press. Chris is currently living in Edinburgh with his wife, muse, and critic Aisha and their son.

About Tej Turner

Tej TurnerTej Turner has just begun branching out as a writer and been published in anthologies, including Impossible Spaces (Hic Dragones Press) and The Bestiarum Vocabulum (Western Legends).

His parents moved around a bit while he was growing up so he doesn’t have any particular place he calls “home”, but most of his developing years were spent in the West country of England. He went on to Trinity College in Carmarthen to study Film and Creative Writing, and then later to complete an MA at The University of Wales, Lampeter, where he minored in ancient history but mostly focused on sharpening his writing skills.

Tej has just returned from backpacking his way across Asia, gallivanting around Burma, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Nepal. When not trekking through jungles or exploring temples, reefs, and caves, he is usually based in Cardiff, where he works by day, writes by moonlight, and squeezes in the occasional trip to roam around megalithic sites and the British countryside. The next time he has enough money he will be flying off on another adventure. The Janus Cycle is his first published novel. He is currently engaged in writing an epic fantasy series.

About Peter R. Ellis

Peter R. EllisPeter would like to say he’s been a writer all his life but it is only since retiring as a teacher in 2010 that he has been able to devote enough time to writing to call it a career. Brought up in Cardiff, he studied Chemical Physics at the University of Kent at Canterbury, then taught chemistry (and a bit of physics) in Norwich, the Isle of Wight and Thames Valley. His first experience of publishing was in writing educational materials which he has continued to do since retiring. Of his fictional writing, Evil Above the Stars is his first published speculative fiction series.

Peter has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy since he was young, has an (almost) complete collection of classic SF by Asimov, Ballard, Clarke, Heinlein and Niven, among others, while also enjoying fantasy by Tolkien, Donaldson and Ursula Le Guin. Of more recent authors Iain M Banks, Alastair Reynolds and China Mieville have his greatest respect. His Welsh upbringing also engendered a love of the language (even though he can’t speak it) and of Welsh mythology like the Mabinogion. All these strands come together in the Evil Above the Stars series. He lives in Herefordshire with his wife, Alison, who is a great supporter.

 

“transports the reader into another world” – review of The Power of Seven on Risingshadow

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

Only a few days after his review on Risingshadow of Seventh Child, Volume 1 in the Evil Above the Stars series by Peter R. Ellis, Seregil of Rhiminee has also written a review of The Power of Seven, the second Volume in the series. He starts by saying that this second book “continues and deepens the story that started in Seventh Child in an interesting way and transports the reader into another world that is reminiscent of yet different from our world”. Seregil commends the originality of the book, unlike many young adult fantasy novels which “often tend to be more or less formulaic and predictable”. He especially identifies the combination of Celtic elements, cosmology and alchemy in this novel that is not only “original and unique” but also well done. Like Seventh Child, Seregil found The Power of Seven to be a fascinating and pleasant surprise. He says that the “story unfolds in a rewarding and entertaining way in these novels, because the author gradually adds more depth to the story”.

Seregil finds the character of September Weekes to be “an interesting teenaged protagonist”, “a well-created character who has to deal with many problems. As she tries to face her problems, she also tries to be a courageous grown-up woman, although she’s just a teenager”. Seregil says that September reminded him of the similarly courageous heroines in Christopher Nuttall’s fantasy novels. He also found Malice, September’s nemesis, to be especially interesting, because she “is everything that September isn’t” and because she “has her own personality and she seems to have influence over the Malevolence and she’s able to direct its fury”. He compliments Peter’s handling of what happens between September and Malice.

As with Seventh Child, Seregil liked Peter’s way of writing “about things related to the evil in a slightly different way than other authors. Although he writes about the evil and what it does, his approach to it is fascinatingly different”. In particular he liked the way that their “terrifying deeds … weren’t sugarcoated in any way. People died because of evil and nobody was safe from the evil’s corruptive powers. This added a nice touch of realism to the story, because it was impossible to save everybody.” Seregil adds that one of the “most interesting aspects about this novel is that the author has added science fiction elements to the story”. But we won’t reveal any spoilers!

He concludes by saying that there was “something charmingly old-fashioned about this novel and the way the author wrote about the protagonist that I found compelling” and although Peter has obviously been inspired by classic works he has “created his own vision of battle between the powers of good and evil”.

You can read Seregil’s full review here.

 

“compelling epic fantasy novel” – review of Seventh Child on Risingshadow

On the Risingshadow website, Seregil of Rhiminee’s review of Seventh Child, the first book in the Evil Above the Stars series by Peter R. Ellis, describes it as “a compelling epic fantasy novel with charming Celtic flavour. It’s a good and promising start to a new series” and is “the beginning of an exciting and wondrous story”. Seregil compliments Peter for writing a young adult fantasy that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages “even by those who don’t normally read fantasy novels”.

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

Fascinated by the book because of the “elements of Celtic mythology, cosmology and alchemy”, Seregil writes that it is obvious that the author is fascinated too, as he “writes about them in a loving way”. Although Seventh Child is a “surprisingly intriguing and daring combination” of those elements, Peter “blends the different elements seamlessly”.

Seregil likes the characterisation. “September Weekes is a well-created protagonist” he writes and adds “secondary characters are also interesting” including Malice! “The author wrote perfectly about how September felt about her changed body when she arrived in the Land. She suddenly looked more mature and had a fit woman’s body. The author handled September’s feelings and confusion well, because she had acquired the body she wanted to have and was a bit confused about what had happened to her.” He goes on to say that September’s self-doubt was one of the best things about the novel, she “wasn’t sure if she really could be the person that the people of the Land wanted her to be”. Seregil felt that this “added quite a lot of depth to the story”.

“One of the most intriguing aspects of this novel,” writes Seregil, is the source of the evil from beyond the sphere of stars and manifesting itself in many ways. “Reading about this kind of cosmic evil was fascinating” he adds, “because it’s been a long time since I’ve read anything like this in new fantasy novels.”

Seregil was also impressed by Peter’s world building, creating an interesting fantasy world with different regions and gradually revealing more information about the world. He writes that “the author paints a vivid picture of the world and its different places. He easily evokes images in the reader’s mind by writing about the landscapes without overwhelming the reader with too many details.”

While recognising the influences of authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula Le Guin and Stephen R. Donaldson, Seregil is pleased that Peter “doesn’t imitate their novels. He has created an original story that is faithful to its roots that lie in classic epic fantasy (there’s a charmingly old-fashioned yet slightly modern feel to the story)”.

Seregil enjoyed Seventh Child and says he will soon read the next volume in the series, The Power of Seven, “because I want to know how the story continues. Because the story was compelling and the ending was exciting, it’ll be fun to find out what happens to September and other characters in the next novel”.

He concludes by saying that Peter “has written a story that pulls readers into another world that is different from our world, but also reminiscent of it” and recommends it to young and old alike.

You can read Seregil’s full review here.

 

Dysprosium – Eastercon 2015

Elsewhen PressWe are excited to announce that we will be at this year’s Eastercon – Dysprosium 2015 at the Park Inn in Heathrow. Instead of one large Dealers’ Room, there will be a number of smaller rooms and we have secured a whole room to ourselves 😉
It’s syndicate room 13, but we’re not at all superstitious, so we’re sure it will be okay (touch wood).

That means we will be able to offer our own programme events. We will be announcing more details soon, but for starters we will be launching the following books in paperback during Dysprosium:

The Janus Cycle cover imageArtwork: Alison BuckArtwork: Alison BuckArtwork: Alison Buck Library photograph: zens/shutterstock.com skull: leonello calvetti/shutterstock.com