“a fantastical story with plenty of excitement” – review of Instrument of War on Risingshadow

Artwork by Alison Buck
Artwork by Alison Buck

On Risingshadow, Seregil of Rhiminee has reviewed Rebecca Hall’s latest novel, Instrument of War, the second book in the Symphony of the Cursed trilogy following on from Instrument of Peace. Seregil enjoyed Instrument of Peace (see his review here) and says he was excited to read Instrument of War. So it’s just as well that it is “just as good” and is an entertaining read for those who love “exciting and fast-paced YA fantasy fiction”. In fact he says it not only lives up to the first book but “even surpasses it”.

The book is a “well written sequel” and he says that those who have read Instrument of Peace will feel immediately at home with the story and “be delighted to immerse themselves in it, because the author delivers a good story”, adding that she “wonderfully maintains tension and excitement in this novel and goes boldly forward with the story”. This book “deepens the story arc” offering exciting and thrilling moments because Rebecca “keeps on building upon what she created in the first novel”.

Seregil says he consider Rebecca’s books to be excellent additions to the increasingly popular YA fantasy genre because she “uses classic elements in a fresh and modern way”. The cast of characters, he says, is “delightfully versatile” with good characterisation because Rebecca writes fluently about “the characters’ feelings, lives and abilities”. He especially likes Rebecca’s “more entertaining and original approach” to vampires, avoiding the common clichés that are often overused in YA faction. He thinks that many readers will like Rebecca’s “vision of vampires, because in her novels the vampires feel much fresher than in many other novels”. He also finds her approach to magic to be “intriguing” and effortless, as is her ability to combine various fantasy elements. He says “I liked it a lot in Instrument of Peace, but now I find it even more intriguing, because she doesn’t seem to hold back anything anymore, but delivers a fantastical story with plenty of excitement.”

Seregil says that, although many YA novels have been written about magic schools and angels, “this novel stands out due to its interesting story and exotic setting” adding that the backdrop of New Zealand locations “adds lots of freshness to it”.

In conclusion, Seregil says that Instrument of War is “one of those rare novels that will captivate younger readers from the very first chapter and will make them read it in one sitting, because the story is immersive”. He is now looking forward to reading the concluding novel Instrument of Chaos (which will be published early next year) because “the story arc is fascinating”.

His final verdict: Good, intriguing and well written YA fantasy that is exciting and fast-paced entertainment for readers of all ages.

You can read Seregil’s full review here.


“exciting and fast-paced” – review of Instrument of Peace on RisingShadow

Artwork by Alison Buck  based on feather photo by KPG_Payless/shutterstock.com
Artwork by Alison Buck
based on feather photo by KPG_Payless/shutterstock.com

Seregil of Rhiminee has posted a review on RisingShadow.net of Instrument of Peace, the first book in the Symphony of the Cursed fantasy series by Rebecca Hall.

He starts by describing this “intriguing” book as “a refreshingly modern yet old-fashioned fantasy novel with an emphasis on entertainment” and subsequently says that it “has clearly been written out of love for storytelling, because when you begin to read it you get a feeling that the author enjoys writing and aims to entertain her readers”. He adds that Instrument of Peace is a “fine addition” to the ever-growing canon of young adult fantasy novels. He goes on to say that as well as being “light and entertaining and having plenty of magic, this novel also has depth”.

Seregil says it’s great that the story is set in New Zealand, a location seldom used for fantasy stories, because it “added a lot of freshness to the story”. He also commends Rebecca’s characterisation, with “an interesting cast of teachers and teenaged characters” especially the two main protagonists Mitch and Hayley. While there are many classic elements in the novel, Seregil was pleased to see other elements which are “not often seen on the pages of young adult fantasy novels” such as the war between Heaven and Hell, and the giant lake lizard Taniwha. “Taniwha was a pleasant surprise for me,” says Seregil, “I didn’t expect to find anything like it in this novel, because giant lizards are a bit rare in modern fantasy novels. It was nice that the author also revealed an interesting piece of information about the Loch Ness Monster.”

The Twisted Curse “adds plenty of excitement to the story”, affecting staff and students alike. Seregil enjoyed Rebecca’s “way of writing about the curse and its effects, because I’ve always been fascinated by curses in fantasy novels.” He likes the way that Rebecca “keeps things in motion and moves the story fast forward” so there are no “boring moments”!

Seregil finishes by saying that “the most important thing about this novel is that it shows how much fun reading a good story can be” adding that it will appeal to young adults and adults alike “because it’s exciting and fast-paced entertainment. It’s an intriguing start to a new fantasy series.”

You can read Seregil’s full review here.


OUT NOW – Mandigo and the Hellhounds by Anders Reemark

We are delighted to be publishing Mandigo and the Hellhounds by Anders Reemark, translated from the Danish by Nina Sokol.

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

It is available from today in eBook formats, and will be launched in a print edition at FantasyCon by the Sea in Scarborough in September.

It is the first book in the Mandigo YA fantasy series following the adventures of Mandigo as he discovers that magic is real and he is much more significant than he thought, and is suitable for all ages from 8 to 80+

Originally published in Danish (as Mandigo og Helvedeshundene) by L. Stender e-books in 2015, we are proud to be publishing the English edition.

Although the mediaeval setting and characters have a Scandinavian feel, Anders’ story itself is timeless, transcending national borders and cultures, and appealing to everyone. Readers in any country will empathise with Mandigo as his life takes sudden and unexpected turns, he discovers the truth about his own past, and starts to fear for his future and that of everyone he loves.

“The novel is fast-paced and filled with adventure and good ideas. …and in this book, like in all great trilogies, you know that although the forces of good win a battle… the war has just begun!” Himmelskibet – Magasinet For Fantastik, the leading Danish magazine of the fantastic

Mitch couldn’t help but be jealous of all the fictional wizards out there

Instrument of Peace, the first book in the Symphony of the Cursed series by Rebecca Hall is available from today as an eBook.

Artwork by Alison Buck  based on feather photo by KPG_Payless/shutterstock.com
Artwork by Alison Buck
based on feather photo by KPG_Payless/shutterstock.com

Raised in New Zealand at the world-leading Academy of magic rather than by his absentee parents, Mitch has come to see it as his home. He’s spent more time with his friends than his family and the opinion of his maths teacher matters far more than that of his parents. The best maths student in the school, Mitch is unhappy to discover that Hayley, a girl who beat him in last year’s inter-school competition, has just transferred to the Academy. Nobody expects her to stay long and no-one befriends her. But when a devastating earthquake strikes the school, Mitch’s little brother Cullum is trapped and Hayley rescues him. Mitch is torn between his rivalry with her and being grateful that she saved Cullum’s life. He already knew that Hayley carries a golden feather around with her, but now he discovers that it is an Archangel feather, although he doesn’t yet know how significant it will turn out to be…

The paperback edition of Instrument of Peace will be launched at FantasyCon by the Sea in Scarborough in September. The eBook is available on all popular platforms (click here for details and links).


“compelling and entertaining” – review of Thomas Silent on Risingshadow

Cover by Alison Buck
Cover by Alison Buck

On Risingshadow, Seregil of Rhiminee has reviewed Ben Gribbin’s novel Thomas Silent, or, Why there are no more mermaids. When he started to read it he found it to be such a “compelling and entertaining fairy-tale-like story” that he read it in one sitting, and by the end “I could only think of what a fine and absorbing story I had just read” he says.

At the start of his review Seregil describes it as a “good old-fashioned yet modern fairy-tale adventure which is told in a heartwarming and pleasant manner”, adding that it will delight readers of all ages. Ben has, he says, “created his own original vision” of mermaids in an “irresistible” novel, adding that it is such an interesting version of mermaids and mermen because “he writes about people who live in a parallel realm, but sometimes visit our world”.

Although Thomas Silent may appear to be a young adult or children’s fairy-tale, Seregil says it “transcends the normal boundaries” of such fiction by being a story that also attracts adult readers. Tom is a classic heroic protagonist who will appeal to young readers. As well as being an adventure story it’s also a ‘coming of age’ story as Tom discovers who he truly is and what he must do, and as such will appeal to older readers too.

Seregil compliments Ben on how he “writes fluently about Tom’s life” and the “realistic way” in which relationships are handled. He says that Ben writes “intriguingly” about Tom, Coralie and Phillimore and their relationship. He says that the story is “simple, but beautiful” and that “Ben Gribbin’s prose flows easily and his writing style feels entertaining”, with elements of “wistfulness” and “lyrical beauty” that are “seldom found in young adult fantasy fiction”.

In conclusion, Seregil says that he hopes to read more from Ben Gribbin and recommends Thomas Silent as an adventure for the whole family. It has, he says, a simple beauty and “captivating allure” that will charm readers of any age who have “a child-like fascination with fantasy stories” as it takes them on a “magical journey to a parallel realm”.

You can read the whole of Seregil’s review here.


Thomas Silent, or Why there are no more mermaids – enthralling tale for teenagers from Ben Gribbin

This tale of real mermaids and mermen is perfect for every teenager who knows they are special and have a great destiny waiting for them. We’ve all looked out from a beach and wondered what is over the sea, but so very few of us find out as Tom does.

DARTFORD, KENT – 27 November 2015 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of Thomas Silent, or, Why there are no more mermaids by Ben Gribbin.

Cover by Alison Buck
Cover by Alison Buck

When widower Angelo found a small baby on the beach twelve years ago, he decided to bring him up as his own son. A sign around the baby’s neck said ‘THOMAS SILENT’, so that was the name he was given. Apart from other people’s curiosity about his name, Tom’s life so far had been happy and uneventful. When he wasn’t at school, Tom would help Angelo run the café in his beachside shack. One sunday morning, Tom was in the café on his own when a tall, thin, old man called Phillimore came in to escape from the rain. He showed Tom seven bright blue-green stones that he claimed came from a mermaid’s necklace. When Tom held one of the stones he could almost feel the rise and fall of the ocean. Phillimore left and Tom thought no more about the stones or the strange old man until Angelo died and the café shack was closed.

Six months later, when Tom visits the deserted shack, he finds an envelope from Angelo and discovers what else had been found with the baby on the beach. Tom’s simple life suddenly becomes a mysterious adventure that starts with a magical night-time swim to the shore of a strange land. He meets Coralie, a girl hiding in the caves on the beach with Phillimore. The people of the land are held captive to the will of an evil tyrant whose power comes from more of the blue-green stones, which he has been hoarding in the city of Murmur. Tom realises that he, Thomas Silent, is the only one who can defeat the tyrant and save the people of Murmur. But first he must understand the power of the sea-stones and discover his true self.

Pete Buck, Editorial Director at Elsewhen Press said “This delightful tale will enthrall any teenager who knows that they are special and have a great destiny waiting for them. We have all looked out from a beach and wondered what is over the sea, but so very few of us find out as Tom does. Ben not only captures the magic of the sea that is so special to him, but also uses it to propel every reader into a strange world alongside Tom; a world where the choice between right and wrong is not clear-cut and Tom’s actions could have both personal and global consequences.”

Thomas Silent, or, Why there are no more mermaids is available from today on all popular eBook platforms. It will be out in paperback in February 2016.

Notes for Editors

About Ben Gribbin

Ben GribbinBen Gribbin first fell in love with the sea when he was born in Brighton in 1976. Fascinated by fantasy and still in love with the sea, he uses these as major themes in his writing, particularly his poetry. He took his love for the sea with him when he studied at Trinity College, Dublin, for an MPhil in Creative Writing and Publishing, and spent any time not writing, or drinking Guinness, gazing wistfully at the beautiful Eastern Irish Coast.

Whilst living in London and pursuing a career in helping other people to publish their writing at a major publishing house, Ben wrote the first draft of Thomas Silent. Several rewrites, 4 house moves, one wedding and 3 children later, Ben is excited to see his work in print.

Ben has had poetry published in Magma, and The Irish Poetry Review. He also had The Sad Happy Tale of Aberystwyth the Bat, a novella for children, published in 2015.

Ben continues to love writing and the sea, working in his small box room in rural East Sussex, where he lives with his wife and children.


“original and ambitious approach to magic” – review of The Magician in the Attic on Risingshadow

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

On Risingshadow, Seregil of Rhiminee has written a review of Caspian’s novel The Magician in the Attic, the first of the Curlew Chronicles. At the start, Seregil admits to having stayed up all night to read the book, which he says was worth it, “because it was a refreshingly different kind of a young adult novel”.

Part of this novelty, he says, comes from the fact that it is “full of old-fashioned charm that many new novels lack nowadays” with “a dash of the ageless magic of Enid Blyton’s stories”. He especially liked Caspian’s “original and ambitious approach to magic”, which is not to have a wizard academy or special school but to concentrate “on writing about what magicians do and how they make their tricks work”. As Caspian is himself a magician he is able to write “fascinatingly and convincingly” about magical performance and tricks. Seregil says Caspian is “a good and talented author, because he has dared to create a different kind of a young adult novel. It was a pleasure to read this novel”.

Seregil also points out that although aimed at younger readers, “it can be recommended to readers of all ages, because its contents will appeal to all who like to read about magic and illusions. It’s rare to find this kind of novels that are suitable for young adults and adults alike.” He goes on to say “I’m sure that this novel will appeal to all readers regardless of their gender and age. All that you need to enjoy this novel is to have a child-like fascination with magic and an open mind about things related to illusions, because who wouldn’t love reading about magic and illusions? I’m sure all of us are deep down interested in these things and want to read about them.”

He concludes that The Magician in the Attic is a good novel for anyone looking for a new and interesting young adult novel, because it’s an entertaining novel. He says “If you’re interested – or ever have been interested – in magic tricks and illusions, I’m sure that you’ll enjoy this novel very much.”

You can read the full review here.


Future Perfect – warns of the downside to society’s pursuit of perfection

Scientist foresees a dystopian future where appearance is everything, relationships are forbidden and conformity is enforced through fear

DARTFORD, KENT – 31 March 2014 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce a book deal for a science-fiction suspense trilogy by scientist and medical writer Katrina Mountfort. The Blueprint trilogy takes us to a future in which men and women are almost identical, and personal relationships are forbidden. Following a bio-terrorist attack, the population now lives within comfortable Citidomes. MindValues advocate acceptance and non-attachment. The BodyPerfect cult encourages a tall thin androgynous appearance, and looks are everything.

The first book, Future Perfect, tells the story of Caia, an intelligent and highly educated young woman. In spite of severe governmental and societal strictures, Caia finds herself becoming attracted to her co-worker, Mac, a rebel whose questioning of their so-called utopian society both adds to his allure and encourages her own questioning of the status quo. As Mac introduces her to illegal and subversive information, she is drawn into a forbidden, dangerous world, becoming alienated from her other co-workers and resmates, the companions with whom she shares her residence. In a society where every thought and action are controlled, informers are everywhere; whom can she trust? When she and Mac are sent on an outdoor research mission, Caia’s life changes irreversibly.

A dark undercurrent runs through this story: the enforcement of conformity through fear, the fostering of distorted and damaging attitudes towards forbidden love, manipulation of appearance and even the definition of beauty. This book will appeal to both an adult and young adult audience.

Future Perfect will be published later this year by Elsewhen Press in both digital and print editions.

About Katrina Mountfort

Katrina MountfortKatrina Mountfort was born in Leeds. After a degree in Biochemistry and a PhD in Food Science, she started work as a scientist. Since then, she’s had a varied career. Her philosophy of life is that we only regret the things we don’t try, and she’s been a homeopath, performed forensic science research and currently works as a freelance medical writer. She now lives in Saffron Walden with her husband and two dogs. When she hit forty, she decided it was time to fulfil her childhood dream of writing a novel. Future Perfect is her debut novel and is the first in the Blueprint trilogy.


Elsewhen Press signs new Fantasy author for debut novel weaving together modern-day and Dark Ages

We are delighted to announce that Dave Weaver, graphic designer and author, has signed a publishing deal for an undisclosed sum for his debut fantasy novel. Jacey’s Kingdom is an enthralling tale that revolves around a startlingly desperate reality: Jacey Jackson, a talented student destined for Cambridge, collapses with a brain tumour while sitting her final history exam at school. In her mind she struggles through a quasi-historical sixth century dreamscape whilst the surgeons fight to save her life.

Jacey is helped by a stranger called George, who finds himself trapped in her nightmare after a terrible car accident. There are quests, battles, and a love story ahead of them, before we find out if Jacey will awake from her coma or perish on the operating table. And who, or what, is George? In this book, Dave Weaver questions our perception of reality and the redemptive power of dreams; are our experiences of fear, conflict, friendship and love any less real or meaningful when they take place in the mind rather than the ‘real’ physical world? Continue reading “Elsewhen Press signs new Fantasy author for debut novel weaving together modern-day and Dark Ages”