Travel broadens the mind, even inspiring fictional worlds

Tej Turner, author and seasoned traveller, realised that his own experiences, backpacking in exotic parts of the world, were the perfect field research for his epic fantasy adventure series.

DARTFORD, KENT – 14 March 2022 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is committed to publishing outstanding books by incredible authors. One such author is Tej Turner. Tej works in Cardiff as a chef by day and writes fantasy books by night. But he is also an ardent explorer, informing and entertaining his many online followers through a travel blog in which he documents his, often ambitious, trips. Authors often spend more time doing background research for their stories than actually writing, especially if they have to create an imaginary world and populate it with competing peoples, myths, legends and cultures, not to mention geography, flora and fauna. Sometimes, though, the authors have already done some of the research without even realising it.

Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press said, “In 2015, we published a gritty urban fantasy that Tej had written, The Janus Cycle, but we hadn’t physically met him because he was handling the edits while away on a 9 month backpacking expedition around Asia. In fact, we first met him in person when we launched the book at Eastercon in a hotel in Heathrow, Tej arriving straight off the plane from Kathmandu. We have been friends ever since.”

It was in 2014, just before going on that trip around Thailand, Burma, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan and Nepal, that Tej had written the first few chapters of Blood Legacy, the second book in an epic fantasy series he had been planning: The Avatars of Ruin. When he got home in 2015, he picked it up again to finish writing it.

Tej says, “I would like to say that I went travelling as ‘field research’ but that would be a lie – it is just something that I love to do. But that said, when I returned from that trip, I did realise that one of the arcs for Blood Legacy involved its main characters doing things that I had just done myself; namely journeying to lands that are not only different to what they know in terms of scenery and climate, but also – at times – a bit of a culture shock.

“I remember – when I returned home a year later and continued writing – reaching certain points of the story and realising that I didn’t need to do any research because I already had firsthand experience of what the characters were doing. One example of this being when they needed to cross a mountain range; I had just come back from doing a high altitude trek in the mountains of Nepal so the experience was all still fresh within my mind.”

In 2021, Elsewhen Press published Bloodsworn, the first book of The Avatars of Ruin series, and now Blood Legacy is also available, in both paperback and eBook. Tej is currently close to completing the third book in the series, Blood War. Tej adds, “Blood War includes a story arc from even more regions of my world, including a jungle civilisation.”

Bloodsworn attracted praise from best-selling authors Anna Smith Spark, who said: “Classic epic fantasy. I enjoyed it enormously”; and Christopher G Nuttall, who said: “a stunning introduction to a new fantasy world”.

Blood Legacy, too, has already garnered praise from respected authors. Allen Stroud, author and current chair of the British Science Fiction Association said, “Tej Turner is taking you on a journey into Fantasy, only it’s not quite the journey you expected, and it’s all the better for it”; Joanne Hall said, “a nuanced, smart high fantasy novel with intelligent, complex characters, good LGBT rep and some killer twists”; and David Craig said, “an exciting book which ups the stakes, mixing traditional fantasy with an element of possession horror”.

Blood Legacy is available from today in both eBook and paperback formats.

Notes for Editors

About Tej Turner

Tej Turner does not have any particular place he would say he is ‘from’, as his family moved between various parts of England during his childhood. He eventually settled in Wales, where he studied Creative Writing and Film at Trinity College in Carmarthen, followed by a master’s degree at The University of Wales Lampeter. Since then, Tej has mostly resided in Cardiff, where he works as a chef by day and writes by moonlight. His childhood on the move seems to have rubbed off on him because when he is not in Cardiff, it is usually because he has strapped on a backpack and flown off to another part of the world to go on an adventure.

When he travels, he takes a particular interest in historic sites, jungles, wildlife, native cultures, and mountains, and so far, he has clocked two years in Asia and a year in South America. He also spent some time volunteering at the Merazonia Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Ecuador, a place he intends to return to someday. He also hopes to go on more adventures and has his sights set on Central America next. Firsthand accounts of Tej’s adventures abroad can be found on his travel blog on his website. A place he also posts author-related news.

His debut novel The Janus Cycle was published by Elsewhen Press in 2015 and its sequel Dinnusos Rises was released in 2017. Both are hard to classify within typical genres but were semi-biographical in nature with elements of magical realism. They have often been described as ‘gritty and surreal urban fantasy’. He has since branched off into writing epic fantasy and has an ongoing series called The Avatars of Ruin. The first instalment – Bloodsworn – was released in 2021, and its sequel Blood Legacy is out now. He is currently engaged in writing the third instalment (Blood War).

About The Avatars of Ruin

Book 1: Bloodsworn

Cover design: Alison Buck

Everyone from Jalard knew what a bloodoath was. Legendary characters in the tales people told to their children often made such pacts with the gods. By drawing one’s own blood whilst speaking a vow, people became ‘Bloodsworn’. And in every tale where the oath was broken, the ending was always the same. The Bloodsworn died.

It has been twelve years since The War of Ashes, but animosity still lingers between the nations of Sharma and Gavendara, and only a few souls have dared to cross the border between them.

The villagers of Jalard live a bucolic existence, nestled within the hills of western Sharma and far away from the boundary which was once a warzone. To them, tales of bloodshed seem no more than distant fables. They have little contact with the outside world, apart from once a year when they are visited by representatives from the Academy who choose two of them to be taken away to their institute in the capital. To be Chosen is considered a great honour… of which most of Jalard’s children dream.

But this year, the Academy representatives make an announcement which is so shocking it causes friction between the villagers, and some of them begin to suspect that all is not what it seems. Just where are they taking the Chosen, and why? Some of them intend to find out, but what they discover will change their lives forever and set them on a long and bloody path to seek vengeance…

Book 2: Blood Legacy

Blood Legacy cover artwork: Alison Buck
Cover design: Alison Buck

The ragtag group from Jalard have finally reached Shemet, Sharma’s capital city. Scarred and bereft, they bring with them the grim tale of what happened to their village, and a warning about the ancient powers that have been awakened and now threaten all humanity.

Despite this, some of them still hope that reaching sanctuary within the Synod will mean an end to their hardships, but these hopes are soon dashed. Sharma’s ruling class are caught within their own inner turmoil. When Jaedin senses that there are moles within their ranks, not only does his call to crisis fall mostly on deaf ears, but some who do hear seek to thwart him when he tries to hunt these infiltrators down.

Meanwhile, across the Valantian Mountains, Gavendara is beginning to muster its forces. Using ritualistic means to augment their soldiers, their mutant army is like nothing the world has ever seen before.

The Zakaras are coming. And Sharma’s only hope of stopping them is if it can unite its people in time.

Covers by Alison Buck

Visit bit.ly/AvatarsOfRuin

New epic fantasy series from Tej Turner starts with a bloodoath

Everyone from Jalard knew what a bloodoath was. Legendary characters often made such pacts with the gods. By drawing one’s own blood whilst speaking a vow, people became ‘Bloodsworn’. And in every tale where the oath was broken, the ending was always the same. The Bloodsworn died.

DARTFORD, KENT – 08 January 2021 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of Bloodsworn by Tej Turner, the first book in his new epic fantasy series The Avatars of Ruin, set on a mediaeval world with three moons, an extensive pantheon of deities, and gemstones with arcane powers.

Cover design: Alison Buck

Anna Smith Spark, author of the critically acclaimed grimdark epic fantasy trilogy Empires of Dust, said of Bloodsworn: “Classic epic fantasy. I enjoyed it enormously.”

Turner’s new series starts in the village of Jalard. It has been twelve years since The War of Ashes, but animosity still lingers between the nations of Sharma and Gavendara, and only a few souls have dared to cross the border between them. The villagers of Jalard live a bucolic existence, nestled within the hills of western Sharma and far away from the boundary which was once a warzone. To them, tales of bloodshed seem no more than distant fables. They have little contact with the outside world, apart from once a year when they are visited by representatives from the Academy who choose two of them to be taken away to their institute in the capital. To be Chosen is considered a great honour… of which most of Jalard’s children dream. But this year, the Academy representatives make an announcement which is so shocking it causes friction between the villagers, and some of them begin to suspect that all is not what it seems. Just where are they taking the Chosen, and why? Some of them intend to find out, but what they discover will change their lives forever and set them on a long and bloody path to seek vengeance…

Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press said, “Tej has built an impressive world, plotting out the history, mythology, terrestrial and celestial landscapes, not forgetting multiple cultures. It is truly epic, but none of it is ever gratuitously ‘in your face’ – well, apart from a map which is right at the start of the book!”

Bloodsworn is available from today in eBook format and will be available in paperback from 8th March.

Notes for Editors

About Tej Turner

Tej Turner has spent much of his life on the move and he does not have any particular place he calls ‘home’. For a large period of his childhood he dwelt within the Westcountry of England, and he then moved to rural Wales to study Creative Writing and Film at Trinity College in Carmarthen, followed by a master’s degree at The University of Wales Lampeter.

After completing his studies, he moved to Cardiff, where he works as a chef by day and writes by moonlight. He is also an intermittent traveller who, every now and then, straps on a backpack and flies off to another part of the world to go on an adventure. So far, he has clocked up two years in Asia and a year in South America. He hopes to go on more and has his sights set on Central America next. When he travels, he takes a particular interest in historic sites, jungles, wildlife, native cultures, and mountains. He also spent some time volunteering at the Merazonia Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Ecuador, a place he hopes to return to someday.

Bloodsworn is his third published novel. His debut novel The Janus Cycle was published by Elsewhen Press in 2015, followed by his sequel Dinnusos Rises in 2017. Both of them were described as ‘gritty and surreal urban fantasy’. He has also had short stories published in various anthologies.

He keeps a travelblog on his website, where he also posts author-related news.

Visit bit.ly/Bloodsworn

 

Revealed: Cover for new epic fantasy from Tej Turner

Anyone who knows Tej Turner will be excited to hear that his Epic Fantasy series, The Avatars of Ruin, will launch in the New Year.

This series has truly epic world building (see map below), history, and pantheon; and, of course, a thrilling story to tell following a group of people from the village of Jalard as they become embroiled in events way beyond their experience. The story starts with Bloodsworn.

Everyone from Jalard knew what a bloodoath was. Legendary characters in the tales people told to their children often made such pacts with the gods. By drawing one’s own blood whilst speaking a vow, people became ‘Bloodsworn’. And in every tale where the oath was broken, the ending was always the same. The Bloodsworn died.

When one of the villagers from Jalard feels compelled to swear a bloodoath, even knowing the tales of old doesn’t deter them from becoming Bloodsworn.

Here is the cover for Bloodsworn which represents the talents and skills of the Bloodsworn.

Cover design: Alison Buck

Bloodsworn will be published in digital formats on the 8th of January 2021 and in paperback on the 8th of March 2021. Reviewers and bloggers can contact us now for digital ARCs.

Map © 2020 Tej Turner and Chuck Ashmore, border by Alison Buck

The success of a semi-independent city-state is bound to attract attention, from those with political ambition and others with magical ambition

When a magical problem and a political challenge threaten Marek at the same time, Marcia, Heir to House Fereno, finds herself at the centre of the responses to both. Can she and her allies withstand Teren politics, while her friends withstand Teren magic?

DARTFORD, KENT – 18 December 2019 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of Shadow and Storm the much-anticipated second book in the epic Marek fantasy series from author Juliet Kemp. This latest instalment sees more political intrigue in the city-state of Marek, while a magical problem is heading their way from the Teren capital.

Aliette de Bodard, Nebula award-winning author of The Tea Master and the Detective described the first book in Juliet’s Marek series, The Deep and Shining Dark, as “A rich and memorable tale of political ambition, family and magic, set in an imagined city that feels as vibrant as the characters inhabiting it”. Shadow and Storm continues with that same mix of politics, magic and friendship that has been enthralling readers.

Artwork: Tony Allcock

Once again, Reb and Cato, the two surviving sorcerers in Marek, must work together with the city-angel to deal with a demonic threat to the city. Meanwhile Marcia, Fereno-Heir, starts to realise that the new Lord Lieutenant recently arrived from the Teren capital for the annual formal opening of the Council, has her own agenda that may be as big a threat to the prosperity and stability of Marek.

Peter Buck, Editorial Director at Elsewhen Press says, “the conjured world of Juliet’s Marek series is at once both highly believable and utterly fantastic. We can readily relate to the politics of a prosperous city-state keen to maintain its virtual independence from a distant ruling throne, while struggling to deal with internal rivalries for power and control over the lucrative trade on which its prosperity was founded. At the same time, in these days of concern for our planet and uncertainty over our own future we, perhaps longingly, perhaps with trepidation, can imagine the possibilities of a world where magic is real and is mediated by a benevolent spirit keeping malevolent demons at bay.”

As with the first book in the series, the front cover is graced by beautiful artwork from renowned artist Tony Allcock: Marcia showing the new Teren Lord Lieutenant the view from the top of Marekhill across the river to the docks, the old market and the highlands beyond, while a storm is brewing both politically and magically.

Shadow and Storm is now available to pre-order on all popular eBook platforms prior to publication on 3rd January 2020. The paperback edition will be available from 23rd March 2020.

Notes for Editors

About Juliet Kemp

Juliet Kemp lives by the river in London, with their partners, child, dog, and too many fountain pens. Having had stories published in several anthologies and online magazines, The Deep and Shining Dark was Juliet’s first novel and Shadow and Storm is the sequel. Their employment history variously includes working as a cycle instructor, sysadmin, life model, researcher, permaculture designer, and journalist. When not writing or parenting, Juliet goes climbing, knits, reads way too much, and drinks a lot of tea.

Visit bit.ly/ShadowAndStorm

About the book

Title: Shadow and Storm

Never trust a demon … or a Teren politician

Although the city-state of Marek is part of Teren, the Thirteen Houses and Guilds have long been protective of their de facto independence. So Marcia, Heir to House Fereno, expects the annual visit for the Council opening by the Teren Throne’s representative to be nothing more than the usual symbolic gesture. But this year the Lord Lieutenant has been unexpectedly replaced. As Marcia is showing the new Lieutenant, Selene, the view from the top of Marekhill, she suspects that Selene has her own agenda. After all, Teren has politics too, just like Marek.

In Marek, magic is mediated by the cityangel. But elsewhere in Teren, magic is enabled by bloodletting. A Teren magician will invoke a demon to do their bidding and bind them with blood. But demons are devious and will take advantage of any flaw or loophole to avoid being bound. An unleashed demon is dangerous and sure to create havoc, and the Teren way to stop them involves the letting of more of the magician’s blood – often terminally. But if a young magician is being sought by an unleashed demon, their only hope may be to escape to Marek where the cityangel can keep the demon at bay. Probably.

Once again Reb, Cato and Jonas must work with Beckett to deal with a magical problem, while Marcia must tackle a serious political challenge to Marek’s future. But of course magic and politics never seem to remain separate for long, especially when Teren politics are involved.

Fiction / Fantasy / Epic; Fiction / Fantasy / Paranormal; Fiction / LGBT

Print edition: ISBN 978-1-911409-49-6, 336pp, Demy; RRP £9.99 / €11.99 / US$17.99 (23 Mar 2020)

Electronic edition: ISBN 978-1-911409-59-5, EPUB / Kindle; RRP £2.99 / €3.49 / US$3.99 (03 Jan 2020)

About the cover

The cover artwork for Shadow and Storm was produced by Tony Allcock, the same artist who produced the much-lauded cover for Book 1 of Juliet’s Marek series, The Deep and Shining Dark. Tony lives in Hertfordshire and has been both a Research Scientist and a Fine Artist for 40 years. He has exhibited watercolour and oil paintings in galleries and exhibitions in the UK, France and Italy. More recently he has also been painting digitally, illustrating music CD covers and book covers.

 

Revenge, responsibility, confrontation, consequences; demons, disasters and assassins – not party politics, but the new epic fantasy from David Craig

Set in a hot desert land of diverse peoples, this is a world away from the Scottish author’s previous book (set in Victorian Glasgow) but has the same masterful storytelling.

DARTFORD, KENT – 03 July 2019 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of Thorns of a Black Rose by Scottish speculative fiction author, David Craig. Following on the success of his debut novel, Resurrection Men, a sequel to which is planned for next year, comes David’s new epic fantasy set in a hot desert land of diverse peoples who are dealing with demons, mages, natural disasters … and the Black Rose assassins.

Although set in an imaginary land, the scenery and peoples were inspired by Egypt, Morocco and the Sahara. Mask is a living, breathing city, from the prosperous Merchant Quarter whose residents struggle for wealth and power, to the Poor Quarter whose residents struggle just to survive. It is a coming-of-age tale for the young thief, Tamira, as well as a tale of vengeance and discovery. There is also a moral ambiguity in the story, with both the protagonists and antagonists learning that, whatever their intentions or justification, actions have consequences.

Cover design by PR Pope

David says, “This novel, and those to follow, were born of a desire to write stories set in a large, varied world, from vast, hot deserts to claustrophobic, humid rainforests, to snow-capped mountains and dark, frozen forests. A volatile, living world viewed through the eyes of a band of diverse, intrepid, morally ambiguous adventurers getting caught up in all sorts of trouble. My ambition is tell a series of sword & sorcery-esque adventures that stand alone in their own right while contributing towards a larger over-arching story.”

Peter Buck, Editorial Director at Elsewhen Press, says, “David has an uncanny skill to quickly transport you, as a reader, to the scene of his story. It may be a real place that is already familiar, such as Victorian Glasgow in Resurrection Men; or an invented city like Mask in the hot desert of Thorns of a Black Rose, where you can almost smell the aromas and exotic scents filling the air in the souk, or feel the heat radiating from the baked mud-brick walls. But, more than that, David introduces you to characters that you will soon truly care about, following them on their adventure: excited, worried, thrilled, shocked. David’s books are ideal examples of what speculative fiction does best, transporting readers to another world; a perfect way to escape, albeit temporarily, from the banality or absurdity of the real world – which is especially welcome at the moment!”

Thorns of a Black Rose will be available to buy on all popular eBook platforms from 26th July 2019 and is already available to pre-order. The paperback edition will be available on 21st October 2019.

Notes for Editors

About David Craig

Aside from three months living on an oil tanker sailing back and forth between America and Africa, and two years living in a pub, David Craig grew up on the west coast of Scotland. He studied Software Engineering at university, but lost interest in the subject after (and admittedly prior to) graduation. He currently works as a resourcing administrator for a public service contact centre, and lives near Glasgow with his wife, daughter and two rabbits.

Being a published writer had been a life-long dream, and one he was delighted to finally realise with his debut novel, Resurrection Men, the first in the Sooty Feathers series, published by Elsewhen Press in 2018. Before the next book in the Sooty Feathers series though, Elsewhen Press are publishing his latest fantasy epic Thorns of a Black Rose.

Visit bit.ly/ThornsOfABlackRose

About the book

Title: Thorns of a Black Rose

On a quest for vengeance, Shukara arrives in the city of Mask having already endured two years of hardship and loss. Her pouch is stolen by Tamira, a young street-smart thief, who throws away some of the rarer reagents that Shukara needs for her magick. Tracking down the thief, and being unfamiliar with Mask, Shukara shows mercy to Tamira in exchange for her help in replacing what has been lost. Together they brave the intrigues of Mask, and soon discover that they have a mutual enemy in the Black Rose, an almost legendary band of merciless assassins. But this is just the start of their journeys…

Fiction / Fantasy / Epic; Fiction / Fantasy / Action & Adventure

Print edition: ISBN 978-1-911409-45-8, 256pp, Demy; RRP £9.99 / €11.99 / US$17.99 (21 Oct 2019)

Electronic edition: ISBN 978-1-911409-55-7, EPUB / Kindle; RRP £2.99 / €3.49 / US$3.99 (26 Jul 2019)

About the cover

The cover artwork, representing the city of Mask, was produced by PR Pope, an author also published by Elsewhen Press, based on David Craig’s inspiration from his trip to the Maghreb.

Christopher Nuttall’s bestselling fantasy Bookworm series to be released as unabridged audiobooks

The Bookworm series will become the first Elsewhen Press titles available on audiobook, in transatlantic deal announced with Tantor Media Inc.

DARTFORD, KENT – 03 April 2017 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the signing of a deal with Tantor Media Inc. for the unabridged audiobook rights to Christopher Nuttall’s bestselling Bookworm series.

Bookworm cover image   Bookworm II – The Very Ugly Duckling cover image   Artwork: Alison Buck Library photograph: zens/shutterstock.com skull: leonello calvetti/shutterstock.com   Artwork: Alison Buck

Bookworm is an Epic Fantasy series that follows Elaine, an orphan with limited magical talent working as a librarian in the Great Library in Golden City. Her life changes when she triggers a magical trap and ends up with all the knowledge from the library – including forbidden magic that no one is supposed to know – stuffed inside her head. If the senior wizards find out what has happened to her, they will almost certainly have her killed. The knowledge that was locked away was meant to remain permanently sealed and letting it out could mean a repeat of the catastrophic Necromantic Wars of five hundred years earlier. Elaine struggles with the terrors and temptations of her newfound knowledge, while trying to stay out of sight of those she fears, embodied by the sinister Inquisitor Dread. Meanwhile, a darkly powerful figure has been drawing up a plan to take the power of the Grand Sorcerer for himself; and Elaine, unknowingly, is vital to his scheme. Through the four books in the series, Elaine grows in self-awareness and resolve as she tries to unlock the mysteries behind her new knowledge, divine the unfolding plan, discover the truth about her own origins and stop the evil that threatens those she loves, Golden City, and her entire world.

Peter Buck, editorial director of Elsewhen Press said “This is the first time any of our titles will have been released as an audiobook. We are thrilled to begin with Christopher Nuttall’s fantastic Bookworm series and hope this is the start of a long relationship with Tantor.”

Scott Smith, who acquired the Bookworm series for Tantor Media, said “Christopher is one of the top Fantasy and Science Fiction authors out there right now so we’re beyond excited to be working with him and Elsewhen Press in getting the Bookworm series published in audio.”

“We’re thrilled to be entering into this new partnership with Elsewhen Press,” said Ron Formica, director of acquisitions for Tantor Media. “Tantor has a strong catalog of fantasy and science fiction audiobooks, and adding an author of Christopher’s caliber is very exciting for us.”

Book one in the Bookworm series is expected to release in audio in June 2017 and will be available through major retailers, the rest of the series will release throughout 2017.

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 large number of novels. The Royal Sorceress was the first of his novels to be published by Elsewhen Press, quickly followed by Bookworm. Both launched successful series. Elsewhen Press has now published eleven titles by Chris. Chris is currently living in Edinburgh with his wife, muse, and critic Aisha and their son.

visit http://bit.ly/Bookworm-Series

About Tantor, A Division of Recorded Books

Located in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, Tantor Media, a division of Recorded Books, is a leading publisher of thousands of bestselling and award-winning unabridged audiobooks. Tantor audiobooks are available through all major distributors in the retail and library markets, digitally and in CD format. Tantor’s parent company, Recorded Books, is the largest independent publisher of unabridged audiobooks in the world, with operations in the US, UK, and Australia.

visit https://tantor.com

Tantor Media contact: Cassandra McNeil +1 877-782-6867 x57 cmcneil@tantor.com

 

“a brightly shining gem of epic YA fantasy” – review of Mandigo and the Hellhounds on RisingShadow

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

On RisingShadow, Seregil of Rhiminee has reviewed Mandigo and the Hellhounds by Anders Reemark, the first book in the Mandigo series. Originally published in Danish this is an English translation by Nina Sokol. Seregil starts by describing this as “an epic, fast-paced and well written fantasy novel for young adult readers” although he adds that it “will also be of interest to adult readers who love entertaining fantasy novels”. Seregil observes that much recent fantasy has been in the style of George R.R. Martin’s books, which he welcomes, but does mean he’s come to miss Tolkienesque fantasy with magic, evil forces, elves and wizards; so he says that he was thrilled to read this novel because “it feels refreshing to read this kind of classic fantasy for a change”. It was a “pleasant and rewarding reading experience” because the “story was good”, the “events were satisfyingly dark and epic” and it had an “easily likeable protagonist”. He also complimented Nina Sokol on managing to convey the nuances of the original Danish story to English-speaking readers.

Seregil considers Mandigo and the Hellhounds to be “one of the best epic YA fantasy novels written during the recent years” because it has “clearly been written out of love for classic epic fantasy” and as soon as you start to read you “immediately feel at home with the story” with elements such as “young magic users” and “evil forces”. It is, he says “a brightly shining gem of epic YA fantasy”, a “a well-constructed and thrilling story about an epic battle between good and evil, family secrets and magic”.

Seregil felt the main characters were interesting and well-created, and Anders pays attention to relationships and the characters feelings for those around them, especially those who are different. He enjoyed reading about the way magic works in this novel, and the secrets of Bloodstone. He also enjoyed the impressive world-building and the fact that the world of Stormlands has a dark history. He adds that “Anders Reemark’s vision of good and evil is interesting and has a timeless quality to it. The impending threat of the Lord of Shadows added a fascinating touch of darkness and malice to the storyline.” He liked Anders’ “fluent and fast-moving prose” and a writing style that keeps the story moving fast forward. “It’s great that he effortlessly builds up tension from the intriguing prologue towards the epic ending.”

He sums up by saying that Mandigo and the Hellhounds has everything he’d expect to find in classic YA fantasy fiction, which not only appealed to him, but made him “read the story as fast as possible”, adding that on reason it is interesting is that it has “a Scandinavian feel to it. After having read several English fantasy novels, this novel felt like a breath of fresh air to me.” It is “one of the best YA fantasy novels I’ve read during the last couple of years”, it “wholly captivated me with its gradually unfolding story and dark atmosphere”.

He concludes that Mandigo and the Hellhounds is “epic YA fantasy fiction at its best and most intriguing, because it feels almost like a tribute to classic fantasy stories”.

You can read Seregil’s full review on RisingShadow here.

 

FIRST LOOK: The cover of Reimar Breaking

Jonathan Rivalland’s exhilarating new fantasy series The Iberan War will be exploding onto our scene in August with the first book Reimar Breaking, The Prelude to the Iberan War. It’s not just the start of a fantasy series though… it’s our first vision of a universe that has been populated by Jonathan in a masterpiece of world-building.
 

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

Reimar is one country in the continent of Iber, on the world of Brisia. Brisia is linked to other worlds by the Helion, a portal through which the Reimarans trade. But Reimar is not alone on Iber, they are bordered by other nations many of whom covet the Helion and the prosperity it brings. There is Iln to the North and both Arn and Shar to the East, not to mention the untrustworthy Archipelagans to the south. Trouble is brewing and someone is fomenting rebellion. Welcome to the court of King Abarron du Tealdan.

You’ll need to wait until August to meet the King, his daughter Siera who is proving to be a great military commander in the making, and her older brother Ramiros who rather enjoys life at court. But to make the wait a bit more bearable – or maybe to tease you and make the wait less bearable – we can give you a first look at the book’s cover. Jonathan’s world-building included a map, of course, identifying the various countries, cities and significant topographical features. As Jonathan himself says: “Fantasy titles with lots of locations but no map somewhat irk me – I want to know!” So it was clear that his map should be included in the book, and Jonathan’s draft map has been fully realised by our multi-talented artist Alison Buck. It can be seen in all its glory here on our series page and on Jonathan’s own website The Fourth World where much riveting background material can also be found.

Once the map was completed we set about discussing the best cover for the book – one suggestion was a shield to suggest the military aspects (although the word ‘War’ in the subtitle is probably an even bigger clue!) – but having seen the map, Jonathan commented “if I see a book with a huge map cover I’m thinking there’ll be depth to this one.” We agreed that the map would be the perfect background for the cover of the book. I hope you think so too.

Jonathan’s immediate reaction was “This cover looks fantastic”. Phew!

Reimar Breaking, The Prelude to the Iberan War will be available as an eBook from the 19th August and in paperback in November (just in time for Novacon!)

 

“one of the best novels of its kind” – review of Bookworm IV: Full Circle on Risingshadow

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

Seregil of Rhiminee has reviewed Christopher Nuttall’s fourth and final book in the Bookworm series, Bookworm IV: Full Circle, on the Risingshadow website. Describing it as “fluently written fantasy entertainment at its best” he starts by saying that “Christopher Nuttall is one of the few authors who write consistently good entertainment”, writing fascinating and “captivating stories filled with interesting characters, good ideas and plot twists”.

After describing the characters and the basic premise of the “fast-paced” story, Seregil comments that along with “intriguing characters, the author’s detailed descriptions about magic are the heart and soul of this novel, because he writes fascinatingly about magic and how it is being used in the world.” As the final book in the Bookworm series, Seregil says, this is “an action-filled and highly entertaining novel that brings Elaine’s story to a satisfying conclusion”. He adds, “Now that I’ve read all of the novels in this series, I can say that it’s been a pleasure to read the whole story. The author has created a wonderfully large story arc that has allowed him to develop his characters and has given him an opportunity to let them mature as persons. I have to admit that it’s a bit sad to say goodbye to Elaine and her companions, because it’s been fun to read about them and their deeds, but all good things must come to an end. It’s nice that the ending is satisfying and leaves room for possible future exploration of the fantasy world.”

Seregil’s conclusion is that for readers who enjoy fantasy, Bookworm IV: Full Circle “will provide fascinating entertainment”, going on to say that “It’s one of the best novels of its kind, because it features plenty of action, magic and plot twists”. He finishes by saying that “you can’t go wrong by reading this novel and its predecessors”.

You can read Seregil’s full review on Risingshadow here.

 

Seattle author Jonathan Rivalland signs epic fantasy series to UK publisher

One sudden shocking event is all it takes to disrupt the delicate interplay of politics, commerce and power that has been at the heart of the nation of Reimar. But is a continent-wide war inevitable?

DARTFORD, KENT – 29 April 2016 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce that author Jonathan Rivalland has signed a deal to publish his debut novel, Reimar Breaking, the prelude to The Iberan War series in his Fourth World universe.

Of all the known worlds, of all their nations and all their peoples, there is little rarer than the Helions. Each of these ancient structures is a vast, freestanding portal to other worlds; made by an unknown hand long before humanity arose. Those who control one can claim vast wealth by means of trade and movement through these portals. And on the world of Brisia, it is controlled by the nation of Reimar.

Through both scheming and conflict, Reimar won out against its competitors to claim the territory in which the Helion stands. But Reimar’s rivals do not sit idle, and should widespread conflict break out between the more powerful nations, even the smaller countries have grudges to settle.

Reimar’s wealth and prestige flows from trade, especially cross-world trade through the Helion. But there are signs of an imminent rebellion, especially among the younger members of more distant noble houses, and some rival nations are eager to take advantage of any internal distractions. Princess Siera du Tealdan has shown herself to be a strong and innovative military commander, while her older brother Ramiros enjoys life at the court of their father King Abarron du Tealdan.

When the situation in Reimar takes a shocking turn for the worse, Siera’s military expertise is desperately needed. With no mercenaries available for hire, Siera must pull off a miracle. Having only one skyship armed with ballistae and an under-strength Royal Guard, she must fend off the rebellion, while at the same time dealing with Reimar’s old enemy Iln, that has declared an opportunistic war in order to raid and pillage across the border. If the rebels gain control of the Helion, the kingdom will suffocate.

Peter Buck, Editorial Director at Elsewhen Press said “Jonathan has built his universe with precision, dedication and perhaps even a little obsession. He knows what has happened over thousands of years, and what is yet to come. He has a wealth of stories to tell within this universe and has chosen to start with the Iberan War. Reimar Breaking is the prelude to that war and quickly and effortlessly draws the reader straight into this intricate world where one sudden shocking event is all that it takes to disrupt the delicate interplay of politics, commerce and power that has been at the heart of the nation of Reimar. In a world where warfare still relies on greatbows, and a sailing ship can be capable of flight through enchantment, the strength, cunning and determination of a commander can determine the fate of a nation.”

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

Notes for Editors

About Jonathan Rivalland

Jonathan RivallandA sharp dislike of anything to do with the outside has greatly complemented Jonathan Rivalland’s intense desire to write novels and stories. Having finished his first book he is eagerly moving forward on to the other dozen or so titles that all deserve their turn (ability to complete them all in a standard lifetime notwithstanding). After incidentally being from South Africa, graduating university with majors in History and Psychology, moving to South Korea to teach ESL (and staying for four years), he moved to the US, where he primarily spends his time either writing or thinking about writing.

Reimar Breaking is both the beginning of a series (The Iberan War) as well as the first of a variety of titles, set in the same universe (The Fourth World), concerning an array of characters, locations, and events. None of these have any reliable completion dates because the author is vigorously allergic to deadlines.