Why do so many readers escape into fantasy worlds where politics is just as messy as in our world?

Reading to escape from the realities of life has become more widespread during the pandemic, yet many readers are turning to fantasy worlds where politics and unrest are just as real.

DARTFORD, KENT – 26 October 2021 – Elsewhen Press is a publishing house specialising in high quality, entertaining and thoughtful speculative fiction, often addressing current, real-world issues through a fictional prism. This includes fantasy books, which have long been seen as a way of escaping from the real-world. Authors too, get to escape into a world of their own imagination. Building a believable and engaging world is the hallmark of a talented author. One such author is Juliet Kemp, who has built a world and a series of books that have been gaining attention and much admiration from other award-winning authors such as Aliette de Bodard, Rivers Solomon and Malka Older.

The trite advice often given to new authors is ‘write what you know’. When it comes to a fantasy setting, is that really possible? Yes, according to author Juliet Kemp. The setting for Juliet’s Marek series is a port called Marek, part of a larger state called Teren, but virtually an autonomous city-state of its own. Politics, both civic and national, plays a large part in the life of the main protagonists – alongside magic and demons. While the supernatural elements are outside any author’s normal experience, Juliet can conjure the politics with some authority. “I have an academic background in politics, and have worked and volunteered in campaigning and activist organisations,” says Juliet. “I’m fascinated by the nuts and bolts of politics in its broadest sense: how people make things happen, how they negotiate and compromise or refuse to. How they interact with one another in groups that have shared goals, and what happens when those goals don’t align, or don’t align quite enough. How people are forced to make pragmatic decisions, when they refuse to, and what information they choose to listen to or ignore. Making things happen can be a messy process, and sometimes you have to work with people you’d rather not; I wanted to reflect that messy reality, and the fact that sometimes people make bad decisions, in Marek’s politics.” The latest Marek book, The Rising Flood, includes unrest both in the capital city of Teren where dissenters are being threatened with demons, and also in Marek itself where a frustrated underclass is seeking a voice. Juliet again, “In this book I also introduced those campaigning for change from a different angle; there’ll be more of that in the next book, which draws further on political history and the radical movements I’ve always been fascinated by.”

But why is Marek a port on the Oval Sea, with the river being such an important presence? Juliet admits it’s more of ‘what you know’, “I’ve lived in river cities all my life, and these days I spend my working day looking out at the Thames. No surprise that Marek’s river has become increasingly important over the series. Of course, lots of cities are built on rivers: they’re a water source, transport source. In Marek’s case, they define its history, founded as a port for Teren – and in choosing to make it the port for Teren, I could create more possibilities for political tension over control of that access to the wider world.”

In The Rising Flood, as the title intimates, there is not just the threat of political inundation, but also a very real risk of the river flooding. That too reflects Juliet’s daily life, “Where I live now is on the site of an old warehouse (we are, legally, still responsible for maintaining a bridge that no longer exists between one warehouse and the next), and when I look out of my window at high tide, the river is above the level of our front door. (I am regularly grateful for the river wall, and the Thames Barrier.) So no surprise that when writing this book, I started thinking about floods, and flood plains, and (looking further down my own river) what happens when people build on flood plains and just hope for the best.”

The Rising Flood is now available in eBook format on most platforms and will be out in paperback in December.

Notes for Editors

About The Rising Flood

Artwork: Tony Allcock
Artwork: Tony Allcock

Hope alone cannot withstand a rising flood

A darkness writhes in the heart of Teren.

The Academy is unleashing demons on dissenters, and refugees rush to leave the capital with nothing but their lives and a hope.

That hope brings them to the city of Marek, Teren’s only major port, which harbours dreams of independence. But Marek is not as stable as it seems.

Marcia, Heir to House Fereno, has spent the last two years fighting to keep Marek safe and prosperous – but with child, her relationship in ruins and the increasing threat of Teren to worry about, can she find her way through? The printing houses of the city run rabble-rousing polemic, penned by an increasingly frustrated majority who feel left out of the rule and riches of Marek. They demand change, and Marcia can’t help but agree with much of what they’re saying.

On the other side of the bridge, the tiny group of Marek’s remaining sorcerers must negotiate their way through troubles of their own. Cato, Marcia’s exiled brother, and Reb, her ex-lover, are trying to train a new generation of sorcerers and both are having problems. Jonas simply won’t take ‘no’ for an answer from Cato; and Reb’s two students feel held back, both know that change, and strife, may be coming – and neither are ready to deal with it. But Reb cannot bring herself to move faster.

Between them, the five sorcerers alongside Marek’s cityangel can expel a single demon. But Teren has many, and other fears loom on the horizon. Out-of-season storms rampage across the Oval Sea, threatening trade – and Jonas’ family, out plying the trade winds – and the unseasonable weather threatens Marek itself.

Menaced by the distant capital, by dissension from within, and even by nature itself – will the rising flood lift all boats?

Or will they be capsized?

ISBN: 9781911409885 (paperback, 392pp) / 9781911409984 (eBook)

Visit bit.ly/TheRisingFlood

About Juliet Kemp

Juliet Kemp lives by the river in London, with their partners, child, dog, and too many fountain pens. They have had stories published in several anthologies and online magazines. 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.


“I know the words written… But the words unwritten? Those, I don’t know.”

Available from today in eBook, The Ancient Lie, Book II of The Unwritten Words by Christopher Nuttall

Cover artwork by Alison Buck

“well written escapism with plenty of magic” – Review of The Promised Lie on Risingshadow

Artwork by Alison Buck

On Risingshadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has just reviewed Christopher Nuttall’s The Promised Lie, the first book of the Unwritten Words series.

Seregil starts his review of The Promised Lie by saying that he considers “Christopher Nuttall to be one of the best authors of entertaining epic fantasy for adult readers” who “has found his own voice and knows how to entertain his readers with good and exciting stories”. He goes on to compliment the characterisation “good and believable”, the worldbuilding “excellent”, and Christopher’s writing – he writes in an “effortless way” about politics, “writes well about magic and what can be achieved by using it” and “also writes well about religion and worshipping gods”. Seregil adds that there’s “something about the ancient magic and forces that is almost Lovecraftian in nature”. Overall he says it is a thrilling story and excellent entertainment, and finishes by saying that this is Christopher’s “strongest fantasy novel to date”.

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

“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.


Instrument of War by Rebecca Hall – out now

The Angels are coming!

Artwork by Alison Buck
Artwork by Alison Buck

Instrument of War, the second book in Rebecca Hall’s fantasy trilogy, the Symphony of the Cursed, is published today on eBook platforms.

Described by Christopher Nuttall, bestselling author of Schooled in Magic, as “A clever update to a magical school story with a twist”, Instrument of War continues from Instrument of Peace, the first book in the trilogy, as Mitch, Hayley and Nikola return for their final year in the International Academy of Magic at Lake Moawhango in New Zealand.

With this exciting trilogy, Rebecca has firmly established New Zealand as a location for contemporary fantasy, not just Middle Earth! Fans of YA fantasy, readers of all ages, have been captivated by Instrument of Peace, impressed by Rebecca’s well thought-through magic system, the depth of her characters, and the believable nature of their relationships. What comes next in Instrument of War will both enchant and surprise. Elsewhen Press is delighted to be able to help Rebecca bring her vision and talent to such an appreciative audience.

Instrument of War is available from today on eBook platforms, and will be out in paperback in September.


“A clever update to a magical school story with a twist.” – Christopher Nuttall on Instrument of War

Christopher Nuttall, bestselling author of many fantasy and science fiction series including the Schooled in Magic, recently brought Rebecca Hall’s Symphony of the Cursed trilogy to the attention of his followers. With the forthcoming release of the second book in Rebecca’s trilogy, he read an advance copy and described it as “A clever update to a magical school story with a twist.”

Artwork by Alison Buck
Artwork by Alison Buck

Instrument of War continues from Instrument of Peace, the first book in the trilogy, as Mitch, Hayley and Nikola return for their final year in the International Academy of Magic at Lake Moawhango in New Zealand.

For more details visit bit.ly/InstrumentOfWar

Instrument of War, the second book in the Symphony of the Cursed trilogy, is already available on all major eBook platforms for pre-order. It will be published on 2nd June and will be available in paperback at the end of August. There will also be a belated launch party at FantasyCon in Peterborough in September!


Elsewhen Press announces second book in YA Fantasy trilogy from New Zealand author Rebecca Hall

The Eternity War is still being waged and the Academy remains caught up in it. The new Principal is an angel, the Teratology teacher is a vampire, the Instrument of Peace is hiding, but who is the Instrument of War?

DARTFORD, KENT – 24 April 2017 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the latest book by New Zealand author Rebecca Hall. Instrument of War is the second book of Symphony of the Cursed, a YA fantasy trilogy set in the central North Island of New Zealand. Instrument of War continues from Instrument of Peace, the first book in the trilogy, as Mitch, Hayley and Nikola return for their final year in the International Academy of Magic at Lake Moawhango. The Angels are coming…

Artwork by Alison Buck
Artwork by Alison Buck

The Host wants to know what the Academy was trying to hide and why the Fallen agreed to it. They want the Instrument of War, the one thing that can tip the Eternity War in their favour and put an end to the stalemate. Any impact on the Academy staff, students or buildings is just collateral damage.

Mitch would like to forget that the last year ever happened, but that doesn’t seem likely with Little Red Riding Hood now teaching Teratology. The vampire isn’t quite as terrifying as he first thought, but she’s not the only monster at the Academy. The Fallen are spying on everyone, the new Principal is an angel and there’s an enchanting exchange student with Faerie blood.

Angry and nervous of the angels surrounding him, Mitch tries to put the pieces together. He knows that Hayley is the Archangel Gabriel. He knows that she can determine the course of the Eternity War. He also knows that the Fallen will do anything to hide Gabriel from the Host – even allowing an innocent girl to be kidnapped.

Peter Buck, Editorial Director at Elsewhen Press, said “With her exciting trilogy, Rebecca has firmly established New Zealand as a location for contemporary fantasy, not just Middle Earth! Fans of YA fantasy, readers of all ages, have been captivated by Instrument of Peace, impressed by Rebecca’s well thought-through magic system, the depth of her characters, and the believable nature of their relationships. What comes next in Instrument of War will both enchant and surprise. We are delighted to be able to help Rebecca bring her vision and talent to such an appreciative audience.”

Instrument of War, Book II of the Symphony of the Cursed trilogy, will be published in eBook formats in June 2017 and in paperback in September 2017.

Notes for Editors

About Rebecca Hall

Rebecca HallRebecca started writing when she was supposed to be studying for her exams at Otago University but somehow passed anyway, eventually graduating with a decorative piece of paper. She moved to the UK to pursue a career in publishing and after a couple of mishaps ended up in Edinburgh and sold Symphony of the Cursed to Elsewhen Press, which is not quite the career she had in mind. The career she did have in mind was along more editorial lines, which is why she is now a volunteer at Inspired Quill and a freelance copy-editor for everyone else. She also has a blog
which she infrequently remembers to update, where those mysterious things known as short stories can be found.

visit bit.ly/InstrumentOfWar


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


“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.


“shamelessly entertaining” – review of Sons of Liberty on RisingShadow

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

On the RisingShadow.net website, Seregil of Rhiminee has just posted a review of Sons of Liberty, the fourth book in Christopher Nuttall’s Royal Sorceress series (apparently, while on holiday – that’s dedication!). Seregil starts by describing this book as wonderfully continuing “the shamelessly entertaining story of Lady Gwen”, he notes that Christopher Nuttall clearly aims to entertain readers by “investing time” into developing interesting characters and creating intriguing events. As a result this is “an entertaining and adventurous story about power, war, freedom, revolution and magic”.

In Sons of Liberty, Lady Gwen is sent to North America to train new sorcerers. Seregil writes that by “having Lady Gwen travel into the North American colonies the author brings plenty of freshness to the story” adding that Christopher “writes captivatingly about the political tensions that brew in the colonies”.

Seregil likes Christopher’s “way of writing about magic and magical abilities, because it seems to come naturally to him”. He also liked the use of humour to lighten the story “in a wonderful way”, and commended Christopher who “masters it so well that you can’t help but enjoy his sense of humour”.

Seregil recommends the book to readers “because it’s excellent and fluently written entertainment for adult readers.” And in his concluding remarks he returns to his initial comment: “It’s a shamelessly entertaining alternate history novel with plenty of magic. Excellent entertainment!

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