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.



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

“full-frontal, Gonzo storytelling” – review of The Janus Cycle and Dinnusos Rises on All Things Jill-Elizabeth

On her blog, All Things Jill-Elizabeth, Jill-Elizabeth recently reviewed The Janus Cycle and Dinnusos Rises by Tej Turner. The books were not her usual fare and she “found them a bit, well, grittier than my taste tends to run”. She freely admits that she decided not to finish reading either book, but felt compelled to write a review because to not do so wouldn’t “do justice to the author OR story … simply because I picked up a book outside of my comfort zone and it delivered what it promised, namely a story that I wasn’t exactly comfortable launching myself into.”

The Janus Cycle cover image
Artwork: Alison Buck

The Janus Cycle has multiple narrators (one per chapter) telling different aspects of the story from differing perspectives as they lead inevitably to the final event (that they all need to prevent). Jill comments that, as “the narrative progresses, you get glimpses of where you are and why you’re there, but there’s a certain amount of flexibility in the style that I struggled with a bit. I tend to prefer my novels in a more traditional format – I’m a bit old-school in that regard.” She adds “I like a slow-build, with lots of backstory and complicated, well-developed, characters. Janus has the latter in spades…” The stories that lead to the denouement are “told well” but unfortunately Jill couldn’t make it to the end.

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

Dinnusos Rises was, she says, “more my style”. However this too has multiple narrators and ultimately involved Jill feeling uncomfortable. As she says it “isn’t a comfort book, and I think stepping outside of my comfort zone is where I ran into issues with them. That’s me, not the books.” She found the characters “intriguing” and “colorfully presented without ever feeling either over- or under-done”. Tej, she says, “manages a tidy turn of phrase in his descriptions of people and their emotional baggage – there are some cleverly massaged psychological insights here, and those were fun to discover.” She adds “The writing is strong, as is the characterization”.

She concludes by saying that Tej is “a very talented individual”, describing his writing as “full-frontal, Gonzo storytelling”. Although they were quite far outside her usual reading taste, Jill says “they were very well crafted and the characters are deeply human for good and for ill. And on top of that, the cover illustrations are extremely cool, aren’t they?” As well as complimenting Tej’s writing and the covers of both books, Jill also described both Tej and Elsewhen Press as “exceedingly cool and easy to work with” – obviously a very discerning person!

You can, and should, read the whole of Jill’s review on her blog here.


Launch party for Dinnusos Rises – Tej Turner talks in a tent

Well, actually, it was a yurt but that wouldn’t have been alliterative.

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

Saturday the 8th July saw a vibrant and excited group of people from far and wide descend on the Milgi restaurant in Cardiff. Secreted at the back of the restaurant in an unexpected outdoor space is a yurt full of comfy sofas. Once Tej and friends had been let loose on it there were vines hanging down from the central opening and draped across tables, along with grapes too. But more importantly there was wine, I mean books. We were all there for the launch party for Dinnusos Rises by Tej Turner. It was a good turnout and a fantastic time was had by all. Before proceedings really got underway Tej was interviewed on camera, giving some thoughtful insight into his influences and motivation. Then, for some reason, it was decided to interview yours truly (fame at last!). What’s even more surprising is that any of my interview actually made it through the final edit.

If you were there you know what a great time we all had. If you weren’t there, you should now be kicking yourself at a missed opportunity. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and met some really lovely people. Thanks Tej.

Behind the scenes (literally) - Tej being interviewed on camera
Behind the scenes (literally) – Tej being interviewed on camera
A Tej talk - not be confused with a TED talk
A Tej talk – not be confused with a TED talk

If you want to watch the interview it’s on Youtube:

Here’s Tej reading:

“unusual blend of urban fantasy, mythology and self-discovery” – review of Dinnusos Rises on SFcrowsnest

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

On SFcrowsnest, Vinca Russell has reviewed Dinnusos Rises, the latest novel from Tej Turner. Describing it as an “unusual blend of urban fantasy, mythology and self-discovery” Vinca says that the story gradually unfolds “until it reaches a final, fairly satisfying climax at the end”.

As in The Janus Cycle, Tej provides us with a separate narrator in each chapter, which Vinca found “to be less irritating than I expected and for this story it fitted nicely”. The inclusion of mythical figures, a ghost, and characters who have powers “ranging from time travel to dream walking, via being able to talk to animals and alter people’s emotions by playing music” “makes for an interesting mix, but I think I’d have liked it all to be explored in a bit more depth” says Vinca. Adding that it’s “great that Turner has populated his stories with characters that aren’t just white, heterosexual and cisgender – there should be more of that diversity in fiction” but sometimes explanations of such issues broke up the pacing of the story.

Vinca concludes by saying “I was pleasantly surprised” by Dinnusos Rises, observing that it “used the multiple POV narrative structure well and the plot tied up nicely”.

You can read Vinca’s full review on SFcrowsnest here.


“excellent in every possible way” – review of Dinnusos Rises on RisingShadow

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

On, Seregil of Rhiminee has just posted a marvellous review of Dinnusos Rises, the latest novel from Tej Turner. Although it is a sequel to his debut novel The Janus Cycle, it can also be read as a standalone novel. Seregil says he found The Janus Cycle captivating (“intriguing and insightful” was how he described it in his review) and he therefore had high expectations for Dinnusos Rises. In this review he writes that he is pleased to say that Dinnusos Rises met all of his expectations and “even managed to exceed them, because it’s just as rewarding and thought-provoking a reading experience as The Janus Cycle and then some”, adding that it is a “perfect companion” to The Janus Cycle.

Seregil describes Dinnusos Rises as “vibrant and intriguingly gritty”, saying that it is “one of the most fascinating novels of the year” with a “sophisticatedly complex story and colourful characters” which “will mesmerise readers who enjoy reading thought-provoking stories”.

He says it’s great that Tej “blends literary fiction with speculative fiction and spices the story with a touch of surrealism” to make a novel that takes readers on a “captivating and rewarding journey into a realistic yet surreal urban landscape where strange things happen and where reality meets fantasy in a powerful way”. Seregil compliments Tej’s characterisation as “excellent”, all of the characters are three-dimensional, have depth to them and each has a unique voice. He says that the characters “interact with each other in a believable way” and “nothing feels artificial or pretentious”. Using multiple viewpoints in a “vivid way” Tej “keeps the story fresh and interesting”.

Seregil says that Tej has a “genuine talent for writing stories that are spiced with gritty realism” exploring challenging themes in a realistic way while avoiding “melodramatic moments”; Tej counterbalances the harshness and grittiness with “moments of beauty and a few humorous elements”. Seregil says that one of the best things about the novel is that Tej “explores attraction, sex and different forms of sexuality in an admirably bold and realistic way”, and “dares to explore different kind of sexuality”.

In conclusion, Seregil describes Dinnusos Rises as a “prime example of what gifted authors are capable of achieving when they have courage to write about various themes and issues in a bold and insightful way”, and says it is “one of the best novels of the year” that “dares to be different and wonderfully showcases the diversity of the genre and its possibilities”. His summary is that Dinnusos Rises is “excellent in every possible way, because it’s a daring, thought-provoking and satisfyingly gritty novel”.

This was a very brief précis of Seregil’s review which you should read here.


“Attention to detail” – review of Dinnusos Rises by Sheri A. Wilkinson

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

On a number of review sites, including Library Thing, Sheri A. Wilkinson has just posted her review of Dinnusos Rises, the sequel to The Janus Cycle by Tej Turner. She noted that the use of a series of narrators, the main characters in the story, meant that she “got to feel what each was going through”. She also commented that “Attention to detail brings you deeper into the story”. She had not previously read The Janus Cycle (but is now going to). She says she enjoyed Dinnusos Rises and is sure that other readers will enjoy it too.

You can read Sheri’s review on Library Thing here.


“whole-hearted recommendation” – review of Dinnusos Rises on HumanitysDarkerSide

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

On her book blog HumanitysDarkerSide, Lise has written her review of Dinnusos Rises the new novel from Tej Turner. She had previously recommended The Janus Cycle when she reviewed it in 2015, so we were keen to read her review of Dinnusos Rises which follows many of the same characters. We weren’t disappointed, and nor was Lise. She starts by recommending reading the Janus Cycle first – the two books are standalone and can be read independently, but they have some common characters and the action of Dinnusos Rises takes place a few months after The Janus Cycle. After a little background to the book and how it follows on from The Janus Cycle, Lise highlights one of the main themes of the book, the rise of corporatocracy, as well as other significant issues such as friendship, trust, betrayal and love. She says that Dinnusos Rises is well-written with “fleshed-out characters” and “presents current issues in a package filled with action and adventure”. She concludes by saying that Dinnusos Rises has her “whole-hearted recommendation”. Thanks Lise.

You can read Lise’s full review on HumanitysDarkerSide here.


Out now – Dinnusos Rises by Tej Turner

Tej TurnerWe are delighted to be publishing Dinnusos Rises today, the second novel by Tej Turner. Set in the same urban landscape as his debut novel The Janus Cycle, and featuring some of the same characters along with new voices, Dinnusos Rises is a modern-day fantasy with a sharp tongue and a hard heart, but a profound soul.

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

Dinnusos Rises is a standalone sequel and does not require the reader to have previously read The Janus Cycle, but fans of The Janus Cycle will be pleased to catch up with some of the characters they have met before. The vibe has soured somewhat after a violent clash in the Janus nightclub a few months ago, and since then Neal has opened a new establishment called ‘Dinnusos’.

Located on a derelict and forgotten side of town, it is not the sort of place you stumble upon by accident, but over time it enchants people, and soon becomes a nucleus for urban bohemians and a refuge for the city’s lost souls. Rumour has it that it was once a grand hotel, many years ago, but no one is quite sure. Whilst mingling in the bar downstairs you might find yourself in the company of poets, dreamers, outsiders, and all manner of misfits and rebels. And if you’re daring enough to explore its ghostly halls, there’s a whole labyrinth of rooms on the upper floors to get lost in…

Now it seems that not just Neal’s clientele, but the entire population of the city, begin to go crazy when beings, once thought mythological, enter the mortal realm to stir chaos as they sow the seeds of militancy.

Eight characters. Most of them friends, some of them strangers. Each with their own story to tell. All of them destined to cross paths in a surreal sequence of events which will change them forever.

Dinnusos Rises is available from today on all major eBook platforms. It will also be available in paperback from 10th July.

What are you waiting for? Buy it now and get reading straight away. You won’t regret it.


Tej Turner interviewed on RisingShadow

Tej TurnerOn the RisingShadow website, Seregil of Rhiminee has posted an interview with Tej Turner author of The Janus Cycle and Dinnusos Rises.

Tej talks about some of his experiences and influences when he was growing up, that have left their mark on him and his fiction; he illuminates some of the motivation behind his latest book Dinnusos Rises; he talks about his deliberate structuring of both books to enable him to encompass diversity more effectively; and he tells us a little bit about what else he is planning to do.

The Janus Cycle cover imageArtwork: Alison BuckIf you enjoyed The Janus Cycle, then this interview should make you even more keen to read Dinnusos Rises, which is already available for pre-order on most eBook platforms (see here for details). If you haven’t read any of Tej’s work yet, but are a fan of classic urban fantasy or magical realism then this interview should convince you to give Tej’s books a place on your bookshelf (real or digital).

Either way, you should read the interview (click here to read it on RisingShadow) for an enriching experience!