We are delighted to share our cover for DAUGHTER OF BLOOD, the third instalment in Helen Lowe’s David Gemmell Award-winning series, the Wall of Night.
This much-anticipated and thrilling epic fantasy will be released on 26th January 2016, but you can preorder it today!
A failing wall, a broken shield, and an enemy that will exploit every weakness . . .
Malian and Kalan have recovered two of the three legendary weapons of the Derai, but already it may be too late. The Wall of Night, fractured by centuries of blood feud and civil strife, is on the verge of falling.
Meanwhile, among Grayharbor backstreets, an orphan boy falls foul of dark forces. A daughter of the House of Blood must be married to the Earl of Night, a pawn in the web of her family’s ambition, and Kalan is caught in a political web he may not be able to escape.
While even as Malian dodges Darkswarm pursuers in her search for the Shield of Heaven, rumour whispers that it may be broken beyond repair – and she herself may be the blade the ancient enemy will drive into the heart of the Derai Alliance.
Last week I mentioned the diversity of heavily armed societies a reader might expect to find in a High Epic tale like THE GATHERING OF THE LOST (UK|ANZ)– which got me thinking about the importance of conflict to epic fantasy generally, and about the specific conflicts in the Wall of Night series’ world of Haarth.
The Importance of Large-Scale Conflict In Epic Fantasy
Something I’ve discussed before in relation to epic fantasy – particularly in my Big Idea post for THE HEIR OF NIGHT (UK|ANZ) – is the way in which classic epic stories speak to our human condition through juxtaposing the internal conflicts of the protagonists with the external conflicts in which they are engaged. Nations and worlds are often at stake; at the very least major paradigm shifts and world-altering events provide a way of exploring more personal struggles and human cost.
The conflicts that characterize the Wall of Night series honour that epic tradition. (more…)
When embarking on a High Epic tale like THE GATHERING OF THE LOST (UK|ANZ), with its diversity of heavily armed societies, making an inventory of the epic armoury becomes a priority. Any good armoury, after all, should comprise an array of weapons – some magical, some mythic, some even real – that may, depending on circumstances, save the day for one’s protagonists.
The Soul-Sucking Sword
A favoured contender for any self-respecting High Epic tale has to be The Soul-Sucking Sword. After all, they do abound within the annals of the epic literature we love: from Elric of Melniboné and Stormbringer, to CJ Cherryh’s Morgaine with Changeling, and Steven Erikson’s Anomander Rake and Dragnipur. Even Robin McKinley’s (far) more benign Blue Sword has an ambivalent sense of humour. When the chips are down, a soul-sucking sword – or one that can drop whole mountain ranges, like the Blue Sword – has to be handy to any protagonist with worlds to save and a destiny to fulfil.
There may not precisely be soul-sucking swords in THE GATHERING OF THE LOST, but there is reference to black blades:
“Fool!” the old woman spoke with asperity despite her cut and bruised mouth. “She’s carrying black blades—that’s how she defeated the siren worm five years ago. That’s where all your power is going now, too, unless I much mistake the matter.”
“Black blades—fables for children!” Boras said, but Garan noticed they had all taken a step back.”
There is also a frost-fire sword with a liking for geasas—but to say any more than that might be a spoiler.
The Spear of Power
Spears of power are almost as popular in the epic armoury as soul-sucking swords. Tolkien’s Gil-galad carried Aiglos, which “none could withstand”, into battle against Sauron at the end of the Second Age, while the Irish hero, Cuchulain, possessed the Gáe Bolg, the spear of mortal pain. Whether the spear of power is quite as effective as a soul-sucking sword remains moot however. Tamora Pierce’s heroine, Keladry, may wield the glaive to good effect in the “Protector of the Small” series, but proficiency with a spear does not preserve Oberyn Martell in George RR Martin’s “A Son of Ice and Fire.” Nor does it appear to have done Kaladin a great deal of good, so far, in Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings. (more…)
We’re all absolutely thrilled to announce that Helen Lowe has won the David Gemmell Morningstar Award for her brilliant debut fantasy THE HEIR OF NIGHT! (UK | ANZ)
Biggest congratulations go to Helen – we can’t think of anyone who deserves this more. We’re constantly amazed by her hard work and her skillfully plotted fantasy writing, (we just can’t wait for her third novel, DAUGHTER OF BLOOD) and we’re delighted that she’s been recognised in this way.
The win was announced on Friday evening, in a glamorous ceremony held at the Magic Circle Headquarters in London – some photos of the awards ceremony below. Congratulations also go to the other winners on the night: Patrick Rothfuss, who won the Legend Award, and Raymond Swanland, who took home the Ravenheart Award for best cover art.
Don’t forget that Helen, with her epic fantasy novel THE HEIR OF NIGHT, is one of five authors shortlisted for the David Gemmell Morning Star Award for Best Fantasy Newcomer and that you can still get your votes in here until 12 Noon GMT 31st May.
Orbit authors N. K. Jemisin and Brent Weeks have also taken part in Reddit AMAs recently, and it looks like they had a great time of it!
We’re all so pleased to announce that Helen Lowe’s THE HEIR OF NIGHT has been shortlisted for a David Gemmell Award! Our biggest congratulations to Helen, and we’re keeping everything crossed for the final awards announcement on 15th June, even though it’s pretty hard to type on the blog with crossed fingers!
If you liked THE HEIR OF NIGHT then please do go and vote for Helen at the Gemmell Awards website. It’s as easy as just one click! There’s no need to sign up, although if you’d like to be a Gemmell Awards member then you can get a free account and become part of the discussion.
There are five books on the shortlist, and voting closes on 31st May 2012, 12 Noon GMT.
Last week we showed you the first part of this interview, in which Helen Lowe interviewed Ian Irvine about the publication of his brand new epic fantasy series, The Tainted Realm. This week the tables have turned! Click through to the interview to read more . . .
April’s such a great month for epic fantasy fans, with the release of both Ian Irvine’s VENGEANCE and Helen Lowe’s THE GATHERING OF THE LOST! We wanted to celebrate by doing something a bit different on the blog – and we thought: ‘Who better to interview a fantasy author than another fantasy author?’
This is the first part of that interview, in which Helen interviews Ian about his new series The Tainted Realm. Look out for the second part, when Ian interviews Helen, this time next week!
Click through to hear all about Ian’s pet hates in fantasy, how his background as a marine scientist affects his writing, and also just what’s wrong with magic in Harry Potter…
It’s the day you’ve been waiting for ever since finishing THE HEIR OF NIGHT (UK|ANZ) – and if you haven’t read that yet, what’s stopping you? There are no excuses for not reading this fantastic series, that Robin Hobb called: ‘A richly told tale of strange magic, dark treachery and conflicting loyalties, set in a well-realised world.’
Five years after the Darkswarm assault on her stronghold home, Malian of Night remains missing, believed dead in the wilds of Jaransor.
But not all accept her death and now her enemies are on the hunt. Suspicion falls on the heralds Terathan and Jehane, who find themselves caught in a web of intrigue and murder during the Ijiri Festival of Masks. They flee bearing word of a death on the wall – and a call to duty and honour that Malian must answer or be foresworn . . .
Helen Lowe, award-winning author of THE HEIR OF NIGHT and the upcoming THE GATHERING OF THE LOST, interviews John R. Fultz about his recent fantasy debut, SEVEN PRINCES. According to John, “This is one of those author-to-author interviews where we really get into writing techniques, philosophies, etc. It’s way cool…”