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.
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…)
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 . . .
Recently I was asked, ‘what makes Malian, your main character in The Heir of Night unique in epic fantasy? And what makes a hero, anyway?’ My initial response was ‘aargh, the pressure’—not just of an example, but of encapsulating what is often the slow delicate process of character evolution. And Malian of Night’s character did evolve over many years, from long before I first put pen to paper: sometimes in small increments, occasionally in giant leaps. I have spoken elsewhere of the similar emergence of the Wall of Night world: from around the age of 10 I had a vision of a rugged, shadowy, wind-blasted environment, and the concept of a youthful female protagonist within that world developed at much the same time.
Although both the world and the character have evolved considerably from those first principles, the notion that Malian should initially be a youthful protagonist has remained unchanged. In this first book—of four in the series—she is thirteen, while Kalan, the second protagonist, is fourteen. Although this may seem young to us, thirteen and fourteen year olds have been regarded as adult or near adult through much of history (Shakespeare’s Juliet, for example, is fourteen; marriageable age at that time.) The age of these two central characters, at the cusp between childhood and adult responsibility, is one where—although not yet independent agents—most of us are making choices: about who we are, what beliefs and values we subscribe to, and whether we buy into the status quo or desire change. In the case of Malian and Kalan, these choices are not just personal but reflect the issues at stake in their wider society, known as the Derai—a people who believe they champion good, but are divided by prejudice, suspicion and fear. (more…)