Guest Post: “How to Build a Dragon” by Marc Turner

TurnerM-AuthorPicIf I asked you to picture a dragon in your mind, what would it look like? It would probably have wings and breathe fire. It might also have scales and a long barbed tail. As for the rest of its body, though, it would just look… well, dragon-y, right?

If a winged and armoured reptile is the basic template for a dragon, its other physical characteristics can vary hugely. When I was younger I did some roleplaying, and my game-world of choice was that of the Dragonlance novels. In those books, you find a real menagerie of dragons. Different breeds come in different colours, and breathe out different things. So, you get the quintessential red fire-breathing dragon, but you also get white frost-breathing dragons and blue lightning-breathing dragons. Those different breeds vary in size and power, and live in different habitats. Continue reading

Interview with MARC TURNER

TurnerM-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Marc Turner?

Marc Turner is the dashing and debonair (and sometimes delusional) author of the forthcoming epic fantasy series, The Chronicles of the Exile. He was born in Canada, but grew up in England, and currently lives in Durham with his wife and son.

And he’s as confused as everyone else as to why he’s started talking about himself in the third person.

Your debut, When The Heavens Fall, is due to be published this year by Tor Books. How would you introduce it to a new reader? Is it the beginning of a new series?

When The Heavens Fall tells the story of a mage who steals an artefact, the Book of Lost Souls, that gives him power over the dead. He uses it to resurrect an ancient civilization in order to challenge Shroud, the Lord of the Dead, for control of the underworld, and Shroud responds by sending his most formidable servants to seize the Book. But the god is not the only one interested in the Book, and a host of other forces converge, drawn by the magic that has been unleashed.

I spent a long time trying to think of a tag line that captures the book, and I came up with “The Lord of the Rings meets World War Z“. I should note, WTHF is not a zombie apocalypse story, but if you read the book (if? When!) you’ll understand the reference. Continue reading

Review: WHEN THE HEAVENS FALL by Marc Turner (Tor/Titan)

TurnerM-1-WherTheHeavensFallsUSThe Chronicles of the Exile begin

If you pick a fight with Shroud, Lord of the Dead, you had better ensure your victory, else death will mark only the beginning of your suffering.

A book giving its wielder power over the dead has been stolen from a fellowship of mages that has kept the powerful relic dormant for centuries. The thief, a crafty, power-hungry necromancer, intends to use the Book of Lost Souls to resurrect an ancient race and challenge Shroud for dominion of the underworld. Shroud counters by sending his most formidable servants to seize the artifact at all cost.

However, the god is not the only one interested in the Book, and a host of other forces converge, drawn by the powerful magic that has been unleashed. Among them is a reluctant Guardian who is commissioned by the Emperor to find the stolen Book, a troubled prince who battles enemies both personal and political, and a young girl of great power, whose past uniquely prepares her for an encounter with Shroud. The greatest threat to each of their quests lies not in the horror of an undead army but in the risk of betrayal from those closest to them. Each of their decisions comes at a personal cost and will not only affect them, but also determine the fate of their entire empire. 

This is a very interesting debut fantasy novel. Turner has taken many familiar and popular fantasy elements and made them his own: lots of magic, warring nations, a handful of questing fellowships, and an item of incredible power. What sets When the Heavens Fall apart, though, is that the power in this world lies in death magic. As a result, it’s a pretty dark, gothic tale and world. It is also an extremely strong debut. Continue reading

UK Cover: WHEN THE HEAVENS FALL by Marc Turner (Titan Books)

TurnerM-1-WhenTheHeavensFallUKI shared the US information about Marc Turner‘s upcoming debut fantasy novel, When the Heavens Fall, last month. Now, after the SciFi Now exclusive reveal, I can share the UK details and cover (right). The novel is due to be published in the UK by Titan Books on May 22nd, 2015. Here’s the synopsis:

Shroud is the Lord of the Dead.

Long ago he hid the Book of Lost Souls, a terrifying repository of unspeakable power, able to give its owner dominion over the fallen. For ages this perilous tome has been in the secret keeping of the mages of Erin Elal.

But when the renegade mage Mayot absconds with the Book and takes it deep into the haunted Forest of Sighs to decode its secrets, tendrils of death-magic snake out from its ancient pages. Spirits awaken. The dead rise. And the living face a war unlike any ever waged.

Into this dark vortex are swept four intrepid souls, each with their own agenda, their own cause, their own ghosts:

Luke, the betrayer and bitter former Guardian of Erin Elal, who is coerced into going after the book for his corrupt emperor; Romany, the high priestess of the goddess Spider, Shroud’s greatest rival, whose webs of deceit ensnared Mayot into stealing the Book in the first place; Ebon, heir to the throne of Galitia, who fights for his sanity and his realm against an onslaught of restless spirits; and Parolla, a deadly and resourceful young woman who seeks a direct confrontation with Shroud in order to settle an old debt.

Check back in mid-May for an interview with the author.