Thursday, 23 March 2017

Chris Wooding announces major new fantasy trilogy

Chris Wooding, the author of the Tales of the Ketty Jay and Braided Path series (amongst many others, like the superb The Fade), has confirmed that his new fantasy trilogy will be published by Gollancz. The series starts with The Ember Blade, which will be published in February 2018.

Wooding has been working on this novel for over two years and seeks to meld the complexity and nuance of modern fantasy with the adventure of the classic late 20th Century genre. The blurb is as follows:
A land under occupation. A legendary sword. A young man’s journey to find his destiny.Aren has lived by the rules all his life. He’s never questioned it; that’s just the way things are. But then his father is executed for treason, and he and his best friend Cade are thrown into a prison mine, doomed to work until they drop. Unless they can somehow break free . . . 
But what lies beyond the prison walls is more terrifying still. Rescued by a man who hates him yet is oath-bound to protect him, pursued by inhuman forces, Aren slowly accepts that everything he knew about his world was a lie. The rules are not there to protect him, or his people, but to enslave them. A revolution is brewing, and Aren is being drawn into it, whether he likes it or not. 
The key to the revolution is the Ember Blade. The sword of kings, the Excalibur of his people. Only with the Ember Blade in hand can their people be inspired to rise up . . . but it’s locked in an impenetrable vault in the most heavily guarded fortress in the land. All they have to do now is steal it. . .

On a Reddit AMA a couple of months back, he described it thusly:

The new book is my first attempt at doing, er, I suppose you'd call it 'traditional' fantasy. I grew up on ShannaraLOTRDragonlance and that kind of thing; they were the books that got me into fantasy. And I realised in almost 20 years of writing I'd never actually tried a fantasy story in that kind of world: the kind of pseudo-European environment that most readers identify as fantasy. My big series were always set in weird environments: in Broken Sky everyone had a 'superpower' through their spirit-stones; The Braided Path was Oriental flintlock fantasy shading into science fiction; Ketty Jay was dieselpunk fantasy. This new one, I'm not throwing out all the tropes at the start as I usually do. I want this one to feel like a fantasy, like the books I loved when I was a kid. And then I'm going to tell a story working within that format, and try to make it all fresh and new, using all the ensemble casting and characterisation skillz I honed during the Ketty Jay books. It's not going to be like the fantasy of the 80s and 90s, with its black and white morality and clear-cut heroes and villains; nor is it going to be grimdark. It's a pretty lo-magic setting. Beyond that, all I can tell you is that I'm having a total blast writing it. There's a certain freedom in being able to employ the assumptions and traditions of fantasy fiction and concentrate on story and character, instead of starting everything from scratch.
Wooding is currently working on the sequel. Given the very high quality of Wooding's previous novels, this immediately joins my "most wanted" queue.

1 comment:

Joseph Evans said...

Thanks for highlighting this! It will definitely jump to the top of my TBR list next year when it comes out. I've grown a little weary of late with fantasy that's overly focused on politics and war. (I'm okay with those types of stories, it just seems like that's what everyone is writing these days, and I could use a little variety.) I miss the quest fantasy of my youth (although not the simplistic storytelling), and have been looking for something in that style. It sounds like this might fit the bill perfectly-- old school spirit with modern day execution!