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Posts Tagged ‘Anna Thayer’

Book review: The Traitor’s Heir by Anna Thayer

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014
The Traitor's Heir by Anna Thayer

The Traitor’s Heir by Anna Thayer

Like many others, I suffer from PTRD – post-Tolkien reading disorder: the deepening sense of despair that slowly overwhelms a reader as he discovers that, in the field of fantasy fiction, he started at the top with the Good Professor and ever since then he has been coming down from the mountain of the worlds, into the flat plains – or, in some cases, stagnant pools – that comprise the world-building imaginations of other writers.

Let’s be clear about this: no one, and I mean no one, will match, let alone beat, Tolkien in the depth, breadth, height and profundity of their world building. The reasons for this are multiple, and mainly lie in the peculiar, and unique, range of gifts Tolkien brought to the creation of Middle-earth: most notably his astonishing grasp of the deep structure of language accompanied with the imagination to wield that creatively, and his profound, but non-allegorical faith, that transmuted the considerable suffering of his life into the meditation on divine providence that underlies his work.

So it’s hardly any surprise that, after discovering Tolkien and falling on any book that mentioned JRRT on its cover (‘comparable to Tolkien at his best’ – I’m looking at you, publishers of Stephen Donaldson), and finding out that none of them were comparable to Tolkien – and having fallen to the depths of Shannara – I shunned fantasy completely for many years. Recently, I’ve put a toe back into one or two of the pools in the Wood Between Worlds, but only for the relatively new genre of urban fantasy, which is making some progress (although I fear its obsession with the noumenal nature of tramps and hobos threatens towards self parody). So Anna Thayer’s ‘The Traitor’s Heir’ is the first proper, secondary world fantasy novel I’ve read for many years, and what a relief it was to enjoy it thoroughly. By keeping its focus strictly on the human (with a bit of magic thrown in) it avoids the unfavourable comparisons with Tolkien, while the emphasis on the struggles of the good does actually bear comparison with what Tolkien is doing in ‘The Lord of the Rings’. So, thank you, Anna, for reawakening my interest in secondary-world fantasy. Now for the second volume in the trilogy, ‘The King’s Hand’.

Future Fiction

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

There’s an excellent article by Claire Musters on the future of Christian fiction on Christianity Today, with some fascinating comments from a couple of the new writers that Tony Collins at Lion Fiction has found and published – and me, too. The other writers are much more interesting. Here’s an extract:

“I write books about people – the choices they make, both good and bad, and how those choices influence the present. This aspect is particularly important: that my central characters do not always make the right choices. They make mistakes and sometimes – even knowing it is wrong – continue to do so. Yet their faith is important to them and they try to live guided by it.”

Mortal Fire by CF Dunn

Mortal Fire by CF Dunn

Dunn believes that it the characters’ humanity, their struggles, compromises and efforts to put wrongs right again, that is key to her writing because it reflects life as we all experience it – irrespective of the fact that we live in a different century to the people in her novels.

Her faith is an intrinsic part of the writing process: “I set out to write books for the general market – wait, scrap that – I set out to write books for people irrespective of their beliefs or none, but I do so as a Christian, and can no more divorce my writing from my faith than I can the blood running through my body.”

To read the whole article, go here.