Wednesday 16 May 2012

Out this week: The Shadowmage Trilogy

The Shadowmage Trilogy
by Matthew Sprange


Forced onto the streets of Turnitia after the army destroys his home and murders his parents, Lucius Kane becomes an excellent thief, gaining notoriety in his new profession. Soon drawn into a war between rival thieves guilds, Kane fights for friends and profit but finds himself pulled into the darker and more mysterious world of the Shadowmage. Mercenary practitioners who combine stealth with magic, Shadowmages make the best scouts, infiltrators, spies ... and assassins!

This stunning fantasy features a never before seen final part of the Shadowmage Trilogy, completing the saga of Lucius Kane.

Mr Sprange has a solid history in roleplaying design as well as writing over two dozen gaming books, including the Babylon 5, Judge Dredd, and Starship Troopers games, and has won two Origins Awards for his work in miniature wargames.

We asked him about fantasy worlds, finding time to write, and reading books on wildlife...

* Tell us a bit about The Shadowmage Trilogy and why people should buy it.

The Shadowmage Trilogy charts the return of one of Kerberos' 'legacy' characters to the free city of Turnitia, Lucias Kane. He is a rogue, a mercenary, really he is a bum with a sword. However, he is also a Shadowmage, someone who combines magic with stealth. He gets drawn first into one of the thieves' guilds of the city, and then the small group of Shadowmages who are beginning to return after being persecuted some years before.

The first book concentrates on the Thieves' War as rival guilds clash, but the backstory shows Lucius developing his Shadowmage skills. As the trilogy unfolds, his thieves' guild finds itself up against the Vos Empire, a tyrannical state that invades Turnitia, while lucius himself finds his loyalties split between the thieves and the Shadowmages.

* With three books set in the same world, how did things evolve over time?

Well, the first book really sets the scene, putting Lucius at the centre of several struggles between thieves, Shadowmages and two two rival empires of the world (Vos and Pontaine). After that, it was really just a case of thinking 'how can I make life more difficult for Lucius?' So, one of his fellow Shadowmages really goes off the deep end (and ends up destroying a fair portion of the city), a preacher from one of the empires makes it his personal mission to finish Lucius off and, to top it all, there is a rogue artefact from the time of the Older Races that Lucius wants no part of and yet cannot ignore.

* What are the elements that make a fantasy series work well?

Honestly, I think they are the same things that make any story, of any genre work well - conflict, drama, the ordinary man doing extraordinary things, or the extraordinary man affected by ordinary things. With fantasy, however, you have a much bigger canvas to work on.

* Tell us a bit about your writing routine.

I wish I had one! I try to set aside 'writing blocks' of 4-5 hours at a time, during which I will try to complete a whole chapter. That does not always work for long chapters, of course, so sometimes it gets split. As for when I schedule this writing time - whenever 4-5 free hours pop up!

* What are your five favourite novels?

Oh, now you are asking... In no particular order, I would have to say Starship Troopers, Frank Herbert's Dune sequence, and Bernard Cornwell's Arthur books. And I am going to hope you don't spot that is actually 10 books!

* What advice would you give to new writers hoping to break into the field?

Read. A lot. And don't confine yourself to your favourite genre. If you want to write science-fiction, read action thrillers, courtroom dramas, epic verse. Read non-fiction, and don't confine yourself to science-fiction related topics - read histories, biographies, books on wildlife, astronomy, engineering. You can use ALL of it. And once you get into the habit of constant reading, don't forget to write. Sounds obvious, but it is very easy to get caught up in the 'real world' and forget that you always wanted to be a writer.

The Shadowmage Trilogy is available now in the UK and Ireland, and in North America.


Anonymous said...

was a good series but the ending to the third one kinda made me mad is there going to be a fourth explaining what happened in the end?

David Moore said...

Hi Anonymous,

As it happens, there is a final book coming out very soon, The Children of the Pantheon by Mike Wild, in which Lucius Kane joins forces with Kali Hooper, Silus Morlader and Gabriella DeZantez in the climactic adventure that will wrap up the main Twilight plot.

Children draws together not just the heroes but the villains and events of all four storylines, and should answer all your questions about Kane.