Thrillers, Chillers and Darn Good Books
Today’s spotlight is on Nicholas A Rose, author of the ilvenworld novels, Gifted Apprentice, Markan Empire and Markan Throne. If you enjoy epic fantasy it’s time to pull up a chair and come join us as we journey into a world where new enemies plot, old enemies wait, and only a sylph stands in their way. If you haven’t had a chance to sample Nicholas A Rose’s writing yet, this is your chance to get a sneak peak and discover a great new author.
Nicholas A. Rose has been reading fantasy fiction for longer than he can remember and writing it for only a little less time. Love of the sea and ships; mountains and the outdoors; and the rather more sedentary pastimes of chess, real ale and reading have all influenced his writing.
Nicholas lives in and is inspired by North Wales and believes all his best ideas come when out in the hills, often without pen and paper.
For those who must know, the “A” stands for Andrew.
Fantasy fiction. Some call it epic and others heroic, but there is a lot of cross-over in the sub-genres these days.
You have a continuing character in your novels. Give us a bit of background about him/her:
I have a character who appears in all the books. His name is Sallis ti Ath and he was born on one of the islands that are independent of the continent. He has a gift of being able to find criminals, wherever they run. In Markan Throne he was set onto one of the central characters.
Although Sallis becomes a bounty hunter, he has a well developed sense of justice. He never harms the innocent and only collects his fee on conviction, rather than arrest, of the criminal.
Sallis is respected and tolerated in Marka (the city he works from), rather than liked, but he has earned his reputation fairly. The City Guard always turn to him first when they find themselves floundering!
Tell us a little about your books.
All my books are set on the “ilvenworld”, a fantasy world not too dissimilar from our own.
There are two series on the go. The “Markan” novels (so far, Markan Throne and Markan Empire are out there, the third to follow) concentrate on the reestablishment of the Markan Empire and the struggle the rightful claimant has to win his throne. These I would describe as “epic” in scale, with several plotlines on the go at once.
In Markan Throne, one claimant is accused of arranging the murder of another, and this book deals with the consequences of that. The man accused of the murder must clear his name before the claims can go forward. At the same time, a third claimant is determined to take the throne for himself and lays siege to Marka.
In Markan Empire, a new enemy threatens the stability of the fledgling empire, and the defeated besiegers are still lurking, waiting for an opportunity to strike again. Spies are sent to learn the intentions of this dangerous new enemy, with surprising results.
The “Gifted” novellas (Gifted Apprentice, with a sequel following) map Sallis ti Ath’s journey from farmboy on an insignificant island to feared bounty bounter in Marka. Starting a little earlier in the timeline than the “Markan” novels, these lean more to “heroic fantasy”, concentrating on one central character. As novellas they are also shorter.
Gifted Apprentice begins with a sick Sallis ti Ath needing a touch-healer to cure him. The price of this is the boy himself. This novella shows the young Sallis as he learns his skills, including some that are not on the curriculum. The second novella will deal with his journey to Marka and putting his new skills into practice professionally.
Novel Excerpt from Markan Throne:
Belaika shivered in the pre-dawn gloom and stared up at the heavens, mouth open with wonder at the display of shooting stars. While his silver-gray eyes were turned upward, his ear-points twitched as he waited for the whistle that must come, informing him of the intentions of his master’s enemies.
Sounds reached him from behind, where the army readied itself for battle. He shivered again, this time not from cold. Although he was an army scout, subject to the same discipline as all other soldiers, he did not like battles. He and his kind were scouts and messengers; they were not expected to fight.
Pitched too high for human hearing, the sharp whistle reached Belaika and he stiffened, stretching up to his full height to acknowledge it with a whistle of his own. He trotted through the outer row of wooden stakes, twisting his way through the defenses and heard the whistle repeated as the message was relayed to the flank camps.
Most of the soldiers acknowledged him as he passed. He returned their greetings with nods and smiles. Infantrymen formed up before the earth bank and small detachments of mounted cavalry were behind them, all in full view of the approaching enemy. Behind the earth bank stood the war-machines: ballistas and huge mangonels.
He reached the yeoman. “Donenya, I heard,” he said.
“How far?” asked the yeoman.
“Five milas, closing.” He gave the rest of the message.
The yeoman nodded. “Go and tell the boss,” he said.
As he turned away from the yeoman, soldiers lifted a hopper full of spears and positioned it on the ballista. Along the rank of ballistas, more men did the same. The green fire was prepared, but the huge cauldrons were not yet lit. The bombardiers hated handling green fire: they said the only thing worse than handling it was having it land on you. The throwing arm of the last mangonel was now being hauled down, so it would not be seen until it was too late. These war-machines – although in a line – were three ranks, each with a corresponding row of marker posts out in the field, masquerading as advance stakes. All the mangonels had been ranged the previous day, pins locking the throwing arms into their respective ranges and colored boards attached to each machine to tell the bombardiers which was in which rank. Red for the first – or furthest – markers, white for the second and blue for the third. The men already positioned at the advance stakes were expected to turn and run, lulling the enemy into a false sense of security. They wanted the enemy to believe this was only a small army, not the full force.
Joining the paved road on which the army was camped, Belaika began to run, only slowing as he approached his master’s tent. Orders were shouted, repeated over and over as the yeoman did his work. At this tent, he was challenged, although he was well known to the guardsmen.
“Akram,” he said.
“Pass.” The guard nodded and relaxed the spear that had been leveled against Belaika’s chest, more for show than real threat. The guard winked at the scout. “He’s awake.”
Belaika nodded and pushed through the tent flap. He doubted if many had slept well.
“Enya,” he began, “they are five milas away, coming fast. They move one mila every fifteen minutes, but their war-machines are five milas further back, moving one mila every twenty-five minutes. The yeoman knows.”
Marcus Vintner, allegedly descended from the first Mark and claimant to the vacant Markan Throne, looked up from his map. Light-crystals provided plenty of light in the centre of the otherwise dim tent. The bedding was untouched, for Marcus had slept with his head on his arm at the map-table. Belaika was a little taller than his owner, his appearance more striking thanks to the gray, green and brown skin-paint that covered his body, with vivid slashes of black across face and chest. Despite this, Marcus was the one with real presence. Belaika’s silver-gray eyes, cat-slit black pupils narrowed against the brightness, and his pointed ears, betrayed his sylph race and hence his status.
What can your readers look forward to? Do you have an upcoming new release?
Gifted Hunter, sequel to Gifted Apprentice, is out next. This should be available towards the end of January 2012. Markan Sword will follow that later in the year, the third and final novel in the “Markan” trilogy. It’s perhaps inadvisable to work on two projects together, but they are at least related to each other.
Where can readers learn more about you and your work?
Ilvenworld Website Blurbs, covers, maps. This is quite a new website, so is still evolving.
Ilvenworld Blog What I’m up to, where I’m at, news. When it’s coming out, this is where you’ll hear about it first!
You can purchase Nicholas A. Rose’s books at the following retailers (these links will take you to Markan Throne, but all published books are listed):
and, of course Amazon Kindle
Please remember that all books by Nicholas A. Rose are ebooks, not printed.