SPFBO 2017 Reviews

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The first reviews for SPFBO2017  are up, and while The Grey Mage was one of the first eliminated, Jared from Pornokitsch has left a nice review.

The Grey Mage by Aidan Hennessy. Aelzandar, an outcast elf, boldly escapes from slavery, and, at the point of recapture, is saved by a pair of wizards. They take him to their master – the Grey Mage. Cassian is the third-most powerful wizard in the land (I envision this like the old index card-based ‘ladder’ hinging in a school gym), and so-called because he refuses to join with either the White or Black mages, preferring to further his own ambitions. Aelzandar fits in with Cassian’s crew as a cook, steward and general dogsbody, giving him ample opportunity to observe and admire his master’s adventures. The initial set-up is a slightly false steer, as Aelzandar is largely a blank (he has his own Special Destiny woven in, and it has a role at the end, but he’s actually more interesting as a neutral observer). The magic system is pleasantly abstract, and has Lovecraftian elements that help showcase exactly how weird and unknowable magic can be. The Grey Mage is a quick read, and a light one.

Click here to see the post in full, along with the other 25 eliminated contenders, and the four semi-finalists.

The Grey Mage – Out Now!

The Grey Mage, my new novella, is out now.

Currently available at Amazon Kindle and at Smashwords, look for further releases (incl iBooks and Kobo) in the very near future.

(UPDATE: Now available on iBooks and Kobo.)

Below is the final cover and synopsis:

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Before he was the Archmage, he was the Exile…

Driven from his home and made a slave, Aelzandar flees his captors in an unknown land. As the natives turn against him and threaten his life, he is saved by a mysterious cadre who dwell in the Tower of the Magi.

Welcomed into this brethren, he is introduced to their enigmatic master, the Grey Mage Cassian. In this place, Aelzandar feels at peace for the first time in decades.

Aelzandar’s tranquil new life is short-lived when a discovery in the tower destroys this utopian society and drives a wedge through Aelzandar’s new comrades. Deserted by his students and friends, Cassian looks to Aelzandar for help, but what can one slave do against the power of the divine?

Journey to the Grey Mage: Lord of the Spellweavers

In this the fourth and final preview for The Grey Mage, we meet the Spellweaver cadre and their leader, Lord Saegras li’Aelsar.

As Liderial labours under a brutal occupation, the free remnants of the Eldara nation hold court in distant Aderial. Without a King, the Eldara look to the Spellweaver caste for leadership. The greatest and most influential Spellweaver of them all is Saegras li’Aelsar.
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Saegras may be powerful, self-assured and convinced of Eldara exceptionalism, but he knows to acknowledge assistance when it is offered. An alliance with the Archmage Kelloccio put the resources of Qarld at Saegras’ disposal, a pact that would be vital when the time came to liberate Liderial.

Until then there were other pressing matters. Troubling news had come from the wild lands of Goriinchia, where a group of unaligned mages had taken possession of a Soldara ruin. Saegras and his fellow Spellweavers were alarmed by this development. There were Soldara secrets that could be dangerous in the wrong hands and when it turned out that these mages were led by Cassian, a known former pupil of the madman Rive, the situation became more serious. The Spellweavers journeyed to Goriinchia intending to remove these mages, one way or another.

Journey to the Grey Mage: Vengeance of the Goddess

vanaja_webIn our previous post on the setting of The Grey Mage, we met Cassian the Grey, leader of the unaligned mages who refuse to choose sides between Rive and Kelloccio. Now we turn to his second in command, confidant and lover, Vanaja of Tarishtia.

The Infinite Caliphate looms large in the anxieties of the people of Carurlonia, and its territories seem to stretch on forever, so much so that few realise that beyond the Caliphate, to the west, is an empire that rivals it in size.

The Tarishtian Raj has long been at odds with its neighbours, who regard the faith of the Tarishtians as a primitive form of idol worship. This belief was tested in a disastrous invasion where the forces of the Caliphate were shattered. While the faithful of Qarld is not ready to admit the existence of the Tarishtian Mother Goddess, the grandees of the Caliphate are wise enough to admit that something powerful dwells within the Forbidden City.

Wars as such ended between Tarishtia and Qarld, but raids and border skirmishes continued. After the Forbidden City itself was breached Qardleeans became aware of an assassin in their midst, one named the Vengeance of the Goddess, with a hatred of Qarld and all it stood for.

Few would have guessed that such an assassin was a young woman, scarcely more than a girl, orphaned by Qardleean raiders and using her newly discovered talent for the Art to wreak havoc across the lands of the Caliphate.

Eventually, she chose a target beyond her – the great wizard Kelloccio. Though Ralomish by birth, Kelloccio lived in the Caliphate as a guest of the great sorceress Fatima al’Naif. It was indicative of Kelloccio’s great charisma that he was able to turn Vanaja from an enemy into an ally and so she joined his retinue at the same time as another wizard, Cassian, arrived after breaking from Rive.

When Kelloccio would not allow Vanaja to continue her private quest of vengeance against her perceived foes, Vanaja left the wizard, taking Cassian, her new paramour with her. It was to the Tower of the Magi in Goriinchia they went. Here Cassian promised Vanaja the power to see her dream of revenge come true.