QC and Bridges, weekly free-circulation entertainment/lifestyle magazines put out by the Regina Leader Post and the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, respectively, have both just run what I wrote for their popular “Read My Book” feature focusing on local authors’ works. Here’s what I had to say about Magebane (the online version here at the Star-Phoenix’s website is slightly truncated):
First things first: yes, Lee Arthur Chane, c’est moi, Edward Willett. The pseudonym (a marketing decision by my publisher, DAW Books in New York, because this book marks my move into fantasy from science fiction) is actually the middle names of my two older brothers and myself.
If you’re not familiar with the term “fantasy novel,” well, The Lord of the Rings would be the classic example. Or you might have seen A Game of Thrones on HBO, based on George R.R. Martin’s epic series. Essentially, fantasy novels take place in mythical lands, and typically involve magical or supernatural elements.
In Magebane, the mythical land is the Kingdom of Evrenfels, ruled by a powerful nobility known as the MageLords, because they can use magic. They rule with an iron fist over the Commoners, who have no magic.
But the MageLords haven’t always lived in Evrenfels. Eight centuries ago they were chased out of their old kingdom by a Commoner revolt, led by something or someone called the Magebane that rendered their magic useless. They fled to the far side of the world, dragging some Commoners with them, and hid themselves away behind an impenetrable magical barrier. But now various MageLords would like to remove that barrier, each for his or her own reason, a new Magebane has arisen…and there are, bubbling up from the increasingly technological advanced Commoners the MageLords oppress, new rumors of rebellion.
What no one in Evrenfels realizes is that the Commoners outside the kingdom, for whom the MageLords are nothing but myth, have explored the world right up to the Great Barrier itself, which they see as a baffling scientific anomaly. Their technology has advanced even further than that of the Commoners in Evrenfels: so far, in fact, that one day a young man crash-lands in the kingdom aboard an experimental airship that has just flown over the Barrier…and throws everyone’s schemes into turmoil.
Though a land of magic and MageLords may seem far removed from mundane Saskatchewan, local readers will actually find themselves very much at home in Evrenfels, a land cold in winter and hot in summer, largely prairie in the south, with lakes and forests in the north. They may find themselves even more at home in the capital city of New Coroba, where the King rules from a white stone palace (complete with equestrian statue in the formal gardens out front) set in a park on the southern shore of a man-made lake: albeit it a lake and park and palace protected from winter’s wrath by a magical dome that makes it always spring. (OK, yes, that was pure wish-fulfillment on my part.)
Magebane came out in early October, and reviewers have been kind: in fact, Publishers Weekly calls it “spectacular,” and says, “Double and triple crosses, fast-paced action, and powerful moral conviction will have readers hanging on every word.”