This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
25.06.19 / Titan Books / Urban Fantasy / Paperback / 336pp / 978-1785650321
Target Audience: For readers who like fantasy, mythic creatures/beings and narratives that pit humanity against those they thought couldn’t possibly truly exist. Plenty of horror blended with moments of wonder, suspense and ferocity (both human and other-worldly).
About Tim Lebbon
About The Edge
There exists a secret and highly illegal trade in mythological creatures and their artifacts. Certain individuals pay fortunes for a sliver of a satyr’s hoof, a gryphon’s claw, a basilisk’s scale, or an angel’s wing. Embroiled in the hidden world of the Relics, creatures known as the Kin, Angela Gough is now on the run in the United States.
Forty years ago the town of Longford was the site of a deadly disease outbreak that wiped out the entire population. The infection was contained, the town isolated, and the valley in which it sits flooded and turned into a reservoir. The truth—that the outbreak was intentional, and not every resident of Longford died—disappeared beneath the waves.
Now the town is revealed again. The Kin have an interest in the ruins, and soon the fairy Grace and the Nephilim leader Mallian are also drawn to them. The infection has risen from beneath silent waters, and this forgotten town becomes the focus of the looming battle between humankind and the Kin.
Q&A with Tim Lebbon
Thank you Tim for taking some time to answer a few questions about the finale to your Relics series, The Edge. Could you give us your own personal overview of what readers should expect in within the book?
Thanks for having me! Well, this is the final book in the trilogy, so of course I’m going to be tying up the various threads that have been laid out in Relics and The Folded Land. The Kin’s efforts at Ascent are drawing close, Angela and her family and friends are still heavily involved with all aspects of the Kin––both good and bad––and there are also new characters introduced to the story, with their own aims, faults, and destinies to fulfil. I like to think the story will defy some expectations, and I’m really pleased with the way it’s all turned out. Writing a trilogy has been really hard work! I hope anyone who reads all three books will agree that it’s paid off.
The Relics series is filled with horrors and beauties, never really knowing which is more dangerous, and the Kin are an impressive amalgamation of legend, fairy tale, lore, mythology and religion. Each instalment pulled me further from reality and closer to this hidden world sitting around us. Where does your inspiration for a series such as this come from?
I wrote a short story a few years ago (also called Relics) which established the concept, and even while I was writing that story I knew that there was a lot more I wanted to tell. When I signed with Titan for a three book deal, originally it as only the first novel, Relics, that was set in this universe. But I quickly realised that either that novel would be a massive one … or the story was three books. My editor there, Steve Saffel, was pleased with that, and even encouraged it, and so the idea of three books was born. I had a skeleton of the whole story arc in mind, but it took a lot of work over several years to really flesh it out. I usually write pretty organically, with not a huge amount of pre-planning, but with this series I obviously had to adjust the way I worked slightly. And that was fine. I like a challenge, and changing up the way I write, even slightly, gave it a little freshness, even if it did sometimes make things harder.
How does it feel to be bringing the Relics series to a close? Did it come together exactly as you imagined it to be?
Part of this is probably answered above, but yes, I think it did flow towards the end pretty much as I anticipated. It does feel good to finish it. As I mentioned, writing a trilogy is really hard work, not least because with two or three years between the first book and the last, it’s sometimes hard to remember what came before! Reading your own published novels is a strange experience after they’ve been out there for so long, but it had to be done. I was quietly pleased that, actually, they’re not that bad!
I’m very pleased with the trilogy, but also pleased that I can now dig into something new.
I really like the way you have kept the characters moving and never letting them settle into one role for too long. Putting each person or other-worldy entity through their toughest trials yet. Who was your favourite character to write about, if you had to choose one?
I think it has to be Lilou. I like her so much because, although she’s a nymph, she is perhaps the most human of the Kin I write about, and has some very human attitudes, hang-ups, and problems. I enjoyed the way she interacted with both human and Kin characters, and the fact that she was possibly the most conflicted character in the books. A troubled creature, a good person, someone with a very long history … I could have written a whole novel just about her. Maybe one day I will.
How would you describe the tone and atmosphere of the Relics series to those who haven’t read the books yet?
Dark, shocking, mythical, sometimes grim, but with a spine of positivity and hope throughout the three books.
This series is a fascinating balance of horror and wonder with plenty of thrills and suspense in between. Was it difficult to get the right balance in each novel?
I think they found their own levels. I was keen to keep the pace ticking over, and the fantastical ideas flowing, but I was also aware that my horror writing background was ever-present in the story I was telling. I didn’t try to steer myself one way or another, to be honest. The story found its own tone and velocity, and that felt good.
What was the most challenging parts of writing about beings like the Nephalim, Fairies, Nymphs and Selkies and having them fight against or entrust humanity?
There was an element of trying to make them believable and recognisible to readers who might have a good grounding in such myth and legend, so I researched the creatures I wrote about. But I also wanted to make them my own, so I probably took liberties with some myths. But, you know, they’re myths! I can make stuff up about these creatures just as well as anyone, and I had a lot of fun imagining what they’d be like, how they might interact with humans, and building the backstory of the Time when the Kin walked freely among us. It’s all true, you know.
How long did it take you to write The Edge compared to The Folded Land and Relics?
Usually with a novel it’s 4-5 months for first drafts, revisions, reworking, and delivery. That doesn’t allow for thinking and research time beforehand, which for some novels might span a year or two. Then edits from the publisher etc, so it’s usually about 6 months per novel. But in that time I’ll also be working on other stuff, such as collaborative novels and screen work.
Is there a possibility we could see a TV adaptation of the series in the future?
I’d like that! There was a bit of interest a while back, I’m hoping with the third book now out there the trilogy might attract someone to pick them up and develop them. Or maybe I’ll do it myself.
Is there a part of The Edge (or the whole series) that you are particularly proud of? Do you have a favourite quote you can share with us?
Probably showing my horror roots here, but the scene in Relics with Ballus, last of the Satyrs, and his abandoned swimming pool place of torture. That was grim, but it’s really stuck with me.
Did you always have your eye set on being a writer/author and what sort of books did you grow up reading?
I’ve loved reading almost since before I can remember. Shadow the Sheepdog fell apart, because I read it so much. Later, Willard Price’s series of Adventure books. Then James Herbert’s The Rats when I was 10 or 11, and I never looked back. I wrote too, from the age of 9 or 10 onwards, but it wasn’t until my early twenties that I actually considered the possibility of making a living doing it. Late 20s, my first novel was published, and in my early thirties I went part-time in work, and quit altogether to write when I was 37. And I’ve never looked back. It feels like I’ve always been a writer … and I guess I have, even with twenty years working full-time to pay the bills. The biggest inspiration for me was my mother, who encouraged me to read from an early age and was always hugely supportive of my writing. And six months after she died I called my Dad to say I was quitting work to write, and he said, “You mum would be chuffed.” That was all the approval I needed.
Have you got a hobby/activity you do to wind down from all the writing?
Triathlon! Until about 9 years ago I was overweight and unfit, now I’m weeks away from racing my 5th Ironman race on my 50th birthday! I’ve always tried to do stuff to keep fit –– badminton, gym, running, squash –– but it was discovering triathlon that made it all work, because now I train and exercise and race because I love it, and fitness is a great by-product of that obsession. I can’t imagine ever not racing, be it triathlon or all the variations thereof. It makes me feel good, and training blows away cobwebs and prepares me for a couple of hours behind the keyboard.
Finally, have you read a book/article recently that you would personally recommend to the readers of this post?
I’m reading a new novel by Rio Youers called Lola On Fire. It’s not published yet. It’s brilliant, as are all of his books. He deserves to be far wider read, and I’m hoping this is the book that’ll do it for him.
Thank you to Tim Lebbon for lending me some of his time to talk about the last instalment of his Relics series, The Edge. It is a shame it has to come to a close as this series has some unforgettable moments, especially The Edge, and some fantastic characters to occupy them. Relics took me by surprise, The Folded Land took me places and The Edge captured everything I appreciated about Tim’s awesome blend of horror, fantasy and thrills. It also provided a fitting finale that brought everyone back together to fight, protect and avenge those who were lost in the journey to the Ascent. I highly recommend all three novels and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Thank you for coming by to support Tim and his work. Come back again soon for plenty more Q&As in the near future.