This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
15.10.20 / Fantasy / Jo Fletcher / Paperback / 400pp / 978-1529401905
About David Hair
David Hair, an award-winning writer of fantasy, has been inspired by his travels around the globe. He was born in New Zealand, spent time in Britain, Europe and India (which inspired THE MOONTIDE and SUNSURGE QUARTETS and the RAVANA series). After some years in Bangkok, Thailand, he and his wife returned to New Zealand, where they are now settled (for the time being). His epic fantasy sagas THE MOONTIDE QUARTET and THE SUNSURGE QUARTET and the YA saga THE RETURN OF RAVANA, his retelling of the Indian epic The Ramayana, are all published by Jo Fletcher Books, as is his new fantasy adventure series, THE THETHERED CITADEL, starting with Map’s Edge.
About Map’s Edge
Follow a renegade sorcerer off the edge of the map, in a thrilling adventure perfect for fans of Scott Lynch, Brandon Sanderson and Sebastien de Castell . . .
Dashryn Cowl has run out of places to hide. The erstwhile sorcerer of the Imperial College fled the Bolgravian Empire when his high-flying family fell from grace, but the tyrannical empire is still hunting for him.
So when he gets his hands on a map showing a place outside the known lands rich in istariol, the mineral that fuels sorcery, he sees a way back to power. There’s only one problem: it means masquerading as an Imperial Cartomancer (an instant death sentence) and finding some dupes to help him mine the istariol in secret, no questions asked.
But somehow, amid the dangers of the road (floods and avalanches, beasts, barbarians and monsters), a strange thing begins to happen: Dashryn starts to care about his ragtag followers and their strange odyssey into the ruins of an ancient forgotten civilisation.
But his past won’t let him be: the implacable Imperial Bloodhound Toran Zorne has caught his scent, and Zorne has never yet failed to bring his quarry to ground.
At the edge of the map, there’s no going forward and no going back . . .
Q&A With David Hair
Thank you David for taking some time to answer a few questions about the first novel in the Tethered Citadel series, Map’s Edge. Could you give us your own personal overview of what readers should expect within the book?
David: It’s a fast-moving fantasy adventure, in which a group of fugitives and refugees go into the unknown, seeking their fortunes and a way to reclaim their lives from a tyrannical oppressor. But what they find is not at all what they expected.
What was your initial inspiration for the narrative in Map’s Edge?
David: After eight years of writing epic-length novels, I wanted to work on something a bit lighter in tone and weight, and the idea of a journey or quest appealed. Also, I holidayed in Japan a few years ago, and was struck by similarities in the landscape to New Zealand, and the indigenous warrior cultures of both countries. Those factors collided and became this story.
The story concept for Map’s Edge sounds amazing. I love stories of exploring perilous uncharted lands. What was the most fun and the most challenging aspects of writing this story?
David: I enjoy world-building, so creating a new world gives me fresh opportunity to dream up new landscapes, places, peoples, cultures, religions and ways of integrating magic into a fresh narrative. The most challenging part is always the magic: getting your head around what it can and can’t do, and the logical ways that it would affect the world of the story. But figuring all that out is also the most fun part of the process.
Could you give us a few more insights into the setting we get to experience in Map’s Edge?
David: The story world is called Shamaya, and it’s both similar to our world, and very different. It has no major moon, but it does have planetary rings, which creates a different kind of visual symbolism. Shamaya is in the grip of an Ice Age, caused by misuse of sorcery, causing mankind to retreat to the equatorial regions. The Ice Age was caused by an elite, faced with overthrow, unleashing a deadly sorcerous storm, and the planet lives in the shadow of that catastrophe.
Which central theme in Map’s Edge do you hope the reader will connect with the most?
David: That by pooling our talents, so that we use our diversity as a strength, we can overcome any obstacle – especially those thrown in our path by intolerant, authoritarian tyrannies.
Which aspect(s) of the fantasy genre in particular appeals to you the most as an author?
David: I think fantasy has an inherent sense of possibility and therefore optimism; that the world can be a magical place and amazing things can happen. That’s a great antidote to negative things in our lives, and an inspiration to keep going.
How did your experience writing Map’s Edge differ from your other novels?
David: I think that because I was writing a shorter book than the epics, I was more conscious of story momentum. Shorter books are easier to dip in and out of, say while commuting, so I wanted Map’s Edge to have a real sense of pace and urgency.
Is there a part of Map’s Edge that you are particularly proud of? Do you have a favourite quote you can share with us?
David: I’m really pleased with the twists and turns of the narrative, and the character banter. It all feels nice and vibrant to me. But I don’t like revealing spoilers so I’ll pass on the quote!
Did you always have your eye set on being a writer/author and what sort of books did you grow up reading?
David: I remember as a child thinking that I’d love to write books. I was an avid reader and it seemed like a magical thing to do. But it took me until I was in my late thirties to muster the self-belief and time to have a go. I grew up reading Enid Blyton ‘Famous Five’, and mythology books recounting Maori and Greek myths, children’s history books, and tales of King Arthur and Robin Hood. And Biggles! Then I discovered Alan Garner and JRR Tolkien when I was about 12, and have mostly read fantasy ever since.
Have you got a hobby/activity you do to wind down from all the writing?
David: I run, which gives me a mental break outside and freshens me up. And I’m a big football fan – despite being a New Zealander, I’m much more interested in soccer than rugby. I played for about 25 years before recurrent injuries got the better of me, and still follow the top divisions closely.
Finally, have you read a book/article recently that you would personally recommend to the readers of this post?
David: Since becoming a writer, I actually read a lot less than I used to – staring at a screen all day doesn’t put me in the frame of mind for reading for relaxation. Most of my reading now is for research, or exploring the human condition. Best book I’ve read recently is Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, which was really insightful into what makes us tick.
Thank you so much to David for taking the time out from writing to answer my questions about Map’s Edge. This gentleman loves to write epic stories! Map’s Edge is out today (15/10/20) and the story sounds amazing. Rogue wizard dropping off the edge of the map for the chance at ultimate power. Yes please! It has been compared to Sebastian de Castel’s work and I agree but also Breanna Teintze’s Empty Gods series which is an amazing story that I highly recommend. Please support Map’s Edge today anyway you can. Thank you for stopping by to check out the Q&A and I have another interview coming today about the chilling thriller The Haunted Shore so check that out too.