‘It’s clearly fate,’ she says. ‘Whatever I did in life, it always brought me back to books. Even when I was at school I was best in English, and my teacher always said I’d be a writer.’ Maggie’s prescient teacher’s prediction came true some years later when Maggie she found herself out of work, living in the North of England. ‘I always knew I’d write a book one day. Ideas had been simmering in my mind for years – and suddenly, the time had come. I knew I could do this – I had never been so certain about anything in my life.’ The end result was AURIAN, a fan-favourite epic fantasy novel, and the beginning of her Artefacts of Power series, published by Orbit Books in the UK and Spectra in the US, between 1994-1997. The late, great David Gemmell once described her work as ‘infinitely enchanting’. The series was praised by LOCUS magazine as ‘a true classic’, and SFX described it as ‘truly compelling’. The series has now sold in excess of 250,000 copies, and been published widely in translation (especially in Europe).
Maggie’s latest novels are THE HERITAGE OF THE XANDIM and EXODUS OF THE XANDIM, two prequels to the aforementioned Artefacts of Power series. In a guest post for Gollancz, the novels’ publisher, Maggie wrote: ‘Prequels are not for the faint-hearted. Indeed, they’re a mass of pitfalls and snares for the writer who has been lucky enough to write a beloved story with a devoted fanbase, all on the alert for any mistakes or discrepancies that may slip in. So why did I write the prequels to the Artefacts Of Power series?’ The author goes on to state that the pair of novels just ‘had to happen’, and fans of the original series have been very happy that they did.
Here are the details of Maggie’s backlist…
The Artefacts of Power Series
In ages past, there had been four magical weapons, fashioned to be used only by the Magefolk. But their history had been lost, together with the Artefacts themselves, in the Cataclysm which had wrought changes on land and water alike. Lost also had been the history of the Magefolk, and the Winged Ones, the Leviathans and Phaerie. Aurian, the child of renegade Mages, finds herself sent to the city of Nexis to join the Academy and then train as a full Mage. Little does she suspect that she will quickly become entwined with a power struggle between Miathan, the Archmage, and the human inhabitants of Nexis. The only person to whom she can turn is Forral, Commander of the city’s military garrison and friend of her dead father. But this friendship infuriates Miathan, and leads to a deadly conflagration, in which the first Artefact is revealed. Aurian’s flight, with her servant Anvar, turns into both odyssey and rite-of-passage as she travels to the little-known Southern Kingdoms and begins to rediscover the history of the weapons which are the only hope against Miathan and Armageddon – The Artefacts of Power!
I mentioned David Gemmell’s praise for the novel before, but here’s his full quote: ‘I sat down to read AURIAN in the early evening, and was surprised when the dawn came up. Rich, colourful and infinitely enchanting it is a work that will give enormous pleasure to fantasy readers. I loved it!’
AURIAN didn’t only receive praise when it first came out, of course. Despite its hard-to-find nature, the novel has been garnering good reviews ever since it was released. For example, SF Reviews was particularly effusive, recently, and described it as ‘highly entertaining… with a boundless sense of “sky’s the limit” confidence,’ and is a novel that ‘unapologetically runs the gamut from heroic high adventure to bodice-ripper… It may well be the greatest guilty pleasure the fantasy genre has produced in the last decade.’ Fantasy Faction described the novel as ‘a sweeping tale that has such likeable and rich characters, set in a world that is equally endowed with depth and history… fresh and unique…’ The review concluded by stating that AURIAN was, ‘[w]ithout a doubt… one of the most enjoyable novels I have had the pleasure of reading… If you enjoy amazing characters set in a rich world, you will most certainly find yourself liking AURIAN.’
HARP OF WINDS (1994)
There had been four Artefacts of Power, belonging to the four branches of the Magefolk. Now, millennia later, only the human Mages survived, and the Artefacts were lost. Until the coming of Aurian…
Child of wizards, swordmistress, the headstrong Aurian had set her power against that of Miathan, the evil Archmage. Whilst he possessed the Cauldron of Rebirth, Aurian had recreated the Staff of Earth, the first of the three lost weapons, the only defence against Miathan’s plans of conquest. Trapped in the Southern Lands, her powers reft by pregnancy, Aurian must rely upon the untried powers of the half-blood Mage Anvar as their odyssey takes them to the realm of the mysterious Xandim, to the peaktop city of the Skyfolk, and to the worlds beyond. But, Miathan’s webs of deceit are only beginning to unfurl…
SWORD OF FLAME (1995)
Armies mass, and men and women must choose sides in the mighty conflict for control of the world and the Artefacts of Power!
Though Aurian and her fellow Mage Anvar have escaped the clutches of the dread Archmage, they have yet to lift the curse on Aurian’s child, and put an end to Miathan’s evil. Only the Sword of Flame, last and greatest of the Artefacts of Power, can help them – but the Sword is hidden. Meanwhile, Death awaits his third and final meeting with the pair…
As the Mages set out once more, the world stands poised on the brink of conflict. Miathan is fortifying the city of Nexis and, in the south, the fierce Khazalim are arming for war. The Skyfolk have abandoned their long isolation and the Xandim prepare for their last great ride. Both the Leviathans and the Phaerie have decisions to make which will change their existence forever. The future stands balanced on a knife-edge between hope and destruction. All await the coming of the Sword of Flame – and Aurian.
Aurian faces bitter defeat. She has failed to master the Sword of Flame, her only defence against the forces of evil. But she has also unleashed the deadly, unpredictable Phaerie upon the world, and the end of that is unknowable. And now she must journey through time itself…
Eliseth, the coldly ambitious Mage who has been Aurian’s nemesis since her first days in Nexis, has captured both the Sword of Flame and Anvar, Aurian’s soulmate. Now, Aurian and a few allies travel into an uncertain future. Knowing she must defeat Eliseth, who controls the Cauldron of Rebirth, without destroying the world, Aurian is faced by many dilemmas before she finally reaches the ancient Dragon City of Dhiammara. There, in the home of the extinct fire lizards, a final conflict will take place, in which Aurian must triumph or die.
SF Site described the final book in the series as ‘a masterful work’ and ‘excellent ending’ to the series.
The Shadowleague Series
Three unlikely heroes must penetrate a land of sorcery and secrets to save a world hurtling toward chaos.
From the dazzling imagination of Maggie Furey comes an astonishing new epic of a wondrous world on the brink of collapse… and the daring trio who will risk the deadliest odds to save it.
The world of Myrial is racing toward apocalypse. For aeons, its mysterious Curtain Walls have functioned to separate realm from realm, and race from race, so that each cordoned area remains a sanctuary for its species. But now the miraculous walls that have provided order for so long are disintegrating with disastrous results.
Mingling climates are causing unrelenting rains or deadly droughts, while warlike races are preying mercilessly on the helpless and meek. And the carnage will only grow worse unless a seasoned woman-warrior, a brazen firedrake, and a venerable Dragon with amazing telepathic powers – all trusted members of the Shadowleague – succeed where everyone else has failed. For they must first locate the heart of Myrial, where the secret for undoing this disaster resides. In order to reach their goal, however, they must overcome treachery, intrigue, and evil – and a mysterious figure from the past whose actions threaten to tear the Shadowleague apart.
SPIRIT OF THE STONE (2002)
As the Curtain Walls across Myrial continue to fail, the threat of war grows ever greater. But the Shadowleague, the council responsible for peace and order, is beginning to tear itself apart. If this occurs, any hope of avoiding the deepening crisis will be destroyed. And as the divisions spread, the ruthless and enigmatic Lord Blade rallies his supporters, waiting for his chance to take over.
To prevent catastrophe, Loremaster Veldan must persuade Zavahl, the tortured former Hierarch, to open his mind and unlock the knowledge of Aethon the Dragon Seer. With the fate of the world hanging on a half-remembered tale from long ago, Veldan, the firedrake Kazairl and their companions must travel down a dark and dangerous road. One that will lead them beneath the beleaguered city of Tiarond, deep within the mountain’s living core where the secrets of the past lie buried.
In their review, RT Book Reviews described this novel as ‘a gripping tale’, populated with complex characters, which will keep readers guessing as to their true allegiances throughout.
EYE OF ETERNITY / ECHO OF ETERNITY (2003)
The Curtain Walls have fallen – leaving the world of Myrial vulnerable to unknown enemies from other realms. A slaughter by brutal winged invaders has left the city of Tiarond reeling, and the laws governing reality itself no longer seem to hold. Under the rule of a renegade leader, the Shadowleague slowly gathers itself together from its tattered remnants and braces for a devastating attack meant to shatter it forever. Missing is a ring, the symbol of Myrial’s divine power – and a reminder to its new ruler of the part he played in the collapse of the Curtain Walls. It must be found before his secret is discovered.
Missing also is the one man whose mind holds the Dragon Seer’s knowledge of all tribal memories. Two warriors and a firedrake embark on an urgent mission to find him – before the Dragons do.
When all hope seems lost, a young boy points the way to an amazing discovery. Caverns beneath Tiarond hold ancient artifacts that just might be the key they’re all searching for – but which they may be sorry they’ve found…