Episode 164: Kristen Ciccarelli – Heartless Hunter

A chat with New York Times bestselling YA author Kristen Cicarelli about Heartless Hunter, The Crimson Moth Book 1, a “dangerously romantic Scarlet Pimpernel-inspired fantasy.”

Website
kristenciccarelli.com

Facebook
@AuthorKristenCiccarelli

Instagram
@kristenciccarelli

Pinterest
@kciccarelli

Kristen Ciccarelli’s Amazon Page

Amazon Links for Heartless Hunter
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca

About the Book

Enemies-to-lovers doesn’t get more high stakes than a witch and a witch hunter falling in love in bestselling author Kristen Ciccarelli’s latest romantic fantasy.

On the night Rune’s life changed forever, blood ran in the streets. Now, in the aftermath of a devastating revolution, witches have been diminished from powerful rulers to outcasts ruthlessly hunted due to their waning magic, and Rune must hide what she is.

Spending her days pretending to be nothing more than a vapid young socialite, Rune spends her nights as the Crimson Moth, a witch vigilante who rescues her kind from being purged. When a rescue goes wrong, she decides to throw the witch hunters off her scent and gain the intel she desperately needs by courting the handsome Gideon Sharpe – a notorious and unforgiving witch hunter loyal to the revolution – who she can’t help but find herself falling for.

Gideon loathes the decadence and superficiality Rune represents, but when he learns the Crimson Moth has been using Rune’s merchant ships to smuggle renegade witches out of the republic, he inserts himself into her social circles by pretending to court her right back. He soon realizes that beneath her beauty and shallow façade, is someone fiercely intelligent and tender who feels like his perfect match. Except, what if she’s the very villain he’s been hunting?

Kristen Ciccarelli’s Heartless Hunter is the thrilling start to The Crimson Moth duology, a romantic fantasy series where the only thing more treacherous than being a witch…is falling in love.

About Kristen Ciccarelli

Kristen Ciccarelli

Kristen Ciccarelli is a New York Times-bestselling author whose books have been translated into over a dozen languages. She is the author of Heartless Hunter (Book 1 in The Crimson Moth duology), Edgewood, and the internationally bestselling Iskari series.

Before writing books for a living, she dropped out of college and worked as a baker, a potter, a bookseller, and an NGO worker. She currently resides in the NIagara region of Ontario with her husband and toddler.

Episode 163: Sebastien de Castell – Play of Shadows

A chat with award-winning fantasy author Sebastien de Castell about Play of Shadows, Book 1 of Court of Shadows, set in the world of his popular Greatcoats series.

Website
decastell.com

X
@decastell

Facebook
@decastell

Sebastien de Castell’s Amazon Page

Amazon Links for Play of Shadows
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca

About the Book

Swordplay, magic, intrigue and friendships stronger than iron: the first book in a new swashbuckling fantasy series by the bestselling author of The Greatcoats

Damelas Shademantaigne picked a poor night to flee a judicial duel.

He has precious little hope of escaping the wrath of Vixen, the most feared duelist in the entire city, until he stumbles through the stage doors of the magnificent Operato Belleza and tricks his way into the company of actors. An archaic law provides temporary respite from his troubles–until one night a ghostly voice in his head causes Damelas to fumble his lines, inadvertently blurting out the dreadful truth: the city’s most legendary hero may actually be a traitor and a brutal murderer.

With only the help of his boisterous and lusty friend Bereto, a beautiful assassin whose target may well be Damelas himself, and a company of misfit actor who’d just as soon see him dead, this failed son of two Greatcoats must somehow find the courage within himself to dig up long-buried truths before a ruthless band of bravos known as the Iron Orchids comes for his head.

Oh, and there’s the that matter of the Vixen waiting to duel him…

About Sebastien de Castell

Sebastien de Castell  had just finished a degree in Archaeology when he started work on his first dig. Four hours later, he realized how much he actually hated archaeology and left to pursue a very focused career as a musician, ombudsman, interaction designer, fight choreographer, teacher, project manager, actor and product strategist. His only defense against the charge of unbridled dilettantism is that he genuinely likes doing these things and that, in one way or another, each of these fields plays a role in his writing. He sternly resists the accusation of being a Renaissance Man in the hopes that more people will label him that way.

Sebastien’s acclaimed swashbuckling fantasy series The Greatcoats was shortlisted for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Fantasy. the Gemmell Morningstar Award for Best Debut, the Prix Imaginales for Best Foreign Work and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. His YA fantasy series Spellslinger was nominated for the Carnegie Medal and is published in more than a dozen languages.

Sebastien lives in Vancouver, Canada with his lovely wife and two belligerent cats.

Episode 162: Lyn McGinnis – Amarel Mountain

A chat with author Lyn McGinnis about Anu Awakes, an epic fantasy series, and the most recent release in that series, Book 2, Amarel Mountain.

Website
anuawakesseries.com

Bluesky
@anuawakes

Goodreads

Instagram
@anuawakes

Lyn McGinnis’s Amazon Page

Amazon Links for Amarel Mountain
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca

About the Book

Descendants of the Tolku of the Primary Epoch, the Koru, Yakku and Yelda, now populate the planet Anu in the Secondary Epoch. The Killing Swath destroyed much of their former world and has left many unanswered questions.

We follow groups of Koru, Yakku and Yeldic characters inhabiting different regions within different societies as they unknowingly move toward the realization of many profound truths about themselves and their world.

The Living System of Tatchlan, the crowning achievement of the Primary Epoch, is revived. It is adored by some and feared by others.

The ultimate manifestation of Tatchlan on Anu is the Majastas. The transition between the death of one Majastas and a successor being enveloped by the Mantle forms a monumental backdrop for a series of dramas, leading all characters to make their way toward each other.

One of these events is the discovery of Amarel Mountain.

About Lyn McGinnis

Lyn writes:

“I live in Canada, and my first sixty-six years have included extensive exploration, education, reading, and travelling worldwide. The early stirrings of this world came partly from reading such fantasy and sci-fi classics as Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Herbert’s Dune, and Asimov’s Foundation. All this informs my personal Utopia Epic Fantasy series. Other aspects include being a member of the LGBTQ community and bringing subtle elements of my life into my work.”

Episode 161: Jared N. Michaud – Brightstar

A chat with new author Jared N. Michaud about his upcoming YA science fiction novel Brightstar, first book in the Energematric6 space adventure series.

Website
energematrice6.com

Facebook
@Energematrice6

X
@Energematrice6

Instagram
@jarednmichaud

Jared N. Michaud’s Amazon Page

Amazon Links for Brightstar
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca

About the Book

Brightstar is the beginning of an epic space-adventure series that introduces readers to Nate, a boy desperate to escape the prison of an ordinary life made unbearable by his autism. When he is unexpectedly transported to another universe, Nate’s perceived disability is transformed into a near superpower. In the Aurora Galaxy, where his arrival has been prophesied for thousands of years, Nate finds the weight of expectations difficult to bear.

After being greeted by an ancient ally, Nate begins gathering a misfit group of “odds” from every corner of the universe. Nate’s odyssey, which starts in the most prestigious school in civilization, will end with battling monsters from the darkest imaginations of an ancient, captive Earth.

Coping with greater and greater adversity, Nate finds himself confronted by enemies who all seem to be connected in suspicious ways. In the end, Nate must stand before the Lightmaker Himself, who sent Nate to the Aurora Galaxy in the first place.

About Jared N. Michaud

Jared N. Michaud is a devoted fiction writer driven by a passion for writing that began before he reached age seven. Influenced by literary giants like C.S. Lewis and Orson Scott Card, he discovered the transformative power of storytelling, and at twelve he began crafting his first novel.

Today, Jared writes from a little house in a little town in Wyoming, where he lives with his wife and six children. As a Christian with a deep love for the truth and appreciation for the values that underlie Western civilization, he endeavours to create myths that will inspire future generations.

Episode 160: Breakfield & Burkey – Enigma Tracer

A chat with the writing team of Charles Breakfield and Rox Burkey about their long-running techno-thriller series, Enigma, and Enigma Tracer, first book in their new Enigma Heirs trilogy.

Website
enigmabookseries.com

Facebook
@TheEnigmaSeries

X
@EnigmaSeries
@1rburkey

Instagram
@enigmabookseries

YouTube

Amazon Links for Engima Tracer
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca

About the Book

The clock is ticking … can Gracie uncover the truth?

Phillip Pliant is the wealthy opportunist plastics dealer, and CEO of Pliant Industries. He’s also a master thief—creating a pervasive threat to the manufacturing infrastructure in the Caribbean islands. With the cartel as his stealth client, the naïve city leaders have been seduced, enabling the production of more than 3-dimensional building materials.

And set the stage for massive chaos and destruction.

Pliant has locked up contracts, assets, and control of any future expansion. His contacts and clients salivate over their probable financial reward—the expected profits are monstrous.

Is the R-Group, now led by Gracie and the family heirs, strong enough to win against this predator? Can JJ’s CATS (Cyber Assassin Technology Services) act on the root-cause analysis in time?

  • Will the R-Group and CATS sabotage Pliant’s plan before it’s too late?
  • Can Jeff and Keith use their covert skills to put the bad guys away for good?
  • Will Gracie be able to squash Pliant and the cartels?

Can the chain of islands survive the underhanded tactics and threats? 

Gracie never considered their lives would hang in the balance between winning and losing. Will the devious plot be uncovered in time? The clock is ticking. Five … four … three …

About Breakfield & Burkey

Charles Breakfield works for a high-tech manufacturer as a solution architect, functioning in hybrid data/telecom environments. He considers himself a long-time technology geek, who also enjoys writing, studying World War II history, travel, and cultural exchanges. Charles’s love of wine tastings, cooking, and Harley riding has found its way into the stories. As a child, he moved often because of his father’s military career, which even helps him with the various character perspectives he brings to life in the series. He continues to try to teach Burkey
humor.


Rox Burkey works as a business architect who builds solutions for customers on a good technology foundation. As a child, she helped to lead the kids with exciting new adventures built on make-believe characters, was a Girl Scout until high school, and contributed to the community as a young member of a Head Start program. Rox enjoys family, learning, listening to people, travel, outdoor activities, sewing, cooking, and thinking about diversifying the series.

Together, they started writing non-fictional papers and books, but it wasn’t nearly as fun as writing fictional stories. They found it interesting to use the aspects of technology people are incorporating into their daily lives more and more as a perfect way to create a good guy/bad guy story, with elements of travel to the various places they have visited either professionally and personally, humour, romance, intrigue, and suspense, and a spirited way to remember people who have crossed paths with them. They love to talk about their stories with private and public book readings.

Burkey also conducts regular interviews with Texas authors, which she finds very interesting. Her first interview was, wait for it, Breakfield. You can often find them at local book fairs or other family-oriented events.

Episode 159: Steve Truitt – The Mindset Chronicles

A chat with author and former television host Steve Truitt about his new science fiction novel series, The Mindset Chronicles.

Website
stevetruitt.com

Facebook
@AuthorSteveTruitt

Amazon Links for The Deletion
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca

Steve Truitt’s Amazon Page

About the Book

In a world where artificial intelligence has become an integral part of daily life, the sudden death of all AI sends society into a tailspin – a disconnected, surreal post-AI period known as The Deletion. As the world struggles to come to terms with the loss, bad boy genius, Peter Eriksson, has invented a new form of interconnection called MindSet to reconnect the world in this strange new time. Conceived from a century-old concept, “Crowd Wisdom,” this revolutionary device links the minds of all of those who possess the necessary implants, becoming the only hope for humanity to rebuild and recover from the loss of AI.

But Bethany Okoyé—Peter’s part-time lover/part-time rival—remains leery of Peter’s devices and isn’t shy about making her opinion known.

It is only when humanity encounters a global challenge unlike any other, that the two must find a way to work together to address a threat that could endanger the very nature of reality itself.

With action, suspense, and thought-provoking themes, this science fiction novel explores the dangers of our reliance on technology and the possible consequences of a world without it, while also delving into the potential benefits and dangers of a mind-connected society.

About Steve Truitt

Steve Truitt has been hooked on science, science fiction, and the future since he was three years old and his mother sat him down in front of the TV to watch the launch of Apollo 11. An avid space enthusiast, NASA history buff, and flown-in-space memorabilia collector, he’s a proud member of the National Space Society and the Planetary Society and boast the impressive fact of having met five moonwalkers.

Steve has served as a Los Angeles TV news anchor and hosted such acclaimed science & technology programs as National Geographic’s The Human Edge and Discovery Channel’s Cool Stuff: How It Works. He’s also hosted Dream DecodersGround Rules!, and Sony Playstation’s annual coverage of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). He co-created and co-produced the renowned Discovery series Born Schizophrenic, which earned him and his team the CINE Foundation’s Golden Eagle Award for Excellence in documentary television. 

An avid Star Trek fan, he is also the co-creator and co-host of “Energize! A Star Trek Podcast,” which breaks down episodes of current Star Trek series. He even (after a determined letter-writing campaign) made a one-line appearance on Star Trek: Enterprise (Season 3, Episode 21).

Now a successful coach, trainer, and motivational speaker, Steve was awarded with the Reader Views Prize for Best Motivational Book of the Year for Stop Waiting For Permission!

His bestselling first novel, The Deletion, which examines life in a post-artificial intelligence world where a disconnected society scrambles for a solution thorough new form of interconnection called MindSet, came out last February. Book 2, The Spill,comes out this May.

He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and four daughters.

Episode 158: Danièle Cybulskie – Chivalry and Courtesy: Medieval Manners for a Modern World

A chat with noted medievalist Danièle Cybulskie about her new book, Chivalry and Courtesy: Medieval Manners for a Modern World.

Website
danielecybulskie.com

X/Twitter
@5minmedievalist

Facebook
@5MinMedievalist

Instagram
@5minmedievalist

YouTube
@5MinMedievalist

Amazon Links for Chivalry and Courtesy
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Danièle Cybulskie’s Amazon Page

About the Book

Medieval people are often portrayed as having poor hygiene and table manners—licking their knives or throwing chicken bones on the floor. In the Middle Ages, however, such behavior was not tolerated. Medieval society cherished order in nearly every facet of life, from regular handwashing to daily prayer. There were consequences if you didn’t adhere to the rules of good behavior: you wouldn’t be invited to the lord’s next dinner, you wouldn’t win the battle, and you wouldn’t win the lady.

Author Daniele Cybulskie explores the world of etiquette from the time of Chaucer to the court of Elizabeth I, encompassing table manners and interpersonal relationships as well as running a household and ruling a kingdom. With wit and insight, Cybulskie draws on a wide variety of primary sources, from courtiers’ handbooks to romantic poems. Though we may no longer need best practices for things like dueling or ordering about our servants, the principles of generosity, kindness, and respect still apply today. After all, it’s a good reminder to “be companionable no matter who you are with” and to not “chew on bones because that is what dogs do.”

Illustrated with original drawings by Anna Lobanova as well as eighty medieval artworks, Chivalry and Courtesy is full of good advice for everyone, whether you are a peasant or a knight, a student or a CEO, a king or a queen.

Praise for  Danièle Cybulskie’s Chivalry and Courtesy

“Playful, learned, and bursting with golden nuggets of information―a joyful book that shows us how medieval history still matters in surprising ways.” ― Dan Jones, New York Times bestselling author and presenter of Netflix’s Secrets of Great British Castles

“A must read for anyone who wants to brush up on the finer points of etiquette, or who just wants to be a better human being.” ― Eleanor Janega, author of The Once and Future Sex: Going Medieval on Women’s Roles in Society and creator of the blog Going Medieval

“Daniele Cybulskie has done it again: no one is better at bringing the medieval world to life. . . . There’s so much to learn from the Middle Ages, and this wonderful book―supremely elegant, witty, expert, and wise―is the ideal guide.” ― Helen Castor, medieval historian, broadcaster, and author of She-Wolves and Joan of Arc

About Danièle Cybulskie

As a writer, podcaster, TEDx and professional speaker, Danièle has been making the Middle Ages fun, entertaining, and accessible for over a decade. A former college professor, she is the author of four books and hundreds of articles on medieval history.

The creator and host of The Medieval Podcast and ExtraMedieval, Danièle brings expertise and a sense of humour to the airwaves to dispel common myths about the medieval period, and enrich our understanding about the people of the past.

Her writing, videos, and podcasts have been used as resources in elementary schools, secondary schools, colleges, and universities across North America. The Middle Ages and the Modern World: Facts and Fiction, a course she co-created, is currently offered at eight colleges across Ontario via OntarioLearn.

In 2020, Danièle built The Medieval Masterclass for Creators, an online course designed to provide novelists, game developers, and other fiction creators with expert information in a visual format to help them bring their medieval worlds to life. She continues to offer her expertise to creators through one-on-one consulting.

Called a “tireless champion promoting medieval studies to both general and academic audiences”, Danièle is the winner of the 2019 Lone Medievalist Prize for Scholarly Outreach for The Medieval Podcast, and the 200+ articles she has contributed to Medievalists.net.

When she’s not reading, writing, or recording, Danièle can be found drinking tea, doing Krav Maga, or sometimes building a backyard trebuchet.

Episode 157: Marie Brennan – The Market of 100 Fortunes (Legend of the Five Rings Book 3)

A chat with Hugo-nominated author Marie Brennan about her Legend of the Five Rings trilogy, which just wrapped up with The Market of 100 Fortunes.

Website
swantower.com

Bluesky

Patreon

Amazon Links for The Market of 100 Fortunes
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Marie Brennan’s Amazon Page

About the Book

Enthralling fantasy mystery from the world of Legend of the Five Rings as two samurai risk everything to rescue an old friend from the clutches of a shadowy trickster

Having vanquished demons and halted invasions of devious creatures from the Spirit Realms, Asako Sekken and Agasha no Isao Ryotora are finally going to be married. But when a note from their old ally Sayashi arrives unexpectedly, the samurai find themselves dragged into another supernatural mystery.

Their investigation leads them to Crane lands and an ancient market ruled by a mysterious being. Now Sekken and Ryotora must use all their wit and charm to save Sayashi from a hundred year bargain before they find themselves embroiled in a conflict with a forgotten deity of unimaginable power.

Indiana Jones meets Teen Titans in The Dream Rider Saga, a fast-paced urban fantasy trilogy from “one of Canada’s most original writers of speculative fiction” (Library Journal).

Praise for Marie Brennan’s Legend of the Five Rings trilogy

“Both protagonists are pining idiots, though for fascinatingly different reasons. Five out of Five.” — Lauren’s Bookshelf, on The Night Parade of 100 Demons

“It transcends its tie-in roots to deliver a powerful, emotional tale of loyalty, honour, duty and love.” — Track of Words, on The Night Parade of 100 Demons

“An absolute ‘must read’ choice for fans of Samurai novels and Heroic Fantasy Fiction” — Midwest Book Review, on The Game of 100 Candles

About Marie Brennan

Marie Brennan is a former anthropologist and folklorist who shamelessly leans on her academic fields for inspiration. She recently misapplied her professors’ hard work to The Market of 100 Fortunes and the short novel Driftwood.

She is the author of the Hugo Award-nominated Victorian adventure series The Memoirs of Lady Trent along with several other series, over eighty short stories, several poems, and the New Worlds series of worldbuilding guides; as half of M.A. Carrick, she has written the epic Rook and Rose trilogy, beginning with The Mask of Mirrors.

Episode 156: Douglas Smith – The Lost Expedition (The Dream Rider Saga, Book 3)

A chat with Canadian author Douglas Smith about his young adult fantasy trilogy The Dream Rider Saga, which has just culminated in Book 3, The Lost Expedition.

Website
smithwriter.com

Facebook
@WritingtheFantastic

X/Twitter
@smithwritr

Instagram
@douglassmithwriter

Amazon Links for The Lost Expedition
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Douglas Smith’s Amazon Page

About the Book

The Thrilling Conclusion to the Multi-Award-Winning Trilogy

Will is the Dream Rider, the superhero who walks in our dreams but never in the streets of his own city. Case is his girlfriend, a survivor of those streets who hears voices warning her of danger. Fader, her brother, is very good at disappearing.

In The Hollow Boys, they defeated a body swapper and a witch to save the world. In The Crystal Key, they battled warring cults to protect an ancient artifact tied to Will’s affliction.

The Chakana. The Crystal Key. But the key to what? To finding answers, they hope, to the questions that rule their lives.
What caused their strange powers? And Will’s crippling agoraphobia? Can he be cured? Why did their parents travel to the jungles of Peru eight years ago? Are they still alive?

Behind every question is the Chakana. What is the mysterious relic? Why will people kill to possess it? What hold does it have on Will?

As creatures from Inca myths haunt the three friends, another attack on the Chakana threatens Will’s life. To save him and solve the mystery of the lost expedition, only one choice remains. Return to Peru. With the Chakana.

There, they find friends and foes, both old and new. And behind it all, an unseen enemy moving them like pieces on a chessboard. To win this deadly game, Will, Case, and Fader must master new powers to defeat the most dangerous adversary they’ve ever faced—a god.

At stake this time? Every life, every world, every universe. Everything.

Indiana Jones meets Teen Titans in The Dream Rider Saga, a fast-paced urban fantasy trilogy from “one of Canada’s most original writers of speculative fiction” (Library Journal).

Praise for The Dream Rider Saga

The Lost Expedition (Book 3)

“Smith powers to an explosive conclusion in the finale of his Dream Rider series, a lavishly concocted ride brimming with magic, mystery, and mayhem… [and] bursting with dark magic, beastly protectors, and a slew of extraordinary fantasy characters … Smith skillfully probes deeper messages behind all the fun, as the main players face the consequences of humankind’s disregard for the Earth—and each other. … Takeaway: Explosive conclusion to this spectacular fantasy joyride.” — BookLife (Editor’s Pick)

The Hollow Boys (Book 1)
Winner of the Aurora Award for Best Young Adult Novel
Winner of the juried IAP Award for Best Young Adult Novel

This arresting series kickoff grips from the start as it introduces its inventive milieu, its flawed but fantastically powered hero, its playful worldbuilding, and a host of tantalizing mysteries. … Takeaway: Thrilling YA fantasy”—BookLife (Editor’s Pick)

“An assured, confident novel… A must-read story for YA fantasy fans.”—Blueink Review (Starred review)

“Inventive, engaging, and boundless fun.”—The Ottawa Review of Books

“A fun supernatural tale with well-developed characters and a touch of romance.”—Kirkus Reviews

The Crystal Key (Book 2)

“This thrilling superpowered urban fantasy series continues to grip.”—BookLife (Editor’s Pick)

“This fast-paced story delivers in a big way—and Smith has all his ducks lined up for an explosive conclusion that readers won’t want to miss.”—Blueink Review (Starred review)

The Crystal Key has everything that made The Hollow Boys work and turns it up a few notches. I can’t wait for the conclusion in The Lost Expedition.”—Ottawa Review of Books

About Douglas Smith

Douglas Smith is a multi-award-winning author described by Library Journal as “one of Canada’s most original writers of speculative fiction.”

His latest work is the multi-award-winning YA urban fantasy trilogy, The Dream Rider Saga (The Hollow BoysThe Crystal Key, and The Lost Expedition). Other books include the urban fantasy novel, The Wolf at the End of the World; the collections, ChimerascopeImpossibilia, and La Danse des Esprits (translated); and the writer’s guide Playing the Short Game: How to Market & Sell Short Fiction.

His short fiction has appeared in the top markets in the field, including The Magazine of Fantasy & Science FictionAmazing StoriesInterZoneWeird TalesBaen’s UniverseEscape PodOn Spec, and Cicada.

Published in twenty-seven languages, Doug is a four-time winner of Canada’s Aurora Award, most recently in 2023 for The Hollow Boys, as well as the juried IAP Award for the same book. He’s been a finalist for the Astounding Award, CBC’s Bookies Award, Canada’s juried Sunburst Award, the juried Alberta Magazine Award for Fiction, and France’s juried Prix Masterton and Prix Bob Morane

Episode 155: Matthew Hughes – A God in Hiding & The Emir’s Falcon

A chat with award-winning author Matthew Hughes about his newest fantasy novel, A God in Hiding, and his recent young adult outdoor adventure tale, The Emir’s Falcon (Shadowpaw Press).

Website
archonate.com

Facebook
@hapthorn

Amazon Links

A God in Hiding
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

The Emir’s Falcon
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Publisher’s Book Page for The Emir’s Falcon

About the Books

A God in Hiding

In a far-future world of wizards and walled cities, Lieve Reder has risen from being a small chandler’s daughter to become the captain of a riverboat owned by House Bernaglio in the oligarch-run city of Exley. She has ambitions to rise higher and when her employer, the widow Philaria Bernaglio, asks her to travel to the remote desert town of Ur Nazim to retrieve a mysterious item her dead husband, Nulf Bernaglio ordered, she signs on to the quest.

Accompanied by Dai, an artificial human created by one of the mad thaumaturges of Olliphract to be part of the wizards’ deadly war games, she sets out on the perilous journey. But the object she is sent to collect turns out to be one of the abandoned, semi-sentient tools the demiurge used to create the cosmos in which she lives. It’s the kind of entity that can become a god. And other forces seek to possess it for their own purposes.

One challenge leads to another, leading Reder to embark on an even more dangerous quest, to the far northern rim of the world where she must awaken a powerful godlet that just wants to be left to dream in peace.

Along the way, she must contend with the assassins’ guild, secret agents of the Duke of Vanderoy, corruptible officials, a pair of quarreling, elderly wizard brothers, an ensorcelled flying reptile, ogres, cannibal weremen, and a surprise visitor who has the power to upend all of Phenomenality.

Through it all, Reder keeps her eyes on the prize: to move up in the world and make her own destiny.

The Emir’s Falcon

Named one of Spring 2023’s Best Books for Kids & Teens by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre

Finalist for Young Adult Fiction, 2023 High Plains Book Awards

Finalist for Best Crime Novella, 2023 Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence

“She was raised to be free, not some rich man’s pet . . . It’s just not right!”

Bernie Cholach’s dad wants him to take over the family’s rural Alberta feedlot, but Bernie has other ideas: he wants to be a biologist, an interest sparked by his experiences as a volunteer bird handler at a Canadian Wildlife Service facility that breeds and rears peregrine falcons for release into the wild.

Sheik Nasur bin Mukhta, son of a Persian Gulf emir, studying petroleum engineering at the University of Alberta, dutifully accepts his life’s course, laid out for him by his traditionalist culture.

Rosie Leboucan, daughter of a Métis trapper, running her injured dad’s trap line in the Swan Hills, is focused on keeping a roof over their heads and food on the table.

Then the Government of Canada decides to give the emir one of the peregrines as a diplomatic gift. It’s more than Bernie can stand. Impulsively, he takes the bird he has been tending—he’s named it Skyrider—and flees to a remote cabin in the Swan Hills wilderness.

The RCMP mount a search. Nasur, sent by his father to collect the bird, insists on being on the scene—which turns out to be both Rosie’s trapping territory and the territory of a hungry and dangerous mama grizzly bear with cubs.

The paths of the young people and the bear converge—and their coming together will send each in a new direction.

Praise for The Emir’s Falcon

“The Emir’s Falcon is a rich story that soars with action, drama and detail. It raises important issues of cultural and environmental conflict and still entertains and surprises right to the last sentence.” – Arthur Slade, author of Dust, winner of the Governor General’s Award

“One peregrine falcon raised in a breeding facility, to be released into the wilds of northern Alberta. Three older teens from different cultures, their lives already mapped out by parental expectations. An impulsive action by one places that falcon at the crux of a potential international incident and brings all to the brink of catastrophe in the wilderness. A fascinating and insightful read.” – Alison Lohans, author of TimefallDon’t Think Twice, and twenty-eight other books for young people and adults.

About Matthew Hughes

Matthew Hughes
Photo by Liza Groen Trombi, Locus Publications.

Matt (Matthew) Hughes writes fantasy, space opera, and crime fiction. He has sold numerous novels to publishers large and small in the UK, US, and Canada, as well as nearly 100 works of short fiction to professional markets.

He has won the Endeavour and Arthur Ellis Awards, and has been shortlisted for the Aurora, Nebula, Philip K. Dick, Endeavour (twice), A.E. Van Vogt, Neffy, and Derringer Awards.  He has been inducted into the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association’s Hall of Fame.