En France on connaît James Barclay pour sa série des Raven. Il est en interview sur le net à propos notamment de sa dernière série encore inédite chez nous : The Ascendants of Estorea. Il évoque aussi son prochain roman des Raven. Tout est ici.
Again without giving anything away, can you give us a taste of your latest series, The Ascendants of Estorea?
Totally different to The Raven. These are two books that deal the birth of magic in a crumbling empire. That empire is Romanesque, tatty at its outer reaches and beginning to rot at its centre. The magic manifests itself in four children who are the product of many generations of genetic selection to produce the first humans able to manipulate the elements around them.
The first novel, Cry of the Newborn, charts their development through a war that threatens the entire empire. They have to survive prejudice, religious intolerance, fear, hatred… you name it. And to a large extent, no one can teach them how to use what they have been given. Theirs is a true voyage of discovery. But the book isn’t just about them. It is about those who seek to save their empire, people who you can admire without necessarily agreeing that they should succeed, by the way. But there is room for love, humour and joy too. No day is perpetually dark.
The second novel Shout for the Dead is set a decade after the end of the first and deals with the consequences of war, the emergence of the Ascendants as a group defended by the empire machine but hated by the empire’s dominant religion. And it deals with the descent of one man into madness, delusion and his succumbing to the poison of overwhelming power. Now in this novel there are a few perpetually dark days. That’s probably because of the armies of the marching dead doing their master’s bidding.
Both books keep faith with my desire for dramatic action but I deliberately paced them slower than The Raven because I felt there was more to tell. More detail to be drawn, more character depth to be teased out. Great battles to fight and scenes to illustrate. They have scope and energy, these novels. Or they do to me. I loved writing them for the challenges they presented.
- What's the progress report on the new Raven novel you are working on? Any tentative release date yet?
Progress is excellent. The novel is called Ravensoul. It’s with my editor now and he is enjoying it. So far. I think he’ll do so to the end. I’ll know in a few days. The release date was going to be August 2008 but I understand that’s been put back a little now. October seems more likely.