The Lines of Aldred: Book One Sannan


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She hated the testing but knew it was necessary. Better that than the need for a repeat performance. Pets could be so disgusting. Palace guards could be so quirky. If only the goddesses could flick their holy fingers and make a child appear fully formed. On the fourth day after the ancient ritual, a royal announcement was made, stating for all the people in Sannan that the queen had, in this time of union, achieved royal success. And the word success was the golden prayer all who performed the ancient ritual hoped to speak and dared to hear.

Obviously, a great cheer arose throughout the city. At last, their queen would bear a royal heir, already ten years since the passing of her mother, Queen Marvala.

The Lines of Aldred : Book One, Sannan

And so, after some time, like in all stories big and small, whatever was required for the goddesses to mix together the perfect specimen of ladyhood, it was Queen Dorothea who opened her mighty thighs and with great effort and pain pushed out the perfect babe. The fleshy thing was immediately identified as a lady and given straight into the arms of Her Majesty. However, have you thought about the magic that happens every day in the here and now, in amongst the hustle and bustle of daily life?

The perception of magic is a very individual thing and different events will affect people in myriad ways. Let me take you on a little journey to explore the magic which is all around us. Look around at the wonders of nature: an egg hatching in a nest, or any animal being born — who can resist making a fuss of a tiny kitten or puppy; watching salmon swimming upstream as they find their place to spawn; when spring arrives and buds start appearing on trees and flowers bloom for the first time in months; beautiful rolling hills of green; a bluebell wood; dolphins jumping in and out of water alongside a ship; a magnificent waterfall; and a life being saved, whether human or animal.

This is just a small list of magical things that happen in our world every day, a great deal of which we take for granted, but nevertheless to some of us, one or more of the above is enchanting, miraculous, mystical, or maybe all three. I hope our little journey opened your eyes to the magic in the real world. Now, where did I put that book…? The trio embark upon a quest to pull together the pieces of a magical prism before the bad guy, Vildor, an undead sorcerer can enact his nefarious plan.

So what were my goals when I began the epic journey of writing six books totalling over half a million words? To finally finish a literary project 2.

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Creation of a new world with an in-depth history, with enough variety of culture and race to provide a good backdrop to the quest 3. A fantasy yarn that would draw on traditional elements of the genre, without becoming too stereotypical, and that would avoid the current trend towards dark-fantasy 4. To try and throw some fresh elements into the genre, and synergise my love of comics and role-playing games with the work.

Well, number one is a tick. The Darkness Rising series represents my first attempt at anything beyond a short story. It was odd how it began and then grew.

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Initially I planned a chunky single volume, which then transformed into a two book project. The three plot-streams remain fairly independent until books four and five when they all collide and then go bonkers. Was it padding, or did it add to the story? I suppose the reader is the best judge, but to my mind the idea of having two key characters Hunor and Ekris who are enemies was great fun, and having Torm progress from a minor character to one in whom the reader can empathise with especially his raw heroism in the face of terrible odds at the Siege of Keresh felt a good choice too.

So what about goal two? What I needed when created the world was an empire that had fallen apart by civil war , magic that had had its hey day, events that would lead to Wild-magic arriving and what the reaction of the established Orders would be, and some suitable spats between adjacent nations. Much as the characters and plotlines evolved, so did the political and cultural milieu of the world.

I had great fun with the Pyrians also—a nation who had learned their Imperial from works of Eerian literature and were thus intrinsically verbose and long-winded as exemplified by Ygris the Fire-mage. So did the series draw on traditional epic fantasy and steer clear of darkness, the book title excepted?

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I recall when I began the series being paranoid about stereotypes in fantasy—poring over websites that mocked the typical content of pseudo-Tolkien and Eddings. Then I got over myself. Who cares if any of that is in there? Those things are raw material, components to mix up and throw around and try and do something a little bit cheeky with. So, yes, Emelia is a skilled warrior after tutorage by Hunor and Jem. She does daft things, makes mistakes and poor choices.


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Ultimately, we come to love her more for it as we see her wade through the doldrums of depression and self-loathing. The ancient evil is not quite so clear cut either. From a very sadistic beginning we see Vildor in increasingly sympathetic light, always knowing he is despicable and evil, yet having some concept of his background and evolution.

We see the twisted obsession of Xirik, his lieutenant and lover, and ultimately the real driver behind the ambitious plot. New players come into the arena, the sinister creator of the crystals, Vaarn, throws an unexpected spanner in the works. My concept for the magic is unashamedly RPG-based: elemental magic focused through gems of power, fragments of the great crystal that shattered in the myth of creation.

And the Orders of magic are constrained by regulations, a Codex, that came into place after the Era of Magic ended rather badly. They rake in the cash from cynical use of sorcery to manipulate nature, from the weather alteration of the Air-mages, to the tidal influences of the Water-mages. A sorcery that springs up in an individual during adolescence with no consideration of social class or wealth or education.

Hence it is persecuted by the traditional Orders, as something anarchic, not least as it affects the mind or neurological system of the wielder Emelia, Jem, and Lemonbite being our first encounters with that.

And through this I tried to make allusions towards society, and persecution, and happily drew from sources such as the X-men comics itself drawing from themes of the Holocaust and genocide. The tone of the series is deliberately light. Sure you can dig deeper into themes of religious persecution, fear of death, existential dread, mid-life crisis, mental illness and self-harm, class war, vengeance and betrayal, but on the other hand you could happily read the series and hardly consider any of those themes. Repeated negativity, violence, horror and gloom results in desensitisation and, especially for the TV adaptation of Game of Thrones, escalation.

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GoT is like a fantasy drug—we crave more and more, eager to ramp up the gore and gloom, hoping each shock is more grisly than the last. In later years, when I began reading around the genre to prepare for the Darkness Rising series I read Hobb, Vance, Zelazny, and Poul Anderson, mixed in with Lynch, Erikson and Martin, and loved the gentler approach to characterisation and plot they had. So that was where I wanted my tone: exciting, adventurous, but nothing that would pull in an 18 certificate when Zack Snyder decides to adapt it for HBO….

And my restless brain moves onto further projects—the slightly neglected YA sci-fi series, the Nu-knights, will be getting a new book by end, and a secret alternate history project is in its infancy…. Immerse yourself in a collection of stories that blur the lines between fantasy and reality. What hides beneath the ocean, or lurks inside the forest? Is there such a thing as guardian angels, and what mystery awaits you at the lighthouse? Explore legends of alchemy and witchcraft; step into vivid new worlds, whilst also discovering what dangers can exist within our own.


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Prepare to be kidnapped on the street, trapped at the circus, and pursued by halflings. From the ashes of an ancient empire, five must save the future. Jake : Last in line to the Elementi High King throne, sent through time and space to be brought up in an alien world, he has no knowledge of his past. Mirim: As the caretaker of the mysterious Citadel which hosts the dying crystal mind of the Matrix, her air power is the only link to the old world. Kiera: A Romani foundling with growing powers over nature, she is searching for a better life away from her criminal past.

They must find the other two heirs and reunite all their elemental powers over earth, air, fire, and water together with the Matrix to defeat the Empire that conquered their parents. With a fire demon on his trail, can Jake bring together the last of the Elementi in time? Wounded by a demon, Emelia is taken by her comrades, Jem and Hunor, into the dangerous Silver Mountains where they seek out an old friend. A chance encounter propels them into a quest to find artefacts of awesome power.

The Lines of Aldred:  Book One Sannan The Lines of Aldred: Book One Sannan
The Lines of Aldred:  Book One Sannan The Lines of Aldred: Book One Sannan
The Lines of Aldred:  Book One Sannan The Lines of Aldred: Book One Sannan
The Lines of Aldred:  Book One Sannan The Lines of Aldred: Book One Sannan
The Lines of Aldred:  Book One Sannan The Lines of Aldred: Book One Sannan
The Lines of Aldred:  Book One Sannan The Lines of Aldred: Book One Sannan
The Lines of Aldred:  Book One Sannan The Lines of Aldred: Book One Sannan

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