World's End by Mark Chadbourn
World's End is the first book in British fantasy author's Mark Chadbourn AGE OF MISRULE trilogy. The novel was originally released in the UK in 1999, and has been re-released in the US by Pyr in 2009.
World's End can probably best be categorized as dark contemporary fantasy. The setting is England, in more or less the present day. Jack Churchill ("Church") lives in London and is trying to cope with the apparent suicide of his girlfriend Marianne. Returning home one night, he has a terrifying encounter under a bridge with a giant whose face seems to melt and change before his eyes. Ruth Gallagher, a lawyer, is also a witness. Both of them pass out, unable to deal with this terrifying vision, but in the next few days, they are drawn together to find out more about what happened.
Soon it becomes clear tha... Read More
Mark Chadbourn(1960- )
Mark Chadbourn is a UK author and has several times been nominated for a British Fantasy Society award. He has also written a few stand-alone horror novels. Read extracts of his novels at Mark Chadbourn’s website.
Age of Misrule — (1999-2001) An omnibus edition is available. Publisher: When Jack Churchill and Ruth Gallagher encounter a terrifying, misshapen giant beneath a London bridge they are plunged into a mystery which portends the end of the world as we know it. All over the country, the ancient gods of Celtic myth are returning to the land from which they were banished millennia ago. Following in their footsteps are creatures of folklore: fabulous beasts, wonders and dark terrors. As technology starts to fail, Jack and Ruth are forced to embark on a desperate quest for four magical items — the last chance for humanity in the face of powers barely comprehended.
World's End by Mark Chadbourn
World's End by Mark Chadbourn
Imagine yourself walking home late one evening after a couple hours relaxing at the pub. You hear an argument close by and you make in its direction to investigate. What you end up seeing is a man being murdered by a creature so hideous it makes you vomit then completely lose consciousness. That’s exactly what happened to Jack “Church” Churchill and Ruth Gallagher in Mark Chadbourn’s World’s End. The horrific experience has been permanently etched into their subconscious and it has changed their lives forever. Together they embark on a journey to find items that could save mankind from complete destruction by sinister forces.
World’s End is quintessential contemporary dark fantasy. The story setting is a mix of modern day society and various elements from mythology. It’s quite obvious Chadbourn has done... Read More
Darkest Hour by Mark Chadbourn
Darkest Hour is the second book in Mark Chadbourn's AGE OF MISRULE trilogy. As often is the case, the middle book in the trilogy is the darkest one, and if the title didn't give it away, Darkest Hour is no exception. Thankfully, the novel contains enough excitement to make it a thrilling read that should please fans of the first book.
At the conclusion of World's End, the return of the Tuatha dé Danann turns out to be a bittersweet victory. Even though they have been typically been cast as the "forces of good" in the legends, they turn out to be so powerful and alien that they treat normal humans as pets at best and have no problem using and manipulating them. It quickly becomes clear that Church, Ruth, Laura, Shavi and Veith — the five Brothers and Sisters of Dragons — cannot count o... Read More
Always Forever by Mark Chadbourn
Always Forever is the third novel in the AGE OF MISRULE trilogy by Mark Chadbourn, and at the start of this final installment, things definitely aren't looking up. As Darkest Hour ends, the five Brothers and Sisters of Dragons are scattered and broken, and the dark god Balor is loose in the land again. If the five heroes can't somehow stop Balor by the festival of Samhain, when he comes into his full powers, it may spell the end of humanity.
In one sense, Always Forever is a direct continuation of the first two novels in the series, World's End and Darkest Hour. The Brothers and Sisters of Dragons, aided by True Thomas the Rhymer, travel across England, with occasional forays into the Otherworld of myth and legend. They meet people, figh... Read More
The Dark Age — (2002-2005) Publisher: Humanity has emerged, blinking, from the Age of Misrule into a world substantially changed: cities lie devasted, communications are limited, anarchy rages across the land. Society has been thrown into a new Dark Age where superstition holds sway. The Tuatha De Danaan roam the land once more, their terrible powers dwarfing anything mortals have to offer. And in their wake come all the creatures of myth and legend, no longer confined to the shadows. Fighting to find their place in this new world, the last remnants of the Christian Church call for a group of heroes: a new Knights Templar to guard the priesthood as they set out on their quest for souls. But as everything begin to fall apart, the Knights begin to realise their only hope is to call on the pagan gods of Celtic myth for help…
The Devil in Green by Mark Chadbourn
The Devil in Green takes place shortly after the end of Always Forever, the final book in Mark Chadbourn's Age of Misrule trilogy, which described the return to our lands of legendary creatures and gods, so old and powerful that their memories became the basis for many of our myths. Now the final battles are (seemingly) over, and humanity slowly tries to come to terms with the realities of the new Dark Age, society as we know it is practically gone: electricity, fuel and communication are virtually non-existent, and the Tuathe De Danaan are still abroad.
In this fractured version of more or less present-day U.K., the old faiths have lost much of their allure and power, but remnants of Christianity have banded together to provide a bastion of light, with a reformed Knights Templar serving as the muscle to protect the brethren a... Read More
The Queen of Sinister by Mark Chadbourn
The Queen of Sinister, the middle book in Mark Chadbourn's DARK AGE trilogy, introduces a different set of characters from book 1, The Devil in Green. This is a bit surprising, because the author's earlier AGE OF MISRULE trilogy, which describes the events leading up to the start of the DARK AGE books, focuses on the same characters throughout all three books. So, rather than offering a continuing story, The Queen of Sinister feels completely separate from The Devil in Green: it's set in the same world, but features all new characters and at least for now is unconnected to the first novel (although the author's afterword hints that everything will be pulled together in the trilogy's final novel, The Hounds of Avalon Read More
The Hounds of Avalon by Mark Chadbourn
The Hounds of Avalon is the third book in Mark Chadbourn’s DARK AGE trilogy, which continues the story of England after the Fall described in the author’s earlier AGE OF MISRULE trilogy. A noticeable difference between the two trilogies is that the AGE OF MISRULE follows the same group of five main characters, the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons, throughout all three books. The DARK AGE trilogy introduces one set of characters in book 1, The Devil in Green, and then surprisingly introduces all new characters in book 2, The Queen of Sinister. The Hounds of Avalon, somewhat annoyingly, initially starts off with yet another batch of new characters in the first pages of its opening chapter (my first major source of annoya... Read More
Swords of Albion — (2009-2012) Publisher: A devilish plot to assassinate the queen, a cold war enemy hell-bent on destroying the nation, incredible gadgets, a race against time around the world to stop the ultimate doomsday device… and Elizabethan England’s greatest spy! Meet Will Swyfte — adventurer, swordsman, rake, swashbuckler, wit, scholar and the greatest of Walsingham’s new band of spies. His exploits against the forces of Philip of Spain have made him a national hero, lauded from Carlisle to Kent. Yet his associates can barely disguise their incredulity — what is the point of a spy whose face and name is known across Europe? But Swyfte’s public image is a carefully-crafted façade to give the people of England something to believe in, and to allow them to sleep peacefully at night. It deflects attention from his real work — and the true reason why Walsingham’s spy network was established. A Cold War seethes, and England remains under a state of threat. The forces of Faerie have preyed on humanity for millennia. Responsible for our myths and legends, of gods and fairies, dragons, griffins, devils, imps and every other supernatural menace that has haunted our dreams, this power in the darkness has seen humans as playthings to be tormented, hunted or eradicated. But now England is fighting back! Magical defences have been put in place by the Queen’s sorcerer Dr. John Dee, who is also a senior member of Walsingham’s secret serviceand provides many of the bizarre gadgets utilised by the spies. Finally there is a balance of power. But the Cold War is threatening to turn hot at any moment… Will now plays a constant game of deceit and death, holding back the Enemy’s repeated incursions, dealing in a shadowy world of plots and counter-plots, deceptions, secrets, murder, where no one… and no thing… is quite what it seems.
The Silver Skull by Mark Chadbourn
There are times when you read a book that’s so amazing to you that you feel the author had you personally in mind when they wrote it, that’s exactly how I feel about Mark Chadbourn’s The Silver Skull.
The Silver Skull is set in an alternate version of the Elizabethan England period. The story follows Will Swyfte — the greatest spy England has ever known. He’s handsome, daring, smart, and dangerous. He’s everything a great spy should be. With Spain on the brink of war with England and the Unseelie court pulling strings behind the curtains, Will has been tasked with saving the whole of England from certain doom. Sounds kind of silly, does it not? The core of the story is indeed a spy/adventure story. On the surface the plot feels a little like an Elizabethan James Bond novel, but in reality The Silver Skull is so much ... Read More
Lord of Silence by Mark Chadbourn
For millennia, the great city of Idriss, City of Lights, has stood almost completely isolated from the world. Bordered by a seemingly endless forest from which few return, the city has relied for protection on its walls and the bravery of its soldiers, such as the elite Crimson Hunt. But when the beloved warrior Mellias, the leader of the Hunt, is found brutally murdered — the first victim of a strange and elusive killer — the city's fate falls into the hands of the Huntsman Vidar. If Vidar were simply a soldier, his burden would be heavy enough; but Vidar is also a dark mystery, even to himself. Years before Mellias's murder, he stumbled out of the forest with amnesia and, embedded in his chest, an amber jewel that feeds on the life forces of Vidar's foes or, when foes are lacking, on Vidar himself. With the help of his fellow Huntsmen, the resolute Asgrim and cynical Cheyne; the methodica... Read More
The Solaris Book of New Fantasy by George Mann (ed.)
I’m pretty much a novice when it comes to short fiction. Because of my lack of experience in this area, I hope that you will bear with me as I try to provide a thoughtful and comprehensive analysis of The Solaris Book of New Fantasy, even if I don’t always succeed. The plan is to first look at each short story individually providing synopses and commentary, followed by my evaluation of the compilation as a whole. So, let’s look at the stories:
1) “Who Slays the Gyant, Wounds the Beast” by Mark Chadbourn. On Christmas Eve in the year 1598 in a world where England is at war against the Faerie, England’s greatest spy Will Swyfte is on a mission of the greatest import — he has until dawn to prevent the Faerie Queen from crossing over to the other side. If he doesn’t, then the Unseelie Court w... Read More
Masked edited by Lou Anders
Superheroes — and supervillains — have always been problematic. They are usually all but impossible to kill, but have a single vulnerability that everyone seems to know about, and to aim for, a tradition that goes all the way back to Achilles (who was invulnerable because he was dipped in the River Styx as a baby — except for the ankle by which his mother held him when doing the dipping). Even after death, they always seem to come back in some form or another; Superman, for instance, has been resurrected quite a few times (though losing him led nearly 20 years ago to one of the best graphic novels ever written, World Without a Superman). Because they are so superhumanly strong, they sometimes appear ludicrous, fighting off impossible task after incredible burden after outrageous situation. No wonder authors have sometimes taken their creations in odd directions, as Read More
Kingdom of the Serpent — (2006-2008) Publisher: Archaeologist Jack Churchill wakes to find himself in the Iron Age, with the memory of how he got there fading fast. All he knows is that the woman he loves is waiting for him — in the twenty-first century. By shifting to the timelessness Otherworld known as T’ir n’a n’Og he can while away the days, the years, the millennia, until his own era rolls around again… but nothing is ever that simple. There is a malign intelligence also waiting, and it will do anything it can to prevent Jack’s return. In a universe where time and space are meaningless, its tendrils stetch back through the years… Through Roman times, the Elizabethan age, the Renaissance, Victoria’s reign, the Second World War to the Swinging Sixties, the Evil sets its traps to destroy Jack. Mark Chadbourn gives us a high adventure of dazzling sword fights and apocalypic wars in the days leading up to Ragnarok, the End-Times: a breathtaking, surreal vision of twisting realities where nothing is quite what it seems.
Nocturne — (1994) Publisher: A blend of horror, the supernatural, and jazz. David Easter wakes up on a New Orleans streetcar with a suitcase full of clothes, some of them bloodstained. The last thing he remembers was working at a record shop in South London – where he also recalls falling in love with a girl from New Orleans.
The Eternal — (1996) Publisher: The Eternal is immortal, cursed to wander the earth bringing death and destruction. Annie escapes the horrifying train crash he causes, but the Eternal tracks her down. the dead return to their loved ones, recognisable but different. And as the killings begin. only Annie and a mysterious drifter. hold the key to stopping the triumph of evil.
Testimony — (1996) Publisher: An old house in mid-Wales seemed like a haven to Liz and Bill Rich. But within weeks of their arrival, unexplained happenings turned their enchantment to horror. This is their story — the true story of an experience that has defied all explanation.
Scissorman — (1997) Extract: The room was spartan: a desk, a filing cabinet, a pot plant with browning leaves. A door led off on either side. No windows; they had selected it for the security. The doctor, a woman in her late 40s with greying hair pulled back in a pony tail, sat perched on the end of the desk, biting her nails anxiously as she studied a heavy folder. It took a second or two for her to register Culver and Miles had entered. She nodded. “CID?” The two policemen introduced themselves. “I’m Dr Lansing. I’m glad you’re here.” She looked like she wanted to say more, but caught herself at the last moment. “How’s the patient?” Culver asked. “Patient X,” she replied. “That’s his designated title until we do a positive ID. He’s in a bad way.”
The Fairy Feller’s Master Stroke — (2002) Publisher: In the Tate Gallery in London hangs a mysterious painting that captures the hearts and souls of everyone who sees it. It emerged from the disturbed mind of an artist consigned to the infamous lunatic asylum Bedlam after he slaughtered his father. Mystical, disconcerting, enthralling, it purports to be a vista on to fairyland itself. In every aspect, The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke is an enigma. But for Danny it is a key.to life and death, magic and wonder, hope and salvation. A child prodigy, Danny has been obsessed with the painting all his life. Somewhere deep within it is the answer to a mystery that possessed his mother before him.an answer she may well have uncovered. And so Danny sets out on a quest into the life of the brilliant tortured artist Richard Dadd. By following in his footsteps to Egypt, where Dadd first went insane, Danny risks madness itself. But the prize is worth it. Is The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke really a gateway to the wondrous land of Faerie that has haunted mankind’s dreams for centuries? Or is it something much, much darker?
Joining us today is UK author Mark Chadbourn. Mark has a distinguished career as a journalist for The Times, a screen writer for the BBC, and a writer of award-winning fantasy. I came to know his work last year when Pyr sent me a copy of The Silver Skull. Pyr has a knack for publishing good-looking books, and this one in particular looked sharp with its snazzy Chris McGrath cover. The Silver Skull ended up being one of my picks for FanLit's Favorites 2009. Since then I’ve followed Mark on his blog and I've have consumed more of his work. Book two of The Swords of Albion Read More