The Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells
Nicholas Valiarde is a man obsessed. Expertly assisted by a coterie of talented yet honorable thieves, he's all but completed his master plan of revenge against Count Montesq, a corrupt nobleman who orchestrated the execution of Nicholas's foster father on the basis of a false charge of necromancy. Nicholas's plan is interrupted, however, by the appearance of the mysterious Dr. Octave, a professed medium who may or may not be a fraud, but who is somehow connected with the strange, magical spheres on which the false charge against Nicholas's foster father was based. And as Nicholas and his allies slowly unravel the dark cloak around Octave, their fingers touch the bones of an ancient and implacable evil lurking beneath the streets and sewers of their unsuspecting city ...
The Death of the Necromancer is a rich, complex, stand-alone novel set in th... Read More
Martha Wells(1964- )
The Death of the Necromancer was a finalist for the Nebula Award. Martha Wells has also had short fiction published in Realms of Fantasy, Black Gate Magazine, Lone Star Stories, and the Tsunami Relief anthology, Elemental. Read excerpts, short stories, and the complete text of The Element of Fire at Martha Wells’ website
The Ile-Rien Stories — (1993-2005) The last three books are known collectively as The Fall of Ile-Rien. Publisher: The kingdom of Ile-Rien is in peril, menaced by magical threats and court intrigue. As the weak King Roland, misled by treacherous companions, rules the country, only his ruthless mother, the Dowager Queen Ravenna, truly guards the safety of the realm. But now Urbain Grandier, the dark master of scientific sorcery, has arrived to plot against the throne and Kade, bastard sister of the king, has appeared unexpectedly at court. The illegitimate daughter of the old king and the Queen of Air and Darkness herself, Kade’s true goals are cloaked in mystery. Is she in league with the wizard Grandier? Or is she laying claim to the throne? It falls to Thomas Boniface, Captain of the Queen’s Guard and Ravenna’s former lover, to sort out who is friend, who is foe in a deadly game to keep the Dowager Queen and the kingdom she loves from harm.
The Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells
The Wizard Hunters by Martha Wells
The Wizard Hunters has a great opening line. Unfortunately, it never quite lives up to the promise so tantalizingly held out to us. The good news is the character we meet in that first line, Tremaine, holds up well throughout the book. In general, the characterization is one of the book's stronger points. The story premise is also a highlight, offering up an unusual meshing of cultures — one with magic and science/technology working side by side, another where technology has yet to form and magic is evil, and yet a third (the Gardier), set on invading the first two through a malevolent combination of science and magic.
The side-by-side use of modern technology and magic adds a welcome freshness to the fantasy, as does the conflict between two cultures, one employing magic and one fearing it, that seemingly must unite to face a common foe. That conflict and alliance... Read More
The Ships of Air by Martha Wells
The Ships of Air, the second book in The Fall of Ile-Rien, builds upon the strengths of the first while also improving several of the first book's flaws. As in The Wizard Hunters, the main character's depth and likeability is a major strength. Tremaine is a complex character, displaying a variety of emotions and pursuing a variety of actions, some of them not so clearly understood by those around her or even herself. Several of the side characters from The Wizard Hunters whose characterization suffered a bit from shallowness deepen into more three-dimensional creations here, enriching the overall flavor of the novel and allowing Wells the luxury of dipping into several enjoyable side-stories. The writing moves along crisply and often humorously, another positive c... Read More
The Books of the Raksura — (2010-2014) Publisher: Moon has spent his life hiding what he is — a shape-shifter able to transform himself into a winged creature of flight. An orphan with only vague memories of his own kind, Moon tries to fit in among the tribes of his river valley, with mixed success. Just as Moon is once again cast out by his adopted tribe, he discovers a shape-shifter like himself… someone who seems to know exactly what he is, who promises that Moon will be welcomed into his community. What this stranger doesn’t tell Moon is that his presence will tip the balance of power… that his extraordinary lineage is crucial to the colony’s survival… and that his people face extinction at the hands of the dreaded Fell! Now Moon must overcome a lifetime of conditioning in order to save and himself… and his newfound kin.
The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells
FORMAT/INFO: The Cloud Roads is 288 pages long divided over 20 numbered chapters. It also includes two Appendixes, one about the Raksura and one about the Fell. Narration is in the third-person, exclusively via the protagonist Moon. The Cloud Roads is self-contained, but a sequel titled The Serpent Sea will be published in 2012. March 2011 marks the Trade Paperback publication of The Cloud Roads via Night Shade. The eye-catching cover art is provided by Matthew Stewart.
ANALYSIS: The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells is a novel that immediately grabbed my attention because of the cover artwork, but the real reward is the book itself with its rich and inventive world-building, seasoned wr... Read More
The slow and steady building of a plot in this first book in a trilogy is skillfully done. The worldbuilding seems less complex than it needs to be to support all the alien species and the apparent long back story to this novel, but perhaps that will come in later books in this trilogy. ~Terry
Emilie — (2013-2014) Publisher: While running away from home for reasons that are eminently defensible, Emilie’s plans to stow away on the steamship Merry Bell and reach her cousin in the big city go awry, landing her on the wrong ship and at the beginning of a fantastic adventure. Taken under the protection of Lady Marlende, Emilie learns that the crew hopes to use the aether currents and an experimental engine, and with the assistance of Lord Engal, journey to the interior of the planet in search of Marlende’s missing father. With the ship damaged on arrival, they attempt to traverse the strange lands on their quest. But when evidence points to sabotage and they encounter the treacherous Lord Ivers, along with the strange race of the sea-lands, Emilie has to make some challenging decisions and take daring action if they are ever to reach the surface world again.
Emilie & the Hollow World by Martha Wells
Emilie & the Hollow World, by Martha Wells, has an immediately endearing title (I’m a big fan of hollow world stories), which it doesn’t quite live up to. It’s a solid enough story, though, if not particularly distinctive.
The novel opens with sixteen-year-old Emilie running away from her uncle’s home and trying to slip aboard the local ferry. Things go awry and instead she’s forced to swim to another nearby ship to hide from the dock guards. Turns out it just isn’t Emilie’s night, however, for soon the ship she’s crawled up on is under attack and she quickly finds herself dodging bullets, meeting a not-at-all human-person, and then traveling the “aether current” into the world at the center of our own. Soon, she learns she’s now an involuntary part of a rescue party/scientific expedition whose members include Lord Engal, Vale Marlende (her father is... Read More
City of Bones — (1995) Publisher: Khat, a member of a humanoid race created by the Ancients to survive in the Waste, and Sagai, his human partner, are relic dealers working on the edge of society, trying to stay one step ahead of the Trade Inspectors and to support Sagai’s family. When Khat is hired to find relics believed to be part of one of the Ancients’ arcane engines, they are both reluctant to become involved. But the request comes from the Warders, powerful mages who serve Charisat’s Elector. Khat soon discovers that the deadly politics of Charisat’s upper tiers aren’t the only danger. The relics the Warders want are the key to an Ancient magic of unknown power, and, as all the inhabitants of Charisat know, no one understands the Ancients’ magic.
Wheel of the Infinite — (2000) Publisher: Every year, the Wheel of the Infinite must be painstakingly remade to ensure peace and harmony. And every hundred years, the Wheel and the world become one. But now a black storm ravages the beautiful mandala, and a woman with a shadowy past — an exile, murderer, and traitor — has been summoned back to put the world right. For if Maskelle and the swordsman Rian cannot stop the Wheel’s accelerating disintegration — then all that is what and will be…will end.