Ashael is a hunter-gatherer woman, apprenticed to Bhearra, the healer and spiritual leader of their tribe. The Zanthar are invaders from another world who extend their own lives by stealing the life-force of everything around them. They were last seen on KalaDene 200 years ago. They have returned, looking for The Vessel, a being prophesied to hold the life-force of the land. Iwan is a slave to the Zanthar, descendant of those taken as slaves the last time the Zanthar visited this world. He is sent out as a spy, while his mother is held hostage to ensure his compliance. When Ashael meets Iwan in the forest, neither realise that she is the one the Zanthar are looking for. The fate of KalaDene and all of its people rests on her shoulders.
I would like to welcome the author of Ashael Rising Shona Kinsella to my blog today. She is talking about the book that shaped her as a writer and her book.
My thanks to her for taking the time to write a fascinating post and blog tour organiser Rachel Gilbey for organising the tour.
A Book that Shaped Me
I was around sixteen years old. It was the weekend, I had nothing to do and I was bored in the way that only a teenager can be.
‘Go and read a book,’ my dad said. Code for ‘stop slumping about and getting in the way,’ I imagine.
‘I’ve read all of my books. I’ve got two out from the library and I’ve finished those too.’
‘Hmmm,’ Dad said.
He came back a few minutes later and handed me a book thick enough to keep me going for days. Magician by Raymond E Feist.
Magician is the story of Pug, an orphan boy who is chosen by the local magician as his apprentice – perhaps out of pity as much as skill – and his struggles to connect with magic, despite performing some impressive feats when under pressure. Pug’s learning becomes overshadowed by a war that starts when Midkemia is invaded by the Tsurani, warriors who have managed to cross between worlds. This is ‘epic’ fantasy in every definition of the word. The war spans years and we watch Pug and his friend Tomas become men who shape the world.
Within moments of reading the first page, I was lost. Pug was immediately captivating to me as a character and I followed him across worlds and eventually across many books as he learns how to unlock and use the magic inside of himself. I raced through the book, staying up late to read, ignoring any other activities that I could get out of.
I’m glad to say that, unlike other books that I read in my teens, Magician has managed to stand the test of time for me. I’ve read it several more times since that day and I still enjoy it every bit as much. I love the world building and the magic, the characters, the language, the plot.
When I think about the kind of writer I want to be, I often think of Raymond E Feist.
There are some obvious parallels between Magician and Ashael Rising. For one thing, they both feature invaders from another world although the Zanthar are far less sympathetic than the Tsurani. Both books also feature an apprentice magic user, though the magic of the Folk is much more subtle than Kulgan’s magic. There are also certain likenesses in our writing styles. Much of the adult content occurs off the page, we both use fairly clean language, we both focus on friendships over romantic relationships.
The stories are different in many ways but I like to think that readers of Raymond E Feist would enjoy my work also. Some readers will be relieved to hear that Ashael Rising is considerably shorter than Magician. Still, Ashael’s adventures are not yet over.
You can purchase Ashael Rising from Amazon.
You can also be in with a chance of winning a copy of the book by following this link.
About the author.
Shona Kinsella is the author of Ashael Rising, (Unbound, 2017) the first in her series, The Vessel of KalaDene. She is also one of the editors of the British Fantasy Society’s fiction publication, Horizons. When she is not writing or wrangling her three children, she can usually be found with her nose in a book.