My new book, Spiderlight, is something of a deconstruction of the fantasy adventuring party, as seen in plenty of post-Tolkien works, and as beloved of Dungeons & Dragons players everywhere. It’s not as common as you’d think in fiction—often the action is a single individual or a hero-and-sidekick pair, or something larger, like a military company. What I’m after here is an ensemble cast with a particular feel to it—that mix of clashing characters and different skillsets. Here are some of my favourites.
Fiction and Excerpts 
Series: Five Books About…
The Church of Armes of the Light has battled the forces of Darkness for as long as anyone can remember. The great prophecy has foretold that a band of misfits, led by a high priestess, will defeat the Dark Lord Darvezian—armed with their wits, the blessing of the Light, and an artifact stolen from the merciless Spider Queen.
Their journey will be long, hard and fraught with danger. Allies will become enemies; enemies will become allies. And the Dark Lord will be waiting, always waiting…
Spiderlight is an exhilarating fantasy quest from Adrian Tchaikovsky—available August 2nd from Tor.com Publishing!
Fantasy fiction is a journey to a place nobody has ever been in waking life, a chance to meet the locals (unfriendly), sample their traditional wares (murder) and take in the picturesque scenery (volcanos and blasted wastelands). The most common destinations of fantasy fiction are rooted in Medieval Europe, a tradition that began with romances like Amadis of Gaul and Orlando Furioso and was revivified (with a sizable dash of Germanic and Celtic folklore) by Tolkien’s Middle-earth. Worlds drawing on Europe remain the most popular ports for the fantasy tourist.
The Tiger and the Wolf, my new novel from Tor UK, draws on other times and places—pre-Colombian America, the early bronze age, even palaeontological deep time. Similarly, although it’s always fun to spend a weekend break watching rival kings brain one another and spoil each other’s weddings, there are plenty of worlds off the beaten track for the intrepid tourist.
Adrian Tchaikovsky’s The Tiger and the Wolf—available February 11 in the UK from Tor UK—is set in the bleak northern crown of the world, where war is coming.
Maniye’s father is the Wolf clan’s chieftain, but she’s an outcast. Her mother was queen of the Tiger and these tribes have been enemies for generations. Maniye also hides a deadly secret. All can shift into their clan’s animal form, but Maniye can take on tiger and wolf shapes. She refuses to disown half her soul, so escapes, rescuing a prisoner of the Wolf clan in the process. The killer Broken Axe is set on their trail, to drag them back for retribution.
Maniye’s father plots to rule the north and controlling his daughter is crucial to his schemes. However, other tribes also prepare for strife. Strangers from the far south appear too, seeking allies in their own conflict. It’s a season for omens as priests foresee danger, and a darkness falling across the land. Some say a great war is coming, overshadowing even Wolf ambitions. A time of testing and broken laws is near, but what spark will set the world ablaze?
Science fiction loves a space colony, or alternatively a colony ship on its way to one. My new book Children of Time focuses on one such craft, humanity’s last hope in a desperate, millennia-long journey to reach what the crew very much hope will turn out to be a terraformed and habitable world. The ship itself is slowly coming apart at the seams, the crew have only an uneasy alliance with each other, and worst of all, their brave new world turns out to be already tenanted. Their cargo—surviving humanity—is in suspension, as are they for most of the trip—so however desperate their situation, they dodge the bullets some of the colonists and starfarers have to deal with in the following five(ish) novels about generation ships…
Series: Five Books About…
In this ongoing series, we ask SF/F authors to recommend five books based around a common theme. These lists aren’t intended to be exhaustive, so we hope you’ll discuss and add your own suggestions in the comments!
In this edition, Adrian Tchaikovsky looks at five fictional armies you definitely don’t want to join. As the author of Guns of the Dawn—available now from Tor UK—Adrian knows what he’s talking about.
Series: Five Books About…
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