Tor.com content by

Sylvia Spruck Wrigley

Fiction and Excerpts [1]
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Fiction and Excerpts [1]

The Underground: Five Books Set Below London

There are plenty of novels, both speculative and literary, based in London, with bestsellers ranging from A Journal of the Plague Year in 1722 to The Girl On The Train in 2015.

But what about novels set beneath London? When I first started thinking about the impact of a Wailing Woman of the Ford in modern London, it was obvious that this would have to incorporate the underground rivers trapped in Victorian tunnels. Bazalgette’s sewer system is rich with folklore and legend and makes for the perfect setting for a rich fantasy story. Combine this with the London Tube stations deep underground, with some closed down and others shut off entirely, and it is not hard to see why so many authors are fascinated by London’s underbelly.

To celebrate this, I have collected my five favourite modern novels which focus on the world underneath the United Kingdom’s capital city.

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Series: Five Books About…

The Reluctant Pilot

In this ongoing series, we ask SF/F authors to describe a specialty in their lives that has nothing (or very little) to do with writing. Join us as we discover what draws authors to their various hobbies, how they fit into their daily lives, and how and they inform the author’s literary identity!

It was my boyfriend who wanted to learn to fly. I only went along to the airfield to see what it was like. Research, in case I wanted to write about piloting a spacecraft one day.

The head of the flying school was there and spotted pretty quickly that I was faking it. “You don’t need a real licence,” he told me. “You want a wife’s licence. Forget the technical mumbo-jumbo. I’ll show you the radio and we’ll go up–you can even play with the flight controls.”

That was the moment when I decided I was going to get my pilot’s licence. A wife’s licence? The very idea!

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Five Modern Books with Bad-Ass Fairies

I love fairy tales and fairy stories but being something of a traditionalist, I prefer pixies (or pictsies) who know their own mind, rather than those that seem to exist simply to add dew drops to spider webs and grant wishes when caught. When I wrote Domnall and the Borrowed Child, I went back to the Scottish myths. The fae were to be placated, not courted, and no one in their right mind would call them by name. Within the story, the humans are just not all that important to the Seelie court near Aberdeen, except when the Fair Folk want something of us.

To back up my viewpoint, I’ve collected five modern books, where modern is defined as post-Disney. All of them are books I love but, not coincidentally, they also include fairies that would rather steal your soul than sprinkle you with fairy dust.

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Series: Five Books About…

Five Reasons Not To Piss Off the Fair Folk

I was on the Tube, travelling under London at high speed, when a middle-aged American woman wearing a pink sparkly Tinkerbell t-shirt saw me staring. “You’re never too old to believe in fairies,” she said. I clapped my hand over her mouth and shook my head at her violently, and only the fact that we were protected by concrete and steel do I believe that there wasn’t immediate retribution.

There’s apparently an entire generation of people who think of the Fair Folk as sweet and friendly and full of whimsy.

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Domnall and the Borrowed Child

The best and bravest faeries fell in the war against the Sluagh, and now the Council is packed with idiots and cowards. Domnall is old, aching, and as cranky as they come, but as much as he’d like to retire, he’s the best scout the Sithein court has left.

When a fae child falls deathly ill, Domnall knows he’s the only one who can get her the medicine she needs: Mother’s milk. The old scout will face cunning humans, hungry wolves, and uncooperative sheep, to say nothing of his fellow fae!

We’re pleased to present an excerpt from Sylvia Spruck Wrigley’s Domnall and the Borrowed Child—available in paperback, ebook, and audio format November 1oth from Tor.com!

[Read an excerpt]