War has come to Xanthos. Across the sea, the insane King Palemon’s lust for gold has driven him to build an army of dragons that will soon destroy everything in their path. Neighbouring royalty, Prince Dion and Princess Chloe, refuse to be helpless pawns in a clash of nations, and strive to bring their kingdoms together to fight this impending threat. When they find themselves hopelessly outmanned and outgunned, their only hope is to go in search of the secretive and powerful race of shapeshifters called the Eldren who have long since disappeared into the mysterious Wilds.
All the while, an ancient, terrible power rises from the ashes to once again claim all-consuming power and domination over Xanthos. The world faces a war to end all wars, and enemies once fighting over gold must now become allies to face this rising evil, less everything they hold dear be destroyed and their whole world be plunged into darkness.
As a world-spanning conflict begins, a king is betrayed, a prophecy is fulfilled, and our royal heroes learns secrets about their pasts that will change their own and the future of Xanthos.
It's my pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for Iron Will, the final book in James Maxwell's Shifting Tides series today. Many thanks to the author, publishers, 47North and Eugenie Chainot from Midas Public Relations for inviting me and for sending me a copy of Iron Will which I will be reviewing at a later date.
I loved James Maxwell's The Evermen Saga when I read it a few years ago. Since then I've not read a lot of fantasy but have recently been tempted by the genre again so I'm really looking forward to discovering the Shifting Tides series, which concludes with Iron Will. Having read some of the reviews I can see I'm in for a treat!
In the meantime, I'm thrilled that James has very kindly written a guest post for Hair Past A Freckle today in which he shares five of his favourite vintage fantasy books.
One of the best things about the modern age is that books from the past are now just sitting on the internet shelf, waiting for us to discover them. We’re no longer limited to what we can find at the local bookstore or library. No more trawling the stacks for Patricia A. McKillip or Isaac Asimov.
So now that these books are easily available to all, I’d like to share five vintage fantasy books I love and what they taught me, with the hope that you’ll be able to track them down yourself to enjoy also.
Fantasy isn’t like other genres. When there’s so much imagination in a story, it doesn’t date in the same way. If you haven’t read these books – what are you waiting for?
The Dying Earth by Jack Vance (1950)
The first volume in Jack Vance’s hugely influential Dying Earth series was actually published before The Lord of the Rings. In a world where so much has been shaped by Tolkien, Vance taught me that fantasy doesn’t have to emulate one master novelist. Wizards can have flaws. They can struggle to work their spells, and sometimes they can fail. Dialogue can be witty. Fantasy doesn’t have to be grand and almost biblical. The fantasy genre originally comes from fairy tales, after all.
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin (1968)
I loved this book when I was young and read it time and time again. The magic system is absolutely fascinating – I wanted the real world to work in the same way. To this day, it’s a great example of how to build a magic system, and Le Guin taught me that a surprising amount of logic can go into a world full of wonder. I’ve always liked science and the idea of hidden structure inside the things around us.
Dragonsdawn by Anne McCaffrey (1979)
This might just be the book that introduced me to science fiction. It’s a prequel to McCaffrey’s Dragons of Pern series, which is definitely fantasy, yet it starts with a colony ship arriving at a new, mysterious planet. Everyone likes a good origin story, and the way McCaffrey explains where dragons come from is really clever. I never forgot that fantasy and science fiction can be the best of friends.
Magician by Raymond Feist (1982)
It always surprises me to consider when Magician was published. With its tight, sweeping prose and epic clash of civilisations, it feels like what fantasy authors are doing today, rather than the early 80s. I love epic stories, and Feist showed me how big you can make things if you let your imagination soar.
Waylander by David Gemmell (1986)
Gemmell brought gritty action and dark, conflicted characters into fantasy. Waylander is definitely not your usual coming of age fantasy. The unlikely hero is one of the most memorable I’ve encountered. He showed me that heroes should have dark sides, and villains should be sympathetic.
There are far more than five that I could mention, but these are a great place to start.
When I set out to write my latest series, The Shifting Tides, I knew I wanted the fun and adventure of a Jack Vance book, the magic and wonder of The Wizard of Earthsea, the mythical creatures of Dragonsdawn, the epic scope of Magician, and the fast pace of a David Gemmell novel.
All writers are standing on the shoulders of giants.
Happy publication day, James and thank you so much for your post today. You've definitely tempted me to check out these books, I've been meaning to read the Earthsea books for years!
The final book in The Shifting Tides series, Iron Will is out today in paperback and can be purchased here.
Don't forget to follow the rest of the blog tour, details are below.
About the Author
James Maxwell is the bestselling author of The Evermen Saga and The Shifting Tides series, and has previously ranked in the top 5 bestselling authors on Amazon worldwide.Amazon Publishing. Find out more about James and his books here.