Thursday, January 31, 2019

Anna Stephens

Anna Stephens is a UK-based author of gritty epic fantasy. Godblind and Darksoul are the first two books in her grimdark trilogy about a religious, political and ideological war, the people caught up in its midst, and just what, exactly, they are willing to do to win – is the cost ever too high when the fate of an entire people is at stake?

Recently I asked Stephens about what she was reading. Her reply:
I've been on a research kick in the last few months for the new book/series I'm drafting, so I've been reading a lot of history and archaeology books.

I'm currently reading Legion versus Phalanx by military sci-fi author Myke Cole. This is his first foray into writing history books and I'm hooked. Myke's fiction writing chops really shine through and he takes a subject that could be extremely dry and dusty and brings it to life. The book covers six major battles in the ancient world that saw the Roman Legion face off against the Greek/Hellenistic Phalanx and the outcomes of those battles. The phalanx was the greatest military invention up to that time, and the book explores its strengths and weaknesses and how the legions eventually overcame it. I'm really enjoying it, and it's packed full of snippets of really useful information for any writer who, like me, enjoys making battle scenes as realistic as possible.

On the fiction side I read the Not So Stories, edited by David Moore, a few months ago. It's an anthology of stories in the tradition of Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories, with each story being written by a new or established writer of colour from around the world, with the aim being to both reclaim the stories and legends and address the racism and colonialism present in Kipling's original. As with any anthology, no reader will love every story, and there were a couple I didn't get on with, but the vast majority are excellent. They made me think, they made me cringe and they made me embarrassed about British Empire-building and history. I recommend it highly.

I've also recently finished The Boy with the Porcelain Blade by Den Patrick and The Sea Thy Mistress by Elizabeth Bear. Two very, very different books, rich in Gothic mystery and Norse mythology respectively. Both authors employ rich prose and vivid description and have a real talent for evoking landscape and imagery in the reader. The books are utterly different, but the joy they're written with is clearly evident. Den Patrick's is the first in the Erebus Sequence, and Elizabeth Bear's is the last in the Edda of Burdens trilogy. I'm really pleased to have completed Bear's trilogy, and I'll look to pick up the other two books in Patrick's in the near future.

As for books I'm looking forward to, Rosewater Redemption by Tade Thompson and Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons are both high on my list.
Visit Anna Stephens's website.

The Page 69 Test: Darksoul.

--Marshal Zeringue