The Archive, by Dan Fitzgerald: The Maer Cycle (#2)

Feathered dragons!

Published: December 4, 2020

Genre: Fantasy

Age Group: Adult

Pages: 306


In Hollow Road (book 1), three companions discovered the monsters of legend were all too real…

Rumors among the Maer tell of an underground library called the Archive, which houses a wealth of knowledge and terrible magics that could be used to start the biggest war seen since the Great Betrayal. A mixed group of humans and Maer set off on an historic quest to find the Archive and protect it from those who would use it to destroy everything they hold dear. As the cold of winter bears down upon them, they trek through forbidding mountains beset by dangers they could have never imagined. They follow a set of ancient clues deep into the Silver Hills, forging surprising alliances and making new enemies.

The humans and Maer are linked by more than their quest to find the Archive and stop an insidious war. A mystical surrogacy may bridge the gap between two peoples, and many hearts entwine as their adventure hurtles toward its bloody conclusion.


In The Archive, Dan Fitzgerald returns to some of the same themes as in Hollow Road, Book I of The Maer Cycle: the building of alliances through communication and a defense against a mutual enemy; the importance of shared language and history; the understanding that arises from seeing past external differences to find common humanity.

The human protagonists from Hollow Road: Sinnie, Finn, and Carl, along with Maer companions, including Finn’s lover Fabaris, are seeking The Archive, a legendary repository of the written history of the Maer. Believed to lie deep in the mountains, finding it entails more than one danger. Among those dangers are the Wild, or Free, Maer: clans who have remained living outside of the settled Maer community. Enemies of both the Maer and humans, they will need to be convinced – by diplomacy or a show of force – that these strangers are not there to destroy or assimilate them, but for a greater cause, one that is as important to the Free Maer, too.

The world Fitzgerald has created is expanded in The Archive; the reader learns more about its history, its geography, and its cultures, while still leaving us with tantalizingly unanswered questions to draw us into the next book. It, like its predecessor, is a quiet book, primarily character-driven. There is plenty of conflict, but not often the sort that needs weapons to solve, although battle will play an important role.

Relationships develop further in this book, both friendships and sexual relationships (of many kinds, all seamlessly fitting into the story and the world), and with those relationships characters too are deepened and developed, increasing the stakes and the emotional impact of events. One of my small niggles with the story came here: in furthering Finn and Carl’s relationships, Sinnie seemed to be neglected – or perhaps my sense of her as a little on the sidelines is purposeful.

Once or twice specific word choices jarred me out of the pre-industrial world Fitzgerald’s characters inhabit, but overall the writing is smooth and effective; the plot and action well-paced, and the characters compelling. Oh, and did I say there are dragons? Feathered dragons! Strongly recommended for readers who want more from a fantasy world than battles, blood and beer.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08M68H1HQ

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55780840-the-archive

Giveaway!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e832e98855/?

About the Author

Dan Fitzgerald is a fantasy writer living in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, DC with his wife, twin boys, and two cats. When he is not writing, he might be gardening, doing yoga, cooking, or listening to French music. 

His debut fantasy novel Hollow Road, the first book in The Maer Cycle trilogy, was published in September by Shadow Spark Publishing. The Archive comes out on December 4, and the trilogy concludes with The Place Below in March 2021.

Books and merchandise are available at https://shadowsparkpub.com/dan-fitzgerald.

Find out more about Dan and his books at http://www.danfitzwrites.com, or find him on Twitter or Instagram, with the handle danfitzwrites in both places.  

Author Links

Website: http://www.danfitzwrites.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/danfitzwrites

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/danfitzwrites

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/danfitzwrites

An Interview with Aaron Hodges, Author of Soul Blade

Soul Blade has just been released on Amazon to consistent 5 star reviews.

Today I’m talking to Aaron Hodges, author of the The Sword of Light trilogy.  The third author-picturebook, Soul Blade, has just been released on Amazon to consistent 5 star reviews.

Aaron, where are you from and what do you do outside of writing?

Sure thing! Well, the first thing you should know about me is that I’m from New Zealand. And yes, I like The Lord of the Rings ;-). I am an Environmental Scientist by profession, but gave that up a few years back to see the world – an Overseas Experience (OE) as we call it in New Zealand. And, well, since then I haven’t really looked back. I’ve travelled through SE Asia, lived in Canada, backpacked down the west coast of the USA, bused through Mexico, Central and South America, and I am currently living in Argentina.

As for my writing, that came about almost completely by accident. During my travels, I started rewriting a story I’d written for an old High School project. I finally completed and published it back in December 2015, and to my surprise, it took off. Since then I’ve been working on book 2 and 3 while continuing my adventures around the world!

Where did you get the inspiration for your first series?

My first series is The Sword of Light Trilogy, and I think it draws on a lot of my own experiences throughout life. At its heart, my first trilogy is about standing against darkness whatever the odds – and those odds are pretty bad for my poor characters. In the words of one of my reviewers: “Toughest. Baddies. Ever.” In my own life I have faced a few challenges, including the loss of my father when I was 13, and those challenges have definitely added to my works.

Tell me about your process for writing a book?

My books actually developed in waves. As I mentioned, The Sword of Light Trilogy first began way back in High School, which was over ten years ago for me… But in the ten years since then, I’ve revisited the story several times, rewriting it over and over again. In each of those rewrites, more aspects of the plot came into light, and it slowly grew and developed into something quite substantial over the years. Questions like ‘where did the God of Light go?’ are actually answered now, in this third book, Soul Blade, rather than being a mystery that is never resolved.

Who is the bad guy in your books?

My primary antagonist, Archon, first seems a reflection of the classic epic fantasy villain. For example, Sauron in The Lord of the Rings. All powerful, completely evil, etc. But personally, for much of the story I think of Archon more as death himself – inevitable, a shadow hanging over all the characters. He is a dark power influencing things around them, always threatening, but never quite there. Not until the final book anyway – Soul Blade finally brings him to the forefront, and reveals the truth about his character.

What book are you reading right now?

I am currently reading ‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed. Not my usual kind of book, but I picked it up in a hostel and have been slowly making my way through it. It’s an interesting read, although I must admit a few of Cheryl’s mistakes on the trail make me wince inside. As a traveller, the idea of carrying a backpack I can’t even pick up horrifies me. My pack is now a tiny 38L, and I plan on downsizing again the next time I’m home!

Who is your favourite author?

I actually have two: David Gemmell and Ian Irvine. David because of his characters. It’s a very rare thing that a writer can make me cry with his story, but the characters in David’s novel are just so real, so vivid, I can’t help but cry every time I read Druss the Legend.

As for Ian Irvine, I love his worlds. His Three Worlds books are absolutely amazing. He actually spent 20 years developing them before he began to write – he even created a map the size of a door to show just one of his three worlds. And that’s just the geography. There’s also a detailed history, magic system, and four races of human. It all makes for an incredibly rich story.

Now the Sword of Light trilogy is done, what are you working on next?

After taking a breather, I will be starting a new series. This time, I’m hoping to write a Science Fiction thriller focused around genetic engineering. It will focus on a group of young men and woman who awake to find themselves trapped in a prison. They remember nothing of a world outside or a prior life, but it won’t take long for them to find out their future is not looking too bright.

How can readers get in touch with you?

Readers can find me at www.aaronhodges.co.nz, or email me at author@aaronhodges.co.nz.

I now have three books on Amazon. The first book, Stormwielder, is now only 99c and can be found using this link.

Thanks, Aaron.  Best of luck with Soul Blade!