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

Empire’s Exile milestone 1

I’ve got the first draft of the first third of Empire’s Exile written.

Here’s one of those ‘milestones’ a writer reaches; I’ve got the first draft of the first third of Empire’s Exile written. That’s about 40,000 words. Writing this one is an interesting experience.

There are the logistics to consider: making sure I tie up all the loose ends and unanswered questions from Books 1 & 2.  There is making sure I stay true to the theme of exile:  in Book 1, Empire’s Daughter, Lena was barely adult, still a ‘dutiful daughter’ in many ways, just beginning over the course of the book to realize that truth comes in many forms.  In Empire’s Hostage, Book 2, Lena is a hostage both actually and figuratively, her fate in the hands of rules and traditions. In this third and last volume, I’m exploring the theme of exile, again both actual and figurative.  It doesn’t always make for easy writing.

Then there are my characters.  I thought I knew the basic story arc, but they had different ideas. Listening to what they told me (or what my subconscious told me, if you prefer), had led to Exile being a different story than what I thought it was going to be, introducing other forms of displacement into the narrative. It also left me with an enormous dilemma about the ending…which I have resolved in a way that is both true to the story and satisfying for me. (If you’re wondering why I’m talking about the ending when I’m only 1/3 into the book, it’s because I need to know what the ending is, so I can work towards it.)

So I’m going to take a breather for a few days, work on two unrelated editorial projects, get organized and packed for our escape from winter, and once we’re settled in there, start the middle third.  Quite a bit of research is associated with this third, and I need to plot out the major conflicts and crises, but I’m hoping to have this section done by March.  I’ll need to work flat out if I’m going to get this book out for the Christmas 2018 market…which is my current goal….but, just maybe, I will make it.

Updates, excerpts, backgrounders as I have time and they are appropriate!