“Genre fiction in general, and fantasy literature in particular, is the only contemporary literature in which characters can act honourably, without irony,” wrote Violette Malan on her blog earlier this month. Malan is the author of high fantasy novels, including The Mirror Prince and it’s sequel, released this past August, Shadowlands.
“Maybe they aren’t nice people, maybe they aren’t even good people—they’re certainly loaded down with flaws just like the rest of us. But they are honourable people. Even if they don’t think so themselves.
“[In my early teens] my brother gave me Warlocks and Warriors… subtitled, ‘An anthology of heroic fantasy’ and was edited and introduced by L. Sprague de Camp… There were three stories from this anthology that in particular intrigued, and even frightened me… ‘Black God’s Kiss’ by C.L. Moore, ‘The Bells of Shoredan’, by Roger Zelazny, and above all, ‘Thieves House‘ by Fritz Leiber.
“From these stories I learned that heroes didn’t have to be royal; that the endings were sometimes ambiguous, when it came to that happiness stuff. And in particular I learned these three things: That when your friends are in trouble you go back for them; that you hold by your code no matter what, even if that code causes you a lot of trouble. Oh yeah, and payback is a bitch.
“[These are heroes] who inhabit places dangerous and dark, and who yet know how things operate, how to get by – and how to behave. The society around them is corrupt and cynical – hell, they might be a bit corrupt and a bit cynical themselves. So, they’re not heroes, but they are heroic, by the standards of their own worlds… they’re honourable people.”
- This is only part of the essay by Violette Malan. The complete essay brings in an interesting comparative layer to the presentation… we encourage readers to link over to Malan’s blog.
- In Malan’s latest novel, Shadowloands, the highly anticipated sequel of The Mirror Prince (cover above), the war in the Land of the Faerie has finally ended. Prince Cassandra dispatches Stormwolf, formerly a Hound but cured by his prince’s magic and restored to the Rider he once was, to the Shadowlands to call home the People who remain refugees there. But Stormwolf finds the Hounds of the Wild Hunt now prey upon the souls of the humans, draining them of the magic which is the very lifeblood of the People. With the help of Valory Martin, a mortal psychic, Stormwolf must find the magic needed to defeat the Hunt before it’s too late.
- Enjoy an excerpt of Shadowlands by Looking Inside on Amazon.
- To order Pilgrim of the Sky, follow any of these handy icons:
Violette Malan has a PhD from York University in 18th-Century English Literature, but reports that most people don’t hold it against her. She started reading fantasy and science fiction at the age of eight, and was writing stories not long after. Malan is the author of six fantasy novels so far, including the high-fantasy Dhulyn and Parno series. Violette lives in a nineteenth-century limestone farmhouse in southeastern Ontario with her husband, Paul Musselman. Born in Canada, Malan’s cultural background is half Spanish and half Polish, which can make things interesting in the kitchen.