Freda WarringtonAuthor of A Taste of Blood Wine, Grail of the Summer Stars, Elfland, The Court of the Midnight King, Dracula the Undead, A Blackbird in Silver Darkness... and many more fantasy novels and short stories.
The "Jewelfire Trilogy" - The Amber Citadel, The Sapphire Throne, The Obsidian Tower
The Jewelfire Trilogy - published by Earthlight (Simon & Schuster)
The Amber Citadel - Book One of the Jewelfire Trilogy
Shortlisted for the British Fantasy Society Award for Best Novel 1999
"By far the best mainstream fantasy I've read this year!" - Waterstone's review magazine.
Two hundred and fifty years ago, humans defeated the shape-changing Bhahdradomen in the War of the Silver Plains. Although they are exiled - or even thought to be extinct - the shapechangers' hatred and jealousy of the humans live on. Now, in the failings of a human king, they find a way to assuage that hatred. Meanwhile the third race, the mysterious Aelyr, although they also consider the Bhahdradomen enemies, keep apart from human realms.
Tanthe and Ysomir are sisters, living in the village of Riverwynde, two thousand miles from the capital city Parione. While Ysomir is in love with Lynden, son of the village leader, Tanthe is bored with rural life and longs for the wonders of Parione. But the growing madness of King Garnelys and the Bhahdradomen's wiles soon lead to terrible events, the abduction of Ysomir, and the beginning of a long journey for Tanthe, Lynden and his brother Rufryd, as they set out for the Amber Citadel of Parione ...
Author's comment... Just when I thought I'd "arrived" with Dracula the Undead, in 1997, Penguin whipped the rug from under its fantasy authors and left us all high and dry. Luckily, the new imprint Earthlight was just starting up and a traditional trilogy seemed a good way back into the swing of things. I'd never written a straight fantasy trilogy before, but the genre being so popular with readers, it was the format that editors were most willing to consider. Fewer risks were being taken. Writer and reader choice was being limited to options seen as "safe", more of the cosily familiar.
However, I couldn't just write a straight, derivative fantasy. It had to have a twist, or several. A traditional trilogy seemed a good way to slip my own sometimes off-beat ideas under the wire! Nevertheless, The Amber Citadel did well. Readers seemed to like it very much. The lovely cover was by one of my favourite artists, Mick van Houten, and the book was shortlisted for the BFS Best Novel award. You can still find copies on Amazon or other online booksellers.
Eventually, all being well, the trilogy will appear in ebook formats.
The Sapphire Throne - Book Two of the Jewelfire Trilogy
"She writes expertly and her characterisation is complex and convincing." - Starburst magazine
The war appears to be over. Helananthe, granddaughter of the mad king, Garnelys, has gathered her forces and reclaimed the Amber Citadel of Parione, defeating its evil Bhahdradomen advisers ... but matters are never simple.
The destinies of Tanthe and Ysomir, sisters whose journeys from their village home of Riverwynde had a massive impact on the war, have driven them apart. Ysomir is held in the Citadel, accused of killing King Garnelys. Tanthe is pulled through a portal to the realm of the mysterious Aelyr by Auriel - an Aelyr youth who insists he is her brother. And there are yet darker schemes afoot.
Tanthe faces challenges from her human friends and her Aelyr "family". Rufryd, brother of Ysomir's dead beloved, rages against the world and becomes Helananthe's ambassador to the Bhahdradomen on the island of Vexor, where a terrifying fate awaits him. All will be changed forever. In the second volume of her stunning Jewelfire Trilogy, Freda Warrington explores the machinations of the Bhahdradomen as they creep towards their ultimate aim - complete domination of the Nine Realms.
Author's comment... I really enjoyed writing this book. It's not a volume of filler between books one and three; on the contrary, all the characters are on voyages of discovery and meanwhile... the Bhahdradomen are rising! Because I didn't have to build the story to a monumental climax - I still had another novel to do all that in - I was more relaxed in the writing of it and I think my enjoyment shows. Plus it has a really lovely cover, once more courtesy of Mick van Houten.
The Obsidian Tower - Book Three of the Jewelfire Trilogy
As this final volume of the Jewelfire Trilogy opens, all seems lost for the humans of Aventuria. The shape-changing Bhahdradomen have invaded their lands and usurped their Queen, aided by the Aelyr lord Falthorn. Queen Helananthe has been forced to stand down or see the deaths of her mother and brother.
Tanthe, imprisoned with her company of friends in the Amber Citadel, must face great peril as they make desperate plans to escape. But even if they succeed, her sister Ysomir is still imprisoned at the mercy of the terrifying Bhahdradomen leader, Vaurgroth. One by one all strands of hope are cut. Deserted by allies, betrayed by Falthorn's dark machinations, the Nine Realms appear doomed. Human, Aelyr and shape-shifter alike are haunted by visions of the final portent, the mysterious Obsidian Tower; a Bhahdradomen myth, a place that may or may not exist, and the heart of Tanthe's darkest fears.
Meanwhile, Rufryd - Tanthe's ex-lover - is presumed lost on the shape-changers' desolate isle of Vexor. Then stunning news comes from that direction ...
In The Obsidian Tower, Freda Warrington proves again the strength of her vision, and concludes this trilogy - though not the story of Aventuria - with brilliance and a warmth of feeling for her characters.
Author's comment... Here it is, the grand climax of the trilogy, which weighs in at a whopping 708 pages! I think I produced a fitting end to the story ... I certainly put heart and soul into it. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get wonderful artist Mick van Houten for this one and I feel the bitty digital cover image we got instead just didn't do the story justice at all. Plus, the background was meant to be a lovely rich crimson but came out a muddy brown. As a graphic artist I know how much packaging matters. I've frequently been driven mad with frustration at publishers' refusal to listen to my cover concerns!
If there's anything I'd change about this book - without wishing to give away the plot - I would make the ending rather less bleak. I think I went too far with something that happens to one of the characters. However, maybe I should stick to my guns; after all, in real life, untimely, pointless, tragic deaths do happen and this should be reflected in fantasy. And in mitigation I should add that this was never meant to be the end of the Aventuria tales and I'd still like to revisit this world some day ... it was always a case of ongoing struggle rather than happy-ever-after!
Covers of German Translations
This is actually The Amber Citadel split into two volumes, with covers that bear no relation to the story! Unfortunately the German publisher did not take up the rest of the trilogy, as so often happens. I understand that many overseas readers prefer to read novels in the original English in any case!