The last of an ancient group of wizards leaves a gift to the newly arrived race of men. It is revered and cared for by a line of priests until it is stolen, and the high priest and his sovereign murdered by a king who believes himself destined to be a great wizard.
But from ancient writings the high priest had discovered that the gift is not benevolent as was thought.
This forces the son of the high priest, unexpectedly elevated to his father’s position, and the young prince who is equally suddenly king, into a race to find the gift before it can be used as that may cause the destruction of the world.
Accompanied by the retired captain of the palace guard they hope to speed their journey by crossing the Wasteland, a seeming desert, which is fabled to be populated by monsters, and from which no visitor has ever returned.
In the course of their adventures they are hunted by dog faced men and captured by slavers, but the young prince truly becomes a king, and the priest discovers that he has a destiny that goes beyond the bounds of his world.
Why was the first novel that I wrote about a magician living in a fictitious medieval world? Previously I had written feature articles, short stories and even some reminiscences of my youth, but all contemporary.
Perhaps it is because I feel out of place in 2014. I believe in honour and personal sacrifice. I do not think that I am important just because I exist, and I do not believe that my bank balance is a worthwhile measure of my success in life, which is probably a good thing. When I write I can experience vicariously the lives of my characters, their heroics, their generosity and their sense of fulfillment. All of which could lead one to think that I should really get a life; at least I don’t dress up like my Viking forebears in the privacy of my own home.
Professors and academics will deconstruct a novel and tell us the motivations, the thought processes and the psychological condition of the author. I think that they would like to tell us what the author had for dinner on a certain day but even they know that that would be considered intellectual arrogance, though in their hearts they think that they are that good. I believe that because all authors are different, their reasons for writing are different, their purpose in writing is different, and they deserve better treatment than to be fodder for more academic papers to keep indolent and precious professors in tenure. But all of this has nothing to do with why this particular author chose fantasy, or, as I prefer, phantasy. (I notice that the spell check does not like ph).
I wrote The Wizard’s Gift because it was a way to write a good old-fashioned adventure story without having to worry about technology, political correctness and that great anathema, psychology. Let’s have some people unexpectedly confronted with a present and a future danger. Let’s have a chase without cars, a love story without sex, fights without anatomically correct explosions of gore. Let’s have language, which flows from character to character and where nobody says “gotten” (though I have seen it in some examples of the ‘fantasy genre’). Let’s just settle down with our book, or Kindle or Nook, and disappear into another world where we can fear for our favourites in dire circumstances, or rejoice with them in success.
My first novel was a phantasy novel because that was what seemed the most enjoyable thing to write. And when I am a famous and long dead author I defy any pedantic professor to claim otherwise.
Michael was born in Middlesbrough in the North Riding of Yorkshire, UK in 1951 where he was soon creating havoc as a short trousered rebel. Fortunately as his mother was head cook at police headquarters his numerous run ins with the constabulary were dealt with in the privacy of the family home. A junior school run by nuns, and then an excellent grammar school under the watchful eye of Marist priests educated him to have a love of literature, music and science. Though they did nothing to curb his anti-authority streak.
An initial ramble through all manner of jobs finally came to a halt in the oil and chemical industry where his love of science and all things technical provided him with gainful employment for almost thirty years. Whilst working he spent several years in the Middle East with visits to India, and around Europe before landing in the USA where he has lived for the past twenty years.
Retired now he writes, take photographs and restores vintage British motorcycles in upstate New York.