Published: 31st July 2012 by Orbit Books
Format: Paperback, 425 pages
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Centuries have passed since the Wardens slew the tyrant Lord Regret, but while the Wound that he ripped in the sky remains open, the earth trembles and the sun vanishes without warning.
The great warrior Rostigan wanders Aorn, weary of battle and unwanted renown. With him travels his lover, the minstrel Tarzi, who hopes she may soon witness further deeds from him worthy of song and tale. Despite Rostigan s reluctance to re-enter the world, she may get what she wishes for . . .
When they travel to the once magnificent city of Silverstone they discover it has been wrenched out of existence. Journeying onwards, they come to learn the disturbing truth. The land has descended into chaos for the Wardens, now craving destruction, have returned from their ancient graves and Lord Regret s malicious legacy grows ever stronger, corrupting the very nature of reality.
I’m going to be honest with you here: I had forgotten exactly how mesmerizing Sam Bowring’s writing is, misremembered how he hooks you into his book mere pages in! This novel is equally driven by action and its characters, executed brilliantly by Bowring in his unique style. A wonderfully spun tale of magic, camaraderie and betrayal, The Legacy of Lord Regret is the first book in the Strange Threads duology, and I’m eagerly awaiting the sequel, The Lord of Lies, to bring this tale to its (I’m sure) thrilling conclusion.
The novel begins with the travellers Rostigan and Tarzi discovering that a whole town has disappeared. As though it never existed! As they continue on their journey, more strange tales reach them until it is clear that the Wardens, thought long gone, have returned. Bowring gradually introduces his readers to the Wardens, from the well-intentioned Yalenna to the sadistic Forger, and through each of them we learn a little more of the past and of this new world. I enjoyed Rostigan’s character the most because he is at odds with himself: he has created an identity for himself and almost convinced himself of its reality, but the return of the Wardens has opened up some deep wounds and he has some hard truths to face. In contrast, I didn’t like Tarzi much at all – as a performer she is skilled in using her body to get what she wants (and not just in the obvious way you are thinking), she’s manipulative and something about her just didn’t sit right with me.
Moments of emotionally charged character development and heart stopping action are cleverly interspersed throughout this book, resulting in a book with few, if any, lulls. It kept me guessing, and every time I thought I had things figured out something would happen and everything changed again. One of the wonderful things about Bowring’s writing style is that he doesn’t under-estimate his audience – anytime he wants you to be in the dark about something, you truly are in the dark, which keeps the suspense levels high. The plot elements tie together beautifully and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Australian Fantasy continues to evolve and test its bounds, and Sam Bowring’s latest novel is a prime example! The Legacy of Lord Regret is a must read for all fans of the genre, and anyone planning their first foray into Fantasy should consider Bowring’s earlier works: The Broken Well Trilogy.
I’ve been fan of Sam Bowring’s work since reading The Broken Well Trilogy – his first works of adult Fantasy. I had just started this blog, and this trilogy was one of my very first reviews (you can read it here, but I’m warning you, it’t not exactly … polished). After writing that review, I scrounged up every ounce of courage I possess and emailed him. I wasn’t really expecting a reply, so imagine my surprise when he did! We exchanged a few emails (I managed not to sound like a deranged, squealing fan girl, I think).
Now Sam is honouring me with an interview to celebrate the publication of Lord Regret and The Lord of Lies (Strange Threads #2), due out in September. Enjoy!
1. Please tell us about your reading habits. Do you read more within Fantasy or outside of it? Who are your favourite authors?
I mainly read fantasy. My mother sometimes admonishes me for not having a broader spectrum, and she might be right. I’m actually going through a phase right now of trying to read more non-fantasy classics. I just finished Oliver Twist, for example, which I enjoyed, although I did think there would be more singing. For some reason however, usually I am drawn to fantasy. As a kid I got it into my head that the real world is boring, and although I no longer think that, old habits die hard. As for authors, I like Robin Hobb, Roald Dahl, Douglas Adams, Roger Zelazny and, of course, various others.
2. The Broken Well Trilogy is a wonderful example of thought-provoking Fantasy. Did anything in particular inspire you to consider the breaking of a soul into two bodies?
I’m not entirely sure what sparked that off. It was an idea I had for many years before writing the story, from when I was a teenager, which is a bit hazy now, from this distance. Maybe it was a nature versus nurture thing, to show that we are not born with ideologies but rather learn them – or to put it another way, no one is inherently right. Or, as a teen, maybe I was interested in internal struggles, and here was a way to show one externalised. This is all just guesswork! Hmm.
3. There must be parts of you in both Bel and Losara. Is there more of you in one than the other?
I think it’s probably Losara over Bel, for me. Bel is such a brash, gung-ho person, whereas I empathise more with the reflective, slightly-puzzled-by-the-world, and not-as-quick-to-act Losara. And I would certainly love to have his magical powers.
4. When writing your newest novel, The Legacy of Lord Regret, what came first: the character of Rostigan or the world after the defeat of Lord Regret?
Rostigan came first, along with some of the other characters. I used to play World of Warcraft, so Rostigan may even have been inspired by something like seeing a big, heavily armoured warrior stopping to gather flowers. The psychopathic Lord of Pain, Forger, was also one of the characters around whom the world was built.
5. The Strange Threads duology is already completed and the second book, The Lord of Lies, is due to be published in September. Why did you write both books before publishing the first?
With the previous trilogy, it was a bit of a rush getting the books out within a reasonable time of each other, and a lot of overlap in the work. This time around we (me and the publisher) figured, let’s get them just right, at our own pace. Oh, and also it means readers don’t have to wait forever to find out what happens!
6. You are leaving to answer Braston’s call to arms. If you can take any three books with you, which ones do you choose?
- To Kill A Mockingbird (because I’ve just started it and it will make my mother happy)
- Meditation for Beginners (it’s been sitting in my pile for ages, and some calm might be helpful before a big battle)
- Swordplay for Dummies
Rapid Fire round:
1. Nutella or Vegemite?
Nutella. Vegemite is evil.
2. Dragons or Griffins?
Dragons all the way.
3. Physical book or E-book?
Physical, but only because my ‘to-read’ stack pre-dates the technology so I haven’t moved onto e-books yet. I think I may get there.
A huge thank you to Sam Bowring for being kind enough to answer these questions for me! I also harbour an extreme dislike Vegemite, but it’s considered almost un-patriotic so I rarely admit it!
Sam Bowring is a writer and comedian living in Sydney, Australia.
He began writing at a young age and his first book, Sir Joshua and the Unprofessional Dragon, was published in 1999 when he was (appropriately enough) 19. Since then he has written several other books and stage plays, as well as for various televisual broadcasts.