While holidaying in Norway, Glys Erlendson encounters an eerie woman deep in the forest. Thereafter she is plagued by frightening visions, which no one can explain. After a terrifying, near-death experience, Glys discovers that she is not human, and belongs to a secretive race known as Enchanters.
Fearful of her destiny, yet unable to remain in the human world, Glys is stalked by a host of sinister creatures who identify her as a future opponent. A grim warrior-magician named Tarune is sent to guide her safely to Myradelle, an Enchanter domain. But danger lurks at every step; in order to survive, Glys must embrace Mystiir, the limitless power of nature. To do so she must abandon her human shell, and accept what lies underneath.
Aided by powerful companions, Glys’ transformative journey leads her through a dreamlike, prismatic Enchanter realms, a human city dominated by murderous Changelings, and into the terrifying Noctivoll Underworld, where her ultimate destiny – and that of the entire world – is finally revealed.
An exciting début novel by David Bryan Russel, Enchanters: Glys of Myradelle is a vividly imagined modern fantasy in which a young recently awakened Faery must embrace her destiny, for the hope of the planet and all inhabitants – both seen and unseen.
Fae Nation spoke with David to learn a little more about his inspirations and Glys’ world.
Do you think your career as a storyboard artist in the film industry has
influenced the way you write?
Yes, indeed. Working in close collaboration with some of the industry’s top directors and writers has taught me a great deal about structuring powerful narratives. The best filmmakers are dedicated storytellers, often pouring more effort into screenplay development than some authors devote to their manuscripts.
And was writing a novel something you’d always wanted to do?
No, not until I’d gained a certain amount of experience in life, and felt a desire to coalesce my narrative skills into this difficult, but rewarding medium.
There is a very clear ecological message in Enchanters. Did you set out with that as a goal, or did it evolve with the story?
My goal was to write an entertaining, imaginative story. The ecological sub-plot was present from the beginning, but the principal narrative is a classic, high fantasy adventure driven by 19 year old Glys Erlendson, an unusual and appealing hero. Both novels take the reader on an incredible journey of the heart, mind and spirit. The Enchanters series is primarily, of course, a story about fairies, whom I call Irdeyas. I’ve long been drawn to the concept of a fairy world (this may be my Irish heritage expressing itself), although neither the common childish or the contemporary dark fantasy representations of this world ever felt quite right. The latter viewpoint–which essentially equates the fairy world with horror–is particularly unpleasant and inappropriate. Those of us with a keen interest in history can accurately point to its origins in Christian propaganda, which, along with the entire natural world, sought to relegate the fairy world as a demonic environment. Succeeding generations of writers, artists and filmmakers have been unable to shake off this negative programming, resulting in a steady stream of dismal representations of the fairy world.
I’ve completely rejected this insidious darkness. The Irdeya realm, while not without its extreme dangers, is beautiful and sublime, qualities reflected in its inhabitants. Magic power is sourced from nature, not from unwilling entities, demonic books, or other such medieval claptrap. Irdeyas do not seek personal glorification, status, or power over other beings; they cannot kill, but do transform. They are also human sized. In all other respects they resemble classic depictions of fairies, with shimmering wings, wands (which I have termed vitanns) that operate in a semi-autonomous fashion, and which focus the power of nature itself, and other familiar characteristics. Needless to say, the environmental sub-text springs naturally from such a narrative structure.
The Enchanters series, while edgy and intense, nevertheless stands as a repudiation of the relentless death-oriented dark fantasy stories which have come to saturate the market, many of which are mere exercises in religious propaganda, normalisation of sadism, murder and violent death, the victimisation of children, and decidedly poisonous depictions of relationships and sexuality.
What prompted you to begin the story in Norway?
I’ve always been fascinated by Norse mythology, in particular the characters of Thor and Odin. My first journey to Norway, where I also have ancestral links, proved to be the spur for the evolution of the Enchanters series. Despite a well-deserved reputation as a pragmatic and self-reliant group, Norwegians also have a deep spiritual connection with their land, and most continue to believe that its quiet, most remote regions are populated by mythical beings such as trolls, elves, giants, and even stranger sorts. Having wandered through such regions while researching the novels, I can attest to the special energy one feels in the dark spruce forests, atop windy fjords, and upon shimmering ice fields glowing with the eerie, shifting light of the Aurora Borealis.
Like Australia, my adopted country, Norway is largely wild and untamed; certain places have rarely, if ever, known a human footfall. In such surroundings it was easy to envision an unseen world co-existing with our own; the gleaming realm of Myradelle, the ice-bounds hideaways of the Kambernyths, the dank, oppressive Underworld… Norway, a state of mind, perhaps blurs the fine line between the real and the imagined.
Can you tell us about the sequel, A Shining Realm?
The book continues the adventures of Glys of Myradelle who, along with her similarly-empowered friends, must face their greatest challenge when a trio of witless Kambernyths awaken a dire creature best left in his eternal slumber. A force is unleashed upon the world, which changes it beyond recognition. Thrust into this deadly new environment, Glys must use all her new-found skills to avert another looming catastrophe… but time is running out.