Next Author: Leigh Bardugo
Previous Author: Dave Bara

James Barclay

James Barclay fantasy author(1965- )
James Barclay grew up in Suffolk and studied communications and acting. He lives with his wife and son in a town southwest of London. You can read excerpts of James Barclay‘s novels at his website.

Dawnthief: The literary equivalent of an entertaining action movie

Dawnthief  by James Barclay

Dawnthief is the first book in James Barclay's CHRONICLES OF THE RAVEN trilogy (followed by Noonshade and Nightchild). In addition to the trilogy, the author also published four LEGENDS OF THE RAVEN novels and one Raven novella, as well as two ASCENDANTS OF ESTORIA novels and the stand-alone Vault of Deeds. Dawnthief was James Barclay's first published work in 1999 and, in the author's words, "came from a personal frustration with the pace, style and character matter of other fantasy novels." Its aim, again quoting the author, was "to entertain readers."

If entertainment was the novel's only goal, I'd consider Dawnthief a success, despite ... Read More

Noonshade: Hectic, shallow, entertaining

Noonshade by James Barclay

Noonshade is the second book in the CHRONICLES OF THE RAVEN series by British fantasy author James Barclay. At the end of trilogy opener Dawnthief, the legendary group of mercenaries known as the Raven managed to destroy the Wytchlords and save the world of Balaia by casting the powerful Dawnthief spell, but as a side effect of the spell, a magical rift appeared in the sky above Parve.

Very early on in Noonshade, we discover that this rift leads to another dimension, populated by several "broods" of dragons, and that the only thing stopping them from invading and destroying Balaia is the Kaan brood, which has a link with the Balaian dimension and some of its inhabitants. However, the rift is growing, and as soon as its shade is large enough to cover the city of Parve at noon (hence ... Read More

Nightchild: Best book in the trilogy

Nightchild by James Barclay

Nightchild is officially the third book in the CHRONICLES OF THE RAVEN trilogy by British fantasy author James Barclay, but it feels like a completely separate novel from Dawnthief and Nightchild, which were so strongly connected that they could have been published as one long story, with book 2 picking up right where book 1 left off. Nightchild, by contrast, starts 5 years after the end of the previous book, and while it continues some of the plot lines from the first two books, it feels like the start of a brand new story.

At the start of Nightchild, the mercenaries collectively known as the Raven have moved in separate directions after having saved Balaia from the Wesmen and invading dragons from other dimensions. Hirad Coldheart is busy p... Read More

Elfsorrow: Doesn’t neglect tactics and strategy

Elfsorrow by James Barclay

Elfsorrow is the first book in The Legends of the Raven, James Barclay's second series about a group of mercenaries called the Raven. If you have not read the previous series, The Chronicles of the Raven, you are going to end up guessing at much of what is going on. If I had it to do over again, I would have read the previous series first; based on all the information that I had to figure out from context, it sounds like a great story.

Elfsorrow takes place on two different continents and tracks about four different storylines. The first features a group of highly skilled mages and fighters who work as a group known as the Raven. The Raven is made up of many different interesting characters, including a female mage who has j... Read More

Vault of Deeds: Fantasy satire

Vault of Deeds by James Barclay

Vault of Deeds proved to be a funny read as James Barclay plays on heroic fantasy conventions, not unlike Jim C. Hines or A. Lee Martinez. In this novella, it's up to a scribe — in this case someone who records the deeds of heroes — to save the day.

Barclay's writing is easy to get into but goes beyond simply being functional or serviceable. Dialogue and action are frequently utilized to draw the readers in, and comedy is provided by the verbose and exaggerated prose spoken by the protagonists. Since this is a parody, I can't really blame Barclay for using two-dimensional heroes and villains. There's also no dallying here as Barclay gets us to the action quickly and the fight scenes are also quite commendable.

If you're going to read Vault of Deeds, do it to tickle your funny bone. Honestly, some of the fantasy satire I've already seen before. What sets it apart is Barclay's writi... Read More

More fantasy from James Barclay

Ascendants of Estorea — (2005-2007) Publisher: The Emperor of Estorea is young and idealistic. The Empire he has inherited has never been more powerful, never been so large. He believes he can bring in a golden age. But his armies are stretched thin, the border provinces are reluctant to pay homage and, even in his own court, dissent and betrayal is in the air. And into this troubled world four children are born. They are the result of centuries of careful study and selective breeding. They are completely at one with the world, they can sense the elements, they can use them. They have magic at their fingertips. A world that has not known magic is about to discover its wonder and its terror. And an Empire is about to fall.

James  Barclay Ascendants of Estorea 1. The Cry of the Newborn 2. Shout for the DeadJames  Barclay Ascendants of Estorea 1. The Cry of the Newborn 2. Shout for the Dead

Elves — (2010-2013) Publisher: The elves have fled to Calius, seeking to escape the overwhelming power of the demonic Garonin. A desperate last stand in their own dimension saved the race but only at the cost of 100,000 elves lost to the Garonin. The elf who led that fight, Takaar, is blamed for the loss and has gone into hiding. Now the weakened elf race is tearing itself apart in civil war, human mercenaries have arrived in Calius and are ripping the continent apart. Only one elf can unite the race. And only one elf believes in him. A young warrior named Auum sets out to bring back the shamed hero and save the elven race. James Barclay’s ELVES trilogy will tell the whole story of his immortal elven race, it will appeal to all fans of Tolkien and fantasy — this is a uniquely entertaining take on a fantasy staple for readers new to Barclay. And old readers of Barclay will welcome a return for one of their favourite creations and will also love seeing once of their favourite characters back — the Tai Gethan warriror Auum destined to be one of the Raven.

James Barclay Elves 1: Once Walked With GodsRise of the Taigethenfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews