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S.L. Farrell

s.l. farrell fantasy authorS.L. Farrell is the fantasy penname of science fiction writer Stephen Leigh. He’s a Cincinnati author who has professionally published dozens of novels and short stories. He teaches creative writing at Northern Kentucky University, and is a frequent speaker to writers groups. Learn more and read excerpts at S.L. Farrell’s website.

Holder of Lightning: Solid Celtic fantasy

Holder of Lightning by S.L. Farrell

Holder of Lightning is the first book of S.L. Farrell’s Cloudmages trilogy. The story takes place in a well-imagined Celtic world and there is plenty of action, particularly in the last third, where Farrell is putting things in place for a multi-generational saga.

Jenna Aoire is a simple village girl, daughter of the widow Maeve, content to herd the sheep and listen to music at Tara’s tavern. One night, when she is late getting the sheep down from Knobtop, the sky comes alive in sheets of dancing colors, and Jenna finds a strange green pebble. She brings the stone home with her without thinking much about it, but her destiny and her world have just changed.

The stone is a Cloch Mor, a stone of power that comes to life when the lights, something like the aurora borealis, dance overhead. Jenna holds not just any Cloch Mor, but ... Read More

Inside Straight: A WILD CARDS reboot

Inside Straight edited by George R.R. Martin

The year 2008 saw the (second?) rebirth of the WILD CARDS series edited and co-written by George R.R. Martin. These are ‘mosaic’ novels — stories written by several authors and set in a shared universe. The first book, Wild Cards, appeared in 1987. Inside Straight (2008) is book 18. To make this 18th book a good entry point, Martin and his companions created something of a Wild Cards: the Next Generation to reboot the series.

What do you need to know about the back story of the Wild Cards? Not a lot really. In 1946 an alien virus hit earth. It killed ninety percent of those infected, disfigured nine percent and left a lucky one percent with superhuman powers. The unlucky nine percent are ... Read More

Busted Flush: Not very satisfying

Busted Flush edited by George R.R. Martin

Busted Flush is the nineteenth entry in the Wild Cards series of mosaic novels edited by George R.R. Martin. The previous book, Inside Straight is something of a new beginning for the series, a new trilogy with new characters and a couple of new writers. It's a good point to get started. Unfortunately Busted Flush falls a bit short of the standard set in the first book of the Committee trilogy.

The story picks up some time after the events in Inside Straight. The UN secretary-general has snapped up the new American heroes after their dramatic performance in Egypt and formed the Committee — a group of Aces dealing with everything from genocide to natural disasters.There is plenty of work; our heroes are spread thin. In fact, the cracks in their organisation are clearly beginning to show. There ... Read More

Suicide Kings: Surprising depth

Suicide Kings edited by George R.R. Martin

Suicide Kings is the third part in the latest reincarnation of the long-running WILD CARDS series. Together with Inside Straight and Busted Flush it forms the Committee trilogy. I guess you could consider this trilogy WILD CARDS the next generation. These books are meant to be an entry point for new readers. Like most of the previous novels, Suicide Kings is a collaborative effort. This volume is written by six authors — Daniel Abraham, S.L. Farrell, Victor Milán, Melinda M. Snodgr... Read More

Other books by S.L. Farrell

Nessantico Cycle — (2008-2010) Publisher: An intricate tale of murder and magic, deception and betrayal, Machiavellian politics, star-crossed lovers, and a world on the brink of devastating war… Over the decades and slow centuries, the city of Nessantico spread its influence in all directions, subsuming and converting the majority of other religions and lesser gods within the Holdings. Always strong even as the borders of the Holdings ebbed and flowed under the effects of war and commerce, always magnificent even as tastes and styles changed, always seductive and desirable no matter what other exotic lands and places might briefly come into fashion, Nessantico gathered to itself all that was intellectual, all that was rich, all that was powerful. There was no city in the known world that could rival it. But there were many who envied it…

S.L. Farrell Nessantico Cycle: 1. A Magic of Twilight 2. A Magic of Nightfall 3. A Magic of DawnS.L. Farrell Nessantico Cycle: 1. A Magic of Twilight 2. A Magic of Nightfall 3. A Magic of DawnS.L. Farrell Nessantico Cycle: 1. A Magic of Twilight 2. A Magic of Nightfall 3. A Magic of Dawn