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Michael Pryor

Michael Pryor(1957- )
Michael Pryor was raised in Australia and went to university in Melbourne. He currently lives in Melbourne with his wife Wendy and daughters. Mr. Pryor has worked as a drainer’s labourer, a truck driver, a bathroom accessories salesperson, an Internet consultant, an Electronic Publisher, in a scrap metal yard and as a secondary school teacher where he taught English, Literature, Drama, Legal Studies and Computer Studies. Learn more about Michael Pryor at his website.

Bill chats with Michael Pryor

Michael Pryor is the author of THE LAWS OF MAGIC, a young adult series which begins with Blaze of Glory and ends with the just completed but not yet released Hour of Need. He has written over two dozen novels and now that THE LAWS OF MAGIC is completed, is working on the start of a new historical fantasy. He currently resides in Melbourne, Australia and graciously took some time to answer some questions about THE LAWS OF MAGIC and writing in general. We'll be giving away a book from our stacks to one commenter.

Bill Capossere: I enjoyed reading THE LAWS OF MAGIC and I'm wondering how the storyline came about?

Michael Pryor: I’d written nearly twenty books by the time I was considering the project that became THE LA... Read More

Blaze of Glory: A solid work for younger readers

Blaze of Glory by Michael Pryor

Blaze of Glory is the first book in Michael Pryor’s The Laws of Magic series. It’s an engaging YA effort, if not particularly enthralling or captivating, with a solidly interesting main character. As you can tell by my somewhat qualified reaction, it didn’t blow me away, though it was strong enough that I’d take a look at book two.

The series is set in an alternate England (Albion) where the Industrial Revolution took place side by side with a magical revolution. The two are intertwined in the world’s development, though magic is limited in its impact because it relies on individual talent. We appear to be on the brink of World War I as “Holmland” (Germany) and Albion are increasingly at odds (an Albion ship was recently “accidentally” sunk by Holmland).

The ma... Read More

The Laws of Magic: Charmingly old-fashioned

Heart of Gold, Word of Honour, Time of Trial, Moment of Truth by Michael Pryor

“Charmingly old-fashioned” is how I would describe Michael Pryor’s series The Laws of Magic, which begins with Blaze of Glory (reviewed above) and continues with Heart of Gold, Word of Honour, Time of Trial, and the most recent, due out this summer, Moment of Truth, all of which I’ll review as a group here. The concluding book will be Hour of Need.

The Laws of Magic is set in an alternate England (called Albion) during the Edwardian Age, starting on the cusp of W... Read More

Hour of Need: Satisfying end to a charmingly old-fashioned series

Hour of Need by Michael Pryor

Hour of Need is the concluding book in Michael Pryor’s LAWS OF MAGIC series and it brings a good series to a fitting and satisfying close. I won’t bother recapping the general premise as you’ll want to have read the prior (or should that be Pryor?) books first; you can check out the setting, etc., in my earlier reviews. Suffice to say the series is set in an alternate Edwardian time period that has been moving toward and then finally arriving at their version of World War I involving both technology and magic.

All the major characters return for Hour of Need: Aubrey, whom I’ve described as a mix of Sherlock Holmes, Tom Swift, and Hermione Granger; his best friend George, reliably strong and warm-hearted; Caroline, his crack shot, martial ar... Read More

The Extinction Gambit: An old-fashioned kind of dashing romp for YA

The Extinction Gambit by Michael Pryor

Michael Pryor’s The Extinction Gambit, book one of the EXTRAORDINAIRES series, is not the best book I’ve read this year. But it does have the best pithy plot summary uttered by a character:

"So the Olympic Games are being jeopardized by a band of evil sorcerers who want my brain,” Kingsley said, “while I try to find my foster father who may have been abducted by creatures from the dawn of time.”

That’s Kingsley Ward, young stage magician-to-be, talking at lunch with Evadne Stephens — the young albino genius inventor/master juggler/elite weaponsmaker who has already rescued him once from said sorcerers and creatures — and famed writer Rudyard Kipling, who, based on his experience in India writing The Jungle Book, has taken an abiding interest in Kingsley. Read More

The Subterranean Stratagem: A minor blip, I hope

The Subterranean Stratagem by Michael Pryor

I have to confess, Michael Pryor’s second installment of THE EXTRAORDINAIRES series, The Subterranean Stratagem, did not quite charm or engage me as much as its predecessor, The Extinction Gambit, did (or Pryor’s earlier THE LAWS OF MAGIC series). As this is the first of Pryor’s books not to do so, I’m going to consider this a minor blip and assume book three will regain his usual form.

The Subterranean Stratagem picks up a few months after the end of The Extinction Gambit, with Kingsley and Evadne’s new act struggling more than a little, due mostly to Kingsley’s personal struggle in trying to keep his wild side in check, something he has been having more and more difficulty with. Their personal relationship is just as stalled as the professional one, stuck somewhat awkwardly between professional a... Read More

History and Fantasy

Michael Pryor is the author of THE LAWS OF MAGIC, a young adult series set in an alternate Edwardian England (called Alibion in the series), which I thought was “charmingly old-fashioned” and happily recommended. Michael graciously took some time off from his new series, THE EXTRAORDINAIRES, to talk to us about the connection between History and Fantasy.

History is the Fantasy writer’s best friend. That’s almost a truism, but it bears repeating. A good understanding of history gives a Fantasy writer a springboard into the whole world creation business. Why invent a whole world from scratch when you can delve into history and find a multitude of fascinating cultures, societies, customs and ways of living?

Thanks to TH... Read More

More books by Michael Pryor

Doorways — (1998-1999) Young adult. Publisher: When the Princess and her Followers stumble into Saul Harding’s world, he suddenly finds himself in a deadly fight against the frightening Hollow Men.  Caught up in a struggle to save The house of Many Rooms from the treacherous Stefan, Saul swears allegiance to the Princess. For if the Princess and her followers cannot save The House of Many Rooms, then the safety of both their world and Earth will be at stake.

Michael Pryor Doorways 1. The House of Many Rooms 2. The Book of Plans 3. The Unmaker Michael Pryor Doorways 1. The House of Many Rooms 2. The Book of Plans 3. The Unmaker Michael Pryor Doorways 1. The House of Many Rooms 2. The Book of Plans 3. The Unmaker

The Chronicles of Krangor — (2006-2011) Ages 9-12. Publisher: When Queen Tayesha threatens to conquer all seven kingdoms of Krangor and break the ancient bond between the saur and the land, a young noble named Adalon vows to stop her. He and his loyal friends Targesh and Simangee must find a safe haven, far from the queen’s bloodthirsty soldiers. Beyond a river of fire, a lost castle beckons them. Mysteries and magical wonders await the three friends at the castle, but awakening ancient magic brings its own dangers.

children's fantasy book reviews Michael Pryor The Chronicles of Krangor 1. Lost Castle 2. The Missing King 3. The King in Reservechildren's fantasy book reviews Michael Pryor The Chronicles of Krangor 1. Lost Castle 2. The Missing King 3. The King in Reservechildren's fantasy book reviews Michael Pryor The Chronicles of Krangor 1. Lost Castle 2. The Missing King 3. The King in Reserve

Stand-alones and collections:

Extraordinaires 1. The Extinction Gambit 2. The Subterranean Stratagem Michael PryorThe Mask of Caliban — (1996) Young adult. Publisher: Australia, many years in the future. A place of darkness, overpopulation and environmental degradation. A rigidly stratified society controlled by Artificial Intelligences. Caliban, a street person and petty thief is given the chance to create a new life for himself. Drawn into a complex game by the Artificial Intelligences, Caliban suddenly discovers that he is not only fighting for his identity, but for his life… A finalist for the 1997 Aurealis Award for best young-adult novel, The Mask of Caliban was Australian speculative fiction master MICHAEL PRYOR’s breakthrough novel.

Extraordinaires 1. The Extinction Gambit 2. The Subterranean Stratagem Michael PryorBruno Trask and the Dark Lady’s Jewels — (2002) Ages 9-12. Publisher: In the fantastical world of Michael Pryor’s new novel, humans live alongside elves, dwarves, werewolves and ogres. Bruno Trask is a human boy with a very boring job: he has to parade around the local shopping mall dressed as Roger, the Smiley Dragon. One day at the mall a fabulous collection of enchanted jewellery is on display. It is presided over by the Dark Lady, the most famous, rich and influential Dark Elf in the world. Just as she’s unveiling the main attraction — an old family heirloom called the Black Star — Bruno accidentally knocks it out of her hand in a spectacular collision. It soars high into the air and Bruno, again accidentally, puts out his hand and catches it. In a flash of light, the Black Star merges with his hand and becomes embedded in the middle of his palm. Suddenly, Bruno is the centre of attention. The Dark Lady wants her Black Star back and she’ll do anything to get it. With two of her bodyguard ogres after him, Bruno very quickly finds himself on the run. Will Bruno stay out of the Dark Lady’s clutches? And what is the secret behind the Black Star?

Extraordinaires 1. The Extinction Gambit 2. The Subterranean Stratagem Michael Pryor10 Futures — (2012) Publisher: Ten possible futures. Two lives. One enduring friendship. Sam and Tara. Best friends in a future when artificial intelligence organises our lives, and micropets are the latest craze. Best friends when rationing means cold showers and no internet. Best friends when genetic matching makes asking a girl on a date a minefield of epic proportions. But will they still be best friends in a future when plague wipes out most of humanity? Or a future when the Inquisitor asks Sam to choose one betrayal over another? Michael Pryor, one of Australia’s best authors of speculative fiction, imagines what our next 100 years might be like. Utopia or dystopia? Miracle or catastrophe? Whatever might happen, it’s just around the corner. Which future will be yours?

Extraordinaires 1. The Extinction Gambit 2. The Subterranean Stratagem Michael PryorSliver of Doubt — (2012) Publisher: Magic, manners, conspiracy and intrigue – yes, it’s a Laws of Magic story! Judging a flower arranging competition because your father, the Prime Minister, is busy almost seems like a punishment. But when you’re Aubrey Fitzwilliam, magical genius, things rarely go to plan, and the day takes a decidely non-floral turn when Aubrey is asked for help in a suspected case of magical blackmail. Secret societies, spies, a basement laboratory? Aubrey won’t let a barred window – and the possibility of mortal danger – stand in his way. Sliver of Doubt is a story in the Laws of Magic world. Set in a world similar to Edwardian Britain, just before World War I, The Laws of Magic stars Aubrey Fitzwilliam, the son of a prominent ex-prime minister, who’s brilliant at magic – and just as good at finding trouble.