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SFF Author: Janny Wurts

Janny Wurts is an award winning artist whose paintings have been showcased in exhibitions of imaginative artwork, including a commemorative exhibition for NASA’s 25th Anniversary. She creates the cover art for her own books. She also has won many awards as a bagpiper, and is an accomplished equestrian. You can read and listen to excerpts of Janny Wurts’ books, and lots of other interesting information (including tips for aspiring writers) at her website. Read John’s interview with Janny Wurts and Will’s chat with her at Capricon XXVIII.


Click here for more stories by Janny Wurts.



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John Chats With Janny Wurts

John interviewed Janny Wurts, author of the epic The Wars of Light and Shadow. Please find synopses, cover art, and our reviews of Ms Wurts’ novels here.

Where do you find your inspiration to write? Some authors speak of societal issues, others of epic conflict between good and evil. What inspires you?

If I could answer that, I’d be a formula writer….no, seriously! This is a difficult question, because keeping what inspires me fresh is a constant challenge. I don’t seem to do the same story twice. If I examine an issue,


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Will Chats with Janny Wurts at Capricon XXVIII

FanLit thanks Will Daniels for this contribution to our site!

I enjoyed meeting and chatting with Janny Wurts at Capricon XXVIII.

Janny is an amazing woman — a self-made artist and author who’s been in the business since 1981. The impression I received from talking to Ms. Wurts was that she is a true fantasy geek. She writes for us, not just for profit.

I caught up with Janny toward the end of the day on Saturday while she was signing autographs for her fans. Scott Kuntzelman brought about 12 books for her to sign;


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Sorcerer’s Legacy: A fun stand-alone fantasy

Sorcerer’s Legacy by Janny Wurts

Sorcerer’s Legacy is the first book written by Janny Wurts and it’s a wonderful breath of fresh air because it’s a self-contained story. Much of modern fantasy seems bent of many volumes and epic scope while Legacy is content to be a single volume and a complete story.

It is essential to appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship that Wurts puts into her writing and for one familiar with her more recent works, this novel is just plain fun. 


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Stormwarden: It’s a great time to be an audiobook reader!

Stormwarden by Janny Wurts

This is a great time to be an audiobook reader! I’ve said often recently that I’m so pleased with Audible Frontiers for bringing us some older fantasy literature on audio, and this month their UK production team released Stormwarden, the first novel of Janny Wurts’ THE CYCLE OF FIRE trilogy which was first published in 1984.

Having greatly enjoyed Wurts’ stand-alone novel To Ride Hell’s Chasm, and knowing how several of my fellow FanLit reviewers feel about her THE WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW saga,


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Keeper of the Keys: I’m expecting an exciting finale

Keeper of the Keys by Janny Wurts

In this second episode of THE CYCLE OF FIRE, Ivainson Jaric witnesses some crucial history: how his father the Firelord and Anskiere the Stormwarden, both Vaere-trained sorcerers, bound the demons at Elrinfaer; how his father went mad and betrayed Anskiere; and how, though the demons were eventually bound, the land was destroyed in the process. Jaric also receives forewarnings, in the form of visions, of what the future will hold if he does not master his powers to help Taen and Anskiere subdue the rising demonkind who have now recruited Emien,


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Shadowfane: Action-packed and exciting finale

Shadowfane by Janny Wurts

Shadowfane, the concluding volume of Janny Wurts’ THE CYCLE OF FIRE trilogy is an action-packed and exciting finale.

As humankind is being destroyed by demons (who we now know are aliens) Jaric has realized that he has no choice but to brave the Cycle of Fire. If he succeeds, this trial will gain him the powers of a Firelord, but he risks the destructive madness that afflicted his father.

The action never lets up and, along the way,


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Daughter of the Empire: Life on the other side of the rift

Daughter of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist & Janny Wurts

THE EMPIRE CYCLE is the second trilogy set in Raymond E. Feist’s (and in this case Janny Wurts’) Riftwar universe. Readers of the RIFTWAR SAGA (the first trilogy by publication date) will know all about the world of Midkemia and its war with the otherworldly Kelewan. Daughter of the Empire (1987) takes place entirely in Kelewan and so offers a new insight into the Riftwar universe,


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Servant of the Empire: Intense and exciting middle book

Servant of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist & Janny Wurts

Note: May contain spoilers for the previous book, Daughter of the Empire.

Servant of the Empire (1989) is the second novel of the EMPIRE TRILOGY which is set in Raymond E. Feist’s RIFTWAR world and co-authored by Janny Wurts. This story takes place in the Tsurani empire which is an enemy to the Midkemian heroes of the RIFTWAR SAGA (e.g.,


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Mistress of the Empire: An emotionally satisfying ending

Mistress of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist & Janny Wurts

Mistress of the Empire (1989) is the final book in Raymond E. Feist and Janny WurtsEMPIRE TRILOGY. It’s an exciting, emotional, dramatic, and ultimately satisfying end to the story. Please don’t read it before you read Daughter of the Empire and Servant of the Empire. (And please note that this review will contain spoilers for those two previous novels.)

At the end of the second book in the trilogy,


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The Master of Whitestorm: An excellent stand-alone

The Master of Whitestorm by Janny Wurts

As The Master of Whitestorm starts off, Haldeth, a blacksmith turned galley slave, gets involved in an escape attempt by his bench mate, a mysterious and silent man who quickly proves to have surprising skills and hidden depths. After the two companions escape, they strike out together, and the mysterious man, whose name turns out to be Korendir, takes on a number of mercenary missions. It quickly becomes clear that Korendir is, to put it lightly, very focused on gathering enough money to build an impregnable fortress on the cliffs of Whitestorm…


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The Curse of the Mistwraith: Astounding depth

The Curse of the Mistwraith by Janny Wurts

The Curse of the Mistwraith took me completely by surprise. Based on (obviously mistaken) assumptions, I expected something completely different — epic fantasy, yes, but nothing even close to the gorgeous prose and astounding depth I found in this novel.

The plot of this story is hard to summarize, partly because there are so many twists and turns that it’s almost impossible not to run into spoiler territory very quickly. Two half-brothers, Arithon and Lysaer, are on opposite sides of a conflict that spans generations.


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The Ships of Merior: No excuse not to read it

The Ships of Merior by Janny Wurts

The Ships of Merior is the first part of Arc 2 of THE WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW, the incomparable epic fantasy series by Janny Wurts. The novel was originally released in 1994, and has most recently been re-released by HarperCollins Voyager in a lovely mass market paperback edition, featuring brand new artwork by the author herself. This is the first US paperback edition of the novel in at least 7 years. Further novels in the series will be re-released in late 2009 and throughout 2010,


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Warhost of Vastmark: Quickly becoming one of my favorites

Warhost of Vastmark by Janny Wurts

Warhost of Vastmark by Janny Wurts takes up directly where The Ships of Merior left off. The two books are definitely meant to be read back to back — together they comprise Arc 2 of the author’s THE WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW series, and some editions actually combine both of them in one cover.

It’s hard to give many details of the story without throwing in spoilers for The Ships of Merior,


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Fugitive Prince: Another excellent installment in one of the best fantasy series

Fugitive Prince by Janny Wurts

Fugitive Prince is the fourth novel in THE WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW by Janny Wurts, but because of the series’ unique structure, it’s actually the start of a brand new “arc” inside the overall story: book 1 comprises the first arc, books 2 and 3 together are the second arc, and the third arc consists of books 4 through 8 (the first of which is Fugitive Prince). Looking forward, the forthcoming 9th novel,


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Grand Conspiracy: Excellent epic fantasy

Grand Conspiracy by Janny Wurts

It gets harder and harder to review each subsequent novel in Janny Wurts’ excellent epic fantasy series THE WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW without either repeating yourself or including spoilers for earlier volumes. My previous reviews have highlighted the series’ complexity, level of detail, deep characterization, gorgeous prose, and inventive descriptions of magic. All of those positives can again be found in Grand Conspiracy, the fifth book in the overall series and second in the Alliance of Light arc.


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Peril’s Gate: Unforgettable!

Peril’s Gate by Janny Wurts

Peril’s Gate picks up right where Grand Conspiracy left off: Arithon is once again on the run, pursued by an Alliance of Light army led by its Lord Commander, Sulfin Evend, and his half-brother Lysaer. The Koriani enchantresses are also still trying to capture Arithon, with Elaira forced to walk a precarious line between betraying her order and helping her beloved. In Arithon’s desperate bid to stay ahead and stay alive, he receives help from Earl Jieret’s war band,


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Traitor’s Knot: You’re in for a wild ride

Traitor’s Knot by Janny Wurts

With every new book in the WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW series by Janny Wurts, it gets harder and harder to write a review without either including massive spoilers for previous volumes or simply repeating the praise already heaped on it in earlier reviews. There are only so many variations on “gorgeous prose,” “intricate world-building,” “deep characterization,” “the books are consistently excellent” and so on. It’s especially hard to avoid spoilers for Traitor’s Knot, given that it’s the fourth book in a five book “arc”,


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Stormed Fortress: Intellectually challenging, incredibly rewarding

Stormed Fortress by Janny Wurts

Stormed Fortressis the eighth novel in the WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW series by Janny Wurts, and the fifth and final novel in the Alliance of Light sub-arc. I’ve reviewed every novel in the series so far, and all of those reviews have been extremely positive, so by now it’s probably no secret that I’m a huge fan of these books and their author. That being said, Stormed Fortress is an outstanding novel even by the incredibly high standards of this series.


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Initiate’s Trial: Epic high fantasy at its finest

Initiate’s Trial by Janny Wurts

Janny Wurts’s latest novel in the WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW, Initiate’s Trial, is another rock-solid installment in what has become one of my favorite series. Janny’s use of the English language, her ability to sculpt characters with concepts and characteristics that make them live and her continuing commitment to solid storytelling make her work some of the best ever. Initiate’s Trial is a perfect example of why her books are always worth the wait.


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Destiny’s Conflict: Overflowing with vistas both grand and horrifying

Destiny’s Conflict by Janny Wurts

The wait for each installment in Janny Wurts’ THE WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW series can be pretty long and grueling. Wurts is a Mastercraftsman and the amount of labor she puts into telling her story is evident in the finished product. She never fails to find the perfect (and often uncommon) adjective to paint a vivid and precise picture of what is happening in her story. Each of Wurts’ meticulously-crafted novels is absolutely worth the wait!

Please note that Destiny’s Conflict is the tenth book in the WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW series (the second book of Arc IV: SWORD OF THE CANON).


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To Ride Hell’s Chasm: One heck of a ride!

To Ride Hell’s Chasm by Janny Wurts

At the start of To Ride Hell’s Chasm, an outstanding standalone fantasy by Janny Wurts, Princess Anja of the tiny isolated kingdom of Sessalie has gone missing on the eve of the ceremony for her betrothal to the Crown Prince of Devall. Since Anja is beloved by her people, and the alliance with Devall represents potentially big trade increases, it doesn’t take long for many people to be involved in the search, from Mykkael, a foreign-born former mercenary now in charge of the city’s garrison,


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The Solaris Book of New Fantasy: Celebrates the rich diversity of the genre

The Solaris Book of New Fantasy by George Mann (ed.)

I’m pretty much a novice when it comes to short fiction. Because of my lack of experience in this area, I hope that you will bear with me as I try to provide a thoughtful and comprehensive analysis of The Solaris Book of New Fantasy, even if I don’t always succeed. The plan is to first look at each short story individually providing synopses and commentary, followed by my evaluation of the compilation as a whole. So, let’s look at the stories:

1) “Who Slays the Gyant,


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Janny Wurts’ works return to American bookshelves

Janny Wurts has become a favorite of several of the reviewers here at Fantasy Literature, and much to our delight, her epic series, THE WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW (“TWoLaS”) is back in print this year in America and Canada! With its return to North America, one of the most important fantasy series currently underway is once again available to readers of epic high fantasy the world over.

One of the great strengths of Wurts’ writing is that it is not mere escapism. Fantasy Literature reviewer Stefan Raets notes that “rather than the standard cotton-candy fantasy tomes you find nowadays,


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Great Bookstores: Galaxy Bookshop in Sydney, Australia

Thanks to all the authors who’ve written in to tell us about the great bookstores they’ve been visiting! This week we hear from Janny Wurts and Karen Miller who wanted us to know about Galaxy Bookshop in Sydney Australia.

Galaxy Bookshop was established in 1975 and is an independent bookseller owned and operated by Abbey’s Bookshop (also independent). They focus exclusively on science fiction, fantasy, horror and paranormal romance genres.  Most of their books are US imports of titles that don’t have local distribution or whose author doesn’t have a deal with a UK publisher.


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Mary Sue/Gary Stu – Valid Critique or Cynic’s Bandwagon?

Today we give the platform to one of my favorite authors, Janny Wurts. She wonders if you think the Mary Sue / Gary Stu critique is being overly applied by cynical critics these days. Two commenters win copies of both The Curse of the Mistwraith and Initiate’s Trial, the first and most recent books in Janny’s THE WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW.

Lately, the Mary Sue or Gary Stu label for book characters who seem ‘too good to be true’ is used freely by professional and amateur reviewers alike as a slur that implies a literary fault.


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Next SFF Author: Philip Wylie
Previous SFF Author: S.L. Wright

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