Although Masks was my first novel written as E.C. Blake, it isn’t my first novel. I’ve also written as Edward Willett and Lee Arthur Chane. If you enjoyed The Masks of Aygrima, you might also enjoy some of my other books. (And if you didn’t enjoy The Masks of Aygrima, you might enjoy some of my other books more!) Here’s a selection:
The metal City towers at the center of the mountain-ringed Heartland, standing astride the deep chasm of the Canyon like a malevolent giant, ruled with an iron fist by the First Officer and his Provosts in the name of the semi-mythical Captain. Within its corroding walls lies a stratified society, where the Officers dwell in luxury on the Twelfth Tier while the poor struggle to survive on the First and Second, and outcasts scrabble and fight for whatever they can find in the Middens, the City’s rubbish heap, filling the Canyon beneath its dripping underbelly.
Alania, ward of an Officer, lives on Twelfth. Raised among the privileged class, Alania feels as though she is some sort of pampered prisoner, never permitted to explore the many levels of the City. And certainly not allowed to leave the confines of the City for any reason. She has everything a young woman could want except a loving family and personal freedom.
Danyl, raised by a scavenger, knows no home but the Middens. His day-to-day responsibility is to stay alive. His sole ambition is to escape from this subsistence existence and gain entrance to the City—so near and yet so far out of reach—in hopes of a better life.
Their two very different worlds collide when Alania, fleeing from an unexpected ambush, plunges from the heights of the City down to the Middens, and into Danyl’s life.
Almost immediately, both of them find themselves pursued by the First Officer’s Provosts, for reasons they cannot fathom—but which they must uncover if they are to survive. The secrets they unlock, as they flee the Canyon and crisscross the Heartland from the City’s farmlands to the mountains of the north and back again, will determine not only their fate, but the fate of the City…and everyone who lives there.
One of Inverse Entertainment’s “7 Essential Science Fiction Books for July 2017” and Barnes & Noble’s “The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of July 2017.”
“Willett brings J.G. Ballard’s High-Rise into the distant space age in this dystopian tale of class, power and freedom that will entertain devotees and non-genre fans alike. The worldbuilding in this book is impressive, creating an atmosphere that is both fascinating and oppressive, and characters who are magnificently complex…the ending provides a fascinating study about loyalty and power that grounds this book in our own time as much as the titular city of Willett’s imagination.”
“Willett (the Helix War series) wraps his capable new adult science fiction adventure around the fate of a mysterious many-tiered city and its inhabitants…Willett’s spunky protagonists and colorful world will entertain SF adventure fans.”
“A novel that doesn’t promise an entire trilogy? Be still our hearts. Edward Willett’s The Cityborn does fill that niche, but it’s a decent read, too…if you’re thirsting for a sci-fi read and don’t want to get tangled up in having to remember plenty of details for more than a single book, The Cityborn should appeal to you.”
“I’ve finally read a dystopian that I’ve enjoyed…I’d definitely recommend The Cityborn, especially for fans of sci-fi looking to branch into dystopian, and for readers like me who are tired of the typical dystopians out there.”
“Dystopian stories are my all time favorite and I couldn’t wait to get into The Cityborn…once things start going, you will be flipping the pages as fast as Alania and Danyl are moving to keep ahead of the Provost. There is a lot happening in this story and it does a great job of building the world we find ourselves in…Overall this is a great dystopian story. It’s my first book from Edward Willett and I hope to read more of his books.”
“This was some crazy shjt. Not that anything is new under the post-apoc/SciFi sun, but the way it was constructed and interleaved with the characters makes it inescapably poignant.”
You can get it here:
I Tumble Through the Diamond Dust
I Tumble through the Diamond Dust is a collection of fantastical (science fiction, fantasy, and horror) poems, illustrated by Alberta artist Wendi Nordell (my talented niece).
Here’s the description:
Within these pages lie twenty-one poems… and twenty-one worlds: worlds in the farthest reaches of space, worlds steeped in myth and legend, worlds that never were, and worlds that yet could be.
Written by award-winning science fiction and fantasy author Edward Willet, and beautifully illustrated by Alberta artist Wendy Nordell, each poem was inspired by— and contains– two lines of published poetry from Saskatchewan poets, sent out every weekday by former Saskatchewan Poet Laureate Gerald Hill as a Poetry Month challenge to members of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild in April 2016.
Every poem tells a story. Some are frightening. Some are funny. Some are poignant, some surreal. Enter a realm of unfettered imagination… and embrace the fantastical.
Shelley A. Leedahl, herself a Saskatchewan poet, likes it a lot:
“Prolific Regina writer Edward Willett took a great idea and ran with it…and the result is this creative, entertaining, and occasionally spine-tingling collection of poems that no one but Willett – well-known for authoring sixty books, including twenty science fiction and fantasy novels – could pull off.”
You can get it here:
Book 1: Song of the Sword
Ariane meets her ancestor, the Lady of the Lake, and is sent on an important and dangerous quest – to reunite the pieces of the shattered sword Excalibur. Yes, that Excalibur.
Ariane’s life is already pretty difficult when she starts to hear the singing – her mother’s disappeared, she’s trying to get used to living with her aunt after several foster homes, and she’s taking grief from the “in” girls at school. She’s dealing with strange dreams involving swords and knights and battles, and things seem to get weird whenever she touches water. And now an invisible someone, somewhere, is singing to her.
Everyone knows the legends of King Arthur, the Round Table, and the powerful and noble wizard Merlin. But what if those so-called legends were real historical facts? And what if someone has carefully rewritten that history?
Before long, Ariane’s met the famed Lady of the Lake (in a journey UNDER the local lake), has acquired a nerdy sidekick, and is sent on a dangerous mission that pits her against otherworldly forces. Can she figure out what it all means, much less survive the challenge?
“A fantasy that will grip teens of both genders…Edward Willett blends the humour with the ethereal fantasy of Song of the Sword so easily…Readers will be right in there, cheering for Ariane and Wally, worried with every obstacle that jumps into their path, hopeful that the bad guy won’t prevail.” – Helen Kubiw, CanLit for Little Canadians
“A tight story (all the details make sense), and characters exhibit honest emotions…Fantasy references galore should ensure that readers who enjoy fantasy—and Arthurian legend in particular—come away satisfied.” – Kirkus Reviews
“A unique, clever, and beautifully modern retelling of an old legend.” – McNally Robinson Staff Pick
“This is a fantasy of epic proportions, with the perfect blend of suspense; well-developed, likable characters; and a touch of sarcastic humor. Ariane and Wally need to find four shards and the hilt of the sword, ensuring readers that this is just the beginning of the fantastical journey.” – School Library Journal
“Every so often … a writer is skilled enough to utilize the stories of King Arthur and Camelot to significant effect. Guy Gavriel Kay’s Fionavar Tapestry Trilogy is definitely on the list. So, too, is Song of the Sword, the impressive new YA novel from Regina writer Edward Willett … a taut, compelling narrative, well-drawn characters, and a keen sense of genuine peril and true wonder. It’s a powerful, fun, engaging read, and it’s the first of a series, so readers have much to look forward to.” – Quill & Quire
“The story … has wonderful Canadian references and some really funny passages. Ariane is constantly in danger, and the suspense is beautifully maintained.” – Helen Wilding Cook, Children’s Collection Development Coordinator, Library Bound
“One thing that makes this tale different from many in the genre is that it is set in Regina, SK, and full of other Canadian place names, such as Yellowknife and Toronto … Written clearly, and with an interesting version of the Arthurian legend, the tale portrays some common teenage problems through the eyes of the two main characters, while placing them in harrowing fantasy situations … The story will appeal to those who enjoy fantasy and will not require a knowledge of the Arthurian tales to follow.” – CM: Canadian Review of Materials
“Willett has constructed an exciting plot that features a teenage orphan (Ariane) and her scrawny but smart sidekick (Wally) … Song of the Sword will certainly have appeal to enthusiastic young fantasy fans.” – Resource Links
“Willett’s novel will please fantasy junkies with its intricate details; yet there’s also an appealing poetry to Ariane’s story, best manifested when she learns to use her powers to merge with water and transport herself wherever it flows. Song of the Sword is a unique twist on the old subjects of teenage rebellion and self-discovery.” – Montreal Review of Books
“… a highly original take on the King Arthur Legend …” – Saskatoon Star-Phoenix
“… an exciting plot that gives a great new spin to a favourite story. It can also take credit for a great cast of characters … set up to play out what might become the battle of the ages. I can see that exciting adventures await as they all struggle to decide what’s worth fighting for: power, friends, or family.” – think. thank. thought
“… it was very well done indeed … Willett did an excellent job here … Ariane [has] quite a bit of personality and spunk … Wally is definitely my favorite character. He’s got a bit of King Arthur potential, but he’s so very quirky … I sense his sister becoming a bit of a Morgan le Fay character, which should prove to be entertaining.” – Word for Teens
Book 2: Twist of the Blade
Having saved the first shard of the sword Excalibur from internet mogul Rex Major (aka Merlin), Ariane and Wally are on the lookout for the second. Wally’s worried that the power of the first Shard is already changing Ariane, giving her the strength to do both good and evil…and when she seriously hurts his bullying sister Flish, it seems he might be right.
“The sequel to Song of the Sword (2014) improves on its foundation….Willett realistically explores the difficulties Ariane and Wally face and paints Rex Major in such a light that readers may be unsure as to whether he is a master manipulator or misunderstood hero…Engrossing and more nuanced than its predecessor.” – Kirkus Reviews
“A satisfying second instalment…Twist of the Blade offers an enticing sense of danger and excitement as Ariane pursues her mission, but the narrative doesn’t shy away from the story’s human elements…It’s refreshing to read a story in which the heroes and villains are not cut-and-dried, and readers can look forward to three more instalments in this genuinely entertaining myth-based series.” – Quill & Quire
“Edward Willett capably brandishes the trust issues of teens, especially those related to their families, as the means to progress the story. But it’s these same issues with which Merlin and Arthur had to deal…without their anger and self-doubt, Ariane and Wally could not learn to believe in others and themselves as worthy of the challenge to bring together the shards of the legendary sword of King Arthur…” – CanLit for Little Canadians
Book 3: Lake in the Clouds
The third Shard of the sword Excalibur is calling Ariane.
Ariane is on her own and on the run. Rex Major has swayed her erstwhile best friend Wally to his side. And when she finally hears the faint call of the third Shard of Excalibur, it’s on the other side of the world, in New Zealand! Wally, meanwhile, is discovering that life as Major’s “guest” isn’t all it promised, especially when he finds out Major’s plans for Ariane’s aunt. With Aunt Phyllis under threat, Ariane has no choice but to walk directly into Rex’s trap—and hope she can find a way to protect both the Shard and those she loves.
“The strengths of Willett’s series really shine in these two recent books. Throughout both, the plot moves with enthralling velocity as Willett heightens the tension for Ariane and Wally. Not only does the race for the shards of Excalibur build momentum, but the challenges Ariane and Wally encounter from family, friends and enemies consistently deepen their characters and force them to grow in significant ways.
“Moreover, Willett provides a wonderfully evocative sense of place. From Regina, Saskatchewan, to Lyon, France, to Queenstown, New Zealand, and the rivers and lakes and clouds through which Ariane and Wally travel, Willett crafts immersive locations that lend genuine vigour to the story…
“At the heart of these two novels, however, is the evolving relationship between Ariane and Wally. In a world of absent parents…they must rely upon themselves and upon each other. They must learn to trust each other, for they are being changed by their contact with and use of old magic steeped in old conflicts, desires and mysteries — all of which become particularly vital in Lake in the Clouds. How Ariane and Wally deal with such changes, and with the increasing responsibilities of their quest, makes them truly admirable characters.
“Willett’s The Shards of Excalibur series…gives fresh life to the Arthurian legends, and there is, indeed, much to look forward to in the next two instalments.” – Matthew Johnstone, Canadian Children’s Book News
“Well written, and fast moving, with touches of humour…Lake in the Clouds will appeal to young readers who enjoy adventure as well as adults who might like a modern visit to the timeless story of King Arthur and his knights. Recommended.” – Ronald Hore, CM Magazine
“The overlay of the Arthurian legend on a modern Canadian context works surprisingly well. Merlin’s magical powers are invested in Rex Major’s spyware embedded in the internet. Wally’s loyalty and courage accurately reflect both Arthur’s strength and his fatal flaw. Ariane’s coolly calculated actions echo the dispassionate deeds of the Lady of the Lake . . . Readers who are invested in the series will eagerly anticipate the final two books.” – Patricia Jeremy, Resource Links Magazine
“By continuing to develop his characters so that they never remain good or evil or secondary, Edward Willett has ensured that the plot doesn’t stagnate…With Ariane and Wally both being affected by the shards and learning of new abilities, as well as other characters being drawn into the story in different ways…Lake in the Clouds becomes a fuller story. The plot itself continues to evolve and the adventure is grand…The journeys are part of the quest but hold on because your travelling companions are switching places and your next seat mates may be a surprise in Cave Beneath the Sea…” – CanLit for Little Canadians
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Book 4: Cave Beneath the Sea
Seeking to recover the shards of King Arthur’s sword Excalibur before Rex Major (the ancient sorcerer Merlin in a modern-day guise), Ariane and Wally have traveled around the world, and their quest is not yet over.
Ariane’s magical powers as heir to the Lady of the Lake, combined with Wally’s clever thinking, have enabled them to hang on to two of the three shards they’ve located so far – but Rex Major still has one shard of his own, and will stop at nothing to claim all the pieces for himself, and use its power to rule Earth and invade the magical realm of Faerie. And now Major has his eyes on a big prize: Ariane’s mother, who went missing after she refused the power of the Lady of the Lake.
Thanks to Wally, Ariane knows her mother is alive – and that Rex Major is trying to find her. If he succeeds, Ariane fears she’ll have no choice but to surrender the two shards she and Wally possess, because she’ll do anything – and give up everything – to have her mother back with her again.
In Cave Beneath the Sea, Ariane and Wally race to the Caribbean as they try to find Ariane’s mother and the fourth shard of Excalibur before Major. As they struggle to stop Major, Ariane and Wally face desperate danger…and must make the most difficult decisions of their lives.
“In Cave Beneath the Sea, Edward Willett has created as exciting a read as the earlier books in the series, continuing to develop his characters and their relationships while the action-filled plot carries the reader to intriguing national and international locales. Both Ariane and Wally feel the power of the sword, drawing them to its shards but also compelling their anger in those who have hurt them: parents, siblings, bullies, enemies. And while they struggle with those yearnings, they are finding their way to a hitherto-unknown girlfriend-boyfriend relationship that provides them the family they both crave. It’s hard for me to decide which is the stronger foundation for the story, the characters or the plot, as both are substantial and intricate. Regardless, Cave Beneath the Sea takes The Shards of Excalibur a fast-moving step closer to the Door to Faerie, the magical entity and Book 5 in the series.” – Helen Kubiw, CanLit for Little Canadians
“The author has created interesting characters as the villain and the heroes all have occasional uncertainties about their actions…Cave Beneath the Sea will appeal to young readers in search of adventure as well as adults who enjoy another version of the timeless story of King Arthur…Recommended.” – Ronald Hore, CM Magazine
Book 5: Door into Faerie
In the climactic fifth book of The Shards of Excalibur, Ariane, Wally, Flish, and Rex Major are on a collision course, converging on the resting place of the final piece of the sword: the hilt, long ago removed from its original hiding place by the descendants of King Arthur. When Wally uncovers its surprising location, far closer to hand than they’d ever guessed, it seems all Ariane and Wally have to do is claim it and reforge the sword to defeat Merlin forever.
Except…how, exactly, do you reforge a magical sword? Especially, how do you do it when the richest man in the world is on your trail and pouring all of his enormous resources into stopping you?
When the pieces of the sword are at last reunited, the results aren’t at all what Ariane and Wally imagined. With Excalibur whole again, the long-closed door into Faerie swings open wide. Who—and what—emerges from it may destroy everything and everyone Wally and Ariane have fought so hard to save—and allow Rex Major to snatch victory from the very jaws of defeat.
Fighting side by side, Ariane and Wally must draw on all their strength, courage, magic, and love to save the world…and there’s no guarantee it will be enough.
“This fifth book is as forged with magic, conflict, action and travel, as well as a little history, as the earlier four books–…but family, which has always been important, becomes paramount. Brothers and sisters Merlin and the Lady of the Lake, and Wally and Felicia, as well as mothers Emily Forsythe and Jessica Knight, drive the story, and ultimately help resolve its plotlines, a monumental task in a fantasy based on the Arthurian legends. Yet Edward Willett accomplishes this easily with his consistent intensity and fluidity of plot progression…” – CanLit for Little Canadians
“Door into Faerie will appeal to young readers in search of adventure as well as adults who enjoy the timeless story of King Arthur. It represents a suitable ending to a story of youthful characters who have wandered the world and suffered several successes and failures in search of their goal. Highly recommended.” – Ronald Hore, CM Magazine
“The overlay of the Arthurian legend on a modern Canadian context continues to work well. As a quest epic spanning five novels, the plotlines and character development are all brought to a satisfying conclusion. Readers who have followed Ariane and Wally’s relationship will be pleased that this Arthurian tale has a happy ending.” – Resource Links
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“Spectacular” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Evil wizards, multi-level conspiracies, hidden kingdoms…Lee Arthur Chane…has done a marvelous job…Magebane is a very entertaining book and well worth the time.” – A.M. Donovan, Night Owl Reviews
“I happily recommend Magebane and I’ll certainly give Chane’s next novel a try based on this one.” —Bill Capossere, Fantasy Literature
“…an original and delightful tale of epic fantasy and magic, steampunk science, adventure, tragedy, and love…” – Errant Dreams Reviews
Eight centuries ago, the world changed. A devastating war swept the lands, and the MageLords, who had long ruled by virtue of their spell powers, were driven to a distant place, separated from those they had ruled by a magical Barrier. With magic banished from the rest of the world, the MageLords became mere legend and people turned to science to improve their lives. But if one man has his way, all that is about to change….
Available now in a brand-new edition from Tyche Books.
Cover art by Rhiannon Rasmussen-Silverstein.
Amarynth is a spirit singer, gifted–or cursed, as she sometimes thinks–with the ability to lead the spirits of the dead from the Lower World through the Between World to the Gate of the Upper World and the Light that lies beyond it.
While she is still an apprentice her grandfather and tutor dies, slain by a mysterious creature in the Between World that is blocking access to the Upper World’s Gate. Without a spirit singer her village cannot survive, so Amarynth embarks on a hazardous quest to find out what the creature is, how it can be defeated, and how she can become a full-fledged spirit singer — a quest that takes her not only from her tiny seacoast home to the soaring mountains of the south, but across the even more rugged terrain of her own soul.
Also available as an audiobook, narrated by myself, from Iambik Audiobooks.
Winner of the 2002 Regina Book Award for best book by a Regina resident, one of the Saskatchewan Book Awards.
“…deserved the Saskatchewan Book Award it won. Aimed for the early to mid-teen group, Spirit Singer is a strong, well-written book with great adventure and sympathetic characters. Willett’s book has fast-paced adventure, sword-play, ghostly help, kidnappings, automatons who serve pure evil, royalty and brave commoners…Spirit Singer holds more than just solid characters and an exciting plot. It is about deception, both external and internal, in the eternal search for love and acceptance. It is about the need to accept oneself to be able to move forward and achieve great things and the need to be wise and discerning about others.” – Lynn (J.R. Wytenbroek, Canadian Literature magazine
“This is a fast-paced, spiritual quest book, full of narrow escapes, evil masquerading as good, good appearing in nasty people (just like in real life!), adventure, dreams and bits of wisdom. The writing is spare and the words well-chosen, so that complex characters and interesting places emerge full-blown in the reader’s mind, and the plot moves apace. I felt always in the story, and not a mere spectator/reader. Written for teenagers, but this 50-something guy had a great time.” – David Waltner-Toews, Saskatchewan Book Award judge
“Clearly defined characters, setting & plot carry a reader eagerly from page to page through adventure-filled chapters that deftly conclude with cliff-hangers…The plot is fast-paced and clever, the writing never disappoints and the author clearly keeps his target audience in mind. A great read from start to finish.”- Shirlee Matheson, Saskatchewan Book Award judge
“…a fun novel with engaging characters and having all the basic elements of a good fantasy…young readers would likely get much more out of this book in terms of good succinct plotting and writing than they’d ever be likely to from the droves of role-playing game tie-ins and fat fantasy trilogies.” – Georges T. Dodds, SF Site
Right to Know
Published by Bundoran Press
Cover art by Dan O’Driscoll.
A fast-paced space opera about first contact – with a difference. When Art Stoddard, civilian information officer of the generation ship Mayflower II, is kidnapped by a secret military organization determined to overthrow the power of Captain and crew, he becomes embroiled in a conflict that tests everything he thought he knew. Now, he is forced to choose between preserving social order and restoring the people’s right to know. But what if knowledge is the most dangerous thing of all?
The Helix War
Marseguro, a water world far distant from Earth, is home to a small colony of unmodified humans and the Selkies, a water-dwelling race created by geneticsit Victor Hansen from modified human DNA. For seventy years the Selkies and the unmodified landlings have dwelled together in peace, safe from pursuit by the current fanatical theocratic rulers of Earth.
But everything changes when Earth discovers Marseguro, and a strike force–with Victor Hansen’s own grandson Richard aboard–is sent to eradicate this abomination.
Though the forces of Earth were equipped with weapons far superior to those of this peaceful, backwater planet, the people of Marseguro are not without resources to fight back. Soon it will be hard to determine who has more to fear–those being attacked or the invaders from Earth…
“The settings are well drawn and creative…The characters possess substance, emotions and realistic motivations…Most important, the action and surprises keep coming…this book is almost impossible to put down.” – SCI FI Weekly
“Terra Insegura is the perfect balance to Marseguro: you’ve got to read this one of you read the first. It does stand on its own, but why deny yourself the pleasure of the full literary tapestry Edward Willett weaves with these two?” – SF Scope
Marseguro won the Aurora Award for best Canadian science fiction novel, and Terra Insegura was a finalist for the same award.
Lost in Translation
“This book has it all: great aliens, brilliant world-building, a breakneck plot, and a message that resonates with our times. Edward Willett has arrived, and SF is the richer for it.” – Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo & Nebula Award-winning author
Kathryn was a human empath whose world and life had been destroyed when the alien S’sinn slaughtered her parents before her very eyes. Jarrikk was a young S’sinn, an unproven warrior who’d seen his flight mates slaughtered by the humans who’d sought to colonize his world.
As humans and S’sinn found themselves on the brink of war, these two Translators had to work together to find a common ground and avert catastrophe. But whether their Translators’ oath and training could overcome the enemies leagued against them was very much in doubt…
“Willett has created an interstellar adventure story worthy of Golden Age masters like Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein. The pace is fast, the invention rich, and the plot twirls and twists like an Aldebaranian Woggle Dancer..” – Dave Duncan, author of the Seventh Sword series amd the King’s Blades series
“Science Fiction, with telepaths, cool looking cat creatures and the brink of war. How cool is that?…The book ended all too quickly for me. By the time I reached the end I wanted more.” – Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books and Music Review
The Haunted Horn
“The Haunted Horn is an entertaining, sharp ghost story with a setting and characters that many kids will easily relate to…I would recommend it to any middle school reader who enjoys modern adventure with a bit of spookiness mixed in.” – The Metanautics Department
Alex Mitchell doesn’t have the slightest interest in the auction his mother drags him to after a disastrous day at junior high. Antiques are her interest, not his—yet somehow, when they head home, he’s the one clutching a Civil War bugle. When Alex blows the horn, he sets in motion a train of events that will destroy his home town of Oak Bluff, Arkansas…unless he can figure out the secret of the haunted horn in time, and, with the help of his new friend Annie Parker, evade the gang of bullies out to get him, her, and the haunted horn.
“A strong conflict…drives this plot forward…Good world-building with fast-paced chapters.” – Nicole Luiken, author of Dreamline
It’s midway through the 21st century, and after economic collapse and a “small” war, civilization is in pretty bad shape. On the Canadian prairies, a religious cult, the Chosen, has dedicated itself to destroying all vestiges of the old technological civilization–but only a few hundred kilometres away, the Technos are just as dedicated to rebuilding it. The two cultures are on a collision course that could mean the first war of the new era, and mutual destruction, unless the teenage daughter of the cult’s leader and a boy from the Technos can overcome their own personal differences and prevent it…no matter what the cost.