If you’re enjoying The Shards of Excalibur, you might also enjoy some of my other novels.
Young Adult Novels
Masks: The Masks of Aygrima, Book 1
Written as E.C. Blake
Cover art by Paul Young.
“Mara’s personal growth is a delight to follow. Sharp characterization, a fast-moving plot, and a steady unveiling of a bigger picture make this a welcome addition to the genre.” – Publishers Weekly
“(A) powerful fantasy novel, the first book in a series that should appeal to both YA and adult readers…Blake brings his fantastic world to life through offbeat links between magic, nature, and human behavior in a caste-ridden society.” – Locus Magazine
“Encapsulating the best features of a good teen title, Masks is sure to resonate with readers…With an intriguing setting and a suspenseful story line that will hook readers, Masks is the first of a promising new series.”- School Library Journal
“Not since the likes of Lirael or Sabriel have I enjoyed a YA with a female protagonist to the extent I did Masks…a novel that will emotionally touch you and leave you reeling through it.” – Fantasy Faction
Masks, the first novel in a mesmerizing new fantasy series, draws readers into a world in which cataclysmic events have left the Autarchy of Aygrima—the one land blessed with magical resources—cut off from its former trading partners across the waters, not knowing if any of those distant peoples still live. Yet under the rule of the Autarch, Aygrima survives. And thanks to the creation of the Masks and the vigilance of the Autarch’s Watchers, no one can threaten the security of the empire.
In Aygrima, magic is a Gift possessed from birth by a very small percentage of the population, with the Autarch himself the most powerful magic worker of all. Only the long-vanquished Lady of Pain and Fire had been able to challenge his rule.
At the age of fifteen, citizens are recognized as adults and must don the spell-infused Masks—which denote both status and profession—whenever they are in public. To maintain the secure rule of the kingdom, the Masks are magically crafted to reveal any treasonous thoughts or actions. And once such betrayals are exposed, the Watchers are there to enforce the law.
Mara Holdfast, daughter of the Autarch’s Master Maskmaker, is fast approaching her fifteenth birthday and her all-important Masking ceremony. Her father himself has been working behind closed doors to create Mara’s Mask. Once the ceremony is done, she will take her place as an adult, and Gifted with the same magical abilities as her father, she will also claim her rightful place as his apprentice.
But on the day of her Masking something goes horribly wrong, and instead of celebrating, Mara is torn away from her parents, imprisoned, and consigned to a wagon bound for the mines. Is it because she didn’t turn the unMasked boy she discovered over to the Night Watchers? Or is it because she’s lied about her Gift, claiming she can only see one color of magic, when in truth she can see them all, just as she could when she was a young child?
Whatever the reason, her Mask has labeled her a traitor and now she has lost everything, doomed to slavery in the mines until she dies. And not even her Gift can show Mara the future that awaits her—a future that may see her freed to aid a rebel cause, forced to become a puppet of the Autarch, or transformed into a force as dangerous to her world as the legendary Lady of Pain and Fire.
Shadows: The Masks of Aygrima, Book 2
Written as E.C. Blake
Cover art by Paul Young.
In Masks, Mara Holdfast’s life changed forever. As the daughter of the Autarch’s Master Maskmaker, she had a clearly defined future: working with her father to make the Masks that must be worn by all adults—Masks imbued with a magic that would reveal any treasonous thought about the ruling Autarch. But when her own Mask cracked and fell to pieces during her Masking ceremony, Mara was exiled from everything she once knew. Rescued by an underground rebel group known as the unMasked Army, Mara was recruited to their cause when she learned the shocking truth about the Autarch’s reign. And in a moment of crisis, Mara drew upon a volatile magical talent neither she nor her allies could understand or control.
In Shadows, Mara faces staggering new challenges as she struggles to master her terrifying, almost addictive ability to use all types of magic—and to rip magic from those around her to fuel her power.
When Chell, a young man from across the sea, is shipwrecked and washed ashore outside the rebels’ hidden base, it signals the first contact in centuries with the world beyond the borders of the Autarchy of Aygrima. But whether Chell and his people will help the unMasked Army or betray them to the Autarch is very much in question. His arrival, and Mara’s own need for answers that can only be found in the capital city of Tamita, sparks a covert mission to the seat of the Autarch’s power. It is there that an act of unspeakable brutality tips Mara dangerously close to madness…and in the midst of a desperate and bloody battle, she discovers just how horrifying her power can be….
Praise for Shadows
“The magic continues in this enthralling adventure, grabbing the reader’s interest and holding it until the final page. Each chapter brings a new twist in the already sensational story. Blake creates the perfect mix of adventure and romance…Mara’s struggle is relevant to readers of any age.” – 4 1/2 Stars, RT Book Reviews, Top Pick for August 2014
“Raw, powerful, emotional and intense. Shadows is a book that captivated me from page one and had me literally on the edge of my seat. A year until the next book?! It’s going to be a long year, I need it NOW!” – Candace’s Book Blog
“More action-packed and fast-moving than the first…I highly recommend this series for fantasy fans!” – Not Yet Read
“I devoured this story. I was hanging on to every word…The Masks of Aygrima’s dark magic, powerful young heroine, and group of rebels plotting to overthrow a tyrannical leader make this an addictive series that I would recommend to any fantasy fan.” – Addicted 2 Heroines
“Full of suspense, mystery, magic, and a bit of romance – the intensity builds to a climactic ending. I look forward to the next in this incredible fantasy series.” – SciFi Chick
Faces: The Masks of Aygrima, Book 3
“Blake creates a perfect balance between the action and emotion, forging a deep connection between the reader and the characters.” – RT Book Reviews
“A wonderful story with some great characters and world-building…Fans of realistic heroines will love Mara.” – Bibliosanctum
The spellbinding third novel of The Masks of Aygrima is set in a land where people are forced to wear spell-imbued Masks that reveal any traitorous thoughts they have about their ruler, the Autarch.
Mara Holdfast is a young woman gifted with the ability to see and use all the colors of magic. Two other people share this talent: the Autarch, who draws upon the very life-force of his subjects to fuel his existence and retain his control over the kingdom; and the legendary Lady of Pain and Fire, the only person who has ever truly challenged the Autarch’s despotic reign.
After a devastating battle that takes a dreadful toll on both the rebel unMasked Army and the forces of Prince Chell, their ally from across the sea, Mara and her fellow survivors have no one to turn to for help but the Lady of Pain and Fire.
As the Lady leads them to her haven beyond the mountain borders of the kingdom, Mara feels that she has found the one person who truly understands her, a mentor who can teach her to control and use her power for the greater good. Together, they may be able to at last free Agryma from the Autarch’s rule.
Living within the Lady’s castle, cut off from her friends in the village far below, Mara immerses herself in her training. Still, she can’t entirely escape from hearing dark hints about the Lady, rumors that the Lady may, in her own way, be as ruthless as the Autarch himself.
Yet it is not until they begin their campaign against the Autarch that Mara discovers where the real danger lies. Driven by the Lady’s thirst for revenge, will Mara and all her friends fall victim in a duel to the death between two masters of magic?
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.
Praise from Canadian Literature magazine…
“…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
…and the 2002 Saskatchewan Book Awards jurors…
“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
“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
…and from SF Site..
“…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
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.
Andy Nebula: Interstellar Rock Star
Nominated for the 2001 Manitoba Young Readers Choice Award
Named to the Our Choice list by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre
After a lifetime of sleeping in alleys and flop houses, Kit’s musical talent is discovered, and he is remade into Andy Nebula.
Well-fed, content with a warm bed and contract, Andy begins to wonder why every previous “Sensation Single” star was a flash-in-the-pan. Little does he know that the answer lies with the off-world Hydras and their taste for music and flash, a drug forbidden to humans. And that he is their next fix.
Originally published by Roussan Publishers
Praise from Quill & Quire…
“The action in Andy Nebula moves along at a cracking pace and the characters are well-drawn…Andy Nebula is fast and furious enough to keep even reluctant readers turning the pages, and young teen fans of fantasy and science fiction will not be disappointed.” – John Wilson, Quill & Quire
“… gritty and clever…Willett tells a fast-moving tale that has plenty of colour. He wastes few words and presents some good characterizations…All in all, a worthy addition to a young reader’s shelf of SF books.” – A. L. Sirois, SF Site
…NCF Guide to Canadian Science Fiction and Fandom…
“It’s the combination of the familiar with the speculative that lifts Andy Nebula above the crowd…From page one we know we are in another time and place thanks to Willett’s deft and never-faltering use of a convincing invented slang…. There’s a whole lot of story packed into the 166 pages of this trade paperback…Get one copy for yourself, and another for a young person.” – Donna Farley
…the Regina Sun…
“Willett writes in a humourous and flamboyant style not unlike an old-style detective novel…The novel is fast and exciting with lots of action. It also involves broader themes like differentiating between the authentic and the contrived, values and measuring success, drug addiction and tolerance between species…The writing is trim and humourous but far from vacuous. This book is fun to read. Kids will like it, too.” – Jocolyn Caton, The Regina Sun
Andy Nebula: Double Trouble
Teenage musician Kit is no longer Andy Nebula, interstellar rock star. In fact, he’s no longer a star at all. Reduced to playing dingy dives on Earth, he agrees to his friend Meta’s request to go back to being Andy Nebula for a one-time benefit concert…only to discover that someone else in the galaxy is passing himself off as Andy Nebula instead. Soon Kit, Meta and their friend Rain, the orange, tentacled alien cop, find themselves caught up in an interstellar assassination conspiracy–with nothing less than the peace of the galaxy at stake!
For Older Readers
My eighth novel for DAW Books!
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.”
“…a well-written book that kept me interested all the way through. Recommended for YA readers and adults alike.”
“THE CITYBORN was a very topical read and a scary one at that but in the end, it was also an entertaining story. Yes it is dark at times, but there’s never a sense of overwhelming hopelessness and you feel like the main characters are constantly working to make things better for themselves and their respective tiers. A great book that I highly recommend.”
Two young individuals must uncover the dark secrets of their stratified city in this suspenseful sci-fi standalone.
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.
“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….
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 sequel to Right to Know, Falcon’s Egg is a fast-paced action adventure. Discovering a plot to reassert Imperial control over the recently rediscovered Peregrine, Lorn Kymbal tracks the conspirators into the deepest and most dangerous reaches of the planet and beyond. Kymbal, a veteran of the war of liberation that almost costs his life, fights killer robots and his own inner demons as he tries to win freedom for himself and his planet.
“In “Falcon’s Egg” Edward Willett takes on the notion of heroism itself, exploring the casualties of war and the results of battle on the psychology of the protagonist who has endured the traumas of war. “Falcon’s Egg” is a text of revolution, a war narrative with a bit of frontier ideologies since it is set on an alien world that is in conflict with the more technologically developed centrist planets. However, unlike most exploration, war, revolution, and adventure narratives who uncritically cast the hero as a figure who is above trauma, Willett’s narrative explores the toll that heroism takes on the mind of the hero as well as the toll that it takes on human lives and society.” – Derek Newman-Stille, Speculating Canada
“Falcon’s Egg by Edward Willett is space opera/action-adventure novel in the grand tradition, full of interplanetary intrigue, chases through the abandoned bowels of giant spaceships, and shootouts with everything from shotgun shells to beam weapons. Oh, and there’s an army of evil robot spiders. This book is a fun, easy read, and I got through it in two nights.” – Ty Black, Dark Futures Fiction
Buy from Bundoran Press
Buy from Amazon.ca
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