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About Terry Mancour
Terry Mancour is a New York Times Best-Selling Author who has written more than 30 books, under his own name and pseudonyms, including Star Trek: The Next Generation #20, Spartacus, the Spellmonger Series (more than 11 books and growing), among other works.
He was born in Flint, Michigan in 1968 (according to his mother) and wisely relocated to North Carolina in 1978 where he embraced Southern culture and its dedication to compelling narratives and intriguing characterizations. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he majored in Religious Studies.
Terry, his beautiful wife and three children live just outside of Durham, N.C. atop Red Mountain. He was nominated for the 2018 Audie Award for Best Fantasy for the audiobook for Spellmonger (narrated by John Lee), the first book in his Spellmonger Series.
He has plotted the Spellmonger Series for at least thirty books, in addition to his Spellmonger Cadet (young adult) series, stand-alone novels, short stories and novellas set within the Spellmonger Universe, all of which will be published by Podium as audiobooks. He is also the author of a series of sequels to Golden Age sci-fi master H. Beam Piper's novel, Space Viking, as well as original sci-fi novels.
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After Alshari Court Wizard Pentandra survives her third assassination attempt in the Tower of Sorcery, she sends her deputy, Sir Rondal, to investigate the mysterious origins of the attempt while she contends with Alshari court politics. Life is strained for her, as she tries to raise her triplet daughters while her husband is away. For Rondal’s part, his investigations include his precocious fiancée, Gatina, Kitten of Night, and learning how to manage his new relationship. Matters come to a head when he and Kitten rescue an old woman and her grandson from certain death . . . only to discover she is the lost hedgewitch who gave Pentandra a book of secret prophecies about the future.
The tension rising in southern Alshar seems to break when the Duke and Duchess announce the relocation of the court to the summer capital of Vorone for a season. Pentandra intends to relax and manage her lands for the summer, safely away from assassins and undead. But then her friend and liege, Minalan the Spellmonger, announces that he’s taking the summer off, too, dumping the responsibilities for leadership on her overburdened shoulders while he journeys on an expedition of exploration. What could possibly go awry?
Within days of the Spellmonger leaving, the Kingdom is plunged into a civil war between the knights of the kingdom, led by Prince Tavard, and the nascent power of the magi, led by Viscount Terleman. As the battles play out in rapid-fire fashion across Gilmora and the Wilderlands, Pentandra increasingly finds herself losing control of the situation. Knowing prophecies that concern the matter don’t seem to help her one bit – indeed, they cloud and confuse issues as she helplessly watches the kingdom she’s worked so hard for descend into a contest between the new powers and the old. Worse, the Duchy of Merwyn has decided to invade Remere, while the pirate stronghold in Farise has begun raiding the kingdom’s shipping with magic and the Nemovort Karakush plots in the Westlands. To top it off, unbeknownst to her Rondal, her trusted deputy, secretly interferes in kingdom politics in ways that could have repercussions for generations.
Not even the return of the Spellmonger from his expedition is much help, as Minalan was changed by the experience in ways that disturb both Pentandra and Rondal. Though he’s able to cool the hot heads who are fighting for the future of the kingdom, a new menace arises where they least expect it: the great fortress of Darkfaller, near the center of the kingdom, is unexpectedly taken by the Nemovorti, powerful undead who have sworn to see humanity defeated. And they are led by an undeniably evil soul with a disturbingly familiar face . . .
Pentandra and Rondal feel things are spiraling out of control. Minalan’s return has brought some peace, but it doesn’t last as the new enemy makes an unexpected strike at the heart of the magi. The only hope for relief and the future of the kingdom now seems to lie in the wrinkled hands of a very old, very wise hedgewitch!
After winning two wars against the Nemovorti in six months, Minalan plans an expedition over the summer to the Lost Valley of Anghysbel, in the far north of his realm, in the caldera of a super volcano at the edge of the tundra. There, he suspects, many of the answers he so desperately need might be hidden. The only problem is that thanks to the anti-magical properties of the jevolar, there, his spells won’t work – he’ll be without magic for the first time since he came into his Talent. On this quest for the knowledge to save the world, however, the stakes are too high to be concerned about such things. Minalan seeks the knowledge he needs no matter the price.
The footwizard Fondaras the Wise has been to the realm of the jevolar four times in his long life and he knows the way – and the great dangers of the non-magical land. He warns that Anghysbel is filled with forgotten creatures and lost races that have hidden from the world for eons. That doesn’t dissuade the Spellmonger – it’s a challenge. So is the deadly poisonous alkali waste that is the only way to the fabled land. So is the fact that his wife, Alya, insists on going with the expedition. So is the company of goblins pursuing him to catch the greatest wizard in the world in a place without magic. And the passage through the alkali wastes is only open for the nine dry weeks of summer, so there is a time limit on his explorations.
But once he’s there, Minalan’s expedition discovers a unique land filled with forgotten secrets: an outpost of the Kasari, where the tribe sends its magically-Talented folk; a colony of Wilderlords existing in seclusion; the exiled clan of Kilnusk Alon, the former kings of the Dradrien and Karshak, alike; a community of Tal Alon left on their own for generations; and an old comrade who has fled the Five Duchies in fear of the Censorate.
That’s just where the mysteries begin. When he opens the Cave of the Ancients, a remnant of the original human colony on Callidore, Minalan starts on a path toward the answers he seeks. He is startled to find that the once-great human civilization once had an outpost in Anghysbel, as did many other races. Armed with new knowledge he braves the dangerous wilderness of Anghysbel with Lilastien and the rest of his friends in search of the ancient Alka Alon vault containing the arsenal he seeks. Along the way he discovers the scion of the Aronin, the half crazed Ameras; he encounters a dragon, learns about a forgotten group of the Forsaken, and is introduced to the mysterious Leshi in search of an immensely important, incredibly powerful artifact. Not even the threat of cyclopses and lizard men, renegade dragons and the pestilent Kurja can stand in the way of his exploration.
But that’s not all he discovers. When a beardless, half-mad Karshak outcast offers them an opportunity to learn the secrets they desperately seek, Minalan and Lilastien are tempted . . . but the price of that knowledge may well be madness, or even death. For dark powers more ancient than the world dwell in exotic Anghysbel, powers that would speed Callidore’s destruction, not work for its salvation. Minalan the Spellmonger has to consider carefully if he’s willing to pay the price to save the world . . . and the cost of that bargain may well be his life!
...and a wizard's work is never done! After facing a hopeless siege, an implacable foe and an impossible escape, you would think that Minalan the Spellmonger would be able to rest -- but the armies of the undead goblin shaman Shereul (known as the Dead God to his human victims) are rolling over the western reaches of the rustic Duchy of Alshar and is headed toward the heart of the Duchy of Castal. Thousands are fleeing for their lives as hordes of goblins pour out of Boval Vale and devastate the rugged fiefs of the Alshari Wilderlands. And the super-charged shamans of the Dead God are making defending the realm almost impossible for the outnumbered Alshari country knights.
While the two Dukes play feudal politics to further their own ends, the only people who seem to care about the invasion are Minalan and his outlaw warmagi friends -- and they're busy dodging agents of the sinister Royal Censorate of Magic.
But if someone doesn't organize an army in northern Alshar soon, then there will be nothing to stop the armies of the divinely-powerful Dead God from conquering all five Duchies in his genocidal quest for vengeance.
But things are just not that simple: he has to cope with a sexy young Shadowmage assasin who works for a mysterious spymaster, a cocky new manservant, a dysfunctional group of suddenly-powerful warmagi, the Censor General, and a bunch of whiny nobles before the Dukes will grant him the troops and money he will need -- and the Dukes have plans of their own. If Minalan the Spellmonger can't lobby the courts of Alshar and Castal to work together -- and quickly -- the hordes of the Dead God will sweep over the frontiers of both states. Worse, the mysterious Umbra veil he has erected around Boval Vale may come to imperil all Five Duchies.
Minalan would rather just go home and let the Dukes handle it, but his conscience won't let him. Someone has to stop the Dead God . . . and that someone happens to be him. Beyond politics and plots, goblins and trolls, mercenaries and magic, the Soulless and the shamans, Censors and secret orders, for Minalan there is only the thought that his child is to be born in a world with such dangers, and that is something he cannot permit.
It is time for the Spellmonger to pick up his mageblade, summon his allies, and go to war again . . . as a Warmage!
For six months things went well: he found a quaint little shop, befriended the local lord, the village folk loved him, he found a sharp young apprentice to help out, and best yet, he met a comely young widow with the prettiest eyes . . .
Then one night Minalan is forced to pick up his mageblade again to defend his adopted home from the vanguard of an army of goblins – gurvani, they call themselves – bent on a genocidal crusade against all mankind. And that was the good news. The bad news was that their shamans were armed with more magical power than has been seen since the days of the ancient Imperial Magocracy – and their leader, a mysterious, vengeful force of hate and dark magic, is headed directly to Boval Vale, along with a massive invading army of gurvani. The good people of Boval and their spellmonger have only one choice: to hole up in the over-sized Boval Castle and hope they can endure a siege against hundreds of thousands of goblins.
When the people look to him for hope, Minalan does his best, but the odds are depressing: there are multitudes of goblins, and they want Boval Vale as a staging ground for a vengeful invasion of the whole Five Duchies.
Add to his troubles a jealous rival mage, a motley band of mercenaries, a delusional liege lord who insists victory is at hand despite the hordes at his door, a dour castellan, a moody, pregnant girlfriend and a catty ex-girlfriend who specializes in sex magic - all trapped in a stinking, besieged castle with no hope of rescue, and you’ll understand why Minalan is willing to take his chances with the goblins.
All that stands between the gurvani horde and the people of the Five Duchies is one tired, overwhelmed baker’s son who wanted nothing more than to be a simple village spellmonger.
When the Magelord Minalan the Spellmonger’s two apprentices, Tyndal and Rondal, were knighted after the battle of Timberwatch, they were dubbed Knights Magi: a new class of nobility for distinguished High Magi. Designed to combine the pursuit of arcane knowledge with the noble aspirations of chivalry, it elevated them above common warmage . . . in theory. The problem was they had no idea how to be a Knight Mage . . . because no one had ever been one before. And as a couple of half-trained rustic apprentices from the Mindens they did not feel up to the task or the high ideals of their title.
But Master Minalan the Spellmonger decided to cure that ignorance. He arranges for Tyndal and Rondal to be tutored and trained together in their new vocation, learning the arts of magic, the craft of warfare and the subtleties of chivalry from the finest masters in the kingdom.
If they didn’t kill each other, first.
The two young spellmonger’s apprentices from the Minden mountain domain of Boval Vale have much in common: both had their homes destroyed, they were both sent into exile by the goblin invasion, and they both serve the same master. Yet they could not be more different.
Rondal is quiet, bookish, and introspective, dedicated to the disciplines of academic magic and anticipating a future of study, service, and, perhaps, romance. Tyndal is bold and brash: an extroverted over-achiever with dreams of glory, gold, and girls. Fate, circumstance, and the whims of the gods have forced them together, but the raw emotions of adolescence and the trauma of war put them at each others’ throats with depressing frequency. Master Minalan can’t have that, especially not in his fragile new domain with another baby on the way . . . so he sends them on the road.
Jealousy, anxiety, passion and frustration conspire to make them rivals - but if they don’t figure out a way to learn to work together, and quickly, then their stubborn feud could end up affecting the fate of the entire war. Along the way they pick up some enemies, gain a few allies, master a few new skills, and attempt to learn the laws of love. But as they stumble through their lessons and learn to master their tempers they discover that the strongest bonds between men are forged by the most difficult of trials.
For after they become proficient at magic, war, and errantry they are put to the test in the field, the most difficult of circumstances . . . a mission where the strength of their friendship and the quality of their honor may be what defines them best as
Things were starting to look up for Magelord Minalan the Spellmonger – the magic mountain in his domain not only made him a wealthy man and the most powerful mage in history, it also produced a lode of magical gemstones with unique properties – properties the Alka Alon, the masters of magic on Callidore, are fascinated by. When Minalan gets his chance to trade some of his magic rocks for irionite, he finds himself in a position to raise hundreds more magi with the stones . . . making them High Magi.
But as valuable as that bargain is for prosecuting the war with the Dead God and his sinister armies, such power comes with a hefty price. Every new High Mage Minalan raises presents potential new problems. The Magelords have inspired fear in their neighbors. The warmagi invent deadly new spells. The lower orders of magi are getting restless. The mage-led Sevendor Town wants a new charter. King Rard and the royal court are pressuring the nascent Arcane Orders politically. Some magi are crossing the Penumbra and taking stones from the goblins, as well as taking their service. And some are just starting to get a little crazy.
It makes a nice, normal little raid on his lands seem refreshing in its simplicity.
In trying to balance the needs of the war with the needs of a well-ordered Order, Minalan finds himself making compromises, cutting deals, and bargaining what power he has in a high-stakes game where Chaos seems to be the only player who knows the rules. The temptations of his position and the power he wields are great, but so, he discovers, are the responsibilities. But when his patience seems nearly exhausted and his alliances seem ready to crumble, a massive army emerges from the shadowy realms and strikes south, forcing the High Magi to rally around the Spellmonger in defense of the kingdom.
As the genocidal goblin army marches toward the once-prosperous cottonlands of Gilmora, Minalan and his High Magi must defend a single bridge against them at all costs. And they are ready to. But the plans of magi count little when the powerful and subtle mind of the Dead God opposes them. For when the die is cast and the first blow is struck, it becomes clear that nothing is as Minalan had foreseen. As disaster looms for the humani kingdom and even the Alka Alon are threatened, only a desperate appeal to divinity, a dangerously risky adventure and a little classy enchantment offer any hope against calamity. For the day has come when all that stands between ruin and survival is the bravery and cunning of the Spellmonger and his High Magi!
Meanwhile, back at the castle . . . Minalan the Spellmonger faces the boredom of house arrest after being confined to his lands by Prince Tavard for his defiance with the Wilderlands refugees. The Alka Alon have returned to their seclusion, dealing with their own crisis, the Dead God is being quiet within the Umbra, and Min’s plans toward re-establishing a functional Duchy of Alshar are progressing.
Min sees his punishment as a unique opportunity to indulge in thaumaturgical research. When the Sevendor Magic Fair brings a tide of enchanters eager for snowstone, irionite, and opportunity to his door (as well as the newly-formed Arcane Knights of Nablus, the successors of the Censorate in Merwyn), Minalan uses his wealth and position to invite them to stay on in Sevendor over the winter and focus on the developing art of Enchantment.
He forms the first Bouleuterion, a conclave of enchanters dedicated to producing and researching the creation of magical items, since the fall of the Magocracy. Such notable enchanters as Lanse of Bune, Taren, and Masters Andalnam and Cormoran arrive to help Minalan and his staff of experts push the frontiers of magical science as far as he can. Even Lorcus, Tyndal and Rondal help out. His secret mission is, of course, to fathom the complexities of the secret Snowflake of Sevendor, the enigmatic pseudo-molopor created from Minalan’s fevered subconscious . . . but not before they improve the lot of the peasantry by creating a wealth of labor-saving (and potentially socially revolutionary) devices.
But enchanters and former Censors are not the only ones to arrive at the fair: Baron and Baroness Greenflower, Magelords Dunselen and Isily, come to Sevendor as well . . . and the results are explosive. Before they depart Minalan’s entire life is thrown into doubt. Especially when a new divinity appears to make him an offer the Spellmonger just can’t refuse.
As Minalan works through his psychological issues by obsessively focusing on his craft, he must also nimbly maneuver his way around an inevitable war between Sendaria and Sashtalia, protect his vulnerable domains, deftly negotiate his course through the tangle of feudal law and obligation in the Bontal Vales, and contend with his troubled marriage.
His frustration, guilt, and doubt are soon revealed to be authored by a secret plot against him. The return of an old enemy and the revelation of new foes challenges his position as head of the Arcane Orders and puts his entire family in jeopardy. Could it be that Is Minalan’s new eleven-year-old apprentice, Ruderal, the only one capable of seeing through the deceptions in time to save them all even as he struggles with his own guilt about his role in releasing Korbal the undead Demon God from his tomb? Or will their fates lie on the whims of a former lover who has ambitions of her own for Minalan?
It’s hard for the Spellmonger to be forced to stay at home and quietly tend to his own business. But then Minalan never let such things impede his plans before . . . why would he now? With the Snowflake of Sevendor, a mighty cadre of powerful magi, some inspired vassals and the assistance of a few friendly gods, Minalan realizes that the only real way out of his personal mess may lie with an ancient intelligence of a long-extinct race . . . and his ability to become a master Enchanter!
Being the most powerful wizard in the world can be a challenge. After defending his fledgling realm against the undead lord Gaja Katar all winter long, Count Minalan of the Magelaw faces a new threat in the spring: the Nemovort Shakathet, favored of Korbal, leading the mighty hordes out of the Penumbra. This time Minalan faces a real strategist, who drives his armies with purpose and efficiency. This time, the road to war leads through Megelin Castle and the vulnerable lands to the south of Vanador. This time, old enemies become allies, and old friends become valuable assets. Just another month in the life of the Spellmonger.
War, however, is not what is preoccupying Minalan; the knowledge of the end of the world is. As he broods on existential issues and debates with various goddesses and Alka Alon about Calidore’s fate, he must overcome his own fears and anxieties and impose order on the situation before everything goes into the chamberpot. The solution? Hire an Arcanist, a specialist in the obscure and trivial, to organize and investigate the many matters Minalan has to manage and bring them to order.
A busy wizard needs good organization to get it all done, after all, so Minalan hires Heeth the Butler to dive into the details while he prepares to fight the darkness. That buys the Spellmonger time to hunt down spies, taunt the Count of Nion into invading the Magelaw, lend aid to the sister realm of the Wilderlaw, who face their own war against the darkness, indulge his wife’s desire for cheesemaking, make staffing decisions, ferret out a plot to betray him by one of his vassals, and occasionally lead a special forces squadron of high-powered warmagi into battle, which is convenient. He also gets help from a wisecracking bard with a talent for espionage, an ancient intelligence who is suddenly mobile, and an insistent cow goddess, but each new ally is fraught with problems of their own. An obsessive know-it-all with a rare talent for obscure trivia is the right man in the right job. Who knew that the Spellmonger just needed an . . . ARCANIST!
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When Pentandra got married and took a new job, she knew it would be tough. Ducal Court Wizard is supposed to be the cushiest of assignments for a mage, full of stipends, laboratories, and expense funds. But when you join the Orphan Duke’s expedition to reclaim, recapture, and restore his shattered realm to health, you have to expect things to be . . . less cushy. With the south in full rebellion, the goblins stirring on the northern frontier, and the summer capital being run by a corrupt baron and a gang of thugs, things could be better. But those aren’t the worst of her problems: Pentandra is learning how to live with her new husband, Arborn, while the town is driven to distraction by an incarnate Sex Goddess who is organizing all of the whores, a mopey Spellmonger, a nun addicted to gambling, a prude sent by the Queen, undead skulking through the shadows, and a mysterious blind girl shows up in her office claiming to be her new apprentice! It’s enough to drive any woman mad, but Pentandra is not just any woman . . . she’s the hope of the Alshari Wilderlands, the woman everyone knows as the Court Wizard!
When Minalan the Spellmonger was exiled from his beloved mageland of Sevendor by Prince Tavard, his friend Duke Anguin made him Count Palatine of the Magelaw, a vast realm in the Alshari Wilderlands that Minalan is all too familiar with. After the goblin invasion, the province is devastated, ruined, and peopled almost only by freed slaves. But Minalan has brought his recovering wife and family into exile with him, and he views their impoverished fief as an opportunity to build a new City of Magi in the wilderness. To assist, he recruits some of his closest friends among the High Magi: Mavone, the military intelligence specialist; Sandoval, the Marshal in charge of recruiting Minalan’s army; Carmella, whose genius for defensive magics will be key; Gareth, whose ambition to create knows no bounds; and Terleman, perhaps the greatest tactical warmage of his time. Together, Minalan knows that they can build his new city, Vanador, into an anvil that can blunt the thrust of the dark forces that rise against them. For the first of three Nemovorti have come to the Penumbra, and Gaja Katar has vowed to wipe humanity from the face of the world. Yet he is far from the worst of Minalan’s worries. For the powerful Sea Folk have sent an emissary to see the Spellmonger, and the news he bears will change the fate of all. Minalan’s only hope is to rely on his cunning, and his ability as a Thaumaturge!
What does the most powerful wizard in the world do after the war is over? Despite the hordes of goblins still ready to ravage human lands, King Rard has signed a treaty with them, so Minalan is forbidden from taking advantage of their weakened state. Most would take a well-deserved rest over the summer . . . but Minalan and his household are busy repaying a favor owed to the tribal Kasari for their help in the war, and the Spellmonger pays his debts. So Minalan spends his summer sneaking two thousand Kasari children through enemy lines, goblin territory, hostile Wilderlords, and through some of the roughest territory in the Five Duchies toward salvation.
But the Spellmonger soon learns that not even the help of a goddess is going to be sufficient to contend with the realities of the quest. Despite his best efforts and some of the most advanced magic seen since the Magocracy, the march attracts enemies . . . and far too many friends.
For when the desperate refugees of the war-torn Alshari Wilderlands see the well-fed legions of Kasari march by, they cannot help but follow, even if they have no idea of the destination. Any life is better than the hopeless existence they’ve lived avoiding starvation and the goblins’ stewpot. And the promise of hope the great march of the Spellmonger’s children offers is just too good to pass up. Security and the promise of a brighter future lie just on the other side of the border with the duchy of Castal.
The problem is that the Duke of Castal, Prince Tavard, who is also Minalan's titular overlord, is dead-set against a single Alshari refugee crossing his frontier – and he’s assembled a small army to stop any from doing so. With political pressure high and the very gods maneuvering behind the scenes, it’s going to take some clever magic, some inspired legal maneuvering, and some serious effort to pull off this miracle . . . but that’s the kind of job the Spellmonger does in Journeymage!