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Books of Fire and Ice

May 16, 2013

Books of Fire and Ice Writers are often advised that to be a good writer you need to be a good reader. An avid reader since childhood I recently noticed a common thread to books that I have chosen to read during the past few months. They all contain elements of Fire and Ice.
They are also all well written and were consciously chosen because they weave together aspects of history and mythology. By coincidence they are all by female authors, namely: Amanda Downum, Stella Gemmel, Karen Maitland, Rachel Neumeier and Betsy Tobin.
That is not to say that I only read female authors. As it happens David Gemmel is one of my all time favourite male authors. Since his death his wife Stella has continued what may always been their joint work. Her new book ‘The City’ is the most unusual version of Troy I have ever come across. An intriguing dystopia which starts in the underground city.
The setting reminded me of a visit to the catacombs of Paris many years ago. Having survived the experience I declined to follow it up with a tour of the sewers but that’s where I found myself when I started reading ‘The City.’
Each of these titles is worth a read. Their stories and settings write new maps across the neural pathways of the brain, stimulating the imagination. I know that one day this absorption will lead to the production of a story informed by that reading. My most unusual creation to date was ‘At the Gates’ which is downloading well from http://www.smashwords.com
In the meantime I have some new books lined up; ‘Flame of Sevenwaters’ by Juliet Marillier (another of my favourites) and ‘Advent’ by James Treadwell. The latter is an author whom I have not read before. I chose the title because the blurb on the back says: ‘For centuries it has been locked away, lost beneath the sea, warded from earth, air, water, fire, scrying thought and sight.’
Having just cut an article out of the newspaper about a flooded city that had resurfaced from a lake due to climate change and receding water levels I could not resist this one. The article is in my ‘cuttings box’ for future inspiration.
Writing this post I can see that I may be moving into books based in the realm of water. The one author I know whose work is embedded with this element is Avril Joy whose titles include ‘The Sweet Track’ and ‘The Orchid House.’
It remains for me to ask you to consider which elements you are drawn to as either a reader or a writer.

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