Fiction Reboot: Featuring New Historical Fantasy

FictionReboot2A new way of seeing our shared past
I have always been a fan of history. But, as a historian of medicine and literature, I am often surprised by the way history is treated by most people (and the media). Unlike the science of chemistry or the mathematical proofs of physics, history cannot be tested. It is untried. It is, in fact, a story we have told ourselves about the past–and we would do well to remember that the “winning” story is told by the “winning side.” Watch any courtroom drama and you will see that a room of ten witnesses can’t even describe yesterday with perfect clarity–and yet we put a lot of stock in the “accepted” histories we have received from our elders (or read in books written by people with PhDs).

Of course, I do believe in history, and I think the search for historical accuracy well worth our time (I had better; it is my job after all). I think, however, that much can be learned from those who play with history–who re-tell it, recast it, fictionalize it… And even fantasize it. Today I am introducing a new historical fantasy writer, E. C. Ambrose, and giving a sneak peek at the sequel of a returning friend: D. B. Jackson.

I hope you will welcome these new perspectives on history–as I have done–with an adventurous spirit! What is history without the story, after all?

E. C. Ambrose
E. C. Ambrose recently completed the historical fantasy, Elisha Barber, and the rest of “The Dark Apostle” historical fantasy series for DAW books.  Published works include “The Romance of Ruins” in Clarkesworld, and “Custom of the Sea,” winner of the Tenebris Press Flash Fiction Contest 2012.   In addition to writing, the author works as an adventure guide.  Past occupations include founding a wholesale business, selecting stamps for a philatelic company, selling equestrian equipment, and portraying the Easter Bunny on weekends. (So–the usual varied career of a writer). Ambrose explains that most time (in fact far too much) is spent in a tiny office in New England with a mournful black lab lurking under the desk. The author blogs about the intersections between history and fantasy at and can also be found online at, on twitter @ecambrose, or at

The book will be available through Amazon and has a ringing endorsement from D. B. Jackson: “Blending magic and history, strong characters and gripping action, E.C. Ambrose brings a startlingly unique voice to our genre. Part epic fantasy, part medical thriller, part historical novel, ELISHA BARBER is at once dark, powerful, redemptive, and ultimately deeply satisfying.” (D. B. Jackson, author of THIEFTAKER )

England in the fourteenth century: a land of poverty and opulence, prayer and plague… witchcraft and necromancy.

As a child, Elisha witnessed the burning of a witch outside of London, and saw her transformed into an angel at the moment of her death, though all around him denied this vision. He swore that the next time he might have the chance to bind an angel’s wounds, he would be ready. And so he became a barber surgeon, at the lowest ranks of the medical profession, following the only healer’s path available to a peasant’s son.

Elisha Barber is good at his work, but skill alone cannot protect him. In a single catastrophic day, Elisha’s attempt to deliver his brother’s child leaves his family ruined, and Elisha himself accused of murder. Then a haughty physician offers him a way out: come serve as a battle surgeon in an unjust war.

Between tending to the wounded soldiers and protecting them from the physicians’ experiments, Elisha works night and day.  Even so, he soon discovers that he has an affinity for magic, drawn into the world of sorcery by Brigit, a beautiful young witch… who reminds him uncannily of the angel he saw burn.

In the crucible of combat, utterly at the mercy of his capricious superiors, Elisha must attempt to unravel conspiracies both magical and mundane, as well as come to terms with his own disturbing new abilities. But the only things more dangerous than the questions he’s asking are the answers he may reveal.

Look for ELISHA BARBER, first in The Dark Apostle series, a DAW books hardcover; July 2, 2013  Available wherever books are sold.  ISBN:  978-0-7564-0835-0

D. B. Jackson: Thieves’ Quarry
Many of you will recall the (fabulous) interview D. B. Jackson did for the Reboot a year ago. Well, keep watching this space! The sequel to Thieftaker will be out soon, and we will happily host a new interview by its illustrious author. See below for more Ethan Kaille, thieftaker!
THIEVES' QUARRY, by D.B. Jackson (Jacket art by Chris McGrath)
Autumn has come to New England, and with it a new threat to the city of Boston. British naval ships have sailed into Boston Harbor bearing over a thousand of His Majesty King George III’s soldiers. After a summer of rioting and political unrest, the city is to be occupied.

Ethan Kaille, thieftaker and conjurer, is awakened early in the morning by a staggeringly powerful spell, a dark conjuring of unknown origin. Before long, he is approached by representatives of the Crown. It seems that every man aboard the HMS Graystone has died, though no one knows how or why. They know only that there is no sign of violence or illness. Ethan soon discovers that one soldier — a man who is known to have worked with Ethan’s beautiful and dangerous rival, Sephira Pryce — has escaped the fate of his comrades and is not among the Graystone’s dead. Is he the killer, or is there another conjurer loose in the city, possessed of power sufficient to kill so many with a single dark casting?

Ethan, the missing soldier, and Sephira Pryce and her henchmen all scour the city in search of a stolen treasure which seems to lie at the root of all that is happening. At the same time, though, Boston’s conjurers are under assault from the royal government as well as from the mysterious conjurer. Men are dying. Ethan is beaten, imprisoned, and attacked with dark spells.

And if he fails to unravel the mystery of what befell the Graystone, every conjurer in Boston will be hanged as a witch. Including him.

Thieves’ Quarry is the second volume in the Thieftaker Chronicles, the new historical fantasy series from D.B. Jackson. Combining elements of traditional fantasy, urban fantasy, mystery and historical fiction, the Thieftaker books are sure to appeal to readers who enjoy intelligent fantasy and history with an attitude. Thieves’ Quarry will be released by Tor Books in 2013.

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