my sweet sword
Chris Wooding channels Tolkien and King Arthur in new epic fantasy The Ember Blade
While Chris Wooding admits that Grimdark has been “a much-needed shot in the arm,” the Tales Of The Ketty Jay author believes the genre is getting too gloomy with all its various anti-heroes. His answer is The Ember Blade, which boasts “the feel of the epic fantasies of yesterday but not their black and white approach to morality”.
Indeed there’s a touch of Tolkien about The Ember Blade, as the relationship between Cade and Aren brings to mind the bond between two certain Hobbits. “Cade starts out as the Sam to Aren’s Frodo,” reasons Wooding. “But once out in the wide world, Cade is no longer sure he wants to play second fiddle, so learning to negotiate their friendship is a challenge Aren has to overcome if they’re going to stick together in the face of what’s to come.”
With the Ember Blade itself described as the Excalibur of Aren’s people, Arthurian legend was also an influence. “It was important to give the story a feel that was grounded in myth and the Ember Blade is part of that,” explains Wooding. “It’s an ordinary sword, but it’s so freighted with legend that whoever bears it is considered leader by divine right. Whether that’s true or not doesn’t matter: what’s important is whether people believe it to be true.” SJ
The Ember Blade is published on 20 September.