Saturday, September 5, 2009
Hidden Gems #1: Elizabeth Haydon
When the idea of doing a hidden gems of fantasy popped into my head I noticed a problem immediately. Well most of the ‘younger’ [read newer ;-)] authors which I would recommend have been receiving such a lot of attention recently that they wouldn’t quite qualify as hidden gems. Still there is a rather simple solution; authors who have been around for a bit.
Today the spotlight is on Elizabeth Haydon, whose debut work Rhapsody was released in 1999. She had a short story included in the Legends Anthology, so she obviously has the respect of her peers. However Haydon is one name you will never see discussed in the main genre blogs and I consider this to be a real shame. Her main body of work, The Symphony of Ages, consists of Rhapsody: Child of Blood, Prophecy: Child of Earth, Destiny: Child of Sky (The three make up the Rhapsody Trilogy), Requiem for the Sun,Elegy for a Lost Star (The middle books) and Assassin King (which is the first part of the war of the known worlds trilogy.) She has also written a young adult series The Lost Journals of Ven Pholypheme which is set on the same world as SOA but hundreds of years earlier. Three of these have been released so far.
The Rhapsody books follow three primary protagonists. Rhapsody, a half human half lirin former prostitute and current namer and musician. Grunthor, a giant half firbolg half Bengard and soldier and Achmed a half dhracian and half firbolg assassin. Grunthor and Achmed inadvertently save Rhapsody from a group of thugs and are forced to take her with them when they travel underground to the world tree Sagia and prevent the F'dor from waking the primal worm. The three emerge centuries later in a new continent to find their own homeland was destroyed by a comet and due to their journey they no longer age. Three set about founding a society of outcasts and have to deal with the descendts of their homeland who have already established kingdoms.
What initially drew me into Rhapsody was an original story and engaging characters. Haydon deliberately set out to write a medley of fantasy, horror, mystery and romance and she blends these all together extremely well. One of the unique characteristics of her prose is the ability to switch from POV (often multiple times) within a paragraph. She does this seamlessly and I have yet to see anyone duplicate this feat. There is also a stronger focus on folklore and music than most fantasy books.
The fate of the remaining two books of the SOA of ages seems to be up in the air. Haydon used to be quite active online, regularly interacting with her fan base and maintaining her own website. The website has been down for months and Haydon remains incognito. The LJOVP has been released regularly with the next one entitled The Tree of Water. So it would seem SOA is on the backburner for awhile.