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Swarmthief's Dance

Many of the most enduring stories begin ‘along time ago’; in Swarmthief’s Dance a long time ago there was a war in Heaven, with the Nulefi pitted against Rann, the guardian of the underworld. Ultimately the Nulefi were defeated, but they left their broken physical forms and continued to exist as spirits (the Swarms).

Vivreki, a young boy, is the only one who hears them in this day and age; they plead with and whisper to him, telling him of long-gone glories. His masters, terrified of this, erase his memory and conceal him. While the Nulefi try to reach the only person who can hear them, the ancient father of the gods stirs, prepared to prevent another war by any means necessary, even the destruction of the world.

A gripping new series from a ‘new’ author who is actually a successful Scottish fantasy writer under another name (which we can’t reveal!); for readers who want fantasy they can sink their teeth into, free of the cliché-ridden trappings of the more generic writers, vibrant and fresh.

Tor Macmillan, paperback, 400 pages, published September 2006

Author: Deborah J Miller


What the author says:


Three kinds of magic…
Let’s talk about magic shall we? Magic, and the idea of magic, is intrinsic to Swarmthief’s Dance, and indeed, most Fantasy novels I can think off. But since I can only talk for my own work, this is how I think of magic as it applies to the stricken world of Myr.

The first kind is what I am referring to when I say that magic applies to all Fantasy novels – that is, the classic, Sense of Wonder. It is difficult to define, and I know there are people who entirely lack such a thing – people who do not enjoy reading fiction at all because they cannot suspend their disbelief, or simply do not want to; there is no criticism intended here, what we read is very much our own choice. To those of us who enjoy the unpredictable freedom of such imaginings it is almost second nature – almost goes without mentioning – it is an everyday pleasure. Perhaps the only time we consciously confront and give silent thanks for such a faculty is when, as a parent, we watch our children discovering the simple truths of stories for themselves.

Secondly, in relation to Myr, there is the established framework of magic that predominantly belongs those in power: the Church, Shemari and Bakkujasi. This magic is what sets such people above the everyday rank and file of the society. Whilst Myr is ruled by these people their grasp and control over such power is not as secure as might be imagined because it comes directly from capricious (and somewhat insensitive) Gods. The magic and power ripples outwards from that source, growing weaker as it reaches the outside of the pond, until, all that those on the periphery – such as Viv and Stief – have to sustain them is their belief that the magic is real. And in Myr, unlike our own world, it is.

And that’s where the third kind of magic comes in – diluted until it is composed of belief, need, and emotion, rather perversely the third kind becomes the most powerful of all. Vivreki epitomises this third magic – he is brim-full of self-belief when we first meet him (actually, to the point of arrogance!) and he knows how to manipulate people by engaging their Sense of Wonder. He knows how to conjure and create minor illusions but, until he meets Ayshena he cannot do any real magic, although he has such a ‘glamour’ about him that many people think he can. 

We’ve all met people like Vivreki, and, sad to say, often we don’t like them very much - he’s bright, funny, good-looking, gauche and self-assured – he is not a bad person, quite the reverse, but he has grown used to other people’s fascination with him and he takes those around him somewhat for granted – that, ultimately leads to all sorts of trouble.

Somewhere in between these three kinds of magic lie simple, unassailable truths just as in the real world; Vivreki and his companions must chart a course through massive, world-changing events and yet, ultimately, it is not magic that they must rely on but their own strength and each other. 

I hope you enjoy reading SWARMTHIEF’S DANCE as much as I enjoyed creating it. I am currently working on the second book, so I hope you’ll come back to Myr as the adventure continues!

With very best wishes

Deborah J.Miller.



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