Friday, July 13, 2007

Magic, magic ... everywhere

I'm not sure what percentage of all readers enjoys fantasy, but it's obvious that there is an entrenched community of fantasy lovers out there. Within that community, there is even more segmentation. Some prefer Harry Potter, others George R.R. Martin. Some prefer G-rated fairy tales, others R-rated violence and sex. Some like things realistic and/or gritty, with just a tantalizing hint of magic; others want magic bursting off every page, almost as if the book were on fire.

Depending on my mood, I can enjoy reading all of the above, but there's no doubt that I lean heavily toward series in which magic and descriptions thereof play a varied and vital role. This is the main reason that Steven Erikson is one of my favorites. Overt displays of magic are everywhere in his imaginative series. And I love it!

The same goes for The Death Wizard Chronicles. Though soldiers, weapons, and armor play a role in the power struggle between good and evil, it is magic that is by far the overriding factor, and it is magic that makes one side more dangerous than the other.

If it's to be interesting and the least bit believable, magic needs a source. You can't just have people walking around bursting with magic, for no reason. My series delves deeply into the sources of magic, which in my world are paradoxically symbolic. The sorcerer who is attempting to rule all in Hitler-istic fashion is termed Akkinitha, which in the ancient language means Highest Power. Through long and detailed explanation, Invictus derives his powers from sunlight. Stars are the creators of all life, in terms of the elements that make up our physical forms. As the late Carl Sagan liked to say, "We are all made of starstuff."

On the other hand, Torg, the wizard who battles Invictus, derives his powers from death. Torg is called a Death-Knower, because he is able -- through intense concentrative meditation -- to commit a sort of temporary suicide, whereupon he feeds on death energy. This creates a paradox: The major symbol of life is evil, while the major symbol of death is good. Herein lies the crux of the series.

Throughout The DW Chronicles, which is 2,700 pages long in 12-pt. double-spaced Times New Roman, magic is abundant, and each magical creature has its own source that, of course, is symbolically interconnected to the life/death paradox. But even if you don't get or even care about the symbolic elements, the series still is a fun read, especially if you like books that are packed with action, violence, and ... okay, I admit it ... high-octane sex. My wife keeps blushing as she reads my sex scenes, which amazes me. When you're writing about sex, it's not the least bit of a turn-on. But, as we all know, words are powerful.

In closing, here is a passage from book one (The Pit):

With one final surge of mindful concentration, Torg willed his heartbeat to stop. When Kasina finally arrived, his temporary suicide began. What the wizard experienced next happens to all that ever live — from the simplest bacterium to the most complex animal.

And that is what made Torg so special.

Only a Death-Knower can know death.

And survive.

Only a Death-Knower can return from death.

And remember.

Only a Death-Knower can tell us what he has seen.

Not all care to listen.


Michael said...

I happen to like lots of magic too. Nice passage. Makes me even more interested in reading Death Wizard Chronicles. Can't wait!

Jim Melvin said...


Thanks so much for saying so! It's always difficult to choose passages out of context. They sound so much different than when you read them during the natural flow.


The Death Wizard Chronicles is a sexy, action-packed six-book epic fantasy series: Book One (Forged by Death), Book Two (Chained by Fear), Book Three (Eve of War), Book Four (World on Fire), Book Five (Sun God), Book Six (Death-Know).

The DW Chronicles is not for children and teenagers -- or the faint of heart. But if you like graphic fantasy that is bursting with excitement yet still has a lot going on between the lines, I think you'll love my series.

In a groundbreaking paradox, the Death Wizard, a champion of good, derives his power from a source traditionally seen as negative -- death. His nemesis, an evil sorcerer, derives his power from the sun, the benevolent source of all life. Their struggle to control the fate of the planet Triken will take your breath away.

In an original twist never before seen in this genre, the Death Wizard is able to enter the realm of death during a "temporary suicide." Through intense concentration, he stops his heartbeat and feeds on death energy, which provides him with an array of magical powers.

The series also is a love triangle involving two desperate characters attempting to come together despite the machinations of an all-powerful psychopath with incestuous cravings.

Graphic and action-packed, spanning a millennium of turmoil, The DW Chronicles carries readers on a journey they will never forget.

Do you fear death? The Death Wizard does not. Find out why.

-- Please go to for more details.

About Me

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Clemson, SC, United States
I was born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., but grew up in St. Petersburg, Fla. I graduated from the University of South Florida (Tampa) in 1979 with a B.A. in Journalism. I now live in South Carolina near the Blue Ridge Mountains, a pleasant setting for writing, to say the least. I was an award-winning journalist at the St. Petersburg Times for twenty-five years and I currently work at the Charlotte Observer. I am married with five daughters.

The author

The author
Jim Melvin, a veteran journalist, debuts as novelist.