As someone who writes fantasy fiction for a living, one of the questions I most often get asked is, “Where should I start reading your stuff?” In other words, which book should they read first?
This is not such an easy question to answer. It doesn’t help that all my fantasy novels and stories take place within the same world, Ursia, though often in different time periods, sometimes decades or even thousands of years apart.
The Kobalos Trilogy
Generally I suggest readers start with my novel, City of Rogues. It is not only the first book of this trilogy, but it is the first book featuring my Kron Darkbow character. Kron and his time period are sort of the center of my Ursian Chronicles, the books and stories that take place in my fantasy world, and to some extent all my other fantasy writings are related to Kron’s adventures.
Think you might be interested in City of Rogues? Here is the description for the novel:
“Kron Darkbow seeks vengeance, and he plans to have it no matter the costs. Returning to the city of his birth after 15 years, he hunts down the wizard responsible for the deaths of those he loved only to find out another was responsible for the murders. That other is Belgad the Liar, a former barbarian chieftain who is now boss of the city’s underworld.
Following his path for blood, Kron comes across the magical healer, Randall Tendbones, and accidentally reveals Randall’s darkest secret to the world. It’s a secret about the past, a secret that has kept Randall on the run for three years. Now it has caught up with him, and Belgad the Liar is suddenly the least of Randall and Kron’s concerns. The gaze of Lord Verkain, king of of the dark northern land of Kobalos, has fallen upon Kron and Randall. And it is a gaze filled with madness.”
The novel is followed up by Road to Wrath, and Dark King of the North. I’d tell you more about them, but I don’t want to give too much away. If you prefer a collection more than reading individual novels, these three are available in a single book or e-book titled The Kobalos Trilogy Omnibus.
The Horrors of Bond Trilogy
Spoiler alert: This trilogy also revolves around Kron Darkbow, so obviously he survived the first trilogy. The three novels here are titled Ghosts of the Asylum, Demon Chains, and The Company of Seven. As before, they also are brought together in a collection, this time as The Horrors of Bond Trilogy Omnibus.
Here is a description of this trilogy:
“Finding himself the keeper of the infamous Asylum, a place with a history entwined with insanity and death, Kron seeks to spend his days rebuilding the structure, but fate and the street politics of the city of Bond soon interfere. The first threat are riots in the streets backed by local guilds bosses seeking to gain power, and Kron is considered more than a threat, but a symbol needing removal.
Then comes a mad wizard and his pet demon, the two spreading horror across the city in their own bid for magical strength tied to an artifact of bones rumored to belong to an ancient god. But other forces seek these bones as well, including a living dead mage thousands of years old who gathers about himself a company of assassins, thieves, a knight and worse.
Enemy after enemy presents itself to Kron Darkbow, but even he is not prepared for the loss, the anguish and the sacrifices he will suffer.”
If you are a fan of multiple-novel e-books, all six of the Kron Darkbow novels are available as The Darkbow Collection. Sorry, you print fans, but a book version would simply be too big for the printer.
Mage Hunter Omnibus
For those who prefer not to read a series, but who want a stand-alone novel or story, I can suggest my Mage Hunter Omnibus. Yes, it has the word “omnibus” in the title, but this is not a collection of novels, instead being a collection of the five parts of a serial story (you can purchase them individually, if you want, but most readers seem to prefer the collection). As long as a novel, this book or e-book takes place in the same world as Kron Darkbow but a couple of generations earlier, and centers around one Guthrie Hackett.
Here is the description:
“War has come to northern Ursia. The barbarian Dartague have stormed down from the mountains to seek vengeance for encroachments upon their lands and culture. In this mess, Sergeant Guthrie Hackett finds himself alone after his squad has been slaughtered. Once he finally manages to reconnect with his own countrymen, he discovers the entire northern army has been nearly wiped out. Teaming up with a band of ragtag militia, Guthrie plans to fight back against the barbaric enemies. Along the way, he finds himself leading a pair of knights from the Holy Order of the Gauntlet on a mission to slay the Dartague wyrd woman believed to be at the heart of the barbarians’ attacks. Unfortunately for Guthrie, he has a secret which could get him killed by his fellow soldiers and knights if they were to learn the truth.”
The Sword of Bayne
Taking place nearly 2,000 years before the time of Kron Darkbow, these three novellas revolve around the mysterious warrior Bayne. This is something of an allegorical tale, not always straight fiction, but it still holds plenty of action and intrigue.
Here’s the description:
“The warrior Bayne wakes amid battle with no memory of his identity. Who is he? And who holds the answers to his past and future? To find such answers, Bayne begins a long journey, chasing a wizard who might hold the keys to knowledge. Bayne’s path takes him far up the sides of a mountain, into another world, then across plains. Along the way he meets unusual characters, sees unforgettable sights and shares his need for war with those he encounters.”
Other fantasy works
The books/e-books mentioned above are generally my best selling, thus the most read, but I do have a fewer other works available.
The Shieldbreaker Collection brings together five shorter works about my character Lerebus Shieldbreaker, who is a minor character in The Kobalos Trilogy and The Sword of Bayne even though those two tales take place thousands of years apart. This collection shows how Lerebus came to find himself in the two different time lines.
Here is a description:
“Lerebus Shieldbreaker is a warrior with no past and no future. His family is no more, his clan slain while he is a boy. Trained as a hunter, he hides among mountains, tracking those he believes responsible.
Befriending and ultimately serving a one-time enemy in a prince, Lerebus finally finds a chance to avenge his people, but the price is the attentions of Lord Verkain, the mad wizard king of Kobalos.
For Verkain has use of Lerebus’s talents, magical skills beyond even those of the most powerful of mages. With such powers, Lerebus can hunt down any man across any land and even across time itself.
Enslaved by the mad wizard king, Lerebus finds himself sent back thousands of years to discover the whereabouts of an ancient figure, the godlike being known as Bayne kul Kanon.”
Also taking place in my world of Ursia, but about 10,000 years before the time of Kron Darkbow, is my Walking Gods Trilogy, which so far consists of the short novels Where Gather the Gods, and A Place Called Skull. The third part of this trilogy, titled Whom the Gods Slay, is currently in work and hopefully will be available later this year.
Then there is Sands of Time, a collection of short stories about my John Dee character. John Dee is not his real name, but one he has taken from the historical English figure named John Dee. Dee’s tales are not part of my Ursia chronicles, but take place at different times in the real world. If you like historical fantasy and dark fantasy that sometimes rolls over into horror, you might enjoy the stories found in Sands of Time.
Though fantasy is my bread and butter, so to speak, it is not the only genre in which I dip my pen. Occasionally I write horror, and sometimes other forms of fiction.
In more mainstream or literary fiction, I have written the novel More Than Kin about an older dying man’s last days and how he tries to reunite with a lost son.
So there you have it, a rundown of most of my fiction. There are a few handfuls of short stories I did not mention, some I have published myself and others which have appeared in anthologies or other publications. More works will be coming from me in the future, including more novels centering around Kron Darkbow and other characters in his universe.
If you have seen something here which draws your attention to my writing, I hope I can provide for you some enjoyment. I don’t claim to be the next George R.R. Martin or R.A. Salvatore or J.R.R. Tolkien, but I do hope my readers come away having had some fun, and perhaps maybe having learned a thing or two.
But whatever your opinion of my books, always remember one thing Ty Johnston has written, and that’s to “Stay Nerdy!”