Literature: The Spellmonger Series
is the first book in the aptly named Spellmonger series, written by Terry Mancour. However, it was only published digitally in the catalogue of the Amazon Kindle store.
After Minalan finished serving his drafted time as a Warmage
in the army of the duchies, He just wants to quietly settle into the life of a village spellmonger (One who sells his magic to help with ordinary tasks
in the remote mountain valley of Boval. It was a peaceful, beautiful little fief, far from the dangerous feudal petty squabbles of the Five Duchies, on the world of Callidore. Things were going very well: business was booming, he is on good terms with the local lord
, the village folk loved him, he found a sharp young apprentice, and best yet, he met a beautiful young widow with the prettiest eyes . . .Then one night Minalan is forced to pick up his mageblade again
to defend his adopted home from the vanguard of an army of goblins – gurvani
, they call themselves – bent on a genocidal crusade against all mankind
. On top of that, the goblin shamans were armed with immense magical power; more than has been seen since the days of the ancient Imperial Magocracy
– and their leader, a mysterious, vengeful force of hate and dark magic
, is headed directly to Boval valley. The good people of Boval and their spellmonger have only one choice, to hole up in the over-sized Boval Castle
and hope they can endure a siege against hundreds of thousands.
The rest of the series follows this smart-alecky narrator
on his quest to save the world of men from the new goblin scourge, all the while dealing with the ridiculously inefficient and corrupt feudal government, the inherent distrust/ignorance of magic in his culture, his own struggle with his ambitions and social class as he grows in both magical and political power.... and his transition from horndog bachelor to faithful husband and father
This story deserves a lot of praise for managing to turn what, at first glance, seems to be one of the most generic and predictable fantasy plot-lines into a tremendously enjoyable and original work, mostly because of the author's superb world building, and the stunning amount of realism and attention to detail in both the military and political arenas. Its like the fantasy equivalent of Hard Sci-fi.
Currently there are 5 full books:
- Knights Magi
- High Mage
In addition, he has also published a number of short stories which can be found in the anthology "The Road to Sevendor"
This series provides examples of:
- A God Am I: The dead god has declared himself the living god-emperor of the gurvani
- Amulet of Concentrated Awesome:Irionite/Witchstone this incredibly rare form of amber has the power to amplify magical energy by a ridiculous degree. It is so powerful that just owning a piece basically makes you more powerful than every non-irionite owning mage on the planet.
- Anti-Magical Faction: The Royal Censorate of Magic is this, only instead of banning all magic, they only ban all magic except for a few specific fields of study. Then they hunt down and execute anyone studying illeagal magic, or any magic user not registered in their extremely expensive accreditation system.
- Blood Knight: Most of the close combat oriented warmagi.
- Character Filibuster and Author Filibuster: Pretty much any time Penny has more than one line in a conversation, prepare yourself for ten to fifteen pages of lecture on economics 001 or politics 001. How necessary any given piece of exposition is is somewhat arguable, but it's worth noting that the author tends to condense all of her conversations to one-paragraph summaries in the third volume.
- Colonel Badass: Bold Asgus, Commander of the Orohan's band. This man oozes command and confidence. Proficient with almost all weapons, he is a one man wave of death on the field of battle. The man killed a troll by himself. with 1 hit!
- Deus Sex Machina: The ending of the first book; Minalan, in his own words:
Minalan:[I] ended up saving almost everyone using a powerful spell through a mystical tear in the fabric of the universes fueled by a four hour long session of magically powerful sex. With my Ex-Girlfriend.
- Doomed Hometown: Boval Vale. Though it is not where Minalan is born, he was living there when it became the first village destroyed by the gurvani hordes
- Doomy Dooms of Doom: has happened twice
- In Warmage, it is used to describe the spymaster "Mother"s rose garden, in which every flower represents an assassination
Minalan: for my afternoon "walk" with Mother through the Rose Garden of Doom.
- Again in Magelord, this time it is evoked by the greenwarden Olmeg, who is describing a magical grove of unpleasant, mosquito attracting, difficult to attack from plants.
Minalan: What... is that? I saw it yesterday. Kind of a strange place to plant an orchard.
Olmeg: Magelord, that is intended to be an Orchard...of Doom.
- Drunk with Power: Dunselen gradualy becomes this over the course of Magelord. By the time of High Mage, he's got full blown Aquired Situational Narcissism, and is conquering nearby lands and setting himself up as a god, complete with a harem of local women taken against their will.
- First-Person Smartass: The narrator Minalan the Spellmonger, is this in spades.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Azar.
Azar: You all heard him say it! If I tell a man I'll kill him if he does something, I have to follow through with it right? I mean its just common sense!"
- The Horde: The goblin armies fit this exactly, with Minalan even referring to them as this in universe
- Living Lie Detector: Lesana from "the road to Sevendor" is a magical sport whose powers compel those around her to tell the entire truth, against their will. To say she is Blessed with Suck is an understatement, in fact her desire to have her "curse" removed is the motivator for her short story.
- Lost Colony: Originally, the planet was solely populated by the various Alka species (Elves, Dwarves, Goblins, etc). At some point between 500 and 1000 years, humanity was "spawned from the void", and split into two groups— the Magocracy, which formed an alliance with the Elves and eventually gained magic from exposure to a certain native tree and crystallized forms of its sap, and the barbarians, which moved into deforested and barren steppes without the native trees and thus never gained magic until they conquered and moved into the duchies.
- This is maintained fairly meticulously: almost everything edible in the setting is an "imported" plant or animal such as cows and barley, while "nativia" plants and animals are more useful in magic/alchemy. Native species are of little nutritional value to the imported ones, though sometimes edible, but the natives can chow down on the invaders pretty easily.
- For bonus points, the magocracy was initially given an island to colonize by the elves, as one would experimentally introduce an invasive species in a controlled environment before allowing it onto the main-land, and they sink it by over-engineering it using foreign and arcane engineering principles that don't match the local geology.
- Medieval Stasis: Textbook example. Nobles who live in castles and have feudal vassal system? check. Battles fought using cavalry, swords, plate armor and siege engines? check. Peasant class treated like crap? check. it all fits
- Miraculous Malfunction: During the birth of his fist child, when a series of strange magical coincidences threaten the pregnancy, Minalan tries to solve the problem with even more magic. The end result successfully birthed the child, and transformed all stone inside a 3 mile radius into a unique magical substance that is so powerful, it could change the course of the plot
- Mounted Combat: The noblemen of the 5 duchies are very fond of this, to the point where almost all heavy cavalry units are composed exclusively of nobles.
- Mundane Made Awesome: The unbinding spell from the first book: he basically just put a God-like amount of power into the cantrip he uses to untie his shoes. The result? the horde of hundreds of thousands takes heavy casualties as weapons fall apart, catapults and siege engines backfire, and siege towers and ladders fall apart, crushing the soldiers in and under them.
- Oh My Gods!: They swear by the genitalia of their gods. and they are not shy about it
- Our Dragons Are Different: Pretty much standard dragons, other then the fact that they are incredibly resistant to magic.
- Our Dwarves Are Different: They are referred to as "the iron folk". they are short, stout, and magnificent smiths. However, they have not been seen in Callidore for centuries, since they taught the original goblins metalworking, which they promptly used to start a war which drove the dwarves deep into their mountain fortresses.
- Our Fairies Are Different: The Alka Alon (or "the tree folk" to the humans) are incredibly long lived, and as a race, and they are thousands of times better at magic then any other race in the world. They're pretty much Elves, except that they're nice, short, and don't have pointy ears
- Until book three that is, then several do a spell that transforms their bodies too the form they'd have if their souls had human bodies. Then they look exactly like classic Elves. It's implied to be an old spell.
- Our Gnomes Are Weirder: "the River folk" sometimes called "puds". They are short, fat humanoids. They are almost entirely. pacifists, and they have supernatural gardening skills (they can grow more, higher quality vegetables, fruits, or any non-grain crop than any human farmer). They are also AMAZINGLY good chefs, and brewers.
- Our Goblins Are Different: The Gurvani. Humans call them either the "the mountain folk" or "scrugs". They are either the genetically engineered work force of the ancient Alka-Alon empire, or they are the descendants of a faction of Alka-Alon that lost a battle and were forced to live in the mountains. it was left very unclear between books 1 and 2.
- They're actually called goblins by most humans, but it's pejorative and the narrator finds it sounds rude and uneducated, so he actively cajoles other characters to use the "proper" name even though they're pretty much standard D&D goblins down to their vital statistics block.
- Actually something of an in-joke for D&D players: every time Minalan discusses the taller, more muscular, disciplined warrior variant of the gurvani race with no spell-casters, he struggles to find an academic, refined-sounding phrase for them. Everyone else refers to them as Hobgoblins, another D&D staple.
- Physical God: The Dead god. A decapitated skull, magically resurrected by goblin shamans when they encased the head in globe of irionite the size of a large pumpkin. This gives him so much magical power that his presence makes a dent in the fabric of reality.
- The Power of Love: Pentandra's main avenue of study, more specifically, the magic of sex. However she maintains that true love allows her sex magic to become far more potent. She has even referred to herself as "the love mage"
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Basically every warmagi from the first book. They are all relatively fresh out of the War College and most of them are some level of jerk-ass. Best of all? The only reason any of them even answer the call for help is to get irionite
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Duke Rard and Duchess Grendine of Castal
- Spell My Name with a "The": Even after Minalan becomes an ennobled magelord, He is still known as "The Spellmonger"
- Sire Cei is "The Dragonslayer"
- Minalan's apprentice Dara becomes "The Hawkmaiden"
- The Spymaster: Duchess Grendine's sinister alter ego as "The Mother", the head of the castali intelligence apparatus known as "the Family"
- Took a Level in Badass: Minalan in all the books.
- In the first book, the level comes just from acquiring a shard of irionite
- In the 2nd, he hones his political instincts and learns how to lead men in battle
- In the 3rd, he uses all of his previous skills to prove himself a true leader of men, as he consolidates and grows both his magical and political power immensely
- this is the whole point of Knights Magi for Tyndal and Rondal
- War Is Glorious: This is the general attitude of the upper classes of the 5 duchies, but more specifically, Cavalry Charges are Glorious.