A fantasy series by Michael Scott Rohan, best known for The Winter of the World series.
Stephen Fisher is a moderately successful, but bored, business man. One evening, desperate for a change in his routine, he takes a different way home, via the local docks. He encounters an apparent mugging, and provides sufficient distraction for the oddly-dressed victim to turn the tables on his would be assailants. Cue adventure and much self-discovery as Stephen Fisher learns of the Spiral, the part of reality outside the mundane "core", where All Myths Are True and anything is possible.
Consists of three books, Chase the Morning, The Gates of Noon and Cloud Castles, plus Maxie's Demon set in the same universe but with a different protagonist.
This series provides examples of:
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: Twice. First in Chase the Morning, where Stephen's entire magical battle with the Big Bad is rendered as negotiating a business deal, since that's his area of expertise. Second, using the same metaphor, when talking with the Big Good of Cloud Castles.
- All Myths Are True: Not just historical myths. Anything that can, has been or will be imagined is somewhere out in the Spiral. Such as Skull Island.
- A God Am I: Revealed to be the destiny of all the main protoganists in Cloud Castles.
- Badass Normal: The more time you spend, and the further you go, in the Spiral, the more magical you become. Among beings that have spent centuries in the far reaches of the Spiral, Stephen Fisher manages to hold his own in the first book, and kicks more and more ass as the series progresses.
- Bad Powers, Good People: Katya. Now, anyway.
- Black and White Morality: The longer you spend in the Spiral, the more "distilled" you become, eventually becoming either purely good or purely evil, depending on your original nature.
- Clingy MacGuffin: Stephen learns to summon his sword to his hand at will. It is expensive on windows until he gets better at it though.
- Extra-Strength Masquerade: The nature of the Spiral itself. Spending any time in the core makes the memories of the Spiral fade. Any magical events that intrude on the core also gradually become fuzzier in recollections, until they can be written off as mundane. The entire attack, kidnap and attempted sacrifice of Stephen's secretary in Chase the Morning has become a few drunk yobs and some weird dreams by the second and third books. Jyp mentions a sailor who had spent centuries in the Spiral that drifted back into the core, and remember none of what he had done or seen in that time.
- Fisher King: Both powers' lands in Cloud Castles are like this.
- Ghostly Chill: Bizarre deliberate usage by Katya to hide the protognists from heat sensitive alarms.
- Groin Attack: Apparently works on magically mutated pirates too.
- Heroic Sacrifice: With elements of Redemption Equals Death. Poor Katya.
- Implausible Fencing Powers: Malnote , but then she is well on the way to becoming an an avatar of good.
- Medieval Stasis: Technologically, the Spiral doesn't change. Justified in that industrialisation requires a static workforce, and staying in one place is a good way to drift back into the core.
- Take a Third Option: Stephen's solution to the problem of which power to support in The Gates of Noon.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting:Stephen: What's his name?
Stephen: Why Sir?
Jyp: What else do you call someone...
Stephen: ...who can turn into a seven foot polar bear. Right.