Menaced by Magic is somewhat different to Power & Empire in that the key character is a soldier from our own time and place who finds himself in this other world. However, this isn’t a portal fantasy in the sense of Mark (our soldier) going back and forth between worlds. What happens to him at the beginning of the book is a one-off freak accident, and having found himself in this strange other place, he’s stuck with it and needs to find a way to survive there. I also wanted to play around with having someone from outside that world who could be a commentator and questioner on the reader’s behalf. Someone who could ask why does this work? Why would you do that?
And as a reader myself, I’m a bit of a sucker for mistaken identity stories, and so this harks back a little to adventure books like the Prisoner of Zenda as well as fantasies. Also, having written a huge battle scene at the end of Power & Empire, I felt that this series needed a different kind of climax. So rather than a clash of armies, here I wanted the conflict to be at a more personal level, while at the same time keeping the magical feel that’s so vital in fantasy – I hope you find I’ve got the balance right.
I feel I’ve inflicted enough trauma on Mark and his friends for now, so there’s no plan to return to them with a new story. However, I’d love to hear from you who was your favourite character, and which bits you loved most.