“A complex first novel in a fantasy series set in a world of advanced technology and brutality… lively and sophisticated” –Kirkus Reviews
TO SUPPRESS KNOWLEDGE IS HUMAN NATURE
Some believe a return to the old ways will lead to the end of humankind. Others have long forgotten the origins of the anti-tech treaty and dismiss it as old-world superstition designed to maintain oppressive control over society.
In a land recovering from disaster and emboldened by unearthly leviathans, an underground tech resurgence threatens what’s left of the human race. Torn between beliefs and duty, a dimension-warping luminary and a mystical shaman begin their rise to power for opposing factions, defying forces greater than they are while dragging their naïve, young apprentices into peril along with them.
They must prepare now for the coming doom before it's too late — even if it sparks an all-out war between neighboring territories. A war neither side can hope to win.
Sprague’s story sprawls out from there, tense and dense, crafted with a shrewd awareness of what dedicated genre readers expect–and of the pleasures of upending those expectations. Vey’s mission, of course, quickly becomes more complicated, becoming more about raw survival after she catches the attention of the scheming shaman Akrylla, a creepy and compelling update on the witch archetype whose powers of manipulation are captured with some effectively unconventional quirks of prose. The care Sprague takes with bringing different perspectives to life, and in putting earthy, convincing dialogue into the mouths of characters, brings convincing life to the conflicts and milieu.
This world may be richly developed (relish the “leviathan-bone gates of Jakka”), at times overwhelming in the manner of Steven Erickson’s Malazan series, but it feels lived in by real characters, like courageous Vey. It also feels worth caring about and keeping up with, as its surprising tech and magic (assemblers, projectionists, Hadamard’s strikers and battle simulations) and an expansive roster of characters (a knightsmaiden, a demoness) and crises both enrich and complicate the whole—of which this volume, of course, is just the first part.
Takeaway: This accomplished, ambitious epic fantasy swells with fresh ideas, memorable characters, and dense world building.
Great for fans of: Steven Erickson, R. Scott Bakker.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
[Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, June 2021]— THE FIRST BOOK in the Luminary series, set to be released this fall, provides a glimpse of what happens when the exploratory mind of a theoretical physicist reigns free.
“A complex first novel in a fantasy series set in a world of advanced technology and brutality… lively and sophisticated.” – Kirkus Reviews
Out of the Grey immerses a high fantasy sword and sorcery adventure within a peculiar world of advanced technology where access to such knowledge has been suppressed to ensure the survival of the human race. The result is a far-reaching epic tale that draws on Sprague’s unique background in unexpected ways.
Kevin Sprague is a Canadian Physicist and Mathematician having attained his doctorate at the University of Western Ontario. With more than twenty years of field experience ranging from nuclear and particle physics to military wargaming, emerging technologies, and artificial intelligence, Sprague has no shortage of unconventional ideas and it shows in his latest fictional creation.
The stakes in Out of the Grey couldn’t be higher: Theia is heading down the same path that destroyed the old-world and Lumen Hadamard must find a way to enforce the anti-tech treaty lest Theia suffer the same fate. To counter mounting threats from rivaling territories, Hadamard needs more than sanctioned, archaic-type armaments at his disposal and so ventures into the treaty’s “grey areas”—experimenting with emerging technology that didn’t exist when the treaty was written. This “post-tech” world offers a different take on military-political fantasy with more focus on strategy and intrigue than on battle, and with the military component more modern than medieval. The multifaceted narrative brings added depth to the political machinations and unveils the motivations driving the characters and the conflicts between the various players. Moreover, the rich fictional setting allows for the exploration of some pretty cool peripheral concepts such as shifting gravity, non-linear time and transcendence, to name a few. And while there is plenty of escapism to be had, the ever-present backdrop of potential annihilation allows the exploration of the timely question: what do we do with technology, given the complex trade-offs of benefit and danger, and given our own ability to abuse it?
Kevin currently serves as a subject matter expert on emerging technologies and lives on a quiet hobby farm with his family. In between the hours and minutes tending to life’s many demands, he steals away to the land of Theia and ponders the complexities therein. Sprague recently wrapped up Reforged, the second book of the Luminary series, and is writing the third.
If you would like to learn more about the series, anticipated book release dates, or watch the latest trailer, please visit www.sparxsff.com.