Smoke and Stone by Michael R. Fletcher

Smoke and Stone


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Nothing Is As It Seems

the-relic-guildI’ve always referred to The Relic Guild Trilogy as a single story chopped up into three books. Mostly because it’s true. It is the tale of a secret band of magickers protecting a million humans in a city hidden at the centre of a giant labyrinth; a city that barely manages to survive, trapped behind walls a hundred foot tall, abandoned by the rest of the universe. It’s a tale split into two timelines, separated by forty years, one set during a great war, the other in the aftermath. The Relic Guild Trilogy is a fantasy, a mystery, an adventure with magic, monsters and mayhem. However, there are more than three parts to this story.

What began in The Relic Guild and continued in The Cathedral of Known Things now ends with The Watcher of Dead Time, and I can’t wait for readers to discover how the story concludes. All questions will be answered, all mysteries will be solved. But there are two extra short stories that fit into the tale. They were written as promotional pieces and recorded by the ever wonderful Imogen Church as audiobooks. And the best part is, after they were recorded, generous Gollancz gave them away for free. FREE! Such glorious madness!

cathedral-of-known-thingsThe first short is Hemlock. It’s set during the hours before chapter one of The Relic Guild – a prelude, if you will. It’s a behind the scenes look at the opening gambit that kick starts the entire story. It features characters who only have bit parts in the main book – especially the titular Charlie Hemlock, a scoundrel and petty crook. Charlie is working for new boss and this time he has bitten off more than he can chew. He sparks off a chain of events that carry dire consequences for the secret magickers of the Relic Guild. Think of Hemlock as a deleted scene or a DVD extra. Imogen’s brilliant narration can be found (for FREE!) on Audible or SoundCloud. If written words are more you preference, the print version can be found on the Gollancz blog right here:

The second short tale is Champion of Dead Time, and this one is an origin story, set between books one and two. In The Cathedral of Known Things readers are introduced to a particularly nasty monster called the Woodsman. It’s a demon from a hellish place called the Retrospective, and is regarded as more intelligent than the average demon. Champion of Dead Time is the story of why the Woodsman is intelligent, where it really came from, and the reason for its existence. Again, Imogen’s version can be found (for FREE! Have I said that yet?) on Audible or SoundCloud, and the print version is over on the Jo Fletcher blog right here:

the-watcher-of-dead-time-cover-197x300So, maybe I should start thinking of The Relic Guild as a trilogy chopped up into five parts. Or is that too Douglas Adams? Either way, the story is more than the three novels waiting for you in bookshops. I loved writing the short stories, loved giving them away for nothing as a gift to readers. The downloads proved to be quite popular, so, with the release of The Watcher of Dead Time, it seems like a good idea to dust them off and bring them out again as part of what must be the author’s suggested sequence of reading:

  1. Hemlock
  2. The Relic Guild
  3. Champion of Dead Time
  4. The Cathedral of Known Things
  5. The Watcher of Dead Time

All things end. Nothing is as it seems. Did I mention yet that 1 and 2 are free?


One Comment

  1. Avatar Noneofyourbusiness says:

    “It’s a tale split into two timelines, separated by forty years, one set during a great war, the other in the aftermath.”

    Are you talking about parallel universes, or do you mean timeframes rather than timelines? Two points forty years apart in the same universe are in the same timeline.

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