Well, after months (if not years) I can now finally start to reveal the details of what I’ve been working on. Thanks for your patience – now here’s an introduction to the new world, and the new series, that I’m planning to keep writing for the rest of the 2020s, and possibly beyond!
The first book in the series is called An Inheritance of Magic, and will be released on October 10th 2023 in the US & Canada, and on October 5th 2023 in the UK and in the rest of the world. The name for the world it’s set in is the Drucraft setting – in this world, ‘drucraft’ roughly translates to ‘magic’. (The word is adapted from Old English – the original spelling was ‘drycraft’, but there’s been some linguistic drift.)
Now, I could keep on talking about the new series on its own, but realistically, if you’re reading this, there’s an over-95% chance that you’re here because you read the Alex Verus novels, which means that’s what you’re going to be using as a basis for comparison. So from this point on, I’m going to describe the new series by using the Verus books as a reference.
Similarities to Alex Verus
- The story starts in London, in an urban fantasy setting. The world looks identical to ours, but there’s a magical society hidden from view.
- The story is told in the first person and features action, danger, investigation of mysteries, a formalised magic system, and an underdog protagonist who has to outthink enemies that are stronger than him.
- This will be a long-running series where the protagonist will gradually grow in power, knowledge, and influence over the course of the story. I’ll try to make each book understandable for new readers, but they’re not really meant to be read as standalones.
Differences from Alex Verus
- In the Alex Verus setting, magic is an inherent gift – you’re either a mage, or you’re not. In the Drucraft setting, magic is mainly used through items known as sigls. Using sigls to their full potential takes skill, but anyone rich enough and connected enough can gain access to significantly powerful magical abilities – you can literally order them out of a catalogue. As a result of this, the setting is dominated by wealthy aristocratic families and by large corporations.
- Since money translates into magical power in this world, wealth becomes a lot more important. In the Alex Verus series, even though Alex ran a shop, buying and selling were never really important parts of the story. The reason for this was that the magical economy and the normal economy didn’t intersect very much – in the magical world, nothing above a certain level of value could be bought with money. In the Drucraft setting, the magical and normal economies are integrated, and one of the main things that determines what kinds of magical abilities you can acquire is how much money you have.
- Drucraft is more limited yet also better-understood than the magic of the Alex Verus world. Drucrafters can’t do things like teleport or see through time, but due to many centuries of research and commercial exploitation, drucraft is a well-developed art. If something can be done with drucraft, it probably has been done. In fact, not only has it been done, odds are that it’s been thoroughly researched and there’s a corporation willing to sell you the finished product at whatever price the market will bear.
- The protagonist is younger and less experienced than Alex Verus. Alex was 28 at the start of Fated, but the protagonist of the new series, Stephen, is only 20 at the start of An Inheritance of Magic. Additionally, due to his magic type and colourful background, Alex started Fated much more knowledgeable than the average member of magical society, meaning that readers mostly learn about the magical world through Alex. By contrast, Stephen, while quite skilled at drucraft, starts his story knowing very little about the magical world. This means that as a reader, you’ll learn about the drucraft world of Houses and corporations as he does. Also, unlike Alex, Stephen doesn’t start book 1 having already killed people in his backstory, which will change the overall mood of the books a bit.
- While the Alex Verus series focused mostly on Britain, the new series will be more international. In the Drucraft setting, there’s a lot of variation between countries in how good or bad they are at producing different types of sigls – it works similarly to having access to natural resources, such as gold, gemstones, rare earth metals, or oil. As a result, countries are highly motivated to gain access to sigl types that they’re naturally weak in, whether by trade or by other means.
- The Alex Verus setting is a sort of fantasy kitchen sink, where you get all kinds of magical creatures out of mythology – dryads, elementals, talking animals, barghests, and so on. Some (like vampires) aren’t around any more and some (like dragons) are rather different from how you’d expect, but if something exists in mythology, there’s probably an equivalent, even if humans have rendered many of them extinct by now. The Drucraft setting, on the other hand, has no magical creatures that you’d recognise. Humans rule alone . . . or so it seems.
- While the Alex Verus series is ‘pure’ urban fantasy, the new series will be urban fantasy with some progression fantasy elements. In this context, ‘progression’ means that much of the story is driven by the protagonist needing to develop himself and become more capable and skilled.
As with the Alex Verus series, I’ll publish the first chapter of each book online a couple of months or so in advance of the book’s release date. I’m also planning a series of articles describing the world and magic system, similar to Alex Verus’s Encyclopaedia Arcana, which I’ll put out next year.