Greg Keyes is no stranger to epic fantasy. He’s the author of the Age of Unreason series, The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, and the Children of the Changeling novels. For much of the past two decades he’s made his living primarily through media tie-in novels, including Star Wars, Elder Scrolls, XCOM, Babylon 5, Independence Day, Pacific Rim, Planet of the Apes, and others.
So I was pleased to see a major new release from him on the shelf at Barnes & Noble last month. The Reign of the Departed is the opening novel in a new dark fantasy series, The High and Faraway, which features a golem, a giant, a ghost and a wizard, on the run from a Sheriff and his shapeshifting posse. Carolyn Cushman at Locus says:
Errol Greyson says he didn’t intend to commit suicide – but he wakes in a body carved of wood and joined by wire and bolts, and his classmate Aster tells him his real body’s in a coma. She’s originally from another world, and needs to return there for the magic water of health to save her father, and maybe help Errol. For her quest, she needs three companions: one mostly dead (Errol), one completely dead, and a giant – so off they go to find a local ghost, Veronica, a girl who’s been dead for 30 years. Errol goes along, stumbling through a series of strange adventures in a world of nightmarish creatures, curses, and transformations, where twisted fairy tale elements mix with Weird Western bits, and some references to Pinocchio. At times the story reads like YA fiction, with its messed-up young protagonists and recurring theme of bad parents, but it’s a dark tale; not horror, exactly, but seriously twisted and dramatic…
The Reign of the Departed was published by Night Shade on June 19, 2018. It is 348 pages, priced at $14.99 for both the trade paperback and digital versions. The cover is by Micah Epstein. Read more at the Night Shade website.