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One of the Most Richly Detailed Settings in Fantasy: The Maradaine Novels by Marshall Ryan Maresca

Thursday, January 2nd, 2020 | Posted by John ONeill

A Murder of Mages-small An Import of Intrigue-small A Parliament of Bodies-small

The Maradaine Constabulary trilogy by Marshall Ryan Maresca (DAW). Covers by Paul Young.

Marshall Ryan Maresca is one of the hardest working writers in fantasy.

It started in 2015 with his debut novel The Thorn of Dentonhill, which introduced Veranix Calbert, diligent college student by day and crime-fighting vigilante by night in the crime-ridden districts of the port city of Maradaine. The book was an unexpected hit, and was nominated for the Compton Crook award. I’ve quoted Library Journal‘s pithy review (“Veranix is Batman, if Batman were a teenager and magically talented”) a few times here, mostly because it’s the quote that first got my attention.

You’d expect a sequel or two to follow after that, but Maresca has delivered far more — he’s produced no less than eleven full novels set in what the Barnes & Noble Sci-fi and Fantasy Blog calls “One of the most richly detailed settings in fantasy… In one fast-paced, funny, highly readable novel after another, Maresca continues to build out every nook and alleyway of Maradaine.” All told the fast-growing Maradaine Universe has grown to three full trilogies, with a fourth underway.

While they share a setting, each series has a different focus and cast. The Maradaine trilogy follows the adventures of Veranix Calbert, struggling magic university student by day and armed vigilante by night; the Maradaine Constabulary books are gritty fantasy mysteries focused on Inspectors Satrine Rainey and Minox Welling in the city constabulary; The Streets of Maradaine are caper novels featuring Asti and Verci Rynax, former thieves attempting to go straight but dragged back into their old lives; and Maradaine Elite blends fantasy and political intrigue as it follows Dayne Heldrin and Jerinne Fendall, hopeful members of the Tarian Order.

The-Thorn-of-Dentonhill-mid The-Alchemy-of-Chaos-small The Imposters of Aventil-small

The Maradaine trilogy by Marshall Ryan Maresca (DAW). Covers by Paul Young.

Here’s the complete rundown on all 11 novels (so far).

Maradaine

1 The Thorn of Dentonhill (2015)
2 The Alchemy of Chaos (2016)
3 The Imposters of Aventil (2017)

Maradaine Constabulary

1 A Murder of Mages (2015)
2 An Import of Intrigue (2016)
3 A Parliament of Bodies (2019)

The Streets of Maradaine

1 The Holver Alley Crew (2017)
2 Lady Henterman’s Wardrobe (2018)
3 The Fenmere Job (Feb 25 2020)

Maradaine Elite

1 The Way of the Shield (2018)
2 Shield of the People (2019)

All eleven books are paperback originals published by DAW; they all feature cover art by Paul Young.

The Holver Alley Crew-small Lady Henterman's Wardrobe-small The Fenmere Job-small

The Streets of Maradaine trilogy by Marshall Ryan Maresca (DAW). Covers by Paul Young.

The books continue to win a broad range of accolades. Publishers Weekly said “Maresca offers something beyond the usual high fantasy fare, with a wealth of unique and well-rounded characters,” and Kat Richardson called The Thorn of Dentonhill “Just perfect.“ The B&N Sci-fi & Fantasy Blog says “Marshall Ryan Maresca is some kind of mad genius…. Not since Terry Pratchett’s Ankh Morpork have we enjoyed exploring every angle of an invented locale quite this much.”

But my favorite review is still Sam Reader’s feature on The Holver Alley Crew, which he calls “an Irresistible Low-Fantasy Caper.” Here’s a snippet.

The Holver Alley Crew, which launches a new series set in Marshall Ryan Maresca’s sprawling Maradaine universe, is a perfect caper novel. It’s an enjoyable, fast-paced read, filled with dauntless villains, daring heists, adrenaline-packed fight scenes, and unforgettable characters….

That breathless, nervy energy begins with a scene of the brothers helping their neighbors escape from a devastating fire, and ramps up from there, flinging the cast into one scrape after another as they move from heist to heist. The set pieces are ridiculously entertaining to read, from a brutal fistfight inside the ruins of the Rynax Gadgetorium; to an attempt to break into the paranoid haven of the brothers’ former fixer; to the climactic heist, a multi-leveled, multilayered affair set in a crime lord’s pleasure palace…

Our previous coverage includes:

The Thorn of Dentonhill (February 2015)
The Alchemy of Chaos (December 2015)
If Batman Were a Teenager and Magically Talented: The Maradaine Novels (July 2017)

A Parliament of Bodies (March 2019) and Shield of the People (October 2019) are the most recent book in the series; next is The Fenmere Job, due on February 25. Get more details at Maresca’s website here.

See all our recent coverage of the best in Series Fantasy here.

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