Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Shadow Prince

I have something to announce.

I've just finished a new novel.

It's not what you might think, though. It's not the Spartacus novel. That one's going to take awhile yet.

No, what I've completed is a middle grade fantasy set in Ancient Egypt. A kid's book called The Shadow Prince. It grew on my by surprise, took over, beat Spartacus into submission, and then asked for a few dedicated months of my time. I'm so glad it did.

What's it like? Well, if I had to give it a sub-genre it would be "Solar Punk". It's not a very historical novel. Instead, it's one that takes all the funky stuff of Egyptian mythology and spins it playfully into a full-on fantasy. Weird shape-shifting gods with crazy powers? Yep. A demon fighting voyage into the underworld? Of course. A group of kids that have to save the world against impossible odds? Totally.

It's not exactly like any one series in particular, but I think of it as being similar in ways to a number of series. The demon fighting element was influenced by Jonathon Stroud's Bartimaeus novels. I tried for the playful, mild-peril of Angie Sage's Septimus Heap books. I wanted to keep the pacing brisk, like Kai Meyer's Wave Walker's books. And I have to admit to wanting my Egyptian setting to have some of the exotic - and yet contemporary - feel of the anime series Avatar: The Last Airbender. (Not the film based on it, and not, of course, the James Cameron Avatar movie either.) I'm not saying I achieved the quality of any of these artists; I'm just saying I tried.

I'm really excited about it. My wife read the new pages aloud every night to my kids (aged 10 and 12), so I got immediate feedback from the target audience. (I also got to hear it brought to life by a lovely Scottish voice...) I've had several beta readers look it over, with very positive responses (and useful feedback!). It's now in the hands of my agent. Hopefully, we'll soon be talking to publishers.

I really hope this works. I'd love for this to grow into a series. I'll still write historical works and adult fantasy, but writing for kids scratches a different itch. And, for once, it's just plain fun!

Wish me luck!

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Blogger Mary Robinette Kowal said...

Yay! That is excellent news.

4:45 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Thank you, Mary.

It's evolved a lot since you saw - and helped me with - the early pages.

I think I've something here. We'll see...

6:14 PM  
Blogger Mark Lavallee said...

Good Luck! I really hope we get to see this soon, you're stuff always ranks very high with me!

7:16 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Here's hoping we can get this in your hands soon, then!

7:33 AM  
Blogger orea said...

Sounds like a fun read, I hope I get to read it in the not too distant future.

6:41 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Hi Orea! I hope so too.

6:15 AM  

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