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Interview with Martyn Stanley, author of The Last Dragon Slayer


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The Deathsworn Arc, is a long story arc with a series spanning core theme of atheism and pragmatism. It’s fantasy, it’s swords & sorcery but it’s very much about the characters more than the action. It’s also a bit of a thought experiment, in reality it’s very difficult, if not impossible to disprove the existence of something, but part of the long story is how an individual has essentially completely disproved all religions and afterlives. As well as getting to know each other, and going on quests, the characters have to come to terms with the bleak reality of a single, finite life.

They don’t find this easy, it isn’t a chest-beating, positive atheist book, it’s a book which seeks to examine how a person can reframe their sense of purpose and their take on morality in a godless reality.
Eventually a dark, god-like being will seize the throne of Torea, at that point the series will examine what it might be like to live under a tyrannical, almost all-powerful god-like ruler.

We love fantasy fiction. What sub-genre is this?
It’s fantasy, but it’s also epic fantasy, fantasy adventure, swords & sorcery, it doesn’t really read like these genre though. It has a very different feel to it, perhaps because of my atheism and the fact that I bleed some of my knowledge and passion for science, reason and logic into the fantasy world of Torea.

Is this suitable for all ages?
It’s quite dark in places, both books 1, 2 and 3 have themes in them which aren’t really suitable for children. It might appeal to Young Adults, who like a darker, grittier read, to people who enjoy exploring characters through dialogue and conversation and those who enjoy intriguing world-building. There is a strong female protagonist too, who plays a major part in the series, it will appeal to those who enjoy a strong female protagonist. It will also appeal to fantasy readers who have an interest in science, atheism and pragmatic moralism.

We haven’t yet met the main characters of your story.
Korhan is one of the main characters, he’s a barbarian from the north who has signed himself up for a quest to kill a dragon to earn himself a reputation and gold. He starts out cocky and arrogant, but over the course of the books learns that his prowess is not as great as he thought or would like.

Vashni is the enigmatic female elf, whose strange ways and almost bizarre motivations and reactions are something of a puzzle to the rest of the companions. Despite her quirkiness and sometimes difficult to tolerate personality, Vashni becomes a key member of the group and at times is solely responsible for their success.

Brael Truthseeker is a gravian, a dark elf, banished from Durth Orza. The reason? His perplexing ‘truth’ which he cannot directly reveal. He is also cut off from and unable to use magic for the start of the series, but his knowledge of magic implies that if his curse were lifted he would be formidable indeed.

Have you written any other books that we should read next?
I’ve written prolifically for years, but ‘The Deathsworn Arc’ is really my best work. I have written other stories on fan sites and under pen names, but the writing I care passionately about is ‘The Deathsworn Arc’.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am thirty six as of December 2013, I live in a small village on the Staffordshire, Cheshire border in England which has the unusual feature of it’s own folly. I have two small children and work as a manager by day, fantasy writer by night.

Do you use social media? ley/blog

How easily do new storylines come to you? If we give you four random words – Man, Woman, Airport, Darkness – can you give us a brief storyline?
A man and a woman find themselves alone in the an airport. Where has the rest of the population vanished to? What is the encroaching darkness that seems to be coming at the airport from all sides, devouring reality itself as it comes? Will they ever escape their grim fate?

What’s next?
Haha! I actually like the brief story line I just vomited out of my brain for the above four words! Maybe that? Maybe a time travel novel? I started one but never finished it. To be honest I anticipate finishing ‘The Deathsworn Arc’ taking years, if not decades – it’s a long story.

Years! What’s your timeline for the rest of the series?
Part 2 ‘The Verkreath Horror‘ is already out! Part 3 ‘The Blood Queen’ will be early 2014. I expect part 4 will be called ‘The Temple of the Mad God’ and be out late 2014.

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