The Adventures of Siskin and Valderan is the tale of two swords-for-hire and their talking monkey, Jackanapes. Scraping a living on a barren, distant world, they are at the beck and call of powerful masters who send them in search of precious relics. As they travel the known world, they are watched by agents of István, a bizarre creature who lives among humans as the ambassador for his kind. Using human mercenaries and the terrifying animalistic garrawacks, István is determined to thwart Siskin and Valderan’s quest for an ancient mound which conceals a long-hidden secret. It is a secret that if revealed, could bring István’s whole world crashing down around him.
What genre is it?
It’s a fantasy book – low fantasy, to be precise.
Low fantasy? What makes it that?
When people get hurt, they really get hurt.
That’s interesting. What else fits this mould?
Game of Thrones.
Tell us about our main characters.
Siskin is a wanderer from the Sea Kingdoms, a master swordsman of Lirara, the greatest city in the world. He and Valderan met long ago when they were guards on The Survey of Faraway Lands, an expedition to map and explore the world beyond the human cities.
His elder by some ten years, Valderan is the leader of their group. Taciturn and wily, he often has to rescue Siskin from trouble. As a citizen of Lirara, Valderan has the fine manners needed to get work from their paymasters: the nobles of the city who seek adventurers to track down long-lost relics of their gods.
Always at the side of Siskin and Valderan is the talking monkey Jackanapes.
Tell us about him. What’s he like?
Happy-go-lucky, Jackanapes always has a jest and quick riposte ready for their companions. Merry as he is, Jackanapes conceals a tragic past from his friends, a time of darkness that he longs to forget.
We love the idea of a talking monkey – with a tragic past.
I wrote The Adventures of Siskin and Valderan because I love world-building and I wanted to write something that would take people away from the drab, everyday world. I wanted to write something that people would enjoy while they’re sitting on a bus in the early morning, going to work in the rain. I also wanted to create something rich and strange. The story is set in a weird new world that is populated by new incredible beings that have never appeared in fiction before.
Will you be taking us back to this world?
There is a second book in the series, Rise of the Homrihans, which is not yet available but there are extracts on my website. I hope it will be out in 2014 or 2015 at the latest (the novel is already written). All the books in the series make up a continuing story but they can be read independently of each other.
Where can we find your website?
Are you on social media?
I tweet away on @alastairsavage.
Tell us a bit about you and your background.
I’m British from Boston in Lincolnshire although I also grew up in Pennsylvania USA. I’m a fantasy and SF fan and I regularly contribute to the Amazing Stories website where I do interviews with SF authors such as Peter F Hamilton, fantasy artists like Gary Chalk and comics creators such as 2000AD creator Pat Mills.
What’s next for you?
I will be looking for a cover artist for the second book in the series of The Adventures of Siskin and Valderan and hopefully publishing the follow-up, Rise of the Homrihans, very soon.