Helen Lowe

Helen Lowe was born 1961 in Wellington, New Zealand. A multi-award winning author she is currently best known for her heroic fantasy novel, The Heir of Night, which won the David Gemmell Morningstar Award for Best Fantasy Newcomer in 2012 and forms the first part of The Wall of Night quartet.

Lowe went to schools in both New Zealand and Singapore before earning a Bachelor of Arts in English and Geography from the University of Waikato. She continued her education in Sweden, at the University of Stockholm, and there earned a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Science.

Lowe's first novel, Thornspell, was published in 2008.

Helen Lowe's awards

  • 2009 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Young Adult Novel (The Heir of Night)
  • 2011 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Novel (The Heir of Night)
  • 2012 David Gemmell Morningstar Award (The Heir of Night)
  • The Gathering of the Lost was shortlisted for the 2013 David Gemmell Legend Award.

On winning the David Gemmell Legend Award in 2012

"I think my first words, when the Morningstar call came through, were “I don’t believe it” - but after my disbelief was suspended I was obviously very happy indeed, not least because I have always loved epic fantasy so winning a major award in the genre for my own epic storytelling was very special. The David Gemmell Awards are international, as well as being reader voted, so winning the Morningstar and making the shortlist for the Legend award – which I feel is “huge” given it’s the open category – both suggest that readers see “The Heir Of Night” and “The Gathering Of The Lost” respectively as having merit. As a new writer still, that’s tremendously encouraging. I also felt honoured to win the Morningstar Award, and now to be shortlisted for the Legend Award this year, because the awards commemorate the legacy of David Gemmell, which was formative for me as an epic Fantasy reader and writer. I love the sweep of his stories and the sense of contending light and dark - but also the many shades of human fallibility between those extremes. And I have always been strongly drawn to his writing of heroism, sacrifice and duty, as well as the ability of friendship and love, in rare circumstances, to transcend ambition and self-interest."
Speaking to Alex Davis in an interview on September 9, 2013

Helen Lowe books reviewed


  • Thornspell (2008)
    Prince Sigismund has grown up hearing fantastical stories about enchantments and faie spells, basilisks and dragons, knights-errant and heroic quests. He'd love for them to be true - he's been sheltered in a country castle for most of his life and longs for adventure - but they are just stories. Or are they? From the day that a mysterious lady in a fine carriage speaks to him through the castle gates, Sigismund's world starts to shift. He begins to dream of a girl wrapped, trapped, in thorns. He dreams of a palace, utterly still, waiting. He dreams of a man in red armor, riding a red horse - and then suddenly that man arrives at the castle! Sigismund is about to learn that sometimes dreams are true, that the world is both more magical and more dangerous than he imagined, and that the heroic quest he imagined for himself as a boy... begins now.

The Wall of Night quartet

  • The Heir of Night (2010)
    A dark enemy. An ancient war. A new champion. Young Malian is being trained to rule. Her people garrison the mountain range known as the Wall of Night against an ancient enemy, keeping a tide of shadow from the rest of their world. Malian is expected to uphold this tradition, yet she's known little of real danger until the enemy attacks her fortress home and the Keep of Winds becomes a bloodbath. Malian flees deep into the Old Keep – and when the danger is greatest her own hidden magic flares into life. But if she accepts its power, she must prepare to pay the price.
  • The Gathering of the Lost (2011)
    Tarathan of Ar and Jehane Mor ride into the great city of Ij in time for its grand Festival of Masks. But soon after their arrival they witness a terrible slaughter as their fellow heralds are targeted and assassinated. They must flee for their lives across the city when they discover Swarm agents at work as they attempt to destabilise the entire River Cities network for their own ends. And five years after her great flight from the Derai Wall, Malian remains hidden to those who seek her. But she has not been idle. Her goal is to muster all Derai magic users who have fled into exile rather than face destruction. Only by uniting against the Swarm menace can they hold their own against the dark tide. She has hunted down every rumour of their presence and has developed her own powers that the Swarm must learn to respect - and to fear. For Malian won't see her people fall to a dark tide of twisted magic, as demonic forces subvert a way of life.

Critical acclaim

"A well-realised world." Robin Hobb