Tom Lloyd biography and books reviewed

Tom Lloyd was born in 1979 and showed almost no interest in writing until the age of eighteen. I blame the teachers myself.

Nevertheless he did eventually find himself with a long summer to spare before university, and decided to start a novel when it was suggested he get a job to pass the time. This tells you much of what there is to know about him. The rest can be derived from the fact that he first had the idea of writing a book to annoy a school friend by getting published before him.

No, honestly; he's actually that shallow.

It was swiftly apparent that this was not the quick route to fame and fortune that he’d hoped for. The first sign of this was the realisation that being good at writing was required, but he managed to surprise everyone by not giving up on something he didn’t show immediate promise in.

Studying Politics and International Relations at Southampton University had very little appreciable effect on him, beyond giving him a couple of ideas for future novels, but that was largely due to spending most of those three years in London shacked up with the god-daughter of an Asian dictator. Upon leaving university he decided – along with what seemed like half of all other graduates, some of whom had had the temerity to study English – that doing “book stuff” sounded like a fun alternative to working out what sort of job he wanted to do. There was also the intriguing suggestion of literary talent being passed on by some osmosis-like process. As a result of a little work experience at Simon and Schuster - combined with some shameless flirting with the HR manager - he got a job as an editorial assistant on the Scribner list, which allowed him to mistype letters to a whole host of talented writers.

Certain luminary examples there made it clear that before he became a fantasy editor he was going to have to spend several years iron-cladding his liver. Towards this goal, he decamped to the A M Heath Literary Agency by way of Random House, which was silly because walking down Longacre would have been a lot quicker, to work in foreign rights while also freelancing for and constantly revising what was slowly becoming The Stormcaller.

A three year litany of madcap adventures in the crazy world of agenting ensued, but it would be far too time-consuming to detail any of that so suffice to say that his hangover cleared sufficiently one morning in 2004 for him to realise that he wasn’t quite so bad at writing now. Maybe there was something to this osmosis thing after all - although if that’s true Katie Fforde and Dave Hill might get a surprise at the effect they’d had.

Securing the services of John Richard Parker at MBA Literary Agents proved a surprisingly painless experience – despite being previously rejected by one of John’s colleagues, which just goes to show how persistent one has to be – and soon he was sat in the office of Jo Fletcher at Gollancz trying to persuade her how much of a geek he was. After four years as contracts manager at Blake Friedmann Literary Agency he decided he didn't like other authors that much so he swapped his dark corner of Camden for one at Atlantic Books where it quickly became apparent that he prefers winning arguments to scruples.

Writing part-time, also known as watching loads more TV, he also manages to  play a little sport in between trips to the pub and battering book 4 of The Twilight Reign - The Ragged Man - into a semblance of shape. He'll be married soon, so sorry all you screaming fan-girls but you just can't compete.

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Tom Lloyd reviews

Stranger of Tempest by Tom Lloyd

Lynx is a mercenary with a sense of honour; a dying breed in the Riven Kingdom. Failed by the nation he served and weary of the skirmishes that plague the continent's principalities, he walks the land in search of purpose. He wants for little so bodyguard work keeps his belly full and his mage-gun loaded. It might never bring a man fame or wealth, but he's not forced to rely on others or kill without cause. Little could compel Lynx to join a mercenary company, but he won't turn his back on a kidnapped girl. At least the job seems simple enough; the mercenaries less stupid and vicious than most he's met over the years. So long as there are no surprises or hidden agendas along the way, it should work out fine...

"Although Stranger of Tempest isn't perfect, there are a lot of positives here. I thought this book had a great opening, an awesome ending, and relentless action scenes - with good humour and crew comraderies thrown into the mix for good measure. This can be read as a complete standalone as everything is wrapped up nicely. I am pretty excited about the follow-up Princess of Blood which I believe is due for release July 2017. This is pretty enjoyable fantasy story with a protagonist that cares."

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Princess of Blood by Tom Lloyd

There's a new Card in the Mercenary Deck - one Lynx isn't sure if he's happy to see or not. The assassin Toil now wears the Princess of Blood on her jacket and even Lynx would admit she's a woman cloaked in chaos and bloodshed. Their new mission is to escort a dignitary to the pious and ancient city of Jarrazir - beneath which lies a fabled labyrinth. Having barely survived their last underground adventure the mercenaries aren't keen for another, but Toil has other plans. Under threat of siege and horrors rising from the labyrinth, even the Mercenary Deck may have to accept that Jarrazir's prohibition laws aren't their biggest problem.

"Overall, this series is definitely worthwhile picking up for anyone looking for some kick-ass fantasy. It won’t take you a long time to read, but it’s fun and exciting and filled with characters you’ll love and hate in equal measure."

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Knight of Stars by Tom Lloyd

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God of Night by Tom Lloyd

God of Night was again inconsistently written and poorly edited, which is a shame, because it was otherwise a rollicking good time and a fantastic ending to a fascinating series.

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The God Tattoo: Untold Tales from the Twilight Reign by Tom Lloyd

The history of the Land may remember the slaughter at Moorview or the horror of Scree's fall, but there were other casualties of the secret war against Azaer - more tales surrounding those bloody years that went unrecorded. In the shadow of memorials to the glorious dead, these ghosts lie quiet and forgotten by all but a few.

"The stories are cleverly interwoven, with recurring characters, unexpected developments, action, mystery and politics. The vivid city of Narkang takes centre stage, promising intrigue and a hidden history, as well as danger lurking in its shadowy streets. I thoroughly enjoyed this collection, finishing it in two separate sittings. I am certain this will please existing fans, whilst adding new converts – this is fantasy storytelling at its finest." Daniel Cann, Fantasy Book Review

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The Stormcaller by Tom Lloyd

One of the books that has always captured my interest whenever I saw it on a shelf at a bookstore was Tom Lloyd’s ‘The Stormcaller’. First in ‘The Twilight Reign’ series, the cover and typography of the front cover always had me intrigued. That, and the fact that SFX is quoted on the front saying Shows how high the bar has been raised with its sheer vision and inventiveness.

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The Twilight Herald by Tom Lloyd

The eyes of the Land are on the minor city of Scree, which could soon be obliterated as the new Lord of the Farlan plots his revenge against Scree's rulers. Suffering under an unnatural summer drought and surrounded by volatile mercenary armies that may be its only salvation, the city is a strange sanctuary for a fugitive abbot to flee to, but he is only the first of many to be drawn there. Kings and princes, lords and monsters; all walk the sun-scorched streets while the evenings witness the performance of cruel and subversive plays that work their way into the hearts of the audience. Elite soldiers clash after dark and the city begins to tear itself apart as the sanity of its citizens crumbles, yet even chaos can be scripted. There is a malevolent will at work in Scree and one that has a lesson for the entire Land; nations can be manipulated, prophecies perverted, and Gods denied. Nothing lies beyond the reach of a shadow, and no matter how great a man's power, there some things he cannot be protected from.

"Tom Lloyd’s The Twilight Reign series is surely shaping up to be one of the best epic fantasy series of the past several decades, and while I’m late to the party, I can’t wait to keep going."

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