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  • Writer's pictureHinton Magazine

Fantastical spirit of adventure soars in novel where a Midsummer’s Eve party changes everything

In Vianne Max’s Anahera, Isabella Mackay’s life alters forever at a Midsummer’s Eve party. Pulled through the Anahera Gate, a portal between worlds. The novel tells of Isabella’s struggle to understand the language and cultures of this new world. But then she faces the unthinkable - marry one of the Gentry of the Citadel or be thrown back into the slave pits.

Vianne Max’s Anahera is destined to become a must-read for all fantasy literature fans.

Transported to Hjaltland, a world filled with magic, mad escapades, tiny piratical dragons and giant psychic cats, it’s non-stop adventure for the protagonists, Bryant, Isabella, Alyss and Lianne, who started the evening attending a mid-summer’s eve party.

With themes of overcoming challenges, kindness, not judging others and never giving up, Anahera had been percolating in the author’s imagination since she was sixteen, which is evident by the depth and richness of her characterisation and fantastical descriptions Vivid, enthralling and pretty much unputdownable, Hjatland is a world that readers will be hoping isn’t restricted to one outing.

Synopsis: Anahera never quite takes you where you expect it to go. During a Midsummer’s Eve party, Isabella Mackay is pulled through the Anahera Gate, a portal between worlds. She arrives in the archipelago of Hjaltland, narrowly avoids being captured by slave traders, only to be captured by a captain from the Citadel. The story follows her struggle to understand the language and cultures of this new world. She is faced with an impossible choice – marry one of the Gentry of the Citadel or be thrown back into the slave pits. She chooses someone quite unexpected, Bryant Lathorne, a pariah and member of another race. Together, they become allies, protect one another and begin to form a new community around them, despite the efforts of others to destroy them.

The author says: “The initial characters of Bryant, Isabella, Alyss and Lianne were first devised when I was 16 years old. However, it wasn’t until I moved to the Shetland Islands in 2001 and I walked down to the cove at the end of the Sandsound road (with my dog, Max) and saw the ruined smokehouse and the remains of empty crofts dotting the hillsides. It’s a beautiful spot, but I wondered what had happened to all the people. I suddenly realised it was the perfect spot for the novel I’d been considering, particularly when I experienced Simmer Dim (the Shetland term for Midsummer’s Eve) for the first time.

“It is eerie – it’s still day at 1am when the sun touches the horizon and then rises straight away. Everything falls silent in that moment – perfect for the barrier between worlds to be tapped into. The landscape and history of Shetland inspired me constantly through the writing of the initial ideas and most of the Hjaltland locations are based on real places, so you can take a tour and experience the landscape!”

Published by Cranthorpe Millner Publishers, Anahera (ISBN: 978-1-80378-037-5) is published on 24th May 2022 and is available in paperback (£10.99) and eBook format. Waterstones | Foyles | Amazon | Cranthorpe Millner


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