Taylor was born in Heywood, Lancashire, and lived in
the Wirral. He was a chartered civil and structural engineer,
a pistol, rifle and shotgun shooter, instructor/student
in aikido, and an 'enthusiastic and loud but bone-jarringly
inaccurate' piano player. He died in 2023, age 85.
wrote four books between 1983 and 1986 and built up a handsome
rejection file before the third was accepted by Headline
to become the first two books of the Chronicles of Hawklan.
Also by Roger Taylor:
All of Roger Taylor's Hawklan books are now available in paperback from all good booksellers. Please see www.bladudbooks.com for more information.
word from Roger Taylor himself...
of you who are unfamiliar with my stories might like to
know that though they are categorized as fantasy, they are
much more. I take some pains to avoid prophesies, curses,
magic artefacts, trolls, elves, dragons, wizards etc. In
my opinion Tolkein dealt with these both excellently and
definitively and he casts a long shadow. One of the unfortunate
aspects of modern book marketing is that lumping works in
‘genres’ automatically deters many readers. It
is difficult to see the point of this peculiarly negative
(British?) approach. It would be far better, surely, to
encourage as many people as possible to read as broadly
as possible. Certainly, I would very much like to see my
own books in ‘General Fiction’ as well as ‘Fantasy
of you who are familiar with my stories will know that while
from Dream Finder on, each book stands alone, they also
contain slightly disguised characters who are wandering
the landscape and the plot for various reasons set in train
by the events in the four Chronicles of Hawklan. ‘The
Return of the Sword’ draws many of these characters
back together again. It proved to be quite a challenge.
Outline of books
my books are classified as fantasy, I deliberately avoid such
conventional trappings as gods, wizards, trolls, elves, prophesies,
curses, magic, magical artefacts and so on. Settings -- landscapes,
cities etc -- for the most part, are realistic, as are the people and
their responses to extra-ordinary and dangerous situations. All of them
have strong female characters.
The Chronicles of Hawklan (four volumes):
The Call of the Sword, The Fall of Fyorlund, The Waking of Orthlund, Into Narsindal.
is a 'traditional' epic scale fantasy tale dealing with the return of
an evil power (Sumeral) to the world, his gradual exposure, the
rallying of forces to oppose him -- including the awakening of Hawklan
to his own true nature -- and his eventual (apparent) destruction by
acts of both private and collective courage.
remaining books are set against the (distant and unintrusive)
background of the events described in the Chronicles, but, with the
exception of Farnor and Valderen which together form a single tale,
they each stand alone. They can thus be enjoyed singly by new readers,
but there is an extra interest for anyone who has read the Chronicles.
The story of Antyr and his two telepathic companions, the wolves
Tarrian and Grayle. In a land of city states, two dominate -- Bethlar,
spartan, religious and warlike, and Serenstad, Duke Ibris's city.
Troubled by disturbing dreams Ibris turns to the bitter and rapidly
deteriorating Antyr on the strength of his previous dealings with
Antyr's late father, a prominent and talented dream finder. A war
between Bethlar and Serenstad seems inevitable, but the situation is
being manipulated by a third force, nomadic tribesmen in the land to
the north, united under a charismatic leader Ivaroth who, in his turn,
is being used by a mysterious and powerful blind man. As in the
Chronicles, the subsequent conflict has to be fought on two levels --
this time, the duke's army against Ivaroth's hordes and Antyr's battle
against the blind man in the dream world that fringes the Great Dream.
(two volumes): Farnor is a young man living with his parents on a farm
in a remote and isolated valley. Two events coincide. Rannick, an
ill-natured labourer becomes linked to a strange wolf-like creature
that has emerged from deep caves in the mountains, and a band of
mercenaries, fleeing a victorious enemy, seize the valley. Rannick
begins to develop strange powers and takes effective control of the
mercenaries. He murders Farnor's parents and Farnor is driven north
into the Great Forest where he meets the tree dwelling Valderen. Driven
by hatred and a desire for vengeance against Rannick, Farnor is drawn
to the most ancient of the trees that lie at the heart of the Great
Forest. Terrified of what they see in him they seek to bind him but, in
a revelation as he flees from them, his purpose in opposing Rannick is
transformed from one of vengeance to one of justice. In the end, the
Valderen and the valley dwellers battle the mercenaries while Farnor
faces Rannick and the creature.
The story of Vredech, a priest in the stern religion of Ishrythan, as
he struggles with his sanity and the truth of his religious faith when
his friend and colleague Cassraw is possessed by a power which
threatens to bring war and worse to the land. Interesting secondary
characters in this include Privv, a Sheeter, (early tabloid journalist)
and Toom Drommel a politician. And, not least, the Whistler -- an
enigmatic figure who appears to Vredech in circumstances that might
perhaps be dreams -- or not.
Count Ibryen has been driven from his city by the Gevethen, sinister
twins who are constantly accompanied by a mirror bearing entourage.
Fighting a mountain guerilla war he is slowly losing, Ibryen begins to
hear faint and puzzling sounds in the wind. Searching after their
source he meets the Traveller, who has also been drawn by the sounds.
Forced to accept the futility of his position, Ibryen, accompanied by
the Traveller and others go in search of the sound in the hope of
learning something that might help them. However, they find only
Isgyrn, a lost dweller from one of the cloud cities. Together they
return to Ibryen's camp to find that the Gevethen's chief minister
Hagen has been murdered and that the Gevethen have committed their
entire army to destroying Ibryen's tiny band once and for all.
A huge city, ostensibly governed by a Prefect but in reality
ungovernable. Atlon, a learned brother, comes to it in search of a
source of the mysterious crystals that have been causing problems in
his own land. Accompanied by Dvolci, a felci, he becomes involved in
the animal fighting pit known as the Jyolan, an ancient and strange
building. Befriended by the blacksmith Heirn he meets Pinnatte, a
street thief who, following an act of bravery, has been taken on at the
Jyolan by Barran, the one-time bandit and mercenary who controls the
crystal trade. Pinnatte however, has unknowingly been made the victim
of an experiment by the Kyrosdyn, notionally crystal workers but in
reality servants of a dark force. The experiment has failed and
Pinnatte finds himself the possessor of powers he does not understand
and which seek to possess him. Unable to get help from his homeland,
Atlon is driven to confronting both the increasingly crazed and
powerful Pinnatte and Imorren, the beautiful but ruthless and cruel
leader of the Kyrosdyn.
Thyrn is a young and inexperienced Caddoran, an oral message carrier.
He is also exceptional, being sensitive almost to the point of
telepathy, and has thus been employed by Vashnar, the commander of
Arvenstaat's wardens. Inadvertently, he discovers Vashnar's plot to
overthrow the Moot, the antiquated and irrelevant government, and
replace it with the ancient rule of the Dictators. In his flight from
Vashnar, he is accidentally befriended by the wardens that Vashnar sent
to arrest him, and they are all forced to flee into the mountains. On
the way, they meet Endryk, a solitary shoreman who saves their lives.
As they travel into the mountains they realize that they have no
alternative but to return to Arvenstaad to find some way of thwarting
Vashnar. Vashnar however, is growing increasingly unstable and has been
sought out by the remnant of an ancient force which is seeking to use
him as a vessel for its own ends. He takes charge of the hunt for Thyrn
personally and he and his men finally confront the fugitives at the
place in the mountains which is the source of the evil that has drawn
them both there.
Return of the Sword:
Though this too stands alone, it is also the culmination of all the
previous books. Antyr, Farnor, Vredech, Atlon, Pinnatte and Thyrn
arrive at Hawklan's castle, Anderras Darion, where they meet Hawklan
and many of the characters from the original Chronicles. The story is
concerned with their various journeys, with the reappearance of
Sumeral's servants, the Uhriel, now more powerful than ever, and leads
to a final confrontation with Sumeral at the heart of dark and ominous
labyrinth which guards Anderras Darion's armoury and which kills anyone
who strays from the unmarked pathway.