Jordan helps kids on the run find their way back home. He's good at that. He should be - he's a runaway himself.
Sometimes he helps the kids in other, stranger, ways. He looks like a regular teenager, but he's not. He acts like he's not exactly human, but he is. He treads the line between mundane reality and the world of the supernatural.
Desdæmona also knows the non-human world far too well. She tracks Jordan down and enlists his aid in searching for her lost sister Fay, who did a Very Bad Thing involving an immortal. This may be a mistake - for both of them.
Too many people are interested now, and some of them are not people at all.
Ben Macallan's urban fantasy debut takes you on a terrifying journey, lifting the curtain on what really walks our city streets.
Desdæmona, published in summer 2011, is the opening volume of a fascinating urban fantasy series by new author Ben Macallan. It is followed in October 2012 by Pandæmonium.
"Ben's urban fantasy novel is wise, witty and terrific fun," said Jonathan Oliver, commissioning editor of publisher Solaris Books. "It's great to find a work that does something different with the genre while still managing to be a ripping good yarn."
And who is Ben Macallan - or should that be: "Ben Macallan"? His author biography says:
Ben Macallan is the boy your mother warned you about, the one with the motorbike and the cool clothes and the dangerous superpowers. He shoots round corners without looking, can put on his socks without bending and finds new planets as a Sunday afternoon hobby. He sometimes hangs out in smoky bars, where he plays saxophone and talks philosophy. Several schools claim to have taught him, but he never turns up for Speech Day. He may be watching you, but you'll never know. He lives where he lives, and always stops to speak to cats and Big Issue vendors.
Ben Macallan is the latest pseudonym of established and successful genre author Chaz Brenchley.
Desdæmona is published by Solaris Books
- Order Desdæmona from Amazon UK, or from any bookshop, quoting the ISBN: 978-1-907519-62-8.
- It is also available as an Audible audio dowload, read by Richard Hughes;
- Download the Kindle edition from Amazon UK.
- Order the book from Amazon.com, or from any bookstore (ISBN: 978-1-907519-63-5)
- It is also available as an Audible audio dowload, read by Richard Hughes;
- Download the Kindle edition from Amazon.com.
"The first chapter of Desdaemona is one of the best openings I've read in a long time: intriguing and edgy, with so much forward propulsion it's hard to catch your breath as you turn the pages. The event it describes is simple, but with the weight of a world of promise and mystery behind every word and action."
Charles de Lint, Fantasy & Science Fiction
"Modern urban fantasy is not, or should not be, about escapism, about a withdrawal into a pink and fluffy world where magical powers grant you privilege and the automatic choice of the best of everything. It is about taking responsibility for what you do and accepting the consequences of your actions; about challenging the status quo, about doing what is right rather than what is appropriate. Desdaemona is a very moral urban fantasy, and that in part is what lifts it above much of what is currently being published. That, and the fact that Macallan, better known to some as Chaz Brenchley, is simply a very fine writer, making this novel a genuine pleasure to read."
Maureen Kincaid Speller, The Zone
"This is true modern urban fantasy, complete with beautiful dangerous women, lords of Hell and Earth, chase scenes, fight scenes, unrelenting action, and the mystery of a disappearing girl.
"... The prose is impeccable, his protagonist a perfectly believable almost-immortal seventeen-year-old, and the book's theme of avoidance of the inevitable nicely developed."
Elizaberh Bear, Realms of Fantasy
"Urban fantasy can only convince with the 'urban' when the real-world setting is a three-dimensional, fully sensory environment. It will never convince with the fantasy if all it delivers is variations on cliché monsters. Macallan delivers. The story takes us to London but it's events in Henley on Thames that truly anchor the dread in the Thames Valley. There are werewolves and such but it's evil drawn from English myth that chills all the more thoroughly as half-glimpsed folklore is woven into the modern world of back alleys and refuges for runaways and outcasts. Above all else, the people must convince. They must be more than 'characters'; living, breathing, loving, fearful. Even when they might not even be people at all, we must care about their fate. You will."
Juliet E. Mckenna, The Solaris Blog
"Witty, intelligent and fast-paced, Desdæmona is positively the most fun read I have had in a very long time."
Theresa Derwin, Terror-tree
"[Jordan's past converges with Desdaemona's present and creates a wild read with a fantastic plot, exhilarating action, and well-developed characters who straddle the gray nicely...
"The world building and supernatural mythology is unique, believable, and addictive while Macallan's writing is top-notch."
"In a world packed full of literary vampires, werewolves and sexy sirens, it's a nice change to enter a novel where creatures like these are just the extras, with the really interesting roles going to much more powerful creatures...
"It's a simple tale well told - the characters are likeable, the plot compelling and the world well-drawn. You'll care about everyone, and will only feel loss when the pages come to a - satisfying - end."
Rhian Drinkwater, SFX
"Ben Macallan masterfully weaves myth, magic and the mundane to create a world where dangerous supernaturals control the shadows in a superbly realized English landscape. With its deft plotting, evocative prose, and the unique pairing of Jay, the plucky, engaging narrator, with the cool, take-no-prisoners Desdaemona, Macallan's tale is smart, witty, full of surprises, and grips until the very last shock. Desdaemona Rocks! I can't wait for the next book!"
Suzanne McLeod, author of the Spellcrackers.com urban fantasy series
"Macallan's interpretation of the supernatural underground is unique. Instead of using the gods and ghouls of mythology as a background, he gives them their own motivations and histories."
Jaym Gates, Functional Nerds
"What makes this book so good for me is that Macallan/Brenchley takes British and Irish mythology, polishes new facets on it, and sets it to perfection in a contemporary urban English landscape. And he does it with strong characters and snappy social observation, in a story that unfolds to show rather than tell exactly who and what Jordan and Desi really are. It's often very funny, and sometimes terrifying, and occasionally heartbreaking; all the more so because it shows how the monsters can be only too human."
"All of this combines into a novel that is fast-paced, and action-packed, peppered with a neat rebooting of ancient mythology brought up to modern times..."
Ian Hunter, Concatenation
"...un roman de fantasy urbaine très réussi: une galerie de personnages hauts en couleur et très attachants, de belles scènes d'action et des créatures surnaturelles originales ou bien revisitées (les deux dernières basées sur le folklore anglais, sont mémorables)."
...a highly successful urban fantasy novel; a gallery of colourful and very likable characters, fine action scenes and original - or ingeniously re-imagined - supernatural beings (the last two, based on English folklore, lodge in the memory).
Joshua Palmatier also reviews Desdæmona, and likes it more than most urban fantasy...