Books by J. Gregory Keyes

THE SHADOWS OF GOD by J. Gregory Keyes
Released: July 1, 2001

Last, we're told, in the tetralogy (Empire of Unreason, 2000, etc.) set in an alternate 17th century where science, alchemy, and magic all work, and the world is threatened by insubstantial, malevolent entities called Malakim. Since its inception with Sir Isaac Newton and an alchemical war between Britain and France, the plot's wandered far. Here, once again, the world must be saved: step forward Ben Franklin, Newton's former apprentice, French scientist-magician Adrienne de Montchevreuil, and Red Shoes the Choctaw shaman. As before: imaginative but far removed from any recognizable reality. Still, if you've hung in there this long, you'll want to complete the journey.Read full book review >
EMPIRE OF UNREASON by J. Gregory Keyes
Released: May 1, 2000

Third installment of what's settling in to become yet another interminable series (A Calculus of Angels, 1999, etc.). The eye-grabber here: in an alternate 17th century where science and alchemy both work, the world is threatened by insubstantial yet malevolent entities called Malakim. Sir Isaac Newton died defending Europe against a Malakim-orchestrated onslaught. London, meanwhile, was annihilated by a comet strike that's plunged North America into an ice age: Only young Ben Franklin and friends survive to resist the Malakim. A series that's wandered a long, long way from reality: Startling ideas, but a tough narrative slog. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1999

A CALCULUS OF ANGELSVol. II of The Age of UnreasonKeyes, J. Gregory Read full book review >
NEWTON'S CANNON by J. Gregory Keyes
Released: May 1, 1998

First of a new fantasy series: In this alternate 1715, both science and alchemy work; young Ben Franklin, apprenticed to his printer brother James in Boston, begins to study the various alchemical devices—lights, weapons, faxes, and so on—that Isaac Newton has invented. Ben accidentally intercepts a communication on the "aether-schreiber" and helps solve the mathematical problem posed therein by an unknown scientist. Soon, however, Ben's being haunted by a weird, insubstantial demon that demands he cease his researches. Britain and France, meanwhile, fight a war using alchemical weapons. In France, Louis XIV, having taken an immortality serum and survived an assassination attempt, has been taken over by a demon, or malakus, like Ben's. Nicolas Fatio de Duillier, a vengeful ex-student of Newton's, uses Ben's formula to alchemically attract a comet from space towards London. Scientific genius Adrienne de Montchevreuil, forced to become the king's mistress, and helped by a secret society of women, labors to discover what Fatio has done. Ben, threatened by his malakus, flees to London to warn Newton; the latter, preoccupied with unmasking a traitor, can—t stop or divert the comet. London is annihilated after a hasty evacuation, Ben becomes Newton's apprentice, and Louis's malakus moves on to beguile Czar Peter of Russia. Keyes's yarn (The Blackgod, 1997, etc.) is colorful, intriguing, and well handled, if somewhat difficult to swallow: It's hard to see how alchemy and science could both work. Read full book review >
THE BLACKGOD by J. Gregory Keyes
Released: April 1, 1997

Sequel to The Waterborn (1996), Keyes's fantasy about water- gods, magic, and destiny. The Changeling is the god of the River and the city Nhol with its royal family. Though most of the time slumbering, he wakes occasionally to arrange for the breeding of a human whose body he can inhabit. That body is presently occupied also by young Princess Hezhi of Nhol, but she's fled to the horse- warrior Mang, along with her protector, Perkar, and his magic sword, Harka. Hezhi's only hope of long-term survival is to kill the River, but to do this she must reach his source beneath the remote mountain She'leng; offering assistance is the powerful but untrustworthy Blackgod. The River, however, is determined to recapture Hezhi and send forth Ghe, an assassin once slain by Perkar, now reanimated and given magic powers to absorb ghosts and gods. To complicate matters, other parties have their own agendas. Eventually, She'leng is the scene of a mighty but baffling struggle in which various entities die, though some come back to life, and everything is resolved—to the author's satisfaction if not the reader's. An often strikingly imaginative but unedifyingly overcomplicated yarn that could've used a vigorous pruning and a stiff dose of logic; still, Waterborn fans will be jubilant. (Author tour) Read full book review >
THE WATERBORN by J. Gregory Keyes
Released: July 1, 1996

First of an ambitious fantasy series entitled Children of the Changeling, full of ghosts, gods, magic, and mischief. The Changeling, the powerful river god of the city Nhol, has absorbed or driven off all the other gods for miles around; his waters flow in the blood of Nhol's royal family and confer magic powers. At puberty, the royals are tested by priests, after which they move into the royal apartments—or vanish. When her friend disappears, young dark-eyed Princess Hezhi vows to find out why. According to rumor, the disappeared ones are banished to an ancient flooded tunnel system beneath the palace. But then Hezhi feels the first stirrings of magic within her and suspects that the power will bring her trouble, perhaps even cause her to be exiled. Secretly, she prays for a hero to help her and dreams of a pale-skinned barbarian. Meanwhile, far away, the pale-skinned farmer's son Perkar comes of age and, falling in love with the local stream- goddess, swears to kill her enemy—the Changeling. After various adventures, he dreams of a dark-eyed girl, acquires a magic sword, and ends up unable to escape from a boat controlled by the Changeling, which is heading inexorably for Nhol. Finally, Hezhi investigates the mysterious flooded tunnels, only to discover that she's fated to turn into a ghastly monster—unless she can evade the Changeling's influence. A well-constructed, perky, imaginative debut that, even if the details aren't always rigorously worked out, manages to avoid the usual fantasy stereotypes. (First printing of 75,000; author tour) Read full book review >