Books by Thomas Harlan

LAND OF THE DEAD by Thomas Harlan
Released: Aug. 1, 2009

" Less culturally and psychologically complex than hitherto—disappointingly so—but with plenty of computer-game-style battle sequences to keep combat fans happy."
Another entry in Harlan's Sixth Sun series (House of Reeds, 2004, etc.), in which a Japan-Méxica (Aztec) alliance has conquered Earth and established a galactic empire. Read full book review >
HOUSE OF REEDS by Thomas Harlan
Released: April 1, 2004

"Overpopulated and uneven, with far too many narrative points of view, but sufficiently distinctive, ingenious, and energetic that fans of the outstanding inaugural volume will plunge right in."
Second in Harlan's SF series (Wasteland of Flint, 2003) set in a far future where the Méxica have conquered Anahuac (Earth) and now are establishing a galactic empire. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2003

"An eerie, utterly compelling puzzler, replete with fascinating ideas and absorbing characters."
First of a projected series, from the author of the fantasy Oath of Empire series (The Storm of Heaven, 2001, etc.). In Harlan's hypercomplicated far future—we seem to be in an alternate universe where the Mexica, assisted by Nisei Japanese, became dominant on Anahuac (Earth) and eventually established a galactic empire—it is the time of the Sixth Sun, 4-Flint. Impoverished Company archaeologist Gretchen Anderssen is ordered by the Imperial Navy to planet Ephesus III, a lifeless desert with an unbreathably thin atmosphere; a Company ship has fallen mysteriously silent and its scientific team is cut off on the planet's surface. Explorer Russovsky, it emerges, discovered an artifact and sent it up to the ship. A careless investigator breached the object, releasing an agent that consumed all organic material aboard the ship—crew and all. Gretchen soon finds another of the enormously valuable objects: they're a million years old and derive from the First Sun people. Also aboard the Navy ship, however, is an imperial judge, Green Hummingbird. He fears the First Sun people and their technology and refuses to let Gretchen keep the artifact. The science team is evacuated to the ship, but Russovsky turns out to be no longer human: she's a mineral copy. Hummingbird descends to the planet himself, intent on removing all human traces. Gretchen, vastly curious and determined not to let Hummingbird steal her artifact, follows him down to the surface. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2001

"Pocked with melodramatic dialogue ('Tiamat's dugs, you fool!' swears a pompous prince) and gross-out gore, Harlan's thwarted, intelligent, and rather clever main characters, say, the first dozen or so, remain compelling."
Another doorstopper-size continuation of Harlan's overheated, overplotted, overpopulated but unusually fascinating epic about power and magic in the seventh century, that, with another volume in the works, is not over yet. When a bunch of ragtag desert vandals led by Mohammed—yes, that Mohammed—summons up a windstorm that literally blows away thousands of Eastern Imperial troops, and their attendant sorcerers, the entire Late Classical world, from the Gothic forests along the Danube to the Scythian plains of Kazak. Has Constantinople so sadly lost its mojo that the scheming Persians can finally conquer it? Meanwhile, the Western Empire in Rome has been hobbled by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that, thanks to fate (who is that badly burned amnesiac woman who has fallen in with a band of traveling acrobats?), and the dark sorcery of Western Imperial Prince Maxian, who used his eerie powers to resurrect Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great from their graves in Gate of Fire (2000), hasn't killed off quite as many characters as Harlan's editor may have hoped. With every high-fantasy plot trick possible—mixed-up paternity, forbidden fruits, strange quests, miraculous devices that allow the magically inclined to perform the tricks of gods—and a sweeping knowledge of the Late Classical art and battle garb, Harlan keeps his mighty saga flowing toward a cataclysmic attack on Contantinople. Read full book review >
THE GATE OF FIRE by Thomas Harlan
Released: May 1, 2000

Second installment of Harlan's fantasy (The Shadow of Ararat, 1999) set in an alternate world where magic works and the Roman Empire never fell. Prince Maxian, Emperor of the Western Empire, has raised Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great from the dead: he needs high-octane help, you see, to rid Rome of the baneful curse known as the Oath. The empire, meanwhile, is threatened by the wicked sorcerer Dahak and by a traditional foe, the Persian Empire. No synopsis, alas, but different and worth investigating. Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 1999

Alternate-world fantasy from newcomer Harlan. At the beginning of the seventh century, in a world where magic works and the Roman Empire never fell, the Western and Eastern Roman Emperors (respectively, Galen and Heraclius) pledge to combine their forces against Rome's greatest foe, Persia. At Constantinople, they will gather their troops, discuss politics, deal with plots, catch spies, and spread deceptions. Galen sends the young Roman woman Thyatis Julia Clodia, a spy-catcher and covert operator, and her Dirty Dozen team on a secret mission deep into Persia. After various adventures, trainee fire-bringer Dwyrin MacDonald joins the Third Ars Magica in Persia, where he'll attempt to douse the sacred fires of Ahura Mazda. Back in Rome, meanwhile, Galen's brother Maxian discovers a corrosive curse at work upon the city, so powerful and insidious that anyone learning of it is immediately consumed; only Maxian and the Persian sorcerer Abdmachus survive long enough to investigate its source. Needing high-energy help, they raise Julius Caesar from the dead! At the same time, the two emperors have formed an alliance with the fierce Khazars, but in attacking Persia, they're forced to abandon some cities to Persian armies already in the field. This allows Dahak, a demon in human guise previously encountered by Dwyrin, to work abominations and raise ensorcelled armies. Abdmachus advises Maxian that they'll need enormous power to break the curse, so they must locate the lost sarcophagus of Alexander the Great—and raise him from the dead, too! Slow to start but eventually absorbing: a notably assured and well-organized debut. Stay tuned for the inevitable series. Read full book review >