On The Table Read, “The Best Book Reader Magazine in the UK“, Anahera by Vianne Max is about Isabella Mackay’s life altering forever at a Midsummer’s Eve party when she is pulled through the Anahera Gate, a portal between worlds.
Published on 24th May 2022, 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.
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 Characters In Anahera
“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!”
“I was born in the Highlands of Scotland and grew up in New Zealand. I come from a family who travel extensively and live all over the world, something which flavours my writing even now – a fascination with the sights, sounds, colours, scents and cultures of the world around me. One side of my family is military, and I regularly consult with them on the realities of combat and service. Adventure, honour and duty are important aspects to our upbringing, along with the importance of creativity and caring for others. The characters of Bryant, Isabella, Lianne, Alyss and the setting of the Mutinous Piglet were all created when I was in high school. They essentially grew with me!
“I gained a Bachelor of Arts in English (as well as East Asian Studies) from the University of Auckland, wandered the world for a while and working as everything from tractor driver to a bartender and a PA. I was also an assistant housemistress in several independent boarding schools in England, allowing me to travel around Europe, northern Africa and the Middle East during break periods. I went back to study for a PGCSE at the University of Glasgow and my first position as an English teacher was in the Shetland Islands. I absolutely fell in love with the place, and it was whilst walking my dog along the Sandsound cove beach that I realised it would be perfect for the Anahera Gate. Since then, I have taught on the West Coast of the Highlands and in Aotearoa/New Zealand, as well as continuing to travel.”
Find more from Vianne Max
Instagram – anahera_isle_of_storms
Twitter – @TheAnaheraRebel
Pinterest: – www.pinterest.com/ladyoceanblue
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.
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