The Reviewers Choice Best Book Awards

RT Book Reviews are a US based website that not only reviews books, but publish a magazine, run a writers community and run conventions as well as having their Reviewers Choice Awards. In their own words:

The Reviewers’ Choice Awards honor the best books of the year and the winners and nominees are selected by our staff of over 50 reviewers representing the readers’ voice in the women’s fiction industry.

Sara Douglass was nominated three times for the Reader Choice Awards by RT Book Reviews in her category. The nominations were:


Suite 101: Interview with Sara Douglass

This interview appeared at my old Suite101 site a few years ago that I thought I would share again. Sara Douglass is a Fantasy author with interesting and varied books. She is an Australian author with a unique voice in the genre. Her books are vivid tales with compelling characters, interesting themes and gripping plots. Among her many books she is best known for the Wayfarer Redemption series consisting of: The Wayfarer Redemption, Enchanter, StarMan, Sinner, Pilgrim and Crusader. Many of her other books take place in this world or are set in other worlds she has created.

Many new Fantasy authors from Australia have been adding their unique voices to the genre. Sara Douglass in one of these authors. Though established in Australia and Britain, her books only appeared recently in the United States. Her books are vivid tales with compelling characters, interesting themes and gripping plots. Tor books published the first three books of her series consisting of The Wayfarer Redemption, Enchanter and StarMan which is part of the Wayfarer Redemption of six books. The first book of the Troy Game, Hades’ Daughter, is available now. More information about Ms. Douglass can be found at her web site:

Debbie Ledesma: How did you decide to become a writer?

Sara Douglass: Because I enjoyed it, and because I had trained as one. Writing was something I had always done well, and something I had always been at ease with, since I was a child. I always wrote: I kept diaries, I penned letters, I wrote novels, theses, lectures, talks, articles, non-fiction books. I don’t think I ever ‘decided’ to become a writer. I just did it as a part of my daily life.

DL: What books are in your future?

SD: The final three books of The Troy Game! Beyond that I haven’t thought.

DL: Thank you very much Ms. Douglass for this interview.

©2003 Debbie Ledesma / To read the full interview on Debbie Ledesma’s personal website please click on this link.

SF Site: StarMan

starman-1stedition-usaIt’s no secret that fantasy fans like their sword and sorcery in heroic slabs. Well, no one gives readers their fantasy in more massive doses than Sara Douglass, and no one hits that magical high more precisely. In StarMan, the epic Wayfarer Redemption series continues with an expanse and a vision that dwarfs other -ologies that have gone before it. Is it any wonder that Wayfarer series is the most successful in Australian history?

The challenge in plotting a series of this length and complexity is genuinely daunting, but Douglass meets it with aplomb. Despite the mammoth size of each volume, she never sacrifices character definition, setting detail, or pacing. One of the most refreshing things about her prose, in fact, is the simple, plain-spoken dialogue that manages to convey dignity, callousness, simplicity, and madness without venturing into flowery or archaic language.

StarMan is a hefty chunk of a book, I won’t lie to you about that, and it’s best read that way. Sit down when you’ve got plenty of time to weave yourself into the complex story and come to your own understanding of the even more complex characters ruled by the Prophecy. Did I mention this passionate, bittersweet adventure is far from over? More volumes are already available, if you know where to look, and, something tells me, after you read this gem, you’ll start searching.

Copyright ©2002 Lisa DuMond / SF Site. To read the full review on the SF Site Reviews website please click on this link.

Readers Read: Starman

starman-1stedition-usaStarMan by Sara Douglass In this third entry in the six-part Wayfarer Redemption series, Axis SunSoar (the Starman) struggles to fulfill the prophecy of WolfStar, the great patriarch of the Icarii people.

In StarMan, many questions are answered about the characters’ motivations and several storylines are neatly tied up. But, luckily for Sara Douglass fans, enough loose ends remain to lay the groundwork for sequels.

Douglass, a fixture on the Australian bestseller lists, is known for her exotic worlds, complex plots and characters, and an emotional depth to her characters. American audiences are just beginning to appreciate Sara Douglass and her readership is sure to grow over time.

©2002 To read the full review on the Readers Read website please click on this link.


starman-1stedition-shauntanEnchanter and StarMan (books 2 & 3 of The Axis Trilogy) won the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel 1996

StarMan was released in December 1996. StarMan has a great cover by Perth artist, Shaun Tan (who did the revised version of BattleAxe), and who looks like doing the rest of my books for the immediate future. StarMan brings to a close the story of Axis’ battle with Gorgrael.

While the third verse of the prophecy seems straight forward, it is not quite as clear as it seems. Both Gorgrael and Axis misinterpret it – with some unforseen and tragic results. Neither is the identity of the traitor of the third verse as clear as might seem. Axis is betrayed from deep within his camp, and it comes from a source that none could possibly have imagined.

As with the rest of the trilogy, there are action scenes aplenty and I take the opportunity to introduce some new characters: Artor the Plough God steps into the world; Urbeth, the great icebear of the north; and the strange Chitter Chatters that Ho’Demi finds lost down a mine. I also explore the world of the Ravensbundmen in much greater detail. Someone (or, rather, some few) finally get to step through the Star Gate (but in which direction?).

Following Gorgrael’s successful manipulations, the Gryphon swarm. By book’s end the Destroyer has almost 70,000 of them, enough to darken the skies of Tencendor, and far too many for Axis to cope with. Azhure and StarDrifter explore the fabled Island of Mist and Memory; there Azhure’s troubled past is finally explained, the manner of her conception revealed, and Azhure and StarDrifter finally work out their relationship. Artor, thoroughly annoyed by the progression of events in Achar/Tencendor, decides to take a personal interest in what’s going on … but he finds opposition from a most unexpected source.

And briefly … Rivkah has an unexpected surprise (and an unwelcome one for Axis), Belial meets the Star Gods, Faraday plants out her forests, Gilbert achieves his life’s ambition, Goodwife Renkin makes a welcome return, Jayme has a problematical encounter with a plough, we find out what happened to the Ravensbund people left behind when Ho’Demi fled south, Timozel realises his visions, Azhure revisits Smyrton, and, to top it all off, there’s a final, apocalyptic battle at Gorkenfort. With an outcome you couldn’t possibly foresee.

The identity (or is that identities?) of the Dark Man is (are?) finally revealed (or have you guessed it – them – yet?).

While StarMan concludes the Axis Trilogy, there are enough loose ends for the story to continue … let me say that while I originally wrote four books, HarperCollins bought only three, saying they could only sell a trilogy, but now the fourth book – Sinner – has become the springboard for the new series, The Wayfarer Redemption.

©1996 Sara Douglass

Follow this link to see the maps of Tencendor and Escator, the realms where The Axis TrilogyThe Wayfarer RedemptionBeyond the Hanging Wall and Darkglass Mountain trilogy are set.

Editors note: Starman is Book 3 of The Axis Trilogy. Overseas it was called The Wayfarer Redemption and The Axis Trilogy was the first half of the series of six books.

OzLit: Starman

starman-1stedition-shauntanThe wait is over. Starman has landed!

For those readers who, like myself, were captivated by the first two books of Douglass’ Axis trilogy, BattleAxe and Enchanter, the final instalment in this Manichean saga, appropriately entitled Starman, has now been released. The last book in a trilogy is often neglected in favour of its prequels, yet the final instalment represents the summit of all that has transpired before. What often happens is that the final text is placed in the unenviable position of being judged almost solely on the basis of its predecessors’ performance – as a type of lengthy conclusion. This means that the literary merits of a third book run the risk of being largely overlooked in favour of the outcome of the trilogy as an entirety. In the case of Starman, the reader anxiously ploughs ahead in the hope that the promises made in the first two books will be realised in the way s/he desires them to be. Does the Prophecy of the Destroyer conclude appropriately? Or are the author’s contrivances unsatisfactory in terms of reader wish-fulfilment? The final battle between Axis and Gorgrael is filled with presentiment and unexpected presences. Starman, and indeed, the first two books, have filled the reader with anticipation of this event and whilst the results are magnificent, the book refuses to let the reader ignore the literary qualities and subtle poetics that flow through the action. It has an energetic, dramatic, and surprising conclusion that will continue to delight and disturb readers long after they have turned the last page.

Starman is bursting with magic and mayhem and there is a cast of new characters and places who all contribute to its fantastical structure. There are the wonderful chitter chatters, the witty polar bear Urbeth, and the sisters of the Temple of the Stars, to name a few. We finally get to visit the Island of Mist and Memory and uncover Azhure’s unlikely ancestry and incredible destiny. WolfStar continues to weave the threads that connect the characters together and is instrumental in bringing the book to its horrifying conclusion. WolfStar is “humanised”in this book but, it seems, at the expense of his mystery. StarDrifter, on the other hand, will amaze and delight, as will Shra, Goodwife Renkin and Caelum. The Avar continue to pose a conundrum and are shrouded by a suppressed violence; their role in the future of Tencendor is not certain. And, finally, the Sentinels return and continue their quest, but be prepared – it has a heart-breaking twist.

The psychological and physical battles between the two major forces, Gorgrael and Axis, continue unabated and with shocking consequences. Gorgrael manages to complete his force by recruiting and corrupting the beleaguered Timozel; thus the traitor of the prophecy is exposed in all his glorious weakness and contempt. The reproductively insatiable Gryphon continue their bloodthirsty conquests, and I think a warning is appropriate: the descriptions of their murderous tactics should not be read on an empty stomach. The battles are convincing and, as a result, often nail-biting reading. The only flaw in the rapid ascent towards the climax is the sudden onset of Gorgrael’s self-doubt. While on the one hand, this can be read as a psychological inevitability, on the other, I found it puzzling, and a little too convenient. His sense of his own invincibility was quickly undermined by the sometimes spurious machinations of the DarkMan and, as necessary as these manipulations were, I felt the scenes involving the two of them lacked the authenticity of some of the other episodes.

This is only a very minor flaw in a marvellous and compelling fantasy epic. Axis truly comes into his own, but he continues to be matched in courage, resourcefulness, and rewards by the incomparable Azhure. This is what I particularly like about Douglass’ work – the women have a life and purpose of their own which is not subordinate to or even reliant upon men. Azhure, as I noted in a previous review, is a beautifully realised fantasy heroine; she has strengths aplenty, and flaws as well. And I think the twist on motherhood and mother love that Douglass provides the reader with in this book is a daring and, in many ways, strangely satisfying gesture that also, cleverly, leaves the way open for a sequel.

Starman has Faraday returning with a vengeance and, whilst not distorted by Axis’ shoddy treatment of her, she is appropriately bitter, and this makes her character all the more appealing and places an edge to her dedication. Her mysterious gift to Rivkah is a type of tender retribution whose consequences are still to be revealed. Faraday is an enigma, and while her final moments in the book are a sad if fitting tribute, I cannot help but think she deserved better.

Overall, I believe Starman offers everything the other two books promised – and more. It will alternately delight, shock, frustrate, excite, and sadden. It is an absolutely thrilling tale of breathless adventure and lusty romance, of bitter revenge and unquenchable hatred, of quiet dedication and deep passion. It seeks to answer all the questions posed by BattleAxe and Enchanter but, in typical Douglass fashion, it raises some more as well. Prepare to be deliciously frustrated by what is left unsaid!

Douglass is, without a doubt, the finest fantasy writer in Australia today; this trilogy has established her as the Starwoman of this genre – I look forward to reading more of this imaginative and talented writer’s work. If the characters of The Axis Trilogy do not cry out to her to continue their tale, then I think her eager readers should.

©1996 Karen Brooks

Review by Karen Brooks for OzLit, 1 November 1996. Reproduced in full with permission.