Russell Kirkpatrick is a geography lecturer and writer of fantasy novels from down the road in Hamilton. I’ve just finished reading his “Fire of Heaven” trilogy, which was a good read for the stage I’m at in the thesis (i.e. something with no robots in it that is easy to read). An interesting mixture of “classic” fantasy geography and cultures (e.g. Nordic, Oriental) but will some Maori and Polynesian landscapes, characters and culture woven into it. The books have an element of gentleness to them, amongst the grand epic fantasy stuff, and the characters flaws weave their way into the story well.
Each of the books has some maps in them. As a lover of maps it was great to see the detail in them, and a more realistic view on the way geography shapes the speed and path that journeys take. In the books the black and white printing loses some of the detail but the web site below has them in glorious colour. Excellent.
When I started the books the theistic slant to them was apparent, and by the end of the books there’s places where Christian imagery and allegory are obvious. But they probably wouldn’t be so obvious to someone brought up in a post-Christian world, and the reader isn’t beaten over the head with the imagery like some other authors like to do.
There’s bits of the books, maps and diagrams on the web site plus a blog (to add to my RSS feeds from other fantasy and sci-fi writers) all at RussellKirkpatrick.com.