Thomas Locke

Q&A: How I grappled with using magic in ‘Merchant of Alyss’

Q&A with Thomas Locke: There’s magic in “Merchant of Alyss.” What do you hope readers take away from the “magic” element in the story?Q: There’s magic in Merchant of Alyss. What do you hope readers take away from the “magic” element in the story?

Thomas Locke: The issue of using magic was something I grappled with for some time. I found immense guidance from the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Four thousand years ago, when the concept of “epic” fiction originated, there was a specific purpose behind stories where magic and mythical beasts played major roles.

The Greeks sought to create worlds that were bigger than life, with challenges and obstacles that were completely and utterly beyond the reach of mortal man.

The authors sought to portray through story that a normal human being can grow beyond the impossible challenges of life. They wanted to show normal people, with flaws and weaknesses as great as those we all carry today, can in fact rise up. They can triumph.

That is what I seek to do with the Legends of the Realm series. I want to return to the original aims of fantasy fiction. I want to re-insert the concept of heroic struggle, and challenges greater than life, and triumphs over evil and darkness.

‘Emissary’ hits #1 on CBA Bestseller List!

News Flash!

I just learned that Emissary hit #1 on the CBA bestseller list (January 2016) for Fiction Books: Fantasy/Sci-fi.

Legends of the Realm - an epic fantasy series by Thomas LockeWow! That is amazing, especially since the novel was released over a year ago.

Emissary is currently #2 on the February CBA bestseller list, keeping company with classics such as:

The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis

Hinds’ Feet on High Places, by Hannah Hurnard

The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis

Two other contemporary authors are also in the CBA top 5 for Fantasy/Sci-Fi during January and February:

The Shock of Night, by Patrick W. Carr (Bethany House Publishers)

A Tale of Three Kings, by Gene Edwards (Tyndale House Publishers)

I’m thrilled by this news, particularly since Emissary was written for a mainstream reader and does not contain overt “Christian” content. Apparently, lots of people who enjoy Christian fiction also like mainstream fantasy fiction that isn’t gory, sexed up, or profane.

This is such a great advent to the release of book 2 in the Legends of the Realm series, Merchant of Alyss (which released January 5, 2016).

A huge, heartfelt THANK YOU to those of you who have been purchasing Emissary!

When is book 3 in the Legends series coming?

People have been asking, “When does book 3 in the series come out?”

I’m not sure. I’m hoping for a third “Legends” book sometime in 2017, but nothing is set in stone yet. I’ll let you know when I know!

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8 Reviewers Weigh in on ‘Merchant of Alyss’

Merchant of Alyss by Thomas LockeWe’re hearing from eight reader-reviewers today, with brief excerpts from each review. Please click on each name to read their full review.

Featured today:

  1. Rachel Stark
  2. Josiah Cantrell
  3. Lydia Blow
  4. Greg Enns
  5. Sherry Arni
  6. Dave Milbrandt
  7. Crystal Acosta
  8. Jan Jonaitis

“I’m loving the Legends of the Realm fantasy series! It reminds me of Lord of the Rings with its wizards, different races, and a hidden and enchanted Elvin forest. I loved getting lost in this fantasy world…There is much to love about this book – romance, humor, adventure, epic battles, dragons, enchanted forests, good vs evil – this is must read fantasy fiction!”
Rachel Stark

“Hyam’s adventure continues to be deeply emotional, and it was a joy to read through and partake of his ups and downs. The story flows smoothly and has a great pace. I recommend this book as even better than the first one.”
Josiah Cantrell

Quote from Merchant of Alyss by Thomas Locke“I am an older lady, and this genre is not my usual reading. I found myself caught up in the realm of wizards, elves, Milantians, golems and dragons… I don’t like to read books with bad language, and I didn’t have to worry about that with this book.” 5 Stars
Lydia Blow

“A great plot with plenty of unexpected twists and turns. I loved it. This is fantasy at its best.”
Greg Enns

“In Merchant of Alyss, author Thomas Locke continues the page-turner classic fantasy series begun in Emissary. In this second book in the Legends of the Realm series, danger again threatens the realm, and Hyam, the hero who saved the realm earlier, is called to come to the rescue once more.”
Sherry Arni

“Locke refuses to rush the beginning of this tale, reminding us of the story of Hyam and Joelle, and introducing us to Shona, who has her own agenda that doesn’t always coincide with our hero’s. As the tension builds, Locke draws you further into the narrative, providing twists that keep you turning the page desperate to find out more. 5 Stars.”
Dave Milbrandt

Quote from Merchant of Alyss by Thomas Locke“The stakes are high as Hyam takes on a quest to save the realm and save the life of his love, Joelle. He and his comrades face relentless opposition as they make their perilous journey to the ancient, ruined city of Alyss.”
Crystal Acosta

“Thomas Locke has a way of drawing out the personalities of the characters in his stories. What I enjoy best about his writing style is that he is not afraid to reveal a little at a time regarding the plot or players.”
Jan Jonaitis

10 People will win ‘Emissary’ and ‘Merchant of Alyss’

Like for a chance to win Emissary and Merchant of AlyssIt’s so much fun to give away books! So I’m giving away 10 copies each of Emissary and Merchant of Alyss starting right now.

To enter, visit my Facebook page at Find the graphic that looks like the one here and like it (Here’s a direct link to the FB update:

Get 2 bonus entries

  1. Comment on the post (on my Facebook page) to get a bonus entry.
  2. To get a SECOND bonus entry, comment on this post, right here on my blog.

Contest closes Sunday, January 24 at 11:59PM PST, and I’ll list all 10 winners Monday on my Facebook page. Be sure to stop by my page to see if you won; if you are a winner, follow the instructions there so my publisher (Revell) can send your books.


Here’s a ready-made tweet-length update. Hope you’ll share it with your social media friends, fans, followers, connections… you get the idea.

You could win EMISSARY + MERCHANT OF ALYSS at Enter by 1/24, 11:59PM PST.

Q&A: My Inspiration for Legends of the Realm Fantasy Series

Q: Please tell us about Merchant of Alyss and what inspired the story.

Thomas Locke: Merchant of Alyss is the second book in my Legends of the Realm fantasy series. At the end of Emissary (book 1), the young mage, Hyam, loses the magical powers he had recently gained.

When the Merchant of Alyss opens, Hyam has everything he always thought he would want – a home and a wife – but he feels like a cripple.

Merchant of Alyss is the story of Hyam regaining his magical powers. But as he does so, he discovers that there are some obstacles even powerful magic can’t overcome. As Hyam risks everything, he gains something more valuable than magic.

Legends of the Realm - an epic fantasy series by Thomas LockeQ: What inspired you to write the Legends of the Realm series?

Thomas Locke: In about half the stories I write, there is a specific instance on which I model the story structure. But that wasn’t the case for Emissary or Merchant of Alyss. One morning, those stories just sort of arrived. I had a sense of walking into a full-blown concept of what I wanted to do.

For the Legends of the Realm series, my primary goal was to create the classical, smooth-flowing style of The Hobbit. I was shooting for the lyrical “feel” of a Dickens story, but one that reads speeds along like today’s thriller.

Q&A with Thomas Locke: What was your inspiration for the Legends of the Realm series, and who did you write it for?Q: For what audience did you write this novel?

Thomas Locke: Increasingly, the younger generations within the faith community are moving away from the mind-set of their parents. I am not suggesting that they are abandoning their faith. What I mean is, they are abandoning their parents’ concept of church.

Many younger believers are trending towards a faith that dwells inside the larger mainstream world. Their lives no longer center upon a church so large it contains its own sense of community. They worship in home churches, or smaller centers focused on outreach. They accept a multi-cultural and multi-racial lifestyle, and seek a church that reflects this.

And their entertainment is being drawn from this wider arena.

At the same time, they are not comfortable with much of the darkness that dominates current television and movie trends. With this Thomas Locke brand, I seek to join a small but growing number of believers who are doing this with books and film.

The preliminary response, both from within the younger generations in our faith community, and from the mainstream, has been more than wonderful. It has been a gift.

A Spoiler-Free Review of ‘Merchant of Alyss’

Merchant of Alyss by Thomas LockeReviewer, Kevin Denis, promises that his will be a “spoiler-free” review. This review was originally published on Random Reading and More. Reprinted with permission.

It is rare that I pick up a fantasy title off the shelf and find myself transported into the realm and its surroundings as easily as I have with Thomas Locke’s “Legends of the Realm” series. For me, only C.S. Lewis’s “Chronicles of Narnia” has come anywhere this close.

Locke’s second novel in the series, Merchant of Alyss, begins with Hyam still mourning the loss of his abilities as a mage. However, the loss of those abilities does not keep him from answering the call when amphorae containing ancient scrolls are found that lead him on a quest to prevent a war that could destroy the lands.

Joining him on this adventure are his wife/lover, Joelle; Meda, captain of the guard who was knighted following the Battle of Emporis.

Quote from Merchant of Alyss by Thomas LockeIn addition, Locke introduces several new characters, including Corporal Alembord of the guard; Shona, daughter of a scribe and distant cousin to the Earl of Oberon; Fareed, a mage; and Selim, who acts as caravan master and whose past hints at more mystery.

Merchant of Alyss shows Locke’s skill as an author as he weaves action, adventure, and characterization into a fine-tuned narrative that zips along. The author’s gift for story-telling is such that readers will have no trouble feeling the depths of Hyam’s grief in not having his magical ability, nor will they feel like they are on the sidelines when the battle rages.

Once again, Thomas Locke has me eagerly waiting for the next novel in the series.

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Q and A: Why did you write ‘Merchant of Alyss’?

Q&A with Thomas Locke: Why did you write “Merchant of Alyss”? What was your favorite scene to write?Q: Why did you write Merchant of Alyss?

Thomas Locke: I began work on Merchant of Alyss before Emissary (book 1 in the series) had been accepted for publication. I had no idea anyone would accept these stories, since they were so utterly different from what I had been writing up to that point. But I was so captivated by the concepts and the emotions that I had to write it.

Q: What was your favorite scene to write?

Thomas Locke: My wife was speaking at a conference in San Francisco, and I had come along to play spouse. I rented a bike and was cycling around the city when I was struck by the image of a guard standing on the parapet in a fierce winter storm, watching a new crimson mage. Who then turns away from the city, walks down to the magic grove protecting Hyam’s home, and attacks.

By the time we returned home, I had the first quarter of Merchant of Alyss mapped out.

What’s your favorite scene, readers?

If you’ve read Merchant of Alyss, did you have a favorite scene? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Merchant of Alyss launch date: January 5, 2016, from Revell.

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Watching DVDs is SO interfering with my writing!

I’m a member of BAFTA, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. They have an annual awards show that is like the British version of The Oscars.

This is the beginning of the awards season. Since I’m a screenwriter as well as a novelist, I receive about five screenplays and DVDs per day in the mail that I “have” to watch before I can vote.

The first year I voted, I had no idea what to expect. I received a DVD player in the mail and had to register a special password they sent me to play the DVDs. My wife and I were traveling for three weeks, and when we returned from our trip, we couldn’t open the front door because so many UPS and FedEx envelopes had been pushed through the mail slot in the door.

I get to vote for the “Behind the Camera” screenwriting division, plus:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Actor (female and male)
  • Best Supporting Actor (female and male)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Best Original Screenplay

Reading screenplays and watching films is my free time. It’s such a rough gig! (And yes, I get to keep the DVDs.)

Some of the films I’ve received include The Martian; The Renevant, with Leonardo DiCaprio; and Sicario, with Emily Blunt.

Here’s the trailer for The Renevant:

As for my votes? Well, that’s a closely-guarded secret!

What do you do in your free time?

Would love to hear about the interesting and unusual things happening in your life!

‘Emissary’ ebook Free December 24 – 31

Emissary by Thomas LockeWhat a lovely Christmas gift! The ebook version of Emissary is FREE from December 24-31, 2015.

From January 1 through February 29, 2016, it’ll be $6.99.

It’s the perfect time to get “caught up” before diving into book 2 in the series, Merchant of Alyss (which releases January 5).

Here are links to Emissary at several popular online booksellers:

Added Bonus

You could win a copy of Merchant of Alyss from The Book Club Network. The contest runs through December 31. To enter, leave a comment on this post at The Book Club Network blog.

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Captain Meda: Fierce brawler with a fiery temper

The release of Merchant of Alyss, book 2 in my Legends of the Realm fantasy series, is January 5, 2016!

Here’s a sneak peek of one of the characters you’ll be getting to know in Merchant of Alyss. Captain Meda was also in book 1, Emissary, but in Merchant, she plays a prominent role.

Quote from Merchant of Alyss by Thomas LockeQuestion for my readers:

Do you enjoy strong female characters in the novels you read? Who’s your fave female?

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