In 2004 my editor at Gollancz, Simon Spanton, suggested I have a crack at a Young Adult series and, moreover, that I base it on my tale “Wings”. He said the world of “Wings” was crying out to be built upon and expanded, and naturally I disagreed and hummed and hahhed and said I didn’t think it would work, the story was a closed loop, I couldn’t extract any more mileage from it. And then I started thinking about it, and realised it could work, and might work pretty well, and next thing I knew, I was writing a novel called The Fledging Of Az Gabrielson. Gollancz liked it a lot, but then presented me with something of a Hobson’s Choice. They’d publish the book, and any follow-ups I cared to present them with, so long as I agreed to use a pseudonym. This was so as to differentiate the series from my other, more serious stuff. What could I do but say OK? Besides, it was pretty exciting. Me, with a real, live pseudonym. Another box ticked on the list of Things Proper Authors Do.
Fledging and the second book in the series, Pirates Of The Relentless Desert, came out in 2006 and 2007 respectively, and have since been bound together in a lovely, fat omnibus edition, The Wingless Boy, published in spring 2008. A second omnibus edition, collecting the third and fourth volumes in the series, Darkening For A Fall and Empire Of Chaos, has the title The Clouded World and an October 2008 publication date.
I chose Jay Amory as a pseudonym mainly because it’s a sort-of pun on my real name (“amor” being Latin for love, of course, and Jay sounding like my first initial) but also because it was non-gender-specific, which is important because the books are intended to appeal to both male and female readers. Writing them was a ball from start to finish, with pace and plot of paramount importance throughout.
- The Wingless Boy by Jay Amory [Gollancz, July 2008] – ISBN 978-0575083714
- The Clouded World by Jay Amory [Gollancz, September 2008] – ISBN 978-0575083721
- “Amory peppers the ground with an absolutely wonderful cast of characters. All great stuff! … Amory is a writer with an innate social conscience and a voice that calls to readers of all ages. I look forward to seeing how the story develops in the next volume.” – SF Revu
- “Amory’s short brisk chapters with succinct headings keep the plot revelations coming and the pages turning. And particularly successful are the vivid scenes where Cassie’s family scour the predator-ridden landscape in the ‘murk-comber’ for items that fell from the sky cities. The Fledging Of Az Gabrielson is an entertaining read, and though part of a trilogy stands on its own.” – Starburst
- “Amory also alludes to the abuse of religious dogma, a theme that is explored so dazzlingly in His Dark Materials. However, I think that The Fledging Of Az Gabrielson does have an appeal of its own; the story taps straight into that atavistic human desire to fly and there are some intriguing, ambiguous characters (I loved Mr Mordadson) who are often beautifully named (Ramona Orifielsdaughter Enochson!)” – Achuka Reviews
- “The novel’s themes of unthinking faith, blind consumerism and segregated society, as well as the problems of the “disabled” young hero must overcome, are perfect for the young adult market. Do buy this for your kids.” – SFX
- “One of the greatest fantasy novels that’s ever been written by a groundling. You can read this book as an allegory of western civilization and our exploitation of the third world… or you can just enjoy it.” – Teen Titles
- “Amory’s ethereal descriptions of the ‘world above the clouds’ in the opening chapters are wonderful, and he manages to paint the sky cities in an entirely believable light. Amory’s real skill is in crafting inventive action sequences, and from the high-powered explosion of the Deacon’s Chancel in book one to the epic airship battle in the skies at the end of the second, these scenes are a real pleasure to read.” – Dreamwatch
- “What makes the novel so compulsively readable, quite apart from Amory’s skill in narrating a story full of incident at breakneck pace, is that the reader comes to care about the varied cast. In lesser hands the characters might have become ciphers, but Amory imbues even the minor players with life and individuality. It’s also thrilling, with a magnificently described aerial dog-fight finale and a dénouement crammed with cliff-hangers.” – The Guardian
- “I’ve been riveted by each book in the series, they are real page turners. The action is relentless, nothing is as straightforward as it seems, the clarity of plotting is superb and each of the main characters is so vividly drawn that I have cared about each and every one of them. The villains of the piece are also vividly drawn and each has a believable motivation for his or her actions. The characters come over as real people, deeply affected by the momentous events they are living through. I’d love to read more about the characters and the world they inhabit.” sfcrowsnest.com
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• Filed under Books • 08/07/2008 •