Epic Fantasy Spotlight: ON THE EDGE OF DEATH by Ciara Ballintyne

Genre: Epic Fantasy
Date Published: 22 April 2017
Publisher: Evolved publishing

All the Left Hand of Death wants is something to call her own, but is the price too high?

Ellaeva, the fated avatar of the death goddess, is desperate to track down her missing family but the trail is decades old. Instead, she discovers her battered and bloodied sister priestesses driven across the Jerreki border on pain of death. Ellaeva must turn aside from her personal quest to investigate the murders, only to find her parents have been taken into the heart of the conflict.

Lyram Aharris, favoured son of the royal line of Ahlleyn, is the only living person she trusts to help her infiltrate the enemy stronghold and uproot the horror they find there, but their chequered past threatens the mission. Accompanying him is his crown prince, the one man Lyram wants dead above all others.

Now Ellaeva must face down the darkness in her soul before a dark god is brought into the world.

At the boundary of life and death, all oaths will be tested.


About the Book Interview with Ciara Ballintyne

Tell us about your main character.

Ellaeva is the Battle Priestess of Ahura, chosen to serve the goddess of truth, death and justice in battle and as the ultimate arbiter of justice. Each Battle Priestess is selected at the age of five, and is trained in weapons and the arts of war, against some great evil. There have been eleven over three thousand years before Ellaeva, and each has died before the age of thirty. She can have no friends, no family, and no lover. Ellaeva is torn between her duty, and her need for human companionship, and takes refuge in ruthless practicality.

Which is your favorite minor character and why?

Everard. He’s just such a dear. He’s stuffy, and terribly proper, but he loves those closest to him with all his fierce little heart. And he’s completely loyal to Lyram, and thinks Ellaeva is terrible trouble for his friend, but as the series progresses you can see him changing his attitude towards her, almost against his will

Please share a few favorite lines or one paragraph.

The Voice took a step closer, her gaze holding Ellaeva’s. “You are weak. You don’t know the strength it took me to be the first, with no one to guide the way.”

“You don’t know the strength it takes to follow, knowing what lies down the hopeless road ahead.” The strength to follow where eleven other women had trod, where eleven other women had died before the age of thirty, knowing—always knowing—that the future held no hope.

How long did it take you to write this book?

A year. That’s about standard for me when writing a book of this length, since I write around being a full-time lawyer.

If your book was made into a movie, who would you like to play the lead characters?

Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth. I’ve been a little partial to Charlize Theron since I named by daughter after her, but I think she could really nail the role of Ellaeva. Chris Hemsworth totally looks the part for Lyram, and he’s an amazing actor.

Tell us about your cover art and how it pertains to your story.

The cover shows us Ellaeva, the protagonist, staring into a magical gate and seeing a dark reflection of herself. This scene never occurs in the book, in fact the gate represented never even opens, but the cover is a metaphor for the central inner conflict—Ellaeva’s realisation that very little separates her from the villain, and that a single misstep could send her careening down the same path to darkness.

Of all the books out there, why should readers choose this one?

People always tell me the story really immerses them in the world and the characters. They feel like they are there, feeling what the characters feel, seeing, feeling, smelling. It’s a consistent theme across all reviews of all my books, so I think it’s that. If you really want to escape to another world, I can help you with that.

Is there an underlying theme in your book? If so, tell us about it and why/if it’s important to you.

The underlying theme is oppression—what it means for a people to have their choices removed, and how wrong it is for anyone to dictate to another what they can and cannot do, and how they should and should not dress. A lot of this is around women and homosexuality, and I chose to do that because, although these may be seen as stereotypical fantasy depictions, they remain real-world issues, and ones that are arguably becoming more and more important in the current time.

A wider theme off the back of this is self-determination. Both Ellaeva and Lyram feel compelled to act in certain ways, restrained by events outside their control, and unable to chart their own destinies.

Fiction can often provide powerful life lessons. What message do you hope readers get from your book?

The only person who should decide your life for you, what you do, who you love, how you look, how you dress, is you. Anyone who tries to remove your power of self-determination \is an oppressor.


About the Author

Ciara Ballintyne grew up on a steady diet of adult epic fantasy from the age of nine, leaving her with a rather confused outlook on life – she believes the good guys should always win, but knows they often don’t. She is an oxymoron; an idealistic cynic. Her debut work is Confronting the Demon, and In the Company of the Dead is her first book to be published with Evolved Publishing. She holds degrees in law and accounting, and is a practising financial services lawyer. In her spare time, she speculates about taking over the world.


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