Anselm Audley

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Anselm Audley (born 1982) is a British fantasy writer.

Anselm Audley is a college graduate of Ancient and Modern History, but he started writing his epic Aquasilva novels when still a pupil at school. He finished his first novel at the age of 17.

The Aquasilva Trilogy has been translated into German, French, Italian, Spanish and Dutch. Library Journal announced that, from Simon & Schuster U.K., Audley received one of the largest advances ever paid to a new British fantasy author.[1]

Vespera, a sequel to the Aquasilva Trilogy, was released on 13 November 2007 and electronically published in English.

The Aquasilva Trilogy[edit]

  • Heresy (2001) is set within the stormy waterworld of Aquasilva. Aquasilva is controlled by the Domain, a religious power dedicated to the element fire. The Domain, however, is confronted by many forces of change. One of these unknowing change agents is Cathan, son of the count from Lepidor. Upon discovering iron on their territory, Cathan leaves his home to inform his father of this important find. During his journey Cathan stumbles upon a plot to unleash a new age of fundamentalism. New friends and new powers enable Cathan to confront this extremism.
  • Inquisition (2002) is the second volume in the Aquasilva Trilogy. After the battle that restored Lepidor to freedom, Cathan sets off on his travels again to find an answer to the storm-magic he used to save his clan. In the process he soon discovers a new secret that will change his life forever.
  • Crusade (2003) is the final work in the Aquasilva Trilogy. In this book Cathan finally discovers who he is. At the same time, religious fanatics of the Domain continue to seek out heresy and Cathan in particular.


  • Aquasilva Trilogy
    • Heresy (2001)
    • Inquisition (2002)
    • Crusade (2003)
  • Vespera (2007)

Critical reception[edit]

Publishers Weekly declared,

"Expectant readers will find a competent, appealing but rather standard sword-and-super-science tale... Audley successfully suggests a complex society through a bewildering mass of historical and political details, but he's less adept at showing how the society actually functions. In particular, it's hard to imagine how hand weapons have developed only as far as swords and crossbows while high-tech submarines launch "flame lances" and torpedoes at each other. He's also better, so far, at presenting characters frozen in uncertain pondering than he is at describing direct action. Still, the size and scope of this novel demonstrate Audley's energy and ambition."[2]

Library Journal added, "The author's skill at portraying young people caught up in world-shaking events should appeal to YA readers as well as general fantasy fans."[3] John Toon wrote of the trilogy, "All in all, Aquasilva is a promising start from Audley, and bodes well for his authorial future, but there's still plenty of work to be done if he's to rise among the ranks of the fantasy greats."[4] Kirkus Reviews concluded that Heresy is "an impressively fluent, highly charged debut where everything happens at breakneck speed."[5]

SF Site was fairly impressed, too, saying,

"For those who, after reading Dune, had a desire for more politics, scheming, and backstabbing, Heresy might be just the book that you are looking for. In addition to the already mentioned religious conflicts, there is the more traditional scheming done by the Tanethann Great Houses in pursuit of riches and of the Domain in its quest for more power. The web of politics is very well done, especially when different plots all start to come around one focal point... Overall the story is well put together and effectively told, although there is one element of the story that seems a little bit unsatisfactory. The are a couple of points in the story where a character has a complete about-face of their personality, without any warning signals or reasons given thereafter. While I am sure that Audley may explain what has happened in later books, the sudden and drastic changes seem somewhat awkward."[6]

Reviewer (and Hitchhiker's Guide actor) Michael Cule took a dissenting view, finding Heresy unoriginal and suffering "from a lack of attention to the finer points":

"Well, it is apparently written up from somebody's school D&D campaign... And we have the magic divided up, for no clearly explained reason, into elements (the usual Earth, Air, and so on, plus a couple of extra ones). We have it clearly color-coded and several of the characters, too (assassins in black, flame priests in red). We have the great, big, evil religion that's the main villain with no clear explanation of what the tenets of the faith are, nor how it differs from the faith of the heretics who are the good guys. You would think that a novel with this title would give a damn about the nature of the gods and belief. But no, the religious war is just a big plot device without anything to back it up, just there to provide something for the wicked characters to gloat about.
In fact, we have half of the list of fantasy clichés from Diana Wynne Jones's Tough Guide To Fantasyland regurgitated unselfconsciously from the general well of lazy genre writing."[7]


  1. ^ "Heresy". Reed Business Information. 2001. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Heresy". Publishers Weekly (Cahners Business Information). 2001. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Heresy". Publishers Weekly (Cahners Business Information). 2001. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  4. ^ Toon, John (9 August 2003). "The Aquasilva Trilogy". Infinity Plus. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Heresy". Kirkus Reviews. July 15, 2001. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  6. ^ Kane, Rob (2002). "Heresy". SF Site. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  7. ^ Cule, Michael (November 2001). "Heresy: Book One of the Aquasilva Trilogy". The New York Review of Science Fiction (Pleasantville, N.Y.: Dragon Press). 14 pt. 3 (159): 9. ISSN 1052-9438. 

External links[edit]