Thraxas

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Thraxas
AuthorMartin Scott (Martin Millar)
CountryUK
GenreFantasy
Publisher
Published1999–2019
Media type
No. of books11 (List of books)
Websitewww.martinmillar.com/thraxas/thraxas.html

Thraxas is a series of eleven[a] fantasy novels written by British author Martin Millar under the pen name Martin Scott. The first eight were originally published in the United Kingdom by Orbit Books between April 1999 and May 2005. The remaining three titles were self-published by Millar, between March 2013 and January 2019. The series has been generally positively received, and has produced one World Fantasy Award winner.[1]

Overview[edit]

The stories take place in a mythical, Middle-earth-type World that includes Humans, Orcs, Elves, and a variety of magical creatures. Thraxas, the eponymous protagonist, is a middle-aged private investigator in the city-state of Turai, a kingdom of middling influence and power. In the pre-series timeline he had been a failed sorcery student, an able soldier, and a far-travelled mercenary. He also used to work at the Palace of Turai, but was booted out for his drunken behavior.

As the series begins, Thraxas is still an excellent swordsman and competent fighter, and has retained some minor magical ability. Mainly though, he just gambles, drinks a lot of beer, and consumes a lot of food. He is always broke and has to live in the poor, rough part of the city, above the tavern of his old friend Gurd, a barbarian. Thraxas is overweight, somewhat bad-tempered, and a keen gambler at the chariot races. In between his other pursuits, he tries to support himself as a detective-for-hire.

Thraxas is usually helped in his cases by his young friend Makri, an escapee from the Orcish gladiator pits, and the best fighter ever seen in Turai. Makri is part Human, part Orc, and part Elf, and she often suffers prejudice from all three races. She works as a waitress at Gurd's tavern, wearing a skimpy chainmail bikini to entice the rough-and-tumble working class customers into leaving better tips. Her exotic good looks and lithe physique have earned her quite a few admirers, but she also has intellectual aspirations, studying at a Turanian College.

Later in the series[b] the bulk of the action shifts away from Turai, as the city is conquered by an Orcish army and most characters, including Thraxas and Makri, are forced to flee. Following the fall of Turai, Thraxas tentatively regains part of his previous status when he is given official responsibilities in the effort to retake the city. This development however has little effect on his behavior.

The stories – narrated in first person by Thraxas – happen in real time and are in chronological order. They are also linked by the presence of many of the same characters throughout the series. Typically, Thraxas finds himself entangled in dangerous but realistic situations that involve political intrigue and all kinds of conspiracies. Through luck and pluck, as well as a well-honed sense of humor, he somehow manages to pull through against heavy odds.

Titles[edit]

First Edition
No. Title Date Length Media ISBN
1ThraxasApril 1999224 pppaperbackISBN 978-1-85723-729-0
2Thraxas and the Warrior MonksMay 1999256 pppaperbackISBN 978-1-85723-731-3
3Thraxas at the RacesJune 1999256 pppaperbackISBN 978-1-85723-734-4
4Thraxas and the Elvish IslesAugust 2000256 pppaperbackISBN 978-1-84149-002-1
5Thraxas and the SorcerersNovember 2001272 pppaperbackISBN 978-1-84149-077-9
6Thraxas and the Dance of DeathMay 2002256 pppaperbackISBN 978-1-84149-121-9
7Thraxas at WarJuly 2003272 pppaperbackISBN 978-1-84149-242-1
8Thraxas under SiegeMay 2005272 pppaperbackISBN 978-1-84149-254-4
9Thraxas and the Ice DragonMarch 2013211 pp[c]e-bookISBN 978-1-6267527-1-9
10Thraxas and the OracleFebruary 2015169 pp[d]e-bookISBN 978-1-4835491-8-7
11Thraxas of TuraiJanuary 2019184 ppe-book, paperbackISBN 978-1-79284999-2
Books 1–8 published by Orbit Books. Books 9–11 were self-published via BookBaby, with book 11 also available through CreateSpace

Publication history[edit]

The first eight titles were originally released in the UK by Orbit Books as mass market paperbacks between 1999 and 2005; several titles were also released in hardcover by the series' North American publisher Baen Books, starting with Thraxas and the Sorcerers (book 5), in 2005.[2][e] English-language e-book editions were released by Orbit Books-affiliated publisher Hachette Digital in September 2008.[3][f] Series books have also been published in several other countries and languages.[g]

After the eighth novel, Orbit did not want to publish additional installments. In addition, Millar's agent could not come to an agreement regarding rights of future Thraxas titles with Baen Books. Baen was also republishing the series in omnibus form, two titles at a time (see § Select editions); it stopped publication after the second omnibus volume.[4]

Despite the difficulties with publishers, Millar stated that he planned to continue with the series. In September 2012 he blogged that he had nearly finished a 9th book, Thraxas and the Ice Dragon.[5] It was eventually released in March 2013 – almost eight years after the previous volume – as an e-book through BookBaby, a self-publishing company.[6] Millar released the tenth book, Thraxas and the Oracle, via the same channel and format in February 2015; at that time all titles were available in e-book format only.[7]

The series was eventually reprinted between February and October 2017,[8] in single-title or two-title editions (see The Collected Thraxas table below, in § Select editions). They were released through CreateSpace, a print on demand self-publishing subsidiary of Amazon.[9] As of April 2019 all republished titles were listed in Amazon websites as part of The Collected Thraxas edition.[h]

In January 2019, four years after the release of the tenth book the eleventh installment, Thraxas of Turai, was simultaneously self-published in POD and e-book editions.

Select editions[edit]

Baen Omnibus Edition (US – discontinued)
No. Title Date Length Media Notes ISBN
1ThraxasAugust 2003448 pppaperback
contains Thraxas and Thraxas and the Warrior Monks
ISBN 978-0-7434-7152-7
2Death and ThraxasAugust 2004480 pppaperbackcontains Thraxas at the Races and Thraxas and the Elvish IslesISBN 978-0-7434-8850-1
The Collected Thraxas (selections)
No. Title Date Length Media Notes ISBN
1Thraxas Books One and Two16 February 2017332 pppaperback
contains Thraxas and Thraxas and the Warrior Monks
ISBN 978-1-5424-5834-4
6Thraxas Book Ten24 May 2017182 pppaperback
contains Thraxas and the Oracle
ISBN 978-1-5465-7473-6
Print-on-demand edition, self-published via CreateSpace.

Reception[edit]

Locus reviewer Jonathan Strahan praised the first novel in the series as "an entertaining addition to the fantasy PI bookshelf," further stating, "Scott is careful to balance the various requirements of humorous fantasy and PI crime fiction." [10]

A favorable review of the second omnibus Death and Thraxas maintained, "[t]he strength of [the included] novels lies in their humor and quirky characters." [11] In an also-favorable 2005 review of book 5, Thraxas and the Sorcerers in the science fiction magazine Chronicle, frequent series reviewer Don D'Ammassa stated, "[t]he first few volumes in the series were pretty frothy, but I've actually become more fond of the character with the recent volumes,..." [12]

A mini-review by Jon Courtenay Grimwood of Thraxas at War (book 7), appeared in The Guardian (London) in July 2003.[13]

The first book in the series, Thraxas, was the winner of the 2000 World Fantasy Award.[1][i]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ As of April 2019 (see § Publication history).
  2. ^ Starting with book 9 and continuing through book 11.
  3. ^ Kindle edition (629 kB, ASIN B00BOV3S9E).
  4. ^ Kindle edition (3263 kB, ASIN B00T6JE64W).
  5. ^ Baen released 3 other titles in hardcover: Thraxas and the Dance of Death in 2005, and in 2006, Thraxas under Siege and Thraxas at War (OCLC 60799728, 70230651 and 62341583 respectively).
  6. ^ However, several titles had been previously published electronically: digital editions in libraries (Worldcat catalog). Retrieved 2016-08-04.
  7. ^ Non-English editions in libraries (Worldcat catalog). Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  8. ^ An Amazon US search conducted April 2019 listed all then–current titles as available to order: ”Search for The Collected Thraxas”. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  9. ^ The award was a surprise to some, as was humorously noted in a Fantasy & Science Fiction column: "... a bombshell announcement that's going to be a bigger shock than Thraxas winning the World Fantasy Award." [14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "2000 World Fantasy Award Winners". World Fantasy Convention. World Fantasy Board. n.d. Archived from the original on 2001-01-19. Retrieved 2019-05-26 – via Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Millar, Martin (2005b). Thraxas and the sorcerers (hardcover). Thraxas. 5 (1st US hardcover ed.). Riverdale, New York: Baen Books. ISBN 978-0-7434-9908-8.
  3. ^ —— (2008). Thraxas and the dance of death (e-book). Thraxas. 6. London: Hachette Digital. ISBN 978-0-7481-0897-8.
  4. ^ —— (7 December 2007). "Thraxas". martinmillar.com (blog). London: Self-published. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  5. ^ —— (14 September 2012). "Dead projects, Revived projects". martinmillar.com (blog). London: Self-published. ¶ 3. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  6. ^ Giammateo, Giacomo (23 July 2012). "Is Bookbaby or Smashwords Best for Self-Publishers?". Production. How-To For Authors. London: Alliance for Independent Authors. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  7. ^ Millar, Martin (5 February 2015). "Thraxas and the Oracle". martinmillar.com (blog). London: Self-published. ¶ 1. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  8. ^ —— (6 November 2017). "Whole Thraxas Series Now In Paperback". martinmillar.com (blog). London: Self-published. Retrieved 2017-12-13.
  9. ^ "About Us". createspace.com. North Charleston, South Carolina: On-Demand Publishing. n.d. "§ History". Retrieved 2017-12-14.
  10. ^ Strahan, Jonathan (December 2000). "Locus Looks at Books: Reviews by Jonathan Strahan". Locus. Vol. 45 no. 479. Oakland, California: Locus Press. p. 60. ISSN 0047-4959.
  11. ^ Armstrong, Ginger (March 2005). "Scott, Martin. Death and thraxas". Book Reviews. Kliatt. Vol. 39 no. 2. Wellesley, Massachusetts: Kliatt. p. 29. ISSN 1065-8602.
  12. ^ D'Ammassa, Don (October 2005). "Thraxas and the Sorcerers/The Time of Troubles I". Critical Mass. Chronicle. Vol. 27 no. 9. Radford, Virginia: DNA Publications. p. 6. ISSN 0195-5365.
  13. ^ Grimwood, Jon Courtenay (5 July 2003). "Jon Courtenay Grimwood on new releases". Science fiction. The Guardian. London: Guardian News & Media. p. B29. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  14. ^ Di Fillipo, Paul (July 2004). "The Slan Corps Wants You!". Plumage from Pegasus. Fantasy & Science Fiction. Vol. 107 no. 1. Hoboken, New Jersey: Spilogale. pp. 101–104. ISSN 1095-8258.

External links[edit]