Prisoners of the Wailing Tower

Today, I welcome Deby Fredericks to my blog to introduce her high fantasy novella series, Minstrels of Skaythe. She’s just released the latest installment, Prisoners of the Wailing Tower. I have edited two of Deby’s novels and read several other works she’s written. I always enjoy them. With that, I’ll turn it over to Deby.


What if the forces of light did not prevail against darkness?

That question is the basis for my high fantasy novella series, Minstrels of Skaythe. The evil mage Dar-Gothull has reshaped everything in his own terrible image. Skaythe is an upside-down world, where merciless strength is “good” and caring about others is “bad.”

In creating this setting, I wanted to challenge some of the standard assumptions in fantasy. Our great legends tell us that freedom from tyranny can only be won in battle. Or that some sort of “chosen one” will lead an army to rescue the people. And that every problem must be solved at the point of a sword or gun.

Personally, I question that warfare makes anything better. So, I set out to explore ways that people of good conscience might resist a despot without resorting to violence. My heroes travel as minstrels. Music and dance, juggling and puppetry are their weapons. Rather than fighting to overthrow Dar-Gothull’s regime, they try to comfort the suffering of the people. For this crime they are branded as renegades and hunted throughout the land.

In the second novella, Dancer in the Grove of Ghosts, Tisha explains some of their philosophy. “Always is an illusion. It is a lie the powerful tell – to themselves and to the world. It saves them from admitting that their way has not always been, and that one day their cruelty will have an answer.”

These novellas are my answer.


About Prisoners of the Wailing Tower:

Alemin only wanted to help an innocent. Instead, he was caught by the dreaded hunter-guards. Now he finds himself flung into the Larder, where the very walls are steeped in nightmares and his fellow inmates are vicious killers. Worse, Warden Ar-Lizelle seems intent on tracking down his friends, the Minstrels, who have devoted their lives to undermining Skaythe’s tyrannical regime.

On the outside, the renegade mage Lorrah receives a premonition of Alemin’s plight. She’s desperate to save a man she cares for, but the Larder is commanded by someone she has hated for years and can’t bear to face: her cruel sister, Ar-Lizelle. Luckily, Lorrah is not alone. She has help from the fierce women warriors of Badger Squad. Yet even their combined forces might not be enough to get Alemin free from Dar-Gothull’s Larder!


Where you can get Prisoners of the Wailing Tower:


About Deby Fredericks:

Deby Fredericks has been a writer all her life, but thought of it as just a fun hobby until the late 1990s. She made her first sale, a children’s poem, in 2000.  

Fredericks has six fantasy novels out through two small presses. More recently, she self-publishes her fantasy novellas and novelettes, bringing her to 14 books in all. Her latest is The Minstrels of Skaythe. Her short work has been published in Andromeda Spaceways and selected anthologies.

In addition, she writes for children as Lucy D. Ford. Her children’s stories and poems have appeared in magazines such as Boys’ Life, Babybug, Ladybug, and a few anthologies. In the past, she served as Regional Advisor for the Inland Northwest Region of the Society of  Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, International  (SCBWI).

12 comments on “Prisoners of the Wailing Tower

  1. I very much like this book and the series. Minstrels of Skaythe is one of my favorite fantasy series for two main reasons:

    One, the characters feel like real people to me, people I can relate to–even when I disagree with them. As I’ve worked as both a writer and reviewer, I too often read or see something where I think, “Why on Earth would they do that? I don’t see that character doing that.” Deby’s characters may surprise me, and even the heroes sometimes do things I disagree with, things I do not think wise–but I can believe they’d do what they do. Yes, there’s magical and mythical beings in a fantasy world, but the characters and stories feel real.

    Two, the stories do a rare thing, which is show a violent fantasy world where the heroes are not only flawed (i.e., believable), they practice non-violent resistance. But that’s more than just a fantasy. Researchers are finally doing serious study on its success rate compared to violent resistance. The evidence so far seems to indicate that, if you want to defeat a hostile, oppressive regime, non-violent resistance has the greatest chance of success (check the link below).

    I wonder if, decades from now, critics will say, “this popular fantasy genre was largely sparked by the work of Deby Fredericks.” It was an influence on my own GURPS Fantasy Folk: Elves.

    https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2019/02/why-nonviolent-resistance-beats-violent-force-in-effecting-social-political-change/

  2. […] Today I have a blog visit with David Lee Summers. I’m talking about the roots of my Minstrels of Skaythe series. David is a good friend who has edited my novels in the past, so I hope you’ll skip on over and check it out! […]

  3. I just finished Prisoners of the Wailing Tower. It’s a fun book! Review coming soon…

  4. I really enjoyed this look behind your motivation. Hope the series is doing well.

  5. Miley Spears says:

    I saw this on Facebook.

    The book is marvelous! It goes deep into the minds and souls of Alemin and Lorrah. I read it and bought the rest of the series.

    And we now have an article on Minstrels of Skaythe in the Discordian Wiki! If you know Discordianism, you have to understand this. “All statements are true in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless in some sense, true and false in some sense, true and meaningless in some sense, false and meaningless in some sense, and true and false and meaningless in some sense.” So that’s the way the Wiki is!

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