Derek Prior

Biography

"Derek Prior always produces masterpieces of storytelling, with great characters full of life, relentless plots, and gripping and intense fight scenes." Mitchell Hogan

"Like Bernard Cornwell on 'shrooms!" Dinorah Wilson

Internationally bestselling and award winning author Derek Prior excels in fast-paced, high stakes epic fantasy adventure stories in which good ultimately triumphs, but always at a cost.

Taking familiar fantasy tropes as a point of departure, Prior expands upon them to explore friendship, betrayal, loyalty and heroism in worlds where evil is an ever-present reality, magic is both a curse and a blessing, and characters are tempered in battle.

Winner of best fantasy novel 2012 (The Nameless Dwarf: The Complete Chronicles)

Fantasy Faction semifinalist for the SPFBO 2018 (Ravine of Blood and Shadow)

Smashwords Interview

Who are your favorite authors?
Bernard Cornwell, Stephen R. Donaldson, David Gemmell, Steven Pressfield, Robert. E. Howard, Michael Moorcock, G.K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Training: weights, boxing, Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Derek Prior online

Where to buy in print

Series

Annals of the Nameless Dwarf
The age of glory is on the horizon and Carnac Thayn must make a difficult choice — one that will either save his people or condemn them. Who can be trusted in a land of magic and deceit? “Prior weaves a fully realized world in this rich fantasy.” (Kirkus Reviews) "A beautifully written and engrossing masterwork!" (Mitchell Hogan)
Mountain of Madness
Price: $5.99 USD.
Curse of the Black Axe
Price: $5.99 USD.
Land of Nightmare
Price: $5.99 USD.
Skull of the Lich Lord
Price: $5.99 USD.
Fate of the Dwarf Lords
Price: $5.99 USD.
Sorcerers' Isle
War is coming. A war the clans can never win. And the fate of Branikdür lies in the hands of a deranged girl who grows more deadly by the day
The Codex of Her Scars
Price: $5.99 USD.
Shader Origins
The origins of the Templum knight Deacon Shader
Ward of the Philosopher
Price: $2.99 USD.
The Seventh Horse
Price: $2.99 USD.
Templum Knight
"An epic fantasy across three books that is wild, fast-paced, has fantastic characters, spreads across countries as well as worlds and religions, and is absolutely one of the best fantasy trilogies in existence." -- Melinda LeBaron
Sword of the Archon
Price: $5.99 USD.
Best Laid Plans
Price: $5.99 USD.
The Unweaving
Price: $5.99 USD.
The Archon's Assassin
Price: $5.99 USD.

Books

Tomb of the Witch Queen
Series: Annals of the Nameless Dwarf. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 182,680. Language: English. Published: April 13, 2022. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
The dwarven civil war might have ended, but the powers behind it still fester...."
Dead Dwarves Don't Die
Series: Annals of the Nameless Dwarf, Book 8. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 93,630. Language: English. Published: May 29, 2021. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
Nameless finds himself aboard a ship bound for the Feasting Hall of Witandos, but disappointment, rather than beer, awaits him, along with a mountain of unpaid penance.
Last of the Exalted
Series: Annals of the Nameless Dwarf, Book 7. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 146,220. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
(5.00 from 1 review)
As rival armies converge on the city of Jeridium, the Senate are reduced to clutching at straws. In a desperate last gambit, they send the assassin Shadrak the Unseen past enemy lines and into the mountains, where he must find a grief-stricken warrior and his mythical axe.
The Exalted Trilogy
Price: $17.95 USD. Words: 272,150. Language: English. Published: December 15, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
A sprawling epic of redemption, heroism, and friendship in the face of insurmountable evil and an inexorable fate. "A beautifully written and engrossing masterwork!" (Mitchell Hogan) Fantasy Faction semifinalist for the SPFBO 2018 Contains Annals of the Nameless Dwarf Books 4-6
The Dark Trilogy
Price: $17.95 USD. Words: 221,860. Language: English. Published: December 15, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
A sprawling epic of redemption, heroism, and friendship in the face of insurmountable evil and an inexorable fate. "A beautifully written and engrossing masterwork!" (Mitchell Hogan) Fantasy Faction semifinalist for the SPFBO 2018 Contains Annals of the Nameless Dwarf Books 1-3
Annals of the Nameless Dwarf
Price: $29.99 USD. Words: 494,460. Language: English. Published: December 15, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
A sprawling epic of redemption, heroism, and friendship in the face of insurmountable evil and an inexorable fate. "A beautifully written and engrossing masterwork!" (Mitchell Hogan) Fantasy Faction semifinalist for the SPFBO 2018
Fate of the Dwarf Lords
Series: Annals of the Nameless Dwarf, Book 6. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 106,660. Language: English. Published: June 13, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
The one slender hope remaining to the dwarves lies in their distant past: the dwarf lords. But for centuries, they have been in exile on Thanatos, a death world likely to change even the greatest of heroes. With time running out for Arnoch, the Nameless Dwarf must find the dwarf lords and persuade them to come home. But before that, he first has to survive them.
Skull of the Lich Lord
Series: Annals of the Nameless Dwarf, Book 5. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 103,170. Language: English. Published: May 3, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
As an ancient trap closes in on the companions, the last of the dwarves are threatened with extinction at the hands of ravenous beasts that live only to feed. And in the background, orchestrating it all, an implacable horror Nameless thought had been destroyed: A skull with crimson eyes that feast on living souls. All that remains of Otto Blightey, the Lich Lord of Verusia.
Land of Nightmare
Series: Annals of the Nameless Dwarf, Book 4. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 63,560. Language: English. Published: March 26, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
With threats from within and horror on every side, Nameless knows that time is running out for his people. The only surprise is that they have lasted so long. But new hope awaits him in a city beneath the waves—if he can first survive the unstoppable evil that destroyed the dwarf lords of old.
Curse of the Black Axe
Series: Annals of the Nameless Dwarf, Book 3. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 79,160. Language: English. Published: March 12, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
With the aid of new companions and an old friend, the assassin Shadrak the Unseen, Nameless must retrieve three artifacts that, combined, will bring an end to his suffering. But things are never that simple. Each of the companions has their own reasons for joining the quests, even Shadrak, who has been bound by an irrevocable contract— To kill the Nameless Dwarf.
Mountain of Madness
Series: Annals of the Nameless Dwarf, Book 2. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 68,220. Language: English. Published: February 2, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
Awakened from an induced year-long slumber, the Nameless Dwarf is tortured with memories of slaughter. Yet fate decrees he must still do all he can to avert the coming cataclysm.
Ravine of Blood and Shadow
Series: Annals of the Nameless Dwarf, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 76,400. Language: English. Published: January 15, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
The age of glory is on the horizon and Carnac Thayn must make a difficult choice — one that will either save his people or condemn them. Who can be trusted in a land of magic and deceit? “Prior weaves a fully realized world in this rich fantasy” (Kirkus Reviews). "A beautifully written and engrossing masterwork!" -- Mitchell Hogan Fantasy Faction semifinalist for the SPFBO 2018
The Codex of Her Scars
Series: Sorcerers' Isle. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 124,370. Language: English. Published: April 11, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
(5.00 from 3 reviews)
Mad, cursed by the gods, or a possessed by a demon? Whichever it is, Tey Moonshine's scarred flesh holds the secret to real sorcery, and threatens to lift the lid on the rulers of Sorcerers' Isle, who rely on trickery and superstition to control the people. 

Assassins, Knights, and Dwarves
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 248,070. Language: English. Published: February 28, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
An assassin known as "the Unseen"; A man of prayer who is the deadliest warrior of his generation; A dwarf with a bloody past, destined to be king. Eight bestselling Sword and Sorcery novellas, plus a bonus short story of Otto Blightey, Lich Lord of Verusia.
The Witch Ring
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 43,290. Language: English. Published: February 21, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
When Shadrak the Unseen steals a magical ring from one wizard on behalf of another, his life quickly goes from bad to worse. Before he can deliver the ring, an invisible thief snatches it from him, and flees to the city of Jeridium.
Ward of the Philosopher
Series: Shader Origins. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 15,600. Language: American English. Published: April 17, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
Deacon Shader is a child out of time, removed as a baby from his Ancient world parents and raised on the Isle of Maranore. On his seventh birthday, the philosopher Aristodeus arrives to commence the boy’s training with sword and mind. Nothing short of excellence will suffice, if Deacon is to fulfill his destiny and avert the Unweaving of all things.
The Attic
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,000. Language: English. Published: March 8, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Horror
(5.00 from 1 review)
It was the place they stored the junk no one wanted anymore: discarded toys, baby clothes, and ancient secrets from forgotten generations. But when contagion turns Wesley Harding’s world insane, and horror enters his home, the attic is the last place left to hide.
The Seventh Horse
Series: Shader Origins. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 14,410. Language: English. Published: February 7, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
For centuries, no one had heard a peep out of Verusia, the dark stain at the heart of the Templum’s empire.
The Archon's Assassin
Series: Templum Knight, Book 4. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 154,560. Language: English. Published: March 30, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
One by one, the guilds of New Jerusalem fall to Shadrak the Unseen and his accomplice, the poisoner Albert. But as the battle for supremacy comes to a head, Shadrak is given a new order by the mysterious Archon: kill his closest living friend, the Nameless Dwarf.
Blood Trail
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 70,470. Language: English. Published: December 19, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
A powerful demon crosses the mountains, leaving a trail of the dead in its wake. When efforts to track the killer end in disaster, the task falls to a man not expected to succeed: Jebediah Skayne, Lothario, hustler, hunter of demons.
Against the Unweaving
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 359,030. Language: English. Published: March 20, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
When a powerful artifact is stolen from the Abbey of Pardes, the holy knight Deacon Shader is sent to retrieve it.
The Unweaving
Series: Templum Knight, Book 3. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 135,690. Language: English. Published: March 19, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Shader has failed and Sektis Gandaw now holds all the pieces of the Statue of Eingana. Despair hangs like a pall over the battered armies of Sahul and Aeterna. It’s now just a matter of time … A sliver of hope comes in the form of Shadrak the Unseen, who has the means to travel to the source of the coming cataclysm, the black mountain at the heart of the Dead Lands on Aethir.
Sword of the Archon
Series: Templum Knight, Book 1. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 104,550. Language: American English. Published: November 17, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
When a powerful artifact is stolen from the Abbey of Pardes, the holy knight Deacon Shader is sent to retrieve it. “Shader is a triumph of fantasy!” (Journal of Always)
Best Laid Plans
Series: Templum Knight, Book 2. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 118,580. Language: English. Published: October 21, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Historical » Australia & New Zealand
"An absolute triumph of fantasy." (Journal of Always) The reavers are swarming and this time their prey is the supreme ruler of the Templum, the Ipsissimus himself. With Shader dead and his piece of the Statue of Eingana in the hands of Shadrak the Unseen, the threat of the Unweaving of all Creation is one step nearer.
Thanatos Rising
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 26,170. Language: English. Published: August 13, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
When students go missing in the university town of Aberystwyth, Harry Chesterton's investigation leads him to an ancient monastery on the hill.
The Resurrection of Deacon Shader
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 133,980. Language: English. Published: January 27, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
The Sun Stone, inscrutable, ineffable, impossibly ancient, was entrusted to the shaman Huntsman until the day of the Reckoning when it unleashed the power of nightmare to destroy a civilisation. Deacon Shader, monk, knight, and spurned lover, enters the drama of the Sun Stone and unwittingly wields a power beyond belief. His deepest conflicts hold the key to the survival of creation itself.

Derek Prior's tag cloud

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Smashwords book reviews by Derek Prior

  • The First Dragoneer (2016 Modernized Format Edition) on Nov. 16, 2010

    The First Dragoneer is a brief induction into the world M.R. Mathias has created for his epic novels. The reader is immediately dropped into the midst of a hunting trip – the last such to be enjoyed by childhood friends, Brendley and March. It’s an easy task for the reader: the dialogue is so natural and genuine, the descriptions succinct and yet hitting the mark with exactly the right amount of imagery that it almost reads itself. I started to enjoy the tale from the outset because of this deceptively simple writing style and because so much information (back-story, mise en scene, motivation) was established contextually and without lengthy exposition. The narration blends seamlessly with the characters’ thoughts and feelings, which are never obtrusive. Mathias makes good use of his writer’s palette, taking from his toolbox just what he needs and no more. There is a degree of head hopping but it’s well-controlled and there are only two main POVs so it never gets confusing. Sometimes, early on, I got a little confused with the characters. It was a little hard to tell them apart, but this ultimately emerged as a strength: Bren and March are joined at the hip and this is the story of their parting. Editing is fair. There were one or two malapropisms, some missed apostrophes and some redundant adjectives that weakened otherwise strong lines, but these are few and far between. There were also some minor problems with word repetition which didn’t exactly leap off the page but would add polish if modified. Generally Mathias writes fluid prose that the eye just skips over with ease. He has a knack for finding just the right word for the character and context and is never pretentious. He allows the reader’s imagination to form the images with just the right stimulus (“fist-sized spiders scurried from the noisy brightness...”). Rarely does Mathias overcook his adjectives. He also understands the importance of vernacular and specificity: “and who is gonna race me to the short dock when the krill begin to spawn?” Mathias writes about what he knows: the hunting scenes are easy and lucid, full of appropriate and uncontrived spiel. He’s also good at the small details the evoke all the senses - - the fiery brandy, the crisp air, the food: “March handed Bren a pan full of scrambled grouse eggs he had collected and cooked earlier.” Little things, little details that convey real people, people we can identify with. Lots of outdoor craft – torch making, fire building, construction of a litter (maybe “travois-like device” was a bit too specific but that’s a minor gripe). Ordinary, believable people moving into uncharted waters. Chesterton would have loved this. There’s also a nice use of mythology with the introduction of the white stag and the near “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” albatross moment. To his credit, Mathias doesn’t waste this either. He introduces these elements with purpose: the decision over killing or sparing the stag is a critical moment determining the outcome of the story and the vector of the novels that follow. The action sequences in The First Dragoneer were a delight, full of human idiosyncrasies and those odd little accidents that real people are prone to under situations of duress. It’s not just action and characterisation that Mathias is good at wither. There are some stunning descriptions of the landscape that pulled me right into his world: "The rich, dark shades of the green tree tops flowed down the mountainside on their way out into the lower slopes of the valley. The trees thinned into large clumps, only to disappear completely in the valley floor. There, squares and long rectangles of brown, gold and russet took over. Some of the greener fields were speckled with the black and brown dots that were livestock, but most were empty of life save for the rows and rows of crops. The silvery-blue thread of the Prominence River wound its way through the pastures and crop-fields, splitting the valley into two misshape[n] halves." The sense of place is further enhanced by the characters interacting with their environment – the hunting, the descent to the cavern, the practical solutions they need to come up with for their survival. I thought the ending was a little hurried. There was a great description of the dragon’s approach but then all its knowledge is conveyed to March instantaneously, thus short-changing the reader. There’s also a very sharp change of gear at this stage – and perhaps there needs to be. We are about to be jolted from one world to the next. The familiar hunting grounds of Bren and March are about to give way to the world of the Dragoneers and their war against the coming Confliction. The First Dragoneers is by no means perfect, but it’s a very strong introduction to the author’s oeuvre and a thoroughly enjoyable read. A bit of spit and polish and it’s as good as they get. As to the little matter of rating, I don’t think a book has to be perfect to earn 5 stars (if that was the case I’d never dish any out). What it does have to do is engage me and make me want to read more. Mathias does this and does it well.