The official site of author Steph Swainston

The Books

My books are published by Gollancz in the UK and HarperEos in the US. Signed copies are available from Goldsboro Books and Cold Tonnage, or contact me directly.

The Modern World

The Modern WorldThe Modern WorldFive years after the Island of Tris joined the Empire there are new developments in the Insect war. The sounds of monumental building clank and resound from the Front. Frost, the Architect, is certain she knows what she’s doing and Jant believes her but the immortals are about to bring down on their own heads a bigger disaster than ever before. Though maybe not quite as disastrous as the sheer confusion wreaked by Lightning’s teenage daughter. The immortals think they are shaping the modern world but it’s fast slipping out of their hands. Even the Emperor can’t predict what will happen but he seems to know more than he reveals. The Modern World is available from now - just click on the book cover!


Swainston's third novel is an impressive illustration of how fantasy does not have to be imitation Tolkien. The Guardian

Swainston writes with dash and elegance. The Times

Swainston writes beautiful prose, flowing and elegant, with clever description and mastery of all technical aspects; she is clearly the kind of talent who could waltz into pretty much any genre she set her mind to. The Sydney Morning Herald

She combines a surreal visionary prose style with some realistic gritty description and characterization to create a feel that is unlike just about anyone else out there. The Agony Column,

The Modern World is another welcome glimpse into a fantasy world so aggressive it could knock seven shades of Hell out of most entries in the genre. We can’t recommend it highly enough. SFX

Free Sample Chapter

Download the first chapter of The Modern World (PDF format).

No Present Like Time

No Present Like TimeNo Present Like TimeSerein, the Swordsman, is unexpectedly defeated in ritual combat by a young upstart, who is then sent - along with Jant and other immortals - on a mission to Tris, an idyllic and recently discovered island nation. Unfortunately the immortals make a mess of things.


A second novel that makes one impatient for the third. An uncompromisingly classy act. Jon Courtenay-Grimwood, The Guardian

Swainston is one of the best British authors writing in any genre. She has a facility with language and a genius for plot and character which Booker prize winners could, and should, be envious of... The outstanding fantasy book of the year by a country mile. Publishing News

Swainston's scintillating prose, well-developed characters and talent for brilliant absurdities mark this as one of the more innovative fantasies of recent years. Publisher’s Weekly

Maintains her high-quality storytelling and gives free rein to her boundless imagination. Library Journal

Free Sample Chapter

Download the first chapter of No Present Like Time (PDF format).

The Year Of Our War

The Year Of Our WarThe Year Of Our WarJant is the Messenger, one of the Circle, a cadre of fifty immortals who serve the Emperor. He is the only immortal, indeed the only man alive, who can fly. The Emperor must protect mankind from the hordes of giant insects who have plagued the Fourlands for centuries, eating everything and everyone in their path. But he must also contend with the rivalries and petty squabblings of his chosen immortals. These will soon spill over into open civil war. The Year of Our War won the IAFA William L. Crawford Fantasy Award in 2005. It has been translated into ten languages and is published in twelve countries.


Nasty battles, giant Insects, blokes with wings. And a bloody good read... Insects! Loads of the buggers! Swarming over the Fourlands and devouring everything in their path, building walls to protect themselves from the humans, taking over towns and cities and killing people with their nasty mandibles. Jayne Dearsley, SFX

A study of guilt and addiction inside a novel about sexual politics, and wrapped in some of the weirdest and best fantasy written in recent years. A stunning debut. The Guardian

Impossibly weird story, wonderful characters. Not to be missed. New Zealand Herald

An eye for details of lives that is reminiscent of Mervyn Peake. In fifty years’ time, people will be reading this book and talking about it the way we talk about Gormenghast. George Walkley, Ink Magazine

Jant really keeps our interest. Swainston - and her lyrical debut - got terrific press. Deservedly so. Kirkus Reviews

Free Sample Chapter

Download the fourth chapter of The Year Of Our War (PDF format).