An interview with Brian McClellan

Bee wrangler, homemade jam enthusiast and author of the widely successful flintlock fantasy series, The Powder Mage Trilogy; Brian McClellan has kindly taken the time to speak with Fantasy Book Review for the sites How Stories Connect Us section.

A big thanks to Brian for answering our questions today as I suspect he must be very busy with preparations for the soon to be released final installment of the Powder Mage Trilogy, The Autumn Republic, on the 10th Feb 2015. If you wish to read my review of The Autumn Republic or the other books in the trilogy, click the links below.

Promise of Blood
Recommended, you can almost smell the gunpowder and hear the guillotine falling.

The Crimson Campaign
Another excellent instalment in the trilogy, one that will keep you glued to the pages, pawing for the final book and praying that more will come soon.

The Autumn Republic
The shot is fired and the smoke clears, many stand and scores have fallen, as Gods, Kings and rebellion alter the fate of the land.

I have been a big fan of Brian’s for several years now, there is a quality and commitment to style in Brian’s writing I have enjoyed from the moment I picked up Promise of Blood and which has remained strong in all his subsequent stories. If you haven't read Brian’s work as yet, try now, I cannot see how you will be disappointed.

Brian also has written several Power Mage short stories and having read a few of them myself I would highly recommend one and all.

All of Brian’s titles are available direct from his website, or from the usual online sources.

How Stories Connect Us

Q: Which book do you own that puts a smile on your face and makes you happy just by holding it in your hand?

A: The Princess Bride. It’s just such a fun, fantastic book. Definitely on my top ten list of all time and probably the only book where the movie version is also on my top ten list. If you have only seen the movie or only read the book, you need to immediately stop reading this interview and go read/watch Princess Bride.

Q: Which book or series do you read that makes you feel nostalgic, remembering the period in your life you first read it?

A: The Count of Monte Cristo. I actually have very definite memories of the first time I read the unabridged version. I was maybe in fifth or sixth grade, and it took me over a week straight of doing nothing but reading (trying to really grasp what was going on because, come on, I was twelve). I remember transitioning all over the house from the floor of my room to my parents’ bed to the dining room to the trampoline outside.

Q: Which book or series do you read that makes your blood pump and your palms sweaty?

A: Any book that really grips me has the potential to do that. When I get really into the action my whole body will start to shake and I’ll sweat and do that thing where I bounce my leg up and down really hard, bothering anyone who may be sitting near me. Honestly, it’s always best if I read in the privacy of my own home.

The last book to do that to me was Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Stairs.

Q: Which book or series do you think you could implant one of your own characters into? And would you want them to thrive and integrate, or would you want them to burn it all down?

A: To be totally honest, I have a hard time doing that. It’s fun, as a fan, to come up with inter-universe scenarios like who would win or could this character survive and things like that. But it’s different for a creator because things become so much more personal. Of course I’m going to try to figure out how my characters would win/succeed. And most of my characters are much more the “thrive and integrate” types than they are the “burn it all down.” Though I think Field Marshal Tamas would just up and murder everyone he met in Westeros.

Q: Is there a particular author that leaves you thinking: “One day I would like to be able to write just like that?”

A: I’m more of a “one day I’d like to be as successful as him/her.” On the artistic front, I’m fairly self-aware of my strengths and weaknesses (I am less than poetic, but I write very fun stories) and I’m perfectly happy with where I am. I still work to improve both my storytelling abilities and the artistry of my writing but I don’t really covet anyone’s talent.

Then again, ask me this question immediately after I’ve finished a really good book and you may get a totally different answer.

If you want to find out more about Brain and his books you can visit his site at

Our Brian McClellan reviews

The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan

In 2014 I read both of Brian McClellan’s ‘The Powder Mage Trilogy’ books – ‘Promise of Blood’ and ‘The Crimson Campaign’. I loved both of them, though by the end of the second book it had started to lag somewhat. Regardless, that momentary lapse had obviously not stuck with me, as I only just remembered it having checked on my review for it. Instead, I was eagerly awaiting the final book in the trilogy, which was published earlier this year – ‘The Autumn Republic’.Gosh, even the name is awesome, just like the book itse [...]


Read our full review

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan

The alchemy of gunpowder fused with the magic of sorcery. In a time of upheaval, resurgence and corrupted Royalty Privileged, one-man’s love for his lost wife and his country burns and fuels a new order where all can be treated equally.Sometimes to build new you must burn the old.Legends long hidden may rue the day when Old Gods return and Field Marshal Tamas’s coup against a failing, rotten and self-indulgent royalty balances on a knife edge. Tamas must rely on his friends and alienated son Taniel if his people and the Nine Nations are to survive.Initially [...]


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The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan

The Crimson Campaign is the second in the Powder Mage Trilogy and much like The Promise of Blood, it is simply fantastic. Gods, overt and introvert, magic, a struggle for survival and desire for revenge, bundled up across three main story arcs.In the first, Tamas struggles to survive after a massive defeat at the hands of the Kez, trapped behind enemy lines, he and his men travel the long way home, harassed and hurried at every point. In this journey we get to see a lot of Tamas's inner personality coming through, his commitment, conviction and his dedication to the cause, all of [...]


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War Cry by Brian McClellan

There is something tremendously enjoyable about short stories and novellas. They give you a chance to jump in, feet first, right into the deep end, of a world familiar or new, meet new people, and then jump right out again. For many, this is a problem – they would rather a 17-book series with 12 more to follow. There isn’t a problem with that, but it’s not necessarily all that common.Brian McClellan, author of The Powder Mage Trilogy and the new [...]


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Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan

When I first heard that I would be allowed back into the world of Brian McClellan’s guns and sorcery, I was immediately excited. Upon reading the first few chapters, my excitement grew as I realised I was going to be reunited with old friends. Because some of the revelations that graced the pages were unexpected to me, I’m going to warn of spoilers ahead for anyone who reads this review.I consume media in a much different way than I used to. Simply put, I no longer read previews, reviews, blurbs, or much news of any sort, so that when I come to a movie, c [...]


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Uncanny Collateral by Brian McClellan

Brian McClellan, known for his Powder Mage epic fantasy series, gives us something very different in Uncanny Collateral an urban fantasy featuring a bounty hunter/private investigator as the main character. This is a quick read. It’s also an enjoyable urban fantasy adventure with some building blocks that promise interesting turns in subsequent novels.In Uncanny Collateral the main character is Alek Fitz, he works as a collections agent, collecting souls that are owed to certain of the Other. However, Alek is himself enslaved to his boss, so it’s not exactly like he chose [...]


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