Brenchley, Chaz 1959–
Brenchley, Chaz 1959–
(Daniel Fox, Carol Trent)
PERSONAL: Born 1959, in Oxford, England. Education: Attended St. Andrew's University, Scotland.
CAREER: Writer. University of Northumbria, writer-in-residence. Northern Arts, member of advisory panel.
MEMBER: Crime Writers' Association (committee member).
AWARDS, HONORS: August Derleth Fantasy Award for best novel, 1998, for Light Errant; named Northern Writer of the Year, 2000.
(Under pseudonym Carol Trent) Time Again, Fontana (London, England), 1983.
The Samaritan, Hodder and Stoughton (London, England), 1988.
The Refuge, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1989.
The Garden, Hodder and Stoughton (London, England), 1990.
Mall Time, Hodder and Stoughton (London, England), 1991.
Paradise, Hodder and Stoughton (London, England), 1994.
Dead of Light, Hodder and Stoughton (London, England), 1995.
Dispossession, Hodder and Stoughton (London, England), 1996.
Blood Waters (short stories), Flambard (Newcastle upon Tyne, England), 1996.
Light Errant, Hodder and Stoughton (London, England), 1997.
Shelter, Hodder and Stoughton (London, England), 1999.
Author of short stories under pseudonym Daniel Fox.
Author's works have been translated into Swedish.
"BOOKS OF OUTREMER" SERIES
Tower of the King's Daughter, Orbit (London, England), 1998.
Feast of the King's Shadow, Orbit (London, England), 2000.
Hand of the King's Evil, Orbit (London, England), 2002.
The Thunder Sings, Arnold Wheaton (Leeds, England), 1988.
The Fishing Stone, Arnold Wheaton (Leeds, England), 1988.
The Dragon in the Ice, Arnold Wheaton (Leeds, England), 1988.
ADAPTATIONS: Dead of Light and Shelter were optioned for film.
SIDELIGHTS: British writer Chaz Brenchley is a novelist who interweaves the conventions of both horror and crime fiction. In addition to novels such as The Garden, he has also written a trilogy—published in six volumes in the United States—based on the history of the Crusades. His "Books of Outremer" comprises a fantasy series that explores a war between invaders and a native people through a group of individual characters who attempt to balance duty with their private lives. Brenchley has balanced his work in genre fiction with several books for children, and has also published several works of fiction under the pseudonyms Daniel Fox and Carol Trent.
Brenchley was born in 1959, in Oxford, England, where his family lived in a small house with an outdoor toilet and no telephone. He learned to read when he was three years old, taught by his older sister, and soon became an avid reader. Although he enjoyed school when he was younger, he lost patience with it as he aged and left college after two terms at St. Andrew's University in Scotland. At age eighteen, Brenchley decided he wanted to be a professional writer, and he supported himself with odd jobs until he was able to meet his goal. The earliest writing he sold was comprised of romances, fairy tales, true-confession stories, and children's comics. Although they were less marketable, he also wrote poems and the occasional play.
Brenchley was in his early twenties when he learned a London publisher was starting a series of romantic thrillers for which they provided the storyline and then assigned the project to a writer. He was soon writing for the program under a pseudonym, and the project netted him a literary agent, Carol Smith. Smith urged Brenchley to write a purely original novel, and four years later The Samaritan was published. Since that time Brenchley has produced approximately one novel each year, filling his extra time with smaller projects, such as film scripts and children's books.
In his early books, Brenchley combined horror and crime fiction, and focused on serial killers. Two novels that stand out are The Garden and Dispossession, both of which take place in a fictional version of the author's hometown of Newcastle upon Tyne. The first novel is about a self-help group for people who have lost a close relative to murder. Several characters are killed, some in gruesome ways, and Brenchley writes of the town in a dark, despairing tone. The second novel follows lawyer Jonty Marks after he wakes from a serious car crash that has robbed him of months' worth of memories, only to discover that someone appears to be trying to kill him.
Tower of the King's Daughter, the first volume in the "Books of Outremer" trilogy, traces the adventures of Marron, a young novice in the military band known as the Ransomers. Other characters include Julianne, who is destined for an arranged marriage, and Jemel, a member of the attacking force. The small group forms during the first series installment, and travels across the desert to a hidden city over the course of the second book, Feast of the King's Shadow. In this secret place, they must choose their loyalties, and their choice fuels the action of the concluding volume, Hand of the King's Evil. In a review of Tower of the King's Daughter, a contributor for the Emerald City Web site commented that "Brenchley has created a fascinating alternate-world version of the Crusader kingdom and has set up a bunch of interesting plot strands." By the final installment, the reviewer remarked, "I have been very impressed with Brenchley's work. While the general idea of the series—a small group of heroic characters, most of them youngsters, fighting against overwhelming odds to save the world—is certainly the stuff of formula fantasy, there is little formulaic about Brenchley's treatment of the subject matter." Daniel Jolley, reviewing the "Outremer" books for Rambles.net, called Brenchley's series "distinctively literary." Of the final installment, Jolley wrote that while "a couple of the principal character resolution issues were a bit rushed or minimized," nonetheless the book is "a truly fitting conclusion to an extraordinary fantasy series."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Alien Online, http://www.thealienonline.net/ (April 20, 2005), "Chaz Brenchley."
Chaz Brenchley Home Page, http://www.chazbrenchley.co.uk (April 20, 2005), "Chaz Brenchley."
Emerald City Web site, http://www.emcit.com/ (April 20, 2005), review of Tower of the King's Daughter.
Rambles.net, http://www.emcit.com/ (April 20, 2005), Daniel Jolley, review of Hand of the King's Evil.