McGarry, Terry

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McGarry, Terry


Born in New York, NY; daughter of an actor. Education: Princeton University, B.A., 1984. Hobbies and other interests: Traditional Irish music, biking, gardening, martial arts.


Home—New York, NY. E-mail—[email protected]; [email protected]


Writer, novelist. Has worked as a bartender, street trader in Ireland, and page proofer for the New Yorker.


Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (served as president and vice president), Authors Guild, Waverly Omnivorous Writers' Workshop.


Anamnesis Press Chapbook Competition, winner, 1997, for Imprinting; three-time Boomerang Award winner, Aboriginal SF readers; Illumination was listed by Library Journal as one of the top five best SF/fantasy titles of 2001.


Imprinting (poetry chapbook), Anamnesis Press (Ridgecrest, CA), 1997.


Illumination, Tor (New York, NY), 2001.

The Binder's Road, Tor (New York, NY), 2003.

Triad, Tor (New York, NY), 2005.

Contributor of short fiction to anthologies, including Blood Muse, Sword and Sorceress 16, The Confidential Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, Outside the Box: The Best Short Fiction from, The Ultimate Halloween, Live without a Net, Women Writing SF as Men, I, Alien, and Dead Cats Bouncing. Contributor to periodicals, including Amazing Stories, Realms of Fantasy, Space and Time, Fantasy, Elysian Fiction, Quantum SF, Aboriginal Science Fiction, Talebones, Magazine of Speculative Poetry, Star*Line, H.P. Lovecraft Magazine of Horror, Fantastic Stories, and Terra Incognita.


Author Terry McGarry is a novelist and short-story writer in the science fiction and fantasy genre. When not writing, McGarry is a musician who plays traditional Irish music in pub sessions and other performance venues.

Liath, the young protagonist of McGarry's debut novel Illumination, has just passed her mage's examination, validating the years of study she has devoted to becoming an illuminator of magical runes. Her success makes her a member of one of the groups that form the triad, magic users who create spells on the human-shaped island kingdom of Eiden Myr. The triad include wordsmiths, who create and shape the spells; binders, who sign the spells into existence; and illuminators, who decorate and illuminate the written scrolls containing the spells. Magic in Eiden Myr is controlled by the Ennead, a group of nine powerful mages who live in the city. To Liath's dismay, shortly after she gains her status as a mage, she loses her Magelight, the inner source of light that gives her magical powers. Stunned and shamed, she travels to the city to petition the Ennead to help her regain her Magelight and abilities. To secure their help, they assign her the difficult task of capturing the darkmage Torrin, who is threatening the Ennead's position by teaching the realm's children to read and think for themselves. On her quest, Liath encounters numerous difficulties, finds herself falling in love with someone she is supposed to hate, and learns more about the world around her, and whether it can be saved or destroyed. Worse, she has to confront her attitudes about the magic systems that govern Eiden Myr, and whether Torrin's efforts to unseat the Ennead are diabolical or heroic. "McGarry's first novel is a beauty, with an exciting plot and characters that capture the heart," commented Paula Luedtke in Booklist. She "demonstrates a powerful skill at storytelling" as well as a "creative approach to the metaphysics of magic," remarked Library Journal critic Jackie Cassada.

In McGarry's next book in the "Eiden Myr" series, The Binder's Road, the realm is feeling the devastating effects of the loss of magic and the overthrow of the Ennead, including drought, plagues, contamination, earthquakes, and other disasters. Multiple factions are at work to influence the realm: some are searching for a binder who can find a way to bring magic back to the world, others are interested in controlling a binder for their own purposes, and still others seek to prevent magic from ever returning. Pelufer, Elora, and Caille, three young girls with potentially strong magical powers, struggle to protect themselves against forces who wish to do them harm, with the help of warrior Louarn. Elsewhere on the island, Lerissa, a surviving member of the Ennead, has made a pact with a group of seaborne warriors who want to conquer Eiden Myr, and female warrior Verlein finds herself involved in a prophecy that predicts she is fated to slay Lerissa. As war threatens, the many characters must do what they must to survive, while serving their role in keeping the island realm safe and intact. Cassada, in another Library Journal review, commented favorably on the novel's "strong characterizations, an intriguing magic system, and powerful themes of justice, rebellion, and forgiveness." Booklist contributor Roland Green observed that McGarry's complex story and multiple viewpoints presents some difficulty for the reader, but concluded "there is no denying the power and fertility of her imagination." Similarly, a Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that the story's complexity makes it challenging to read, but observed that McGarry's "talent for world-building and sure use of language will leave fans … feeling more satisfied than confused."

Magic has been restored to Eiden Myr in Triad, and once again illuminators, wordsmiths, and binders apply their powers and skills. However, the island is still under siege and requires much effort by the protagonists to save the embattled realm. A journey to a haunted land and the use of forbidden magics enlivens a complex narrative of hope and redemption. Readers "will be rewarded by the absorbing metaphysics of this intricate fantasy world," commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer.



Booklist, August, 2001, Paula Luedtke, review of Illumination, p. 2101; March 15, 2003, Roland Green, review of The Binder's Road, p. 1286; November 15, 2005, Frieda Murray, review of Triad, p. 33.

Kirkus Reviews, July, 2001, review of Illumination, p. 905; March 1, 2003, review of The Binder's Road, p. 352.

Library Journal, August, 2001, Jackie Cassada, review of Illumination, p. 170; January, 2002, Rex Klett, Jackie Cassada, and Kristin Ramsdell, review of Illumination, p. 51; March 15, 2003, Jackie Cassada, review of The Binder's Road, p. 119.

Locus September, 2001, review of Illumination.

Publishers Weekly, July 9, 2001, review of Illumination, p. 52; February 17, 2003, review of The Binder's Road, p. 61; October 3, 2005, review of Triad, p. 51.


BookBrowser, (May 2, 2007), Harriet Klausner, review of Illumination.

Eiden Myr Web site, (May 2, 2007).

Green Man Review, (May 2, 2007), Michael M. Jones, review of Illumination.

ReaderCon Web site, (May 2, 2007), biography of Terry McGarry.

Visions, Eidolons, & Chimeras, (May 2, 2007), Terry McGarry home page.