Keith, aged 60, said: “The setting is a vast metropolis, a city inhabited by goblins, in the throes of an industrial revolution forged in magic. Manna, magical energy captured in physical form,
fuels its factories to produce artefacts traded across the galaxy. Wizards are the new elite. They use their magical skill to amass great wealth and, in turn, political power. But resentment grows among the mundane goblin proletariat.
“Magic purveys every aspect of goblin life. They use it to communicate by telepathy, control weather and heal the sick. But alongside the benefits come risks: mutation from manna pollution and magical diseases such as vampirism and lycanthropy. But the biggest threat of all is demonic invasion.
“In my story vampires steal a book to summon a demon. Infernal manna finds its way onto the market place with awful consequences.
“My main character Grand Master Pharaoh Henry must recruit a team of demon hunters to stop a full-scale invasion from Hell. But Henry is a dangerous fanatic, and those who work for him end up dead or worse.
“No right-minded wizard would risk death, or losing his soul, so he recruits who he can: a drug addicted augurist, a dishonoured ork, a cowardly policeman, an escaped vampire and a vain fashionista who shares her mind with a demon.
“Against the backdrop of armed revolution, they investigate a Satanic plot in order to prevent the opening of a gate to Hell itself.”
Keith explained: “I first wrote a fantasy story when I was at school in 1976.
“ Like many fantasy writers I started playing the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game around 1975 and enjoyed creating fantasy worlds.
“The starting point of my book is magic works and how it is commonly used: there are a large number of people who can defy the laws of nature by use of their will. So I asked myself the question: how does this affect society?
“I reasoned it would start an industrial revolution; that society would replace manual labour with magical devices. So, then I thought about how would magic affect the areas of communication, transport, production, medicine, law etc.
“I came up with, among other things, The Telepathy Office, The Municipal Weather Machine, Magical Cosmetic Surgery and laws like the Demon Act – and my favourite, The Ungodly Lusts Act (no doing naughty things with vampires).
“I imagined a wonderful society where magic brought happiness to all, but there is no drama in Utopia, so then I thought of what could go wrong. I brought serpents into paradise. ..”
Keith is a first-time author.
“This is my first published book. I spent the first 35 years of my career as a software engineer specialising in artificial intelligence. I had to give up work as a software engineer due to cognitive impairment. I bought a Victorian fruit barrow and started selling fruit on Eastbourne seafront.”
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