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Brenchley, Chaz

Entry updated 29 April 2024. Tagged: Author.

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(1959-    ) UK author, most of whose work has been Horror mixed with fantasy elements, often grounded with Horror-In-Sf rationales; he also writes as by Daniel Fox and Ben Macallan. His novel Mall Time (1991) set a pattern of complexly told tales whose outcomes – in this case unambiguously, as nine separate characters are exposed to a joint terror at the opening of a shopping mall – guardedly though with streetwise gusto expose an underlying bleakness to the world.

His series are various. Ben Macallan, the protagonist of the Northern Lights sequence beginning with Dead of Light (1995), is the scion of a crime lord who uses Magic to dominate a run-down northern City, and must escape his destiny there in the process moving from Young Adult concerns to more gripping dilemmas. It may be presumed that the wisdom he has gained governs the telling of the Jordan and Desdaemona sequence as by Ben Macallan, beginning with Desdaemona (2011), whose young protagonists learn how to come together in a world distorted by supernatural forces; Macallan does not appear in the tales. The Outremer sequence beginning with Tower of the King's Daughter (1998) is set in an Arabian Nights Land of Fable [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below], a domain much sharpened by hints of a circumambient Imperialism that mute the allure of Orientalism. The Selling Water by the River sequence beginning with Bridge of Dreams (2006) is again set in a Land of Fable, perhaps less menacing than the world unfolded in the previous tales.

Brenchley's earliest book of direct sf interest may be Rotten Row (2011), a novella set in a world where Identity Transfer or Upshot can be enacted at will, though the transfers are irreversible: there is no return to the original body; questions of Identity are acutely asked. An ongoing over-series, the Mars Imperial sequence is shaped around a vague Steampunkish Jonbar Point in which the British Empire does not fall but in fact has taken over Mars. The first subseries incorporated into this umbrella premise, the Crater School tales beginning with Three Twins at the Crater School (2021), are Young Adult adventures of coming-of age in a Planetary Romance universe, lightly sketched.

The Daniel Fox fantasy The Wizard, the Farmer, and the Very Petty Princess (2011) is not by Brenchley. [JC]

Charles Brenchley

born Oxford, Oxfordshire: 4 January 1959



Northern Lights

  • Dead of Light (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1995) [Northern Lights: hb/]
  • Light Errant (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1997) [Northern Lights: hb/]


Selling Water by the River

  • Bridge of Dreams (New York: Ace Books, 2006) [Selling Water by the River: hb/Eric Bowman]
  • River of the World (New York: Ace Books, 2007) [Selling Water by the River: hb/Time O'Brien]

Moshui, the Books of Stone and Water

  • Dragon in Chains (New York: Ballantine Books/Del Rey, 2009) as by Daniel Fox [Moshui, the Books of Stone and Water: pb/Robert Hunt]
  • Jade Man's Skin (New York: Ballantine Books/Del Rey, 2010) as by Daniel Fox [Moshui, the Books of Stone and Water: pb/Robert Hunt]
  • Hidden Cities (New York: Ballantine Books/Del Rey, 2011) as by Daniel Fox [Moshui, the Books of Stone and Water: pb/Robert Hunt]

Jordan and Desdaemona

  • Desdaemona (Nottingham, Nottinghamshire: BL Publishing/Solaris, 2011) as by Ben Macallan [Jordan and Desdaemona: pb/Vincent Chong]
  • Pandaemonium (Nottingham, Nottinghamshire: BL Publishing/Solaris, 2012) as by Ben Macallan [Jordan and Desdaemona: pb/Vincent Chong]

The Haunted House of Espérance

  • House of Doors (London: Severn House, 2011) [Haunted House of Espérance: hb/]
  • House of Bells (London: Severn House, 2012) [Haunted House of Espérance: hb/]

Crater School

individual titles

  • The Samaritan (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1988) [hb/]
  • The Refuge (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1989) [hb/]
  • Mall Time (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1991) [hb/]
  • Paradise (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1994) [hb/Steve Crisp]
  • Dispossession (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1996) [hb/]
  • Shelter (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1999) [hb/]

collections and stories


previous versions of this entry

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