November 2, 2016

Impyrium Blog Tour +GIVEAWAY X2!

Welcome to Day #8 of the Impyrium Blog Tour!
To celebrate the release of Imyprium by Henry H. Neff (10/4/16), blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from Henry and 10 chances to win a SIGNED copy of Impyrium, as well as a Grand Prize Giveaway!

Lyrical Beauty:  Lingua Mystica and IMPYRIUM Magic by Henry H. Neff

A few weeks ago, I listened to a podcast called “Imaginary Worlds” which tackles fun questions and themes related to fantasy and science fiction. The topic of the day was magic, and the host interviewed Kingkiller Chronicles author, Patrick Rothfuss, who discussed how various authors approach magic. His take was that magic tends to fall in one of two camps: poetry or science. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings would be an example of poetry, where Gandfalf and others work magic by virtue of some power within their being, or associated with their role or rank. At the other end of the spectrum might be Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series where magic is derived from specific metals and scientific processes. It was an interesting discussion and got me thinking about my own system and the way magic works within IMPYRIUM. My conclusion? I’m a scientific poet. Or a poetic scientist. Take your pick. I do like to have some rules to the magic in IMPYRIUM, a sense of how things work so that readers can grasp what is being achieved, the degree of difficulty, and ranks among practitioners. I think that’s helpful. But I never want to have so many rules that magic is simply another science, no different from chemistry or geology. 

To me, magic must always have an element of mystery and wonder, a glimpse of some hidden aspect of the world or even Creation itself. Rothfuss thought it was silly that magic would have some darker side or inherent cost—after all, chemistry doesn’t. I would disagree for the simple reason that magic isn’t chemistry—it is, almost by definition, not something that can be defined and contained by scientific laws. In IMPYRIUM, magic is tied to one’s soul, and the way in which it’s used can change, disrupt, or even destroy one’s essence. I never want the magic in my stories to be pure science for the same reason that many Star Wars fans were upset when the Force was boiled down to “midi-chlorian count” in later films. The Force—this energy field that surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together—can be counted and quantified? No, thank you. I always want some mystery in my magic, some element of the sacred and even profane. Imagination will always be more powerful than algorithms. In IMPYRIUM, mystics and sorcerers represent both ends of the spectrum. 

Mystics comprise the vast majority of magical humans in Impyrium. They are scholarly, almost scientific practitioners that spend their time trying to learn, master, and add to the mountain of magical knowledge—established spells and alchemical formulae—that exists. Much of their research is spent trying to dissect magic, to find the ideal combination of ingredients, words, and context to maximize an enchantment’s power. In IMPYRIUM, much of this power stems from the concept of truenames, which have a long and celebrated history in mythology, folklore, and fantasy. The basic idea is that everything—every person, creature, even river or tree—has a truename, a sacred word tied to its creation and place in this world. To use a being’s truename is to potentially wield great power over them, or summon them to you. A classic example of this is Rumpelstiltskin, or the superstition of not saying the names of evil things for fear that you will call them. 

If you really want to see an author make marvelous use of truenames, have a look at Ursula LeGuin’s Earthsea series. No one does magic quite as beautifully as she does. And beauty brings us to IMPYRIUM’s sorcerers. They are the poetic savants of the magical world, artistic geniuses whose intuition and instincts are so inspired they can often bypass the tedium of rote spellwork and simply improvise to greater effect. There’s a wonderful scene in the film Amadeus when the older composer Salieri, outraged at having been upstaged by the young pup Mozart, comes across the young man’s latest work. The music is simply beautiful—divine—and Salieri is looking at the original sheets. There are no changes, no scratchwork or second guessing. The music simply sprang from Mozart’s head like Athena did from Zeus’s. Salieri understood that he was in the presence of true genius and that he could never compete with such a prodigy, much less fathom how such a mind worked. Poor, frustrated Salieri was a mystic, and a good one. But Mozart was a sorcerer. I like having that dichotomy in IMPYRIUM. When Hazel Faeregine explains magic to commoner Hob, he can grasp the rules of mystics—the combinations of words, gestures, and components performed by someone possessing the inherent spark (i.e., magic) to catalyze the desired reaction. But when Hazel moves beyond these scientific descriptions and hints at grander designs, the veiled Olympian heights that only sorcerers can glimpse, Hob is understandably lost. His mortal mind can’t comprehend what exists at such a level. And neither can we. And that’s just the way I like it. Want to learn more about magic in Impyrium? Click here and dive into a tale where Old Magic meets new dangers.

Stop by Mundie Kids tomorrow for day #9 of the tour!
Blog Tour Schedule:
October 24thCrossroad Reviews
October 25th — Book Swoon
October 26thLife Naturally
October 27thThe Fandom
October 28thGeoLibrarian
October 31st WordSpelunking
November 1stBookhounds
November 2nd The OWL
November 3rdMundie Kids
November 4thRavenous Reader
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In the first book of Henry H. Neff’s new high-stakes middle grade fantasy series, two unlikely allies confront a conspiracy that will shake the world of Impyrium to its core. For over three thousand years, the Faeregine dynasty has ruled Impyrium. But the family’s magic has been fading, and with it their power over the empire. Whether it’s treachery from a rival house, the demon Lirlanders, or rebel forces, many believe the Faeregines are ripe to fall. Hazel, the youngest member of the royal family, is happy to leave ruling to her sisters so that she can study her magic. But the empress has other plans for her granddaughter, dark and dangerous plans to exploit Hazel’s talents and rekindle the Faeregine mystique. Hob, a commoner from the remote provinces, has been sent to the city to serve the Faeregines—and to spy on them. One wants to protect the dynasty. The other wants to destroy it. But when Hazel and Hob form an improbable friendship, their bond may save the realm as they know it…or end it for good.

About the Author: Henry H. Neff grew up outside Chicago before going off to Cornell University, Impyrium is his second series. The first, The Tapestry, is a five-volume epic that follows the life and adventures of Max McDaniels. He lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with his wife and two sons. You can also find him at where he majored in history. Before becoming a writer, he was a management consultant and also taught history at a San Francisco high school.


  • One (1) winner will receive an Impyrium Prize Pack featuring a collector's box packed with a signed copy of Impyrium, bookmark, poster, Hob temporary tattoo, and a signed sketch by Henry H. Neff (not pictured: bookmark, tattoo, and sketch)
  • Enter via the rafflecopter below
  • US Only
  • Ends 11/6 at midnight ET
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I also have up for grabs a SIGNED copy of the book! 

Must be a US or Canada Resident
Must be at least 13

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