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White Raven: Sword of Northern Ancestors by Irina Lopatina. 

Title: White Raven: Sword of Northern Ancestors
Author: Irina Lopatina
Genre: Fantasy
Synospis: The fate of Areya rests with the lost sword Urart. Will White Raven retrieve it before it's too late?

In the kingdom of Areya, humans, animals, and the magical creatures that inhabit the Eternal Forest have long coexisted peacefully, but now something is horribly wrong. A terrifying stream of monstrous creatures has begun to emerge from the secret depths of the earth, terrorizing all of Areya's native inhabitants. From the tiny, wise drevalyankas to the bellicose cave-dwelling gnomes to the devious kikimoras who gather roots and herbs in the marsh, everyone is in danger.

With the aid of Urart, the magical sword that has been passed down from the time of the ancient northern ancestors, Grand Duke Vlady can offer temporary protection to his people. But Prince Vraigo, Vlady's nephew, who is endowed with magical power himself, understands that the source of the evil monsters must be found if there's any hope of survival. Along with a motley crew of his forest-dwelling friends, Vraigo sets off on a perilous quest in search of the koschei, the powerful, corrupt Archmagus whose mission is the destruction not just of Areya, but of the entire world.

As if this weren't bad enough, Urart disappears from the duke's stronghold. Without it, Areya is doomed, and only Vraigo, the White Raven, can possibly get the sword back. This journey requires Vraigo to use all of his keen wits and magical abilities, as well as to ally himself to dangerous creatures like yagas and werewolves, natural enemies of man, and precipitates the young prince into the most bewildering, complex challenge he has faced yet: life in the twenty-first century.

{ About the Author }

Irina Lopatina lives and works in Siberia, Russia, but her homeland has an even more wonderful and exotic name: Altai. It is a unique place where old Altai Mountains rise high up to the sky, centuries-old forests stretch out as in ages past, and mighty Siberian rivers flow along the plains. Altai is one of the few places in the world where huge, densely populated cities coexist with pristine wild places. Moreover, this is an area of the earliest human civilizations, through which the great migration of people from eastern lands to Europe once took place.

While studying at the Altai State University, Irina devoted much attention to the past of her native land. As a student, she went to the archaeological sites of ancient settlements located on the mountain plateau, where it was only possible to arrive on foot. She remembers moments when it was quite easy to imagine how the ancient people had lived, what creatures neighbored them, and what adventures took place in these vast spaces. Irina needed take only a small leap from there to White Raven, his friends, and his enemies who were ready to begin a journey through the Eternal Forest of Areya.

Of course, it would have been much more difficult for her to create her stories if Irina had not been inspired early on by the works of many excellent fantasy and science fiction writers such as J.R. Tolkien and Ursula Le Guin, the Russian authors Nick Perumov and Svyatoslav Loginov, as well as the wonderfully charming Russian fairy tales where a brave prince, his faithful grey wolf and the evil koschei always live. And so it happens that Irina's novels are the stories of a distant, semi-fantastic land which, who knows, may still exist next door to us.

{ Author Interview }

Irina Lopatina is the author of, White Raven: The Sword of Northern Ancestors, set for release July 2012 by Light Messages Publishing. She also recently published Tales From The Frog Forest, a collection of children's stories about three unlikely playmates who learn to get along through hopping, flying, and running.

Irina lives in Siberia, Russia, near the ancient Altai mountains, a setting she says provides perfect inspiration for fantasy stories. We recently interviewed her about her writing and the source of her deeply creative stories. Join us as she discusses why she writes, how she finds her characters, and offers some advice for young authors.

Please note: Irina speaks and writes only in Russian. Her answers here were translated by Dmitry Lopatin, the translator of White Raven: The Sword of Northern Ancestors and Tales From The Frog Forest.

A.   This did not happen in a day. There always were various stories occurring in my head, and one day I decided to write them down on paper.
2. Which writer, if any, would you compare yourself to?

A.   I did not try to follow the style of other authors. I write as I think, so the readers can learn much more about me from my books than from an interview (joking).

3. If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?

A.   I am a historian by education, so I would continue teaching history at a college.

4. What is your all time favorite book and why?
A.   I would say it is The Twelve Chairs, a classic satirical novel by Russian authors Ilf and Petrov. These authors have the most keen wit in my opinion. I would also mention sci-fi novels of the brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Russian science fiction authors, because I think they are some of the most creative authors. All their novels differ from each other and have well-constructed concepts of fantastic reality.

5. Do you have any advice for budding young writers?
A.  Just start writing, and in the process you will see if you can become a writer. 

6. What inspired you to write White Raven?
 A.  The classic fantasy novels that I read, Russian fairy tales, and the knowledge of the history of different nations.

7. What’s your favourite film adaption of a book?

A.  Probably, I will not be original here – it is a screen version of The Lord of the Rings, directed by Peter Jackson. It impresses me with its meticulously worked out details that were described by J.R.R. Tolkien in his book.

8. Which character from a book, if any, would you most like to trade lives with?

A.  When I was a little girl, I really wanted to be Dorothy from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. And I even asked my friends to be Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Toto. ;)

9. What are you working on next?

A.   I have a rule not to reveal the secrets of a book that is not yet completed. When the book is ready, you will definitely get to know everything. (Hint: White Raven fans should be pleased with my project.)

 10. And lastly, If you could live in any other era, which would you choose?
A.  I am familiar a little with the past of mankind because of my education, but its future is a big secret.  So, I like to live at present and see how the world is changing.

{ About the Illustrator }

Even as a child, Igor Adasikov knew that he would be an artist.

While studying at an art school, he devoted much of his time practicing classical drawing, seeking to depict the world around him as fully as possible. His works often won awards in Russian art contests, and he continued his education at Moscow Art Institute. After graduating from the Institute, Igor worked as an artist preferring realistic painting, such as portrait and landscape. However, his rich imagination still needed an outlet and manifested itself in full while illustrating the fantasy novel, White Raven: The Sword of Northern Ancestors.

Here, in the surprising fairy-tale world, void of any boundaries, the artist found the nourishment to feed his creativity. Having traveled with the heroes through the whirlwind of adventures, he worked to give readers a visible image of Areya, bringing to life the magical creatures that inhabit the land, and making friends with the heroes of this fascinating story.

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  1. Irina Lopatina29 July 2012 at 12:45

    Thank you, Laura, for the opportunity to talk to your readers.


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