Ruarnon Trilogy Book 1 Description

All roads lead to war.

Nonbinary Ruarnon is determined to prove their worth as heir to Tarlah’s perfect King. Things get complicated when their parents are abducted and they’re left ruling Tarlah in the shadow of impending war, with absent allies.

Neighbouring King Kyura has no intention of invading Tarlah. But his warmongering subjects long for the glory of expansion. When Kyura rejects their calls for war, assassins threaten his family and mutiny threatens his reign.

Stranded Aussie Linh is desperate to return to her family in Australia. But the only transport to her gateway home is Ruarnon’s absent allies, sailing to Tarlah’s aid.

Monsters at sea threaten everyone. Linh’s monster observations could save Kyura’s people, and clear her homeward path. If she risks her life aiding Ruarnon. But to secure peace with Kyura’s unruly subjects, Ruarnon’s ultimate test as heir risks betrayal and Tarlah’s bloody defeat.

Series Info

Manipulator’s War is book one of the Ruarnon Trilogy. For what inspired the world-building and characters, see this blog post.

Text: Manipulator's War (book cover)
Image: red glyphs outline a stone archway, through which fire arrows rain down on torch-lit battlements atop a castle, at night time. Spears in the foreground indicate an advancing invading army.

Of Interest in Trilogy

Manipulator’s War features a diverse cast, including a nonbinary and two aromantic, asexual protagonists with other queer and some neurodiverse representation. Its action-packed and fast-paced, with a complex plot appealing to young adult and adult readers alike.

Manipulator’s War also stars four Australian teenagers, Linh being a Vietnamese Aussie and Michael Aboriginal. The novel begins in a fictional location on the coast of Victoria’s Port Phillip Bay.

The author, Elise Carlson is a nonbinary, asexual, aromantic Aussie whose ADHD assists them to live life at a similar pace to their characters.

What Readers Are Saying

“…a fast paced, engaging story that was hard to put down.”

“…the representation of Ruarnon as nonbinary was amazing.”

“…took me on an emotional roller coaster with every twist and turn.”

“…captivating, immersive and thrilling. I loved the echoes to other great fantasy reads.”

Short Author Bio

Elise Carlson (they/them) is an Aussie YA Fantasy author writing fantastical adventures in between real-world exploration and educating energetic, enthusiastic minds as excited about life as they are -children. Elise has lived in, taught in and explored their native Australia, England and New Zealand. Inspired by studies of the ancient Mediterranean world and their real-life adventures throughout Europe, America, Canada and South-East Asia, Elise enjoys writing adventures and coming of age stories for like minds -the young and young at heart.

Long author bio.

Image: headshot selfie of Elise wearing glasses in the gumtree covered mountains.

Ruarnon Trilogy Book 2 Description

Secrets lie across the seas.

Heir Ruarnon seeks allies to free their parents from unpredictable sorcerer-king Nartzeer. The reclusive Urai are not who they had in mind but can offer far more than Ruarnon anticipates. However, negotiations are interrupted when Nartzeer’s murderous grey-hided damars are sighted sailing towards Tarlah.

The damars’ human handlers are lost Vietnamese-Aussie Linh’s chance to confirm that her gateway home —and sorcerers able (and hopefully willing) to operate it— lie in the dangerous West.

When Linh sets sail to confront the handlers, she learns that magic is very much still wielded on Umarinaris. That some of the Sorcery War’s deadliest weapons survived. And that Nartzeer somehow knows all of this and has his own plans for those weapons.

But is Nartzeer the villain everyone in the East believes? What do his fleets truly seek in the Eastern Seas? And why have the damars become so formidable that they threaten to sink Ruarnon’s ship and overrun all of Ruarnon’s potential allies?

Series Info

Secrets of the Sorcery War is book 2 of the Ruarnon Trilogy.

Text: Secrets of the Sorcery War (book cover)
Blue glyphs in a stone arch frame a pair of tall cliffs, a ship sailing on bright blue water through the gap, into the sunshine of a natural harbour.

What Readers Are Saying

“…continues to paint elaborate lands, vivid imagery, and rich character portrayals…. Overall very well written and easy to lose yourself in the storyline! Cannot wait for the 3rd.”

“This book takes many unexpected twists and turns and keeps you wanting more of the storyline.”

“I really didn’t think the author would be able to top the first book. Somehow they seamlessly pulled it off!”

Book links



Secrets of the Sorcery War on Goodreads

Secrets of the Sorcery War on Bookbub

Ruarnon Trilogy Book 3 Description

Myth says the Guardians ended the Sorcery War by draining all sorcerers of their powers, or killing them. The Guardians then vanished without a trace —and so did magic. But the myths are wrong. Magic wielders lived on in hiding. Now Sorcerer King Nartzeer is recruiting them, in a world that hates and fears their power.

Terrorised by Nartzeer’s pre-emptive strike, Ruarnon’s Guardian-descent-claiming allies set sail to annihilate Nartzeer. Heir Ruarnon hopes to free their family from Nartzeer’s clutches first, but Ruarnon’s uncle won’t abandon the army he commands to slavery.

Lost Aussie Linh is killing two birds with one stone, using her role as Ruarnon’s envoy to potential allies to track down sorcerers to open her magic gateway home. She learns that Nartzeer is rallying a sorcery army while his neighbours mobilise against him, and sorcerers whose awesome power Nartzeer’s ideology undermines, the dreaded God Kings are stirring.

With sorcerers on all fronts marching towards mutually assured destruction, Linh and Ruarnon race to reach Nartzeer with the truth of magical ancestry and allegiance, hoping to unite people who are not so different before they utterly destroy each other.

Series Info

War in Sorcery’s Shadow is Book 3 of the Ruarnon Trilogy, and is available for pre-order. Its anticipated release date is April 16th, 2024.

Text: War in Sorcery's Shadow, coming soon
Image: bright purple glyphs set into stone archway in stone wall, darkness in middle.

Pre-order links



All Online Stor

War in Sorcery’s Shadow on Goodreads

War in Sorcery’s Shadow on Bookbub