EREBUS - BIO AND REVIEWS
About The Author
Born in the United Kingdom, Neil Cladingboel moved to Australia with his family in 1961, spending his early years in Woomera, the heart of the Australian Outback, before
settling in Melbourne where he completed his schooling.
After an extensive background in Catering and Hospitality, which took him around the country, Neil embarked on a new career in Real Estate and Land Marketing. Having dabbled
with creative writing and contemporary poetry for many years, publishing Reflections, book one of The Erebus Equilibrium series, in November 2000, was the realization
of a life-long dream.
Neil has since published The Anvil Amulet and Wraith Tide, books two and three of the Erebus series, Tale Spin, a collection of short fiction, and the
short stories, Death Mask, Weatherwood, Ghost of Elysium and Anomaly. The first three books of the Erebus series were recently reprinted in a new
omnibus edition. In 2005, Neil published Bortag's Curse, a companion novel to the series.
Neil is a member of the Australian Horror Writers Association, founder of Equilibrium Books (2002-2016), and was editor of FlashSpec Anthology (2006-2007). He has also contributed stories, articles and reviews to numerous web
sites and e-zines, most notably at SFFWorld.com. He currently resides south of Perth, Western Australia, where he most recently completed the final
Erebus novel, Beloved Sons.
Reviews - The Erebus Equilibrium
A delightful new fantasy saga kicks off in Reflections by Neil Cladingboel, a rising author with a deft touch for mixing bizarre fantasy with scenes of everyday life in
the real world we all inhabit - or think we do, anyhow. His hero suffers a horrendous personal loss in his youth, and struggles to put his shattered life back together;
just when he thinks he's succeeded - with a busy career, a loving wife, and a feeling of peace and happiness to show for his years of dignified grief and hard work - he
discovers his pivotal role in a surreal power struggle, being waged in a parallel dimension by puppet-master forces who could be called angels and demons, alien beings, or raw
forces of dream energy.
Mr Cladingboel's treatment of his protagonist's suffering is nicely handled, never overwrought, and his initial skepticism at the strange events unfolding around him, and
within him, goes on just long enough to make the point. The author really likes his characters, and cares for their welfare, which makes it easy for the reader to do likewise,
and the intrusive dream-beings, who use mirrors and other reflecting surfaces to enter and exit our world (hence, one meaning of the title) are imaginative, complex, and
captivating - particularly once it becomes unclear which side is actually the good, and which is the bad.
This book makes me anticipate the later books in this saga with keen interest, and want to recommend it to other readers with great enthusiasm... so I will.
Neil Cladingboel's Erebus series blends elements of fantasy, science fiction, this world and alternative world realities, the esoteric and the everyday.
It is the story of Jonathan Malone, a young man haunted by guilt as a result of his inadvertent involvement in the death of his younger sister Sarah, when they were both
children. He is projected into Erebus - the alternative world, neither heaven nor hell but in between - through the medium of mirrors. Of course the use of mirrors in a
story is nothing new. Stephen Donaldson has done it in his Mordant novels, but Cladingboel's handling of mirror imagery is quite different, though equally deft and original.
In Reflections, mirrors are not merely a method of passing from one world to another, but also reflectors of various levels of the inner self, and a means of testing
that self. This exploration of the psyche is achieved without portentousness, quite the opposite in fact; this author's language being straightforward but bright and fresh,
his narrative swift and flowing.
Erebus itself is an original concept despite the ancient origins of that name. Though portrayed as a between world, it is not like purgatory, being concerned
not so much with the purging of guilt as with the maintainability of balance. In other words, Cladingboel consciously or unconsciously evokes the hermetic principle - as
above, so below.
Like all good fantasies, Reflections is a struggle between good and evil, between the Keeper and the Watcher, with Jonathan, his father, his wife Alison, and one time
school bully Billy Robinson caught up in the conflict between opposing forces. But just when a 'happily ever after' ending seems imminent there is a twist... on the last page
in fact that opens the whole story out again. The author shows, throughout the book, a mastery of the art of scene and character transition, but this ending is perhaps his
greatest coup, providing a seamless transition into the rest of the series.
Review - Bortag's Curse
A five thousand-year-old prophecy, which foretold the destruction of Bortag and genesis of Erebus, the astral hall of records, holds the key to a long-forgotten mystery of
betrayal, tragedy and revenge in an ancient village. The ancient city of Bortag, home of the moon-worshipping Astronomers' Guild, is the backdrop for this intriguing journey
through Earth's earliest history.
Jonathan Malone, exiled in Erebus, has been assigned the task of researching this ancient culture and uncovering the secrets of Bortag's Curse. Along the way he finds much
more than he expects.
This fascinating tale is a real page-turner; it mixes high fantasy with a sword and sorcery type story set in a imagined Sumer-like village. What is especially
impressive is the way in which it intertwines two seemingly distinct tales.
As the book unfolds there is what seems to be a simple tale of love, hatred and revenge in an ancient village, and at the same time there is another tale of a strange astral
dimension where all records are kept and souls are sent into incarnation to guide and influence man's evolution. Indeed, it seems that life on Earth and other planets
has been created through experimentation and through dubious direction from this other reality.
As these two stories intertwine, we come to see how the reality of this other world impinges on Earth and the way in which these different realities
affect each other. This is a masterfully written piece of fiction which brings together these different storylines into an intriguing tale. It is intelligent and engaging and
mixes together different genres to create quite a unique tale. At times it reads like esoteric fiction with occult and spiritual themes, at other times it is more sword and
sorcery, but it unites these various themes into a work which keeps your attention right to the very last page.
Review - Tale Spin: A Collection of Short Fiction
Tale Spin by Neil Cladingboel does exactly what the title suggests: it puts a great spin on each and every story in the collection. I can only liken this book to a box
of chocolates. Each story in the box is delicious but they are all very different. There's a story to suit everyone's taste here, whether you enjoy fantasy, sci-fi, horror or
even a dash of romance! Of course I have my own personal favourites. These include Nine Lives, Quicksilver, The Yellow Eyes of God, Photo Finish,
and the book's namesake, Tale Spin. In my opinion, The Yellow Eyes of God and Photo Finish deserve a special mention. These stories are absolute gems;
thoughtfully written and wonderfully evocative. The Yellow Eyes of God is quite literally enchanting, and the imagery has stayed with me. The twist-in-the-tale ending
even managed to astound me!
However, where the stories truly excel is the ease with which they are read. You are hooked after the first sentence in each, secure in the knowledge that the author will
spirit you away on a wonderful mini adventure on every occasion. You will read all the tales in a state of anticipation, anxious to discover what surprises Mr Cladingboel has
cooked up for you this time.
Tale Spin is a great introduction to Mr Cladingboel's writing and will surely whet your appetite to such a point that you will start craving more of the same. If this
is the case, then why not try the novels in Cladingboel's Erebus Equilibrium series, and its sequel Bortag's Curse. If you fancy being surprised, saddened,
scared, shocked and stunned, then delve into Tale Spin and indulge in this assortment of sensational tales. A thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining read!