Today, Australian author, Michael Pryor is here to talk about his latest book, Time of Trial. Michael is the author of 24 books and has another two ‘under construction’. I use this term because Time of Trial is Book 4 in Michael’s Steampunk* series, The Laws of Magic.

Michael Pryor’s Laws of Magic is a six book series with each book standing alone within the sequence.

Michael, can you explain how this works?

Time of Trial, like the others has its own story while moving the overall narrative arc forward.

In this one I wanted to continue to explore the relationship between the characters—especially Aubrey and his mother—while also developing the political and magical intrigue.

Can you tell us what Time of Trial is about?

The Laws of Magic series is about young magical genius, Aubrey Fitzwilliam, in a world rather like ours just before World War 1. Aubrey is involved in espionage, plots and counterplots as Dr Mordecai Tremaine (the disgraced ex-Sorcerer Royal) tries to tip the world into war, for his own purposes.

In Time of Trial Aubrey’s mother, a prominent scientist, is invited to Holmland to a great symposium—but Aubrey is suspicious that this is a plot because Holmland is the main nation hurrying toward war, so he goes with her. Once there, he uncovers a plot to assassinate the heir to the throne of Albion, an outbreak of ghosts and ghost catchers, and various schemes, conspiracies and nefarious plans.

As with the other titles in the series, Time of Trial is a Fantasy/Adventure/Comedy/Romance.

Michael, I know that inspiration can come from strange places, but is it true that a thread from this story was inspired by bird poo?

Yes. Inspiration often comes while I’m researching.

I was reading a book about the invention of modern explosives (dynamite etc) and a chapter was devoted to how the procurement of high quality guano (sea bird droppings) was vital as a trigger for World War 1. I couldn’t resist that and so a whole plot thread was born.

In your books, you like to explore how young people cope in challenging circumstances. What traits have you given your main character, Aubrey Fitzwilliam to help him cope?

He is a highly competent seventeen year old. He’s intelligent, witty, dedicated, imaginative, brave and loyal. He’s also impulsive and sometimes over-confident.

What do you like most about Aubrey?

I like him because he has many sides. He’s not perfect, but he always tries hard to do the right thing. He’s a hero, but not an unblemished one.


The House of Legends Kit is a Fantasy Teaching Guide with a special section on Blaze of Glory, the first in the Laws of Magic series:


Michael’s books meet Australian Curriculum standards by providing students with an ‘imaginative learning experience’.

Thanks for dropping in, Michael. It has been fascinating hearing about your series.

Michael is currently editing his twenty-fifth book, Moment of Truth while working on number twenty-six, Hour of Need.

Congratulations to Michael whose book, Time of Trial (published by Random House), was a Notable at this year’s 2010 CBCA Awards.


* Steampunk are books set before the technological age when the main source of power was steam.