With The Edge (paperback, Kindle) writer Tim Lebbon is concluding the urban fantasy trilogy he began with 2017 Relics and continued a year later with The Folded Land. In the following email interview, Lebbon talks about how The Edge connects to the previous books, how best to enjoy them, and if this really is the end of the story.
I’d like to start with some background on this series: What is the Relics trilogy about, and when and where is it set?
The trilogy is a contemporary fantasy set in a world where a trade in relics of mythical creatures exists. But early in the first book, Relics, we discover that some of these creatures are actually still alive, hiding from humanity…and some of them want to rise to prominence once again. The first book is set in the UK, while The Folded Land and The Edge are both set in the USA.
And then, aside from being the third and final book, what is The Edge about, and how does it connect, both narratively and chronologically, to the previous books, Relics and The Folded Land?
It’s a direct follow-on, starting a couple of years after the end of The Folded Land. All three books form one story, so The Edge is the drawing together of disparate story threads, edging closer than ever to the final confrontation between humanity and the Kin, those mythical creatures that want to emerge out of the shadows they’ve been hiding in for so long. There are characters on both sides — human and Kin — who want to prevent this from happening, because they understand the bloodshed it might cause.
Those previous novels were said to be urban fantasy tales. Is that how you see them and The Edge?
Honestly, I don’t really categorize my work while I’m working on it, that’s something that happens afterwards when the publishers begins their work on it, and readers start reading it. Relics was set in London so I guess that’s why it is considered an urban fantasy, but books 2 and 3 are set more in wilderness areas. Urban Fantasy is a name I’m happy with, but I’ve no strong opinion on how people see these books.
Are there any writers, or specific stories, that were a big influence on The Edge but not on Relics and The Folded Land? Or, for that matter, on anything else you’ve written?
Not that I can really think of. Like most people I’m a product of my experiences, and what I read and see, and plenty of things probably inform what I write without my consciously acknowledging them.
How about non-literary influences, such as movies, TV shows, and video games?
Same answer as above.
As we’ve been discussing, The Edge is the third and final book in the Relics trilogy. Which means there will be people who will consider reading all three books back to back. Do you think this is the best way to experience this story?
Yes, I think it would be a better way to read them, but only because of the details, characters, and everything else that might slip from memory. I wrote these books over the space of three years or more, and returning to start work on The Folded Land or The Edge meant I had to reread the previous books before I could really begin so that I could pick up on details, clues, and perhaps notes or ideas I’d seeded into one book that I wanted to continue in the next. So as a writer, I almost wish I’d written them one after another, and as readers I think that’d be the way to get the most out of them.
And is this actually the end of the story? I ask because some writers have expanded their trilogies with side stories or sequel trilogies.
I’ve no plans to write anything more set in this world. A trilogy is hard work, partly because of the reasons in the previous answer, and partly because I have so many other stories I want to tell.
Earlier I asked if The Edge had been influenced by any movies, TV shows, or video games. But has there been any interest in adapting The Edge — and the rest of the Relics trilogy — into a movie, show, or game?
There was a bit of interest in a TV adaptation a couple of years ago, but that went quiet. I think the story would make a great TV series.
If the Relics trilogy was to be made into a TV show, who would you like them to cast in the main roles?
Wow that’s a tough one. Okay. Mallian would be Rory McCann, The Hound in Game Of Thrones. Lilou would be Gemma Arterton [The Girl With All The Gifts]. Vince would be Idris Elba [Star Trek Beyond] or maybe James McAvoy [Atomic Blonde]. Angela would be Halle Berry [John Wick: Chapter 3]. I can dream, right?
Finally, if someone enjoys The Edge, and they’ve already read Relics and The Folded Land, which of your other novels would you suggest they read next and why that one?