News and Reviews – The Runes of Ire and The Druid

Stephen Anastasi’s first two books are fantasy stories that show the depth and quirky nature of his creative mind. The first books in two different series, they are books that are hard to put down and leave you wanting more.

One of the questions I asked Stephen in our interview was what his greatest joy in writing is. He said, ‘I get excited when I see my work stop a reader in their tracks. One of my sons started reading something of mine once. He was a wriggly kid and I didn’t think he would make it past a paragraph. He kept hitting ‘scroll down’ and couldn’t walk away. He ended up standing up, rocking left and right almost violently with the need to run around, but he just couldn’t.

A while after I shared the Runes of Ire with a few friends, I was at a café, a girl of no more than maybe seven, who I did not know (and certainly thought unable to read this particular book) came to me and looked me right in the eye like a lawyer. ‘You wrote that book?’ she said. ‘The Runes of Ire?’ I said.  ‘Yes,’ she said very seriously, ‘Are you going to write another one?’ So that is my greatest joy – leaving people with a splash of indelible imagined life.’

These books are just the beginning from this author. Expect much more in the future.

Learn more about these two books below.

THE DRUID by Stephen Anastasi (Morris Publishing Australia)

PB RRP $15.95

ISBN: 978-0-9872444-3-7

Age: 9+

The Druid is set in the far distant past and begins with the story of the hardship the main character, Titian, endures. She is a misfit in her world. A simple, poor, sheep herder, she is mistreated by many. She lives in fear of the monsters who roam her world snatching children as slaves – or to eat, she fears. The girl has a secret that she is hiding from her tribe – a secret that will mean being outcast – or worse – if she is discovered. But she just can’t stop what she is doing. Only her best friend Myriam knows her secret.

Then they come – the dreaded Swarthymen. She runs for her life but is captured by someone from another tribe. Friend of foe – she has no way of knowing.

This incident leads to the exposure of Titian’s secret. She must flee her tribe to escape certain death, and to save her best friend. The books contain magic, but not the usual wand waving kind. It is a magic that comes from within and is possessed by few. The druids believe Titian has this magic. Her adventure leads her through war, capture, and escape, to the discovery of the Land of the Rainbow’d Sun – a land of dragons and strange and scary creatures, but a land where she hopes she and her new tribe, the druids can live in peace.

Titian is a strong, loyal and exciting character. Even though this book is set in the far distant past, it is a coming of age story that deals with many of the issues our present day children face – overcoming adversity, the bravery to be who you are, being a loyal friend, and the courage it takes to fight for what is right. It is the first book in a series titled The Land of the Rainbow’d Sun. It will appeal to readers from 9 years.

THE RUNES OF IRE by Stephen Anastasi (Morris Publishing Australia)

PB RRP $17.95

ISBN: 978-0-9872444-2-0

Age: 9+

The Runes of Ire is the story of a present day boy who has trouble fitting in. His world is only sketchily understood by him, and in particular, it seems that he just don’t fit into this universe. He is always late, he gets G’s and H’s in class, he is monstered by bully Thatch Huddersby and his gang, and his teacher seems to like nothing more than to point out his defects in front of the class. And on top of that, his father has gone missing. The reality is that he really doesn’t fit into this world. There is a good reason for that. Unknown to him, his family came here from a place properly far away – a world in the 4 ½ dimension. It is when Garney ‘comes into his twelfth’ that his life changes. This extract from the book explains it better than I can:

‘In the Barnicoat family, this means inheritance, boy!’ his Uncle Horvest had impressed on him many times. ‘It means the House of Two Rooms! It means you’ll come into your Coat!’ Uncle Horvest often spoke with exclamation marks. How one could ‘come into a coat’. Garney had no idea. He had asked, but Uncle Horvest clammed up—only ‘Twelvers’ and over were allowed to visit or even talk about it. There was something secret about Two Rooms.

His adventure begins in Two Rooms and takes him on a rollicking fast paced journey into the 4 ½ dimension where everything is nothing like it seems. To talk more about this book would be to give away too much of the plot, but suffice to say, it contains all the elements that children (and we big children) love – magic, dragons, wild and amazing creatures and villains. But none of these things have been dealt with in the usual manner. There is no waving of magic wands and fighting dragons with swords etc, but you will not be disappointed in the originality used to include these tried and true elements. It is also a coming of age story and explores the depths this boy will go to, to protect his physically handicapped cousin who joins him on this adventure. Garney Barnicoat is strong, loyal and admirable. He carries the weight of a civilization on his young shoulders and takes it all in his stride.

It is the first book in a series titled The Mathemagicians of Yore. It will appeal to readers from 9 years.

The Runes of Ire and The Druid are available from your local bookshop. They may not be in stock, but the store can order it through distributor Dennis Jones and Associates. They are also available in many on-line stores as a paperback and as an eBook. Signed copies can be purchased from

You can win a signed copy of either book in a competition we are running as a part of this promotional tour. One of each book is up for grabs. To go in the draw, simply go to the website by the link above and on the contact page form write: Stephen’s competition, your name, email address, and your book preference.


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