Author Interview: Gareth L. Powell


Picture © Gemma Beynon

Today I am interviewing Gareth L. Powell, author of the new science-fiction novel, Embers of War, first book in the Embers of War trilogy.

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DJ: Hi Gareth! Welcome back again for another interview

For readers who aren’t familiar with you or may have missed our previous chat, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Gareth L. Powell: I’m a novelist. I mostly write science fiction, but I’m also trying to branch out into crime/thrillers. I’ve been lucky enough to win a BSFA Award and be a finalist for the Seiun Award in Japan. I’m the author of the novels Embers of War, Ack-Ack Macaque: The Complete Trilogy, and The Recollection, among others.

DJ: What is Embers of War about?


Gareth: At its heart, Embers of War is the story of a group of misfit characters searching for atonement and meaning in the wake of a particularly brutal war. It’s also a story about loyalty, forgiveness, and the families we create for ourselves. And it features some insane space battles.

DJ: What were some of your influences when writing Embers of War and the trilogy?

Gareth: I wasn’t consciously channeling any particular influences while writing the books, but I’m certain books such as Nova by Samuel Delany, the entire Culture series by Iain M. Banks, and maybe Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice unconsciously influenced them.

DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them? 

Gareth: The main character is the sentient warship Trouble Dog. During the war, she was a heavy cruiser—a machine with the capacity for unimaginable destruction. Unfortunately, because part of her neural architecture runs on cloned human cells, she accidentally grew a conscience. And following a devastating war crime, she turns her back on the military and sets out to do some good in the world. However, she’s still a warship t heart and has to contend with her military conditioning and conflicted loyalties. One the one hand, she’s this incredibly powerful weapon, and on the other she’s like a confused fourteen year-old girl.

DJ: What is the world and setting of the Embers of War trilogy like?

Gareth: The galaxy in Embers of War is split into various territories. The Multiplicity contains all the known species. Within this, the Human Generality contains all the territory claimed by the human race. And within that, there are various factions, such as the insular Conglomeration and the more freethinking and inclusive Outwarders. Three years before the start of the story, the war between the Conglomeration and the Outwarders came to an abrupt halt after a shocking war crime. Both sides are still suspicious of each other, but the war has turned cold and humanity is starting to pick up the pieces.

DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Embers of War?

Gareth: I find it difficult to say what my favourite part of writing the book was, as I enjoyed it all. The characters were fun to write, and there are some big set pieces that were a joy from start to finish.

DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?

Gareth: I hope they will be talking about the characters, and the various journeys they undergo. And I hope they will be suitably mind boggled by some of the settings and action sequences.

DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began the Embers of War trilogy? Embers of War is only the first book, but is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?

Gareth: Most space opera I have read seems to concern itself with the build-up towards a devastating interstellar war. I very much wanted to write something set in the aftermath, and find out what happened to the soldiers on both sides who committed these acts, and the officers who gave the orders. It’s about the liner effects of war, and the hope that however bad things have been, you still have a chance to reinvent yourself and find whatever comfort you can.

DJ: Now that Embers of War is released, what is next for you?

Gareth: I have written the second book, Fleet Of Knives, and made a start on the third, Light Of Impossible Stars. I’m also working on a crime novel.

DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?

Amazon Author Page:
Author Newsletter:



DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!

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*** Embers of War is published by Titan Books and is available TODAY!!! ***

Buy the Book: 

Amazon | Barnes & NobelGoodreads | Kobo

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F9FB6AB0-FF53-4168-92ED-AE6D9C11471FAbout the Book:

The warship Trouble Dog was built and bred for calculating violence, yet following a brutal war, she finds herself disgusted by conflict and her role in a possible war crime. Seeking to atone, she joins the House of Reclamation, an organisation dedicated to rescuing ships in distress.

But, stripped of her weaponry and emptied of her officers, she struggles in the new role she’s chosen for herself. When a ship goes missing in a disputed system, Trouble Dog and her new crew of misfits and loners, captained by Sal Konstanz, an ex-captain of a medical frigate who once fought against Trouble Dog, are assigned to investigate and save whoever they can.

Meanwhile, light years away, intelligence officer Ashton Childe is tasked with locating and saving the poet, Ona Sudak, who was aboard the missing ship, whatever the cost. In order to do this, he must reach out to the only person he considers a friend, even if he’s not sure she can be trusted. What Childe doesn’t know is that Sudak is not the person she appears to be.

Quickly, what appears to be a straightforward rescue mission turns into something far more dangerous, as Trouble Dog, Konstanz and Childe, find themselves at the centre of a potential new conflict that could engulf not just mankind but the entire galaxy.

If she is to survive and save her crew, Trouble Dog is going to have to remember how to fight.


Picture © Gemma Beynon

About the Author:

Gareth L. Powell is an award-winning author from the UK. His alternate history thriller, Ack-Ack Macaque won the 2013 BSFA Award for Best Novel, spawned two sequels, and was shortlisted in the Best Translated Novel category for the 2016 Seiun Awards in Japan. His short fiction has appeared in a host of magazines and anthologies, including Interzone, Clarkesworld, Solaris Rising 3, and The Year’s Best Science Fiction, and his story ‘Ride The Blue Horse’ made the shortlist for the 2015 BSFA Award.

Most recently, he has written a trilogy of novels for Titan Books: Embers Of War (2018), Fleet Of Knives (2019) and Light Of Impossible Stars (2020).

He is also writing a crime thriller.

He can be found on Twitter via @garethlpowell

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13 thoughts on “Author Interview: Gareth L. Powell

  1. This sounds really interesting. He had me at ‘insane space battles.’ And I like the sound of Sentifnt warship even more!


  2. And by sentifnt my fat fingers actually meant ‘sentient’

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sjhigbee says:

    I love the sound of this one – and thank you for an excellent interview. It doesn’t hurt that Gareth is a thoroughly nice bloke – I’ve met him at several Fantasycons:).


  4. Off The TBR says:

    Wow I’m really intrigued by this one. Adding another to the TBR.


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