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School alumnus ‘excited’ ahead of novel publication

8 December 2023

A photo of a female holding a book and smiling at the camera.
Makenzie Marshall holding her new book, 'A Song of Ruin and Rage'

A former student at the School of Welsh has written a novel which is due to be published in the coming weeks.

A Song of Ruin and Rage’, written by Makenzie Marshall, is the first novel in a six-part series entitled ‘A Quest for Sleeping Dragons’. The series is a Welsh myth-inspired epic fantasy somewhere between ‘romantasy’ and ‘grimdark.’

A Song of Ruin and Rage’ follows four protagonists who all have connections to the Otherworlds as a radical religious group, The Cult of Undoing, begins to grow in power, threatening their lives and The Balance of the Three Worlds.

An image of a book cover. On the cover is an angel with a castle in the background.
Makenzie Marshall's new novel, 'A Song of Ruin and Rage'

Talking ahead of the publication, Makenzie said: “This book, and the series it is a part of, was born from my love of Wales, from my passion for the language, history, and folklore of the Welsh people.

“I set out specifically to create my own world, and my own characters, magic system, creatures, etc, inspired by largely medieval and early modern period Welsh materials. However, I did not want to just retell the stories of the Mabinogion or reimagine the source material in a modern light. I wanted to show how these sources can be used as a fount of inspiration, a wellspring for new work rooted in older allusions, themes, creatures—and sometimes, even characters.”

A photo of a female smiling at the camera. The female is wearing glasses.
Makenzie Marshall

Makenzie is a former student at the School of Welsh who studied an MA in Welsh and Celtic Studies between 2021-2022 and says the course content helped her develop some of the novel’s characters.

She says: “My MA course indirectly provided me with the creation of one of my main, and most popular, characters, Tali daughter of Talhern. She came to life as the course covered the role and work of medieval Welsh bards. Tali’s name is nod to medieval Welsh bards Taliesin and Talhaearn, and her status as female bard is inspired by the work of Gwerful Mechain.

“Another of my characters, and one of my personal favourites, was born from my studies of the history of the Welsh language. My character Drysïen was named from an Old Welsh word for ‘thornbush/briar/bramble.’”

Writing has always been one of Makenzie’s passions with her writing her first book at the age of 10. ‘A Song of Ruin and Rage’ is the sixth novel for Makenzie to write to completion.

A Song of Ruin and Rage’ will be published independently by Makenzie through KDP and Ingram Spark and will be published around the world on 27 December. To celebrate its publication day, a book launch party will be held at Storyville Books in Pontypridd on 27 December where sections of the novel will be read.

Congratulations on your achievement, Makenzie!

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