Liam O'Rahally

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Uilliam Óg "Liam" O'Rahally (born 1952) is a former journalist who has gained fame as the author of a best-selling series of fantasy novels, called the Chronicles of Dracea.

Early Life

O'Rahally was born in New Amsterdam to Aingeal and Uilliam O'Rahally but moved to the town of Goodkind, Massachussets Bay when Liam was ten. Mildly dyslexic, the boy was the subject of ridicule from teachers and students at school. Eventually, he won a scholarship to Constantine and Mary College in Virginia where he became editor of the student newspaper, the “Announcer.” Graduating in 1976, O'Rahally moved to Mobile where he taught English for two years before getting a job in the local television news station. This was only part-time but he persevered and by 1981 was a full-time anchor in the town of Arkham. In 1984 he moved to Scranton Pennsylvaania where he worked at local television affiliate until 1987, when he was dismissed. He himself claims the matter was one of cowardice on the part of his employers who refused to air an editorial he had written. They maintain said editorial—regarding Pope Gregory XVIJ—violated their ethical standards of reporting. O'Rahally, who had become increasingly strident as his personal philosophy developed, was known for being hyper-critical of all religion.

But it was in 1989 that O'Rahally published his first novel and his new career began.

The Chronices of Dracea

Dracea is a land in the equivalent of the Middle Ages, but with strong hints throughout that it is in our own world many thousands of years hence. Other than humans, Dracea is also the home of Elves, Dwarves and Trolls. Centuries before the first book, Dracea had enjoyed something of a Golden Age, ruled by a line of brilliant Wizard Kings. But a sorcerous tyrant named the Hierarch had used religion to convince everyone magic was evil, thus overthrowing the Wizard Kings and destroying much knowledge.

The Sword of Dracea is the first book in a trilogy, about an orphan lad named Radam accepting the fact that he is one of the rare few capable of learning magic, and thus challenging the evil Hierarch. Along the way, Radam is helped by a heretic monk who has learned what he could of magic, named Brodorol. Radam's childhood friend Jarmund accompanies the pair, who are eventually joined by a band of outlaws against the Hierarch--a warrior named Voris, a elf-maiden named Nimuelle, and an elderly dwarf named Osk. Together they find a way to the isle of Wir Wonir, an enchanted place where the fabled Sword of Dracea awaits a promised one to reclaim the power of the Wizard Kings.

The book was a huge hit, not only in the NAL but in nations from Louisianne to Xliponia. In the wake of the fall of the SNOR it became a best-seller in many Eastern European countries as well, such as Oltenia and the RTC.

Little wonder then that in 1992 The Pillars of Dracea came out and was just a big a hit. In "Pillars" Radam must forge an Alliance of Free Peoples (Men, Elves and Dwarves) against the Trolls and their master the Hierarch.

The year 1997 saw publication of The Forge of Dracea, about the ultimate battle between the Hierarch's slave armies (aided by his most dreadful servants, the Shadowmocks) and the Free Alliance. The climax takes place in the Hierarch's Fortress of Woes.

O'Rahally stated several times that he intended to finish his trilogy but go no further. However, in 2000 he published Temple of Dracea, in which Radaris, son of Radam, must save the realm from a newly risen dark lord, The Gray One, who starts converting whole villages into the living dead. Radaris is accompanied by the immortal elf-maiden Nimuelle, Osk's son Garaal, his bodyguard Sir Elson and his best friend, the jester Dwelf.

The sequel, titled Blood of Dracea came out in 2004, telling of The Gray One's minions invading the horselands of Thoss and the war to defeat them. One element that recurs is the rescue by Radaris of Aureen, a Thoss maiden with whom he has fallen in love.

Next in the series will be Chains of Dracea, due out probably in 2007.

Criticism

Many critics decry the The Chronicles of Dracea as a blatant ripoff of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings or, an idea O'Rahally fiercely denies. In fact, he is on record as calling Tolkien "an inferior thinker and mediocre poet," while claiming that what he writes should not be considered fantasy at all. "I write books about ideas," he said in a 1999 interview for NAL Today, "about people worthy of having story told of them. Heroes, in other words." He is also extremely critical of author Morgan Peake whose works he called "the symptoms of a literally disintegrating psyche."

O'Rahally has also complained that the hit motion pictures War in the Heavens are nothing more than plagiarized versions of his own books.

Among those who dislike O'Rahally and Dracea are those who complain of poor world-building coupled with overt messages. O'Rahally is an ardent advocate of Neocapitalism and once considered running for the House of Delegates on the Adullumite Republican ticket. He has called the current NAL government "a hopeless collection of cowards, eager for the anonymity of an anthill" adding "that is why the mainstream of this corrupt, relativistic, collectivistic culture attacks me."

He grants very few interviews but has sometimes contributed editorials to magazines such as Dandy. One of them insisted all forms of monarchy were symptoms of mental illness. Another called for the death penalty for what he called "cultural corruptors" among whom he included homosexuals, pacifists and teachers who are also members of any clergy.

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