Back in the early 2000s I read a fantasy trilogy and I remember neither the author's name nor the book titles. No series name either, I'm afraid. Here's everything I still remember:

Author, books, setting

  • Male author. Pretty sure he's British and has written other books before this trilogy.
  • Medieval fantasy setting.
  • Each of the three books had a distinct cover color; I remember green, red, and blue. Each of the books had a different single animal centered on its cover. This may not be useful at all since it's probably edition-specific. For what it's worth, I'm sure I bought the mass-market paperbacks.
  • All the books had the same word in the title though I think this may have been edition-specific as well. I'm reasonably sure the UK titles differed from the US titles. Since I live in Europe chances are I picked up the UK titles.

Plot related

  • There is a resistance of sorts.
  • Some people are called spotters because they can identify magic at a glance.
  • Magic might be referred to as glamour, not too sure on that.
  • I distinctly remember some kind of moving city.
  • One of the main characters was portrayed as some kind of barbarian swordsman suffering from blackouts or fits of rage. He might have been called something like Reese and I'm confident that he was kind of immortal.
  • There was an old wizard. He or the resistance might be called Phoenix.
  • I also remember a leader of an army with a weird name starting with Z who was about to destroy all magic, I think. This leader is like an anti-thesis to magic and no magic works in his vicinity.
  • There were also some kind of mercenaries or knights for hire, maybe referred to as clans. I seem to remember a cruel leader with a name like Devon.
  • I'm not too sure on this but magic might just have moved like an underground river or there might have been something like magical ley lines.

I don't remember much from the plot but the barbarian swordsman is looking for the wizard/resistance because he/it might be able to help him with his blackouts. I think he encounters a young boy, who is/will become a spotter, early in the first book and they continue together. The swordsman helps the resistance in exchange for a cure and in the end it turns out he has a lot of magic.

1 Answer 1


This sounds to me like the Dreamtime trilogy by Stan Nicholls. The swordsman is Reeth not Reese. In the first book, The Covenant Rising we meet Reeth early on:

‘Well met, Kutch, even if I’ve come at your time of trouble. I’m Reeth Caldason.’

Recognition dawned on the lad and he gawked at the stranger, saucer-eyed.‘

‘The Reeth Caldason?’

The mage Phoenix is the leader of a group called the Covenant:

‘What do you know about their leader?’ Caldason asked, perhaps to distract him.

‘Phoenix?’ Kutch bucked up a little. ‘Probably no more than you’ve heard yourself. You know; that he, or she, is somebody with great skill in the Craft, and can’t be caught. Can’t be killed either.’

‘How can that be?’ Caldason said, real interest in his eyes.

‘What does it matter? The important thing is that Covenant could be your best chance of aid. They don’t just have the magic, Reeth. They’re patriots, and they oppose Gath Tampoor. Which means they’re a thorn in the paladins’ side. Makes you natural allies, I’d say.

Later on we encounter the spotters:

‘I believe you could be a spotter.’

Kutch didn’t speak. But his face told a story of puzzlement and disbelief.

‘Is somebody going to tell me what a spotter is?’ Caldason asked. ‘And what the hell’s magical sensing?’

Phoenix smiled. ‘Magic gives off a distinctive psychic aroma, for those who can detect it. Such people are very few, and the skill is a birthright; it can’t be taught. The way in which these sensitives perceive the gist of magic varies. Rarest is the gift of spotting. A spotter can see through magic, literally. They can tell glamour from reality, no matter how sophisticated or expensive the spell. It’s an incredibly uncommon ability.’

  • 1
    YES! That's the series. I bought the UK editions which are titled Quicksilver Rising, Quicksilver Zenith, and Quicksilver Twilight. The series is titled — not surprisingly — Quicksilver. Thank you. Now I just have to find them ...
    – JC2k8
    Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 9:28

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