Today I am so pleased to welcome Freya Marske to Joyfully Jay. Freya has come to talk to us about her latest release, A Power Unbound, and the Last Binding series.
I absolutely love this series and am so happy Freya is joining us to share her thoughts (you can check out my reviews here). Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
To start us off, can you tell our readers a little bit about the Last Binding series and what inspired the books?
The Last Binding is a historical fantasy series set in Edwardian England, following a group of magical and non-magical allies who are trying to prevent a dangerous ritual from taking place–and who discover a great many unexpected things about the roots of magic and the possibilities of power, along the way. It is ALSO (and some might say, predominantly…) a queer historical romance series where each book gives you the POVs and the romance of a different couple in the group.
I always knew I wanted to structure a series both with linked romances and an overarching fantasy plot; the setting came about largely because I knew that book 2, A Restless Truth, was going to be set on a luxury ocean liner contemporaneous with the Titanic. And all the séances, wallpaper, oak trees, magical manor houses, Victorian pornography and political shenanigans grew outwards from there!
A Power Unbound is the third story in the trilogy. What can we expect for this final story?
This one is much more of an ensemble story than the other two: I’m bringing back all the protagonists and stuffing them into one cranky found family who need to pull off a couple of heists and some daring magical feats, while avoiding the closing net of their ever-more-powerful enemies. You can expect a courtroom drama, a very fancy garden party, magical treasure hunts, and–of course!–one final romance, as well as a good look at how the first two couples are finding their happy-ever-after (hint: busier than expected).
One of the things I have really enjoyed is how each story features a different couple, though they are all connected. I’m super excited for Lord Hawthorne’s story, as I have found him such a fun side character. What can you tell us about him and Alan?
Compared to the other couples, Lord Hawthorn and Alan Ross have a vast difference of class, wealth and life experience to deal with–not to mention the fact that they’ve already rubbed one another thoroughly the wrong way during the events of A Restless Truth. Writing their romance was a chance to really sink my teeth into a relationship that takes explicit power dynamics and shakes them, upends them, plays with them, leans into them, and finally uses them to build a strong place to stand. It’s a romance between two people with very good reasons to avoid vulnerability, and who struggle with trust, but who are utterly perfect for one another.
It’s also, ahem, rather kinky. I nearly burned my fingers on these sex scenes.
The series has an overarching plot involving a threat to the magical world. How do you approach writing a storyline that needs to spread across a series, but still have individual plots for each book?
I made life easy for myself here by taking a time-honoured fantasy/fairytale route of building the plot around three objects of power that need to be gathered together in order to be wielded. One object per book. Done! And that allowed me to work out exactly how the balance of winning-and-losing would shift back and forth between my protagonists and my villains in a satisfying way: who has what, at which point in the series? How does that affect what they do next?
Using a different protagonist pair for each book also meant I could be a bit playful with tone. A Marvellous Light is an intimate book with a sense of play and beauty, whereas A Restless Truth is a more dramatic and chaotic romp; both of those reflect the characters at their heart. I wanted the three books to feel distinct, not just a single volume chopped into pieces due to length, but to also serve you a single satisfying narrative. There are a lot of dangling references and threads in the first two books that I took great pleasure in revisiting or tying up in A Power Unbound.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about A Power Unbound? Where can they find you if they want to learn more about you and your books?
Finishing my first trilogy was a daunting task, but–and I don’t say this lightly–I’m very satisfied with how I pulled it off, and I can’t wait to have the book out there for readers to enjoy. At the moment I’m @freyamarske on Bluesky, Instagram and (sigh) Twitter/X. My website https://freyamarske.com/ also has a link to sign up for my mailing list!
A Power Unbound is the final entry in Freya Marske’s beloved, award-winning Last Binding trilogy, the queer historical fantasy series that began with A Marvellous Light.
Secrets! Magic! Enemies to. . .something more?
Jack Alston, Lord Hawthorn, would love a nice, safe, comfortable life. After the death of his twin sister, he thought he was done with magic for good. But with the threat of a dangerous ritual hanging over every magician in Britain, he’s drawn reluctantly back into that world.
Now Jack is living in a bizarre puzzle-box of a magical London townhouse, helping an unlikely group of friends track down the final piece of the Last Contract before their enemies can do the same. And to make matters worse, they need the help of writer and thief Alan Ross.
Cagey and argumentative, Alan is only in this for the money. The aristocratic Lord Hawthorn, with all his unearned power, is everything that Alan hates. And unfortunately, Alan happens to be everything that Jack wants in one gorgeous, infuriating package.
When a plot to seize unimaginable power comes to a head at Cheetham Hall?Jack’s ancestral family estate, a land so old and bound in oaths that it’s grown a personality as prickly as its owner?Jack, Alan and their allies will become entangled in a night of champagne, secrets, and bloody sacrifice . . . and the foundations of magic in Britain will be torn up by the roots before the end.
Buy Link: Amazon
Freya Marske is the author of A Power Unbound, A Restless Truth, and A Marvellous Light, which was an international bestseller and won the Romantic Novel Award for Fantasy. Her work has appeared in Analog and has been shortlisted for three Aurealis Awards. She is also a Hugo-nominated podcaster, and won the Ditmar Award for Best New Talent. She lives in Australia.