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The Kraken Imaginary

Corax, Master Logician and investigating philosopher, travels far over land and sea to intervene in the trial of a woman. She’s a bard of uncommon skill, celebrated across the known world, but that means nothing to the fanatic monks who hold her imprisoned on their remote island. They’ve deemed her seductions and heresies a corrupting influence; she must pay for her transgressions. The desperate Corax finds unexpected allies, members of a shadowy organization called The Kraken Imaginary. They conspire to release the bard from her stone cell and escape together. The bard waits, impatient, composing satires. She expects nothing less than rescue, but she has a mission to complete; she must see the fabled kraken in the flesh. Does it lurk within a sea-filled grotto under the island, as the bard believes? A trans-species communion is worth the risk of descent, she thinks. But the kraken is not a creature of trifles, not a monster to arouse without consequence. What follows is an epic tale, as a warrior and a lapsed monk join Corax to journey across a continent, fending off stone giants, pirates, the manipulations of gods, and the perils of war. Their quest for belonging in an unjust world takes them into the bowels of the earth where darkness and chaos reveal wondrous secrets. They are driven in pursuit of elusive dreams, dedicated to fealties they barely understand. Despite their doubts, there is no course but onward into realms of mystery and magic. Will they find identity, love, or even friendship? Or will they perish, done in by the violence of the world? Melding myth and philosophy, Wright’s thrilling novel accompanies the eccentric triad as they venture into the tentacular unknown.

May 2022 from Montag Press, San Francisco.

KATHY BROWN, award winning author of The Big Cinch, had this to say:

"Three interrelated second-world fantasy novellas comprise The Kraken Imaginary. Each main character steps up to narrate a tale—Corax, the philosopher, Diarmuid, the cleric, and Marianne, the fighter. The reader is treated to wonderfully rendered characterization and worldbuilding, exciting plots and suspense, and rich growth for each character as an individual as well as part of the Kraken Imaginary team. Given the fantasy world, quest narrative, and adventuring party composition, I felt like I was part of a particularly well-run roleplaying game!

Corax narrates the first novella, in which they meet The Kraken Imaginary team and the actual kraken. Corax begins a process of self-discovery, a continuing theme throughout the three stories.

The second story takes both dark and farcical turns as Corax, Diarmuid, and Marianne accept a series of increasingly bizarre quests to lift a curse.

The third tale might be my favorite, in which Corax and Marianne travel with some new companions through a war-torn land, growing and changing in amazing ways.

While telling exciting stories, the book also examines what it means to be a man, a woman, a hermaphrodite, a human, or a kracken. (Also, an elephant, a goat, a goddess, a pirate, a warrior, etc.) Yet all deep dives into character are organic to the story and unfold naturally.

Although The Kraken Imaginary is fantasy book, it manages to build a convincing world grounded in natural science, biology, and health sciences. The writing is strong and self-assured, and the voice has a sassy contemporary attitude that works surprisingly well in this fantasy setting.

The Kraken Imaginary is an amazing fantasy story you won’t easily forget. Sure to top my Best of 2022 list."


"James Wright’s The Kraken Imaginary is a dynamic, fluid, sexually enlightened romp through a Terry Pratchett-esque world slightly to the left of our own. At the intersection of mythology and fantasy, filled with arresting locations and characters you immediately fall for, the book guides you confidently through a tale of gods and goddesses and the passions of the mortals at the mercy of their whims. Wright’s intelligent and heartfelt prose paints a story that is both classic fantasy and relevant to today set in an upbeat and refreshing world where kindness, love, and compassion are the hallmarks of heroes."
- W.V. Fitz-Simon,
The Witch of Cheyne Heath series

"The Kraken Imaginary is an immersive adventure that threads in unpredictable ways through tales enlivened by familiar and yet newly imagined myths, monsters, and gods. The story is told from the first-person perspectives of three charming characters as they make their way into and out of a series of surreal events that turns their world, and everything in it, upside down."
- Ben Stapp, composer of the “
Imaginary Kraken” and the opera “Myrrha’s Red Book

"James Wright’s
The Kraken Imaginary is a tale of the weirdly wonderful presented in three parts set in distinct locations, delighting the reader with a highly entertaining blend of myth, folklore, and adventure. That said, The Kraken Imaginary takes us far beyond the confines of much fantasy literature, providing the reader with deeper considerations on stereotyped gender-based roles and the full spectrum of human sexuality. Beautifully written, erudite, informative, and yet totally accessible, The Kraken Imaginary is a breath of fresh air in a genre that too often wallows in obscurity and cliché. None of that here!"
- Pete Peru, author of
The Reeking Hegs

"Wright’s description of place and characters immediately captures our attention…. The author sets his thrilling tale in an archaic environment, where the issues of feminism, war, power, and religion are as pervasive as they are today. And then there is the kraken…"
- Anne Weber, author of
Constabulary Tales