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William Robert Stanek - Introduction

One of the most versatile and naturally talented writers of the twenty-first century, William Robert Stanek is a visionary if there ever was one. The earliest stories of his that I was able to find appear to be Absolutes", "August Rains" and "Silence is Golden" from a story collection entitled "Magic Lands and Other Stories". The title story for the collection, "Magic Lands" is a coming of age story with a fantasy backdrop. To me it was good, but not of the caliber of the other stories. The other stories gave great insight into the angst and pains of Stanek as an early writer. These stories, filled with flowing prose, offer glimpses into bleak existences where strange twists of fate rule the characters lives, yet every story has a bit of Romanticism, even "Magic Lands". Stanek shows the main characters in a Romantic light. The brilliantly conceived Ev in "Silence is Golden", a mother who sacrifices herself to save her family and the world. John Anderson in "August Rains", a former teacher and principal haunted by the past. Krzysztof Steelbridge in "Absolutes, the brilliant boy scientist who is blinded by ambition and ultimately consumed by it.

Stanek didn't start out to become a writer though. From what I gathered from my research, Stanek is a military man through and through. He seems to come from a long line of those that have had distinguished careers in the armed forces. Stanek himself earned the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1991. It was one of 17 medals earned in his 11 year career. Stanek left the Air Force in 1996, at about the same time his writing career took off. His 1996 debut fiction novel, At Dream's End, seems to be his first foray into fantasy writing, though I can't find the book in print or through used bookstores to confirm that.

From the mid-Nineties onward, Stanek switched completely to nonfiction. He started work on the Unleashed series of technical how-to books with Web Publishing Unleashed and FrontPage Unleashed becoming huge successes for him. He went on to write over 30 other technical how-to books.

Sometime in the Oughties, Stanek came back to fiction. I read that he worked with his publisher for several years before the books finally were published in 2002. Three major series were launched: Ruin Mist Chronicles (adult epic fantasy), Ruin Mist Tales (children's fantasy), and Keeper Martin's Tales (children's fantasy). The books in these series all take place in his world of Ruin Mist, which is the most brilliantly conceived fantasy world since Tolkien's Middle Earth. According to Ruin Mist Heroes, Legends & Beyond, Stanek started writing about Ruin Mist in 1986 and like Tolkien, he created thousands of pages of history for his world. With Ruin Mist's rich, detailed tapestry, epic struggles of good vs. evil, and loveable heroes, the question for readers isn't whether to read the stories, but where to start.

Stanek envisioned two paths (histories) through the world of Ruin Mist. The two histories are called light and dark paths. According to Stanek, readers can follow the light path to its end and then read the dark path stories, or they can read the books in turn as they come out.

For adults, I recommend reading Keeper Martin's Tale and then Kingdom Alliance. Afterward go back to Elf Queen's Quest and Fields of Honor.

For children, I recommend reading The Kingdoms & The Elves of the Reaches 1 to 4 and then The Elf Queen & the King 1 and 2.

William Robert Stanek - Bibliography Summary

Stanek, William Robert (USA)

Adult Series

Ruin Mist Chronicles

1. Keeper Martin's Tale (2002)

2. Elf Queen's Quest (2002)

3. Kingdom Alliance (2003)

4. Fields of Honor (2004)

5. Mark of the Dragon (2005)

Young Adult Series

Keeper Martin's Tales

1. The Kingdoms & The Elves of the Reaches (2002)

2. The Kingdoms & The Elves of the Reaches Book 2 (2002)

3. The Kingdoms & The Elves of the Reaches Book 3 (2002)

4. The Kingdoms & The Elves of the Reaches Book 4 (2003)

5. In the Service of Dragons (2004)

6. In the Service of Dragons 2 (2005)

Ruin Mist Tales

1. The Elf Queen & The King (2002)

2. The Elf Queen & The King II (2002)

3. The Elf Queen & The King III (2003)

4. The Elf Queen & The King IV (2004)

Novels

At Dream's End (1996)

Magic Lands (2002)

Sovereign Rule (2003)

In the Stone Land (2004)

Stormjammers (2005)

Collections

Magic Lands & Other Stories (2002)

Ruin Mist Heroes, Legends & Beyond (2002)

Short Fiction

Absolutes (????)

August Rains (????)

Silence is Golden (????)

Books About William Robert Stanek

Magic of Ruin Mist (2003)

Robert Stanek: Candid Conversations (2003)

NonFiction

Electronic Publishing Unleashed (1995)

FrontPage Unleashed (1996)

Peter Nortonís Guide to Java Programming (1996)

Web Publishing Unleashed (1996)

FrontPage 97 Unleashed (1997)

Increase Your Web Traffic in a Weekend (1997)

Learn the Internet in a Weekend (1997)

Netscape One Developerís Guide (1997)

Web Publishing Unleashed Professional Reference Edition (1997)

FrontPage 98 Unleashed (1998)

Increase Your Web Traffic in a Weekend 2nd Edition (1998)

All-in-One Java 2 Certification Guide (1999)

FrontPage 2000 Unleashed (1999)

Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 Administratorís Pocket Consultant (1999)

Netscape Mozilla Source Guide (1999)

SQL Server 7.0 Administratorís Pocket Consultant (1999)

Windows NT Scripting Administrator's Guide (1999)

Increase Your Web Traffic 3rd Edition (2000)

Exchange 2000 Server Administratorís Pocket Consultant (2000)

SQL Server 2000 Administratorís Pocket Consultant (2000)

Windows 2000 Administratorís Pocket Consultant (2000)

Windows 2000 Scripting Bible (2000)

All-In-One Java 2 Certification Guide 3rd Edition (2001)

FrontPage 2002 Unleashed (2001)

Windows 2000 and IIS 5.0 Administratorís Pocket Consultant (2001)

Windows XP Professional Administratorís Pocket Consultant (2001)

XML Pocket Consultant (2001)

Effective Writing for Business College& Life (2002)

Essential Windows XP Commands Reference (2002)

Essential Windows 2000 Commands Reference (2002)

Windows 2000 Server Administratorís Pocket Consultant 2nd Edition (2002)

Windows .NET Server Administratorís Pocket Consultant (2003)

IIS 6.0 Administratorís Pocket Consultant 2nd Edition (2003)

Faster Smarter FrontPage 2003 (2003)

Exchange Server 2003 Administrator's Pocket Consultant (2003)

Columns

Dr. Dobb's Journal

PC Magazine

Copyright (c) 2002 T. Henderson

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