The Quicksilver Trilogy

"Quicksilver Rising is brilliantly conceived and beautifully constructed.  From the first gripping action scene it had me hooked.  Nicholls' Orcs series was exciting and action packed, but Quicksilver Rising has all the ingredients to become a classic of the genre."
David Gemmell

“Fast-paced, high adventure ... a bare-knuckle fight with a magic punch.”
Mark Chadbourn

“A beautiful blend of sensuous words that effortlessly carry his suspenseful fantasy.”
Simon Clark

“A cracking blend of high fantasy adventure and thought-provoking political thriller - a real feast for intelligent imaginations.”
Louise Cooper

“Stan Nicholls writes sparkling, action-packed fantasy with a dangerous edge.”
Freda Warrington

“This is epic fantasy crammed with all the ingredients that aficionados demand, delivered with tremendous panache.  Exhilarating, innovative fantasy writing.”
Publishing News

“Traditional fantasy fare as it should be - exciting, intriguing and fun.  … Nicholls knows how to skillfully infuse abundant plot into easy prose and exceptionally smooth dialogue.”  Number of stars:* * * *


You can read extracts from the Quicksilver trilogy here

The striking covers, by British artist Dominic Harman, complemented the spirit of the trilogy perfectly.  Here are some examples of how Dominic created the cover for Quicksilver Rising.


A preliminary sketch

Harper Collins/Voyager
August 2003
Cover art: Dominic Harman


Harper collins/Voyager
September 2004
Cover art: Dominic Harman


Harper collins/Voyager
October 2006
Cover art: Dominic Harman

Development stages for the dragon motif, and early ideas for a background


The background that was chosen, and dragon detail. 


All images © Dominic Harman



In the United States, The Quicksilver Trilogy became The Dreamtime series, and the individual volume titles were also changed.  This happened because the American publisher, Eos, the sf/fantasy imprint of Harper collins, published Neal Stephenson’s speculative novel Quicksilver at the same time as the first of my trilogy.  It was felt this might cause some confusion, and I was asked to come up with alternate titles.  So Quicksilver Rising became The Covenant Rising, Quicksilver Zenith became The Righteous Blade,and Quicksilver Twilight became The Diamond Isle

Harper collins/Eos
January 2005

Harper collins/Eos
January 2005

Harper collins/Eos
January 2005

Cover art: Jon Sullivan

I was very fortunate in that Jon Sullivan, another notable British artist, produced cover art every bit as spectacular as the jackets by Dominic Harman on the UK editions.  Below are some development stages for the covers.

Proof cover

Artwork for The Righteous
Blade, sans lettering.


Preliminary stage, The Diamond Isle

Finished cover artwork


Proof cover

Detail of figure

All images © Jon Sullivan



Harper collins/Eos
December 2005
Art: Jon Sullivan

Harper collins/Eos
November 2006
Art: Matt Stawicki

Harper collins/Eos
September 2007
Art: Jon Sullivan

Jon Sullivan’s artwork for The Covenant Rising


The finished cover as a wraparound


Below are two alternate covers for the mass market edition of The Righteous Blade by Matt Stawicki



The American Science Fiction Book Club published the Dreamtime trilogy in  
hardback editions in February 2005, January 2006 and January 2007.  To
tie-in with the first volume, I was asked to write a short piece for SFBC’s member magazine.  Here it is: 

We know that whether set in far-flung galaxies or distant futurity, most science fiction is really about the here and now - it takes an exceptional author to truly escape our times and cultural boundaries.  And the genre works well as a vehicle for commentary on present-day society.  But sf isn’t alone.  Increasingly, fantasy’s gaining the confidence to interpret and remark upon current affairs; to reflect on events critically or satirically.  Not necessarily overtly - this isn’t polemics, and fantasy writers want principally to entertain and beguile.  Only now they have the option of layering in a little more social relevance, for those who want to look for it.  It’s what I try to do. 

I wrote another brief piece for the magazine when the final volume appeared:

For a writer, coming to the end of a book can be tinged with sadness.  It’s even more of a wrench when the finale of a trilogy’s reached.  You’re saying goodbye to characters you’ve lived with for a long time, probably years, and some of them you really like.  A few you love.  Employing the god-like powers of authorship, you seal their ultimate fate.  Who gets to live, and who’s going to die?  Can she find happiness?  Is he to be condemned to misery?  Will their great enterprise stand or fall?  There’s a certain melancholy in biding farewell to people born in your head.  All you can do is wrap them against the cold and give them a decent send off.  I hope I’ve done that in The Diamond Isle.

The Dreamtime trilogy is available for download to’s portable reading device Kindle. 



September 2004

February 2005

August 2007

Didier Graffet’s artwork for  L’Eveil Du Vif-Argent.

Images © Didier Graffet



April 2004

April 2005

May 2006

Cover art: Geoff Taylor



Eksmo, January 2005

Eksmo, October 2006

Cover artists unknown

You can find more images from the Quicksilver series in the Gallery