The Isles of Glory


  1. The Aware
  2. Gilfeather
  3. The Tainted

The three books of The Isles of Glory trilogy have an island setting—an archipelagic world that is on the threshold of discovery by outsiders, at a time when the internal politics of magical forces, military might and religion all threaten to wreak fundamental changes on the eleven nations that share the string of islands.

Eleven nations…

Changes are in the wind…

or is it perhaps twelve? And just who—or what—are the mysterious alien race called ghemphs?


The maps that appear in the books were created by Australian artist Perdita Phillips. Click on any of the images below to see a full-resolution version of each map.


Sharp intelligent fantasy for those who like ideas mixed in with their action…

Larke obviously relishes world building, and the cultures she creates are so original, in comparison to many fantasy worlds, that the whole series has a very fresh feel to it…

… It is very interesting to see a little more of the different cultures as our heroes move from island to island. I really enjoyed these aspects of The Isles of Glory.

I was genuinely surprised by the ending of Book Two (Gilfeather) as well, another experience I always enjoy…

The Tainted … brings to the fore a narrative thread which has been a clever and sometimes amusing framing device in the earlier books…

(The writing style is) always very smooth and readable, and punctuated with a dry wit that helps lighten much of the darkness of the story. This is sharp intelligent fantasy for those who like ideas mixed in with their action.

Kate Forsythe, Aurealis Magazine, Issue 37, March 2007

I’m really not certain how to begin praising Australian writer Glenda Larke’s Isles of Glory trilogy. Do I begin with her detailed and intricate world-building? Her skill in characterisation? Her original take on the whole business of magic? Her seamless incorporation of highly intellectual explorations of the psychology of perception, the social and personal functions of religion and the dynamics and consequences of colonialism into a damned jolly action thriller with a truly kick-ass, take-no-prisoners swordswoman? The structure of the trilogy that permits not only multiple perspectives on the action, each from characters with their own culture and personal philosophy, but also a metanarrative from another culture altogether? …
Larke’s novels are deceptively easy to read and enjoy, but so difficult to talk about. And they’re brilliant.


The Isles of Glory — 5 Comments

  1. Glenda: I just finished “The Tainted”! I enjoyed it thru & thru! My wife is waiting for it. The story complexity plus multiple points of view reminded me in some ways of “Dune.” I enjoyed the Glory Isles much more!
    Thank you for writing such satisfying to read stories!

  2. Cheers, Glenda!
    I loved this trilogy! I just finished “Tainted” and my Gloria is waiting for it. I like the story complexity and multiple points of view. Reminds me of “Dune” but much more enjoyable characters and action.
    Thank you for writing!

  3. Ok. The world building though??? This world is so cool. The characters feel rooted in it, everything seems legitimate. You must have had so much fun designing the Isles of Glory!
    This story was recommended to me by a dear friend who enjoyed it just as much as I did.
    The characters are loveable, but realistic, with flaws and qualities that make them so believable and beautiful! I wanted to say that I had a soft spot for Kelwyn and Ruarth, but as I was writing it, all the other characters came in my mind and… I can’t choose a favourite. Even the secondary characters are written with thoroughly. I haven’t finished the second book yet, but I stumbled across this website and couldn’t resist to leave you a little message! I was looking for reference of the characters to draw them, and I was kind of sad to see there is no art of them… so I made it, ahah!
    Thanks for delivering such a compelling story.
    I love seeing the mindset difference between the people of the Isles and the settlers (they feel so superior it makes me wanna punch them but it’s the way that most scientists used to work when religion was so big…). I love watching Kelwyn scratching his head to understand magic because it does make sense that a land of Awaken won’t believe in magic! Everything makes so much sense it’s so satisfying to read. Everything is so… thought? Thoroughly thought through. I can’t wait for them to kill Morthred (I feel like there’s more to the ending, it won’t be that simple I’m sure, but it better be a good ending)!
    I’ll get back to my drawing now, so thanks again for this amazing story!!

  4. C’est en ouvrant une “boîte à livre” à disposition dans ma ville que je suis tombée sur la trilogie…

    Je ne sais que dire, c’est avec grande émotion que j’ai fermé le dernier. Un goût de trop peu tant on s’attache à tous nos personnages : Braise, Flamme, Ruarth, Tor, Gilfeather ou encore Dec et Elarn ! Avoir leur vision du Changement, leurs témoignages les entendre rebondir les uns sur les autres, ce petit groupe si soudé qui a tout changé… je garderai toujours une profonde admiration pour Braise ! Quelle force de caractère ! Et pour Flamme, qui d’un tout autre genre à su montrer une force incomparable !

    Et la description du territoire, des différents peuples, de leurs héritages, des conflits et des enjeux… tout ceci décrit avec tant de précision que ce monde en devient réel.

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