A BUDDING author has embarked on a quest to fire the imaginations of fantasy fans with an epic tale inspired by his hometown.

Radcliffe-born teacher Iain Hope is looking to capitalise on the popularity of fantasy books, films and TV shows, such as Game of Thrones, with his debut novel Dark Horde Rising, a sweeping story of otherworldly mystery, magic and the battle between good and evil.

Iain left Radcliffe in 1996 to study teaching at university in London and has since travelled the world teaching in the Middle East and now works as an assistant head at the British School in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Dark Horde Rising took around five years to complete, with Iain fitting in his writing around work, family life and also studying for a masters degree.

Despite his globetrotting career path, it was Iain’s formative years in Radcliffe that led to his love of the fantasy genre and inspired him to put pen to paper.

He said: "I have been reading fantasy and sci-fi fiction since I was 12 years old. I remember my grandmother buying me my first book and I was hooked. I’d scour Radcliffe Library and hunt through the second hand bookshops at Bury Market, reading anything I could get my hands on.

“One of the authors I am most inspired by is JRR Tolkien, particularly his talent for creating his own unique worlds, histories and mythology. His work was very much a blueprint for the worlds, maps and chronologies that Dark Horde Rising is centred around.”

When it came to crafting the characters in Dark Horde Rising, a chance invitation to a 30th reunion party along with old friends from Philips High School in Whitefield proved instrumental.

Iain, who is already planning a sequel, added: “I wondered what a similar reunion would be like, in a fantasy setting. Some of the characters are also inspired by my old friends from back home and it was fun writing them into the story and placing them in more than a few sticky situations.

"Fantasy fiction used to be quite a niche area but has been experiencing an upsurge in recent years with the big screen adaptations of Tolkien’s books and George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones, so it’s great to be adding to a genre that has so much resonance in popular culture at the moment."

Despite only being in print since Christmas, the book has received five star reviews on Amazon and been praised on literature and fantasy fiction websites across the globe.

For more details, visit Iain’s website budgetech.org.