Search - List of Books by Niel Hancock

Niel Hancock (born 1941) is an American fantasy writer most famous for authoring the Circle of Light series.

After being out of print for several years, his novels are being reprinted by Tor Books. Hancock's fantasy books are grouped into three sets of four books each. (A stand-alone novel, Dragon Winter, is not explicitly part of this storyline.)

Hancock writes high fantasy with strong spiritual overtones, similar to Ursula K. Le Guin, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien. His books were released at a time when interest in high fantasy was at a peak, and very little writing in that genre existed. As the genre expanded, his books went out of print.

Hancock has a unique approach to the high fantasy genre which separates him from other authors. While other authors are influenced by Eastern beliefs (such as Le Guin), Hancock constructs his fantasy to explicitly include Buddhist concepts of moving through cycles of time and rebirth. The river "Calix Stay" of his books is very similar to the river out of samsara in the Dhammapada. Characters cross this river into another world, but are soon reborn back into their lower world to work out their karma. The books use the framework of the traditional fantasy quest, but this quest is often secondary to the real plot, which centers on the struggle to escape samsara in the fantasy world. The plot is often difficult to follow, particularly to those unfamiliar with Buddhist thought, which may explain why Hancock has never achieved the same degree of classic status as other early authors in the fantasy genre who explored spiritual themes.

Hancock freely intermingles talking animals and humanoids in his books (including humans, elves, masters of sorcery, etc.). In the first set of books, the animals are able to change into humans and pass as human. Later sets blur the distinction and have animals and humans together.

Hancock's universe has an ambiguous technological setting. Sometimes, the world he creates is like that of Tolkien, a primitive sword-and-sorcery world. At other times, it becomes modern with warfare resembling the state of technology in World War One (or, perhaps, the American Civil War). Hancock is a veteran of the Vietnam war and uses his experiences in writing his fantasy books. His world, however, does not seem to have the automatic weapons and helicopters of that war.

Like C.S. Lewis' Narnia series, the books as published were not in chronological order of the events in the fantasy world itself. The first set is the last to occur in the chronology. The second set is the earliest. The final set is in the middle. Dragon Winter is set some time after the second set, although it is the most ambiguous of the novels because it does not belong to a set.

As an early contributor to the mass-market fantasy genre, Hancock's fate is similar to his contemporary Elizabeth Boyer in that his books required the reader to be interested in a specialized area of study (in this case, Buddhist philosophy) in order to fully appreciate the books, and thus he did not find the sort of wide acceptance which would have given him a more prominent place as a pioneer in the genre.

Bibliography   more �

This author page uses material from the Wikipedia article "Niel Hancock", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0
Total Books: 36
Squaring the Circle
2004 - Squaring the Circle [Circle of Light, Bk 4] (Paperback)Paperback
ISBN-13: 9780765346186
ISBN-10: 0765346184
Genres: Children's Books, Teen & Young Adult
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 3

Calix Stay  Circle of Light Book 3
2004 - Calix Stay Circle of Light Book 3 [The Circle of Light] (Paperback)Paperback
ISBN-13: 9780765346179
ISBN-10: 0765346176
Genres: Children's Books, Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 2

Calix Stay
2004 - Calix Stay [Circle of Light] (Other)Paperback
ISBN-13: 9781417637331
ISBN-10: 1417637331
Genre: Children's Books
  ?

Faragon Fairingay  The Circle of Light Book 2
2004 - Faragon Fairingay the Circle of Light Book 2 [The Circle of Light] (Paperback)Paperback
ISBN-13: 9780765346162
ISBN-10: 0765346168
Genres: Children's Books, Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 3

Faragon Fairingay The Circle of Light Book 2
2004 - Faragon Fairingay the Circle of Light Book 2 [Circle of Light] (Other)Paperback
ISBN-13: 9781417637348
ISBN-10: 141763734X
Genre: Children's Books
  ?

Greyfax Grimwald
2004 - Greyfax Grimwald [The Circle of Light, Bk 1] (Paperback)Paperback
ISBN-13: 9780765346131
ISBN-10: 0765346133
Genres: Children's Books, Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1

Bridge of Dawn
1991 - Bridge of Dawn [Windameir Circle, Book 4] (Paperback)
ISBN-13: 9780445208247
ISBN-10: 0445208244
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1

A Wanderer's Return
1988 - A Wanderer's Return [Windameir Circle, Book 3] (Paperback)
ISBN-13: 9780445208223
ISBN-10: 0445208228
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 1

The Fires of Windameir  Windameir Circle No 1
1987 - The Fires of Windameir Windameir Circle No 1 (Paperback)Paperback
ISBN-13: 9780445205635
ISBN-10: 0445205636
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1

The Sea of Silence
1987 - The Sea of Silence [Windameir Circle, No 2] (Paperback)
ISBN-13: 9780445205659
ISBN-10: 0445205652
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 1

Faragon Fairingay
1986 - Faragon Fairingay [Circle of Light, Book 2] (Paperback)Paperback
ISBN-13: 9780446314220
ISBN-10: 0446314226
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 2

The Fires of Windameir
1985 - The Fires of Windameir [Windameir, Bk 1] (Paperback)Paperback
ISBN-13: 9780446323697
ISBN-10: 0446323691
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Currently 2.7/5 Stars.
 3

Dragon Winter
1983 - Dragon Winter (Paperback)Paperback
ISBN-13: 9780446312097
ISBN-10: 0446312096
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 2

The Road to the Middle Islands Wilderness of Four No 4
1983 - The Road to the Middle Islands Wilderness of Four No 4 (Paperback)
ISBN-13: 9780446312110
ISBN-10: 0446312118
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1

Across the Far Mountain Wilderness of Four No 1
1983 - Across the Far Mountain Wilderness of Four No 1 [Wilderness of Four] (Paperback)
ISBN-13: 9780446312134
ISBN-10: 0446312134
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1

The Plains of the Sea Wilderness of Four No 2
1983 - The Plains of the Sea Wilderness of Four No 2 [Wilderness of Four] (Paperback)Paperback
ISBN-13: 9780446312158
ISBN-10: 0446312150
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
  ?

On the Boundaries of Darkness
1983 - On the Boundaries of Darkness [Wilderness of Four, Bk 3] (Paperback)
ISBN-13: 9780446312172
ISBN-10: 0446312177
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1

Greyfox Grimwald
1982 - Greyfox Grimwald [Circle of Light, Bk 1] (Paperback)Paperback
ISBN-13: 9780445085954
ISBN-10: 0445085959
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 4

Calix Stay
1982 - Calix Stay [Circle of Light, Book 3] (Paperback)Paperback
ISBN-13: 9780446310970
ISBN-10: 0446310972
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Currently 2.8/5 Stars.
 2

Greyfax Grimwald
1982 - Greyfax Grimwald [Circle of Light, Book 1] (Paperback)Paperback
ISBN-13: 9780446314305
ISBN-10: 0446314307
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 2

Across the Far Mountain
1982 - Across the Far Mountain [Wilderness of Four, Bk 1] (Paperback)
ISBN-13: 9780445047051
ISBN-10: 0445047054
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1

1977 - Calix Stay [Circle of Light, Book 3] (Paperback)Paperback
1977 - Squaring the Circle [Circle of Light, Book 4] (Paperback)Paperback
1977 - Faragon Fairingay [Circle of Light, Book 2] (Paperback)Paperback
Faragon Fairingay [Circle of Light, Book 2] (Paperback)Paperback