The House of Many Rooms – Michael Pryor

Cover blurb
‘It’s not every day your father’s tool shed becomes a doorway into another world… When the Princess and her Followers stumble into Saul Harding’s world, he suddenly finds himself in a deadly fight against the frightening Hollow Men. Caught up in a struggle to save the House of Many Rooms from the treacherous Stefan, Saul swears allegiance to the Princess. He joins the Followers in their search for the Builders – will they reveal the way into the House? For if the Princess and her Followers cannot save the House of Many Rooms, then the safety of their world – and of Earth – is at stake. The first book in a thrilling new trilogy by one of Australia’s most talented science fiction/fantasy authors.’

Michael Pryor says
In The House of Many Rooms I wanted to write a fantasy, but I wanted to write a fantasy with a difference. I wanted a tough fantasy, a fantasy with an edge to it. I wanted to play around with some of the conventional ideas of fantasy and try to balance some hard line, real world stuff with exotic fantasy locales. As well I was convinced that the fantasy world is nearly as important as the characters, and in the world of the House of Many Rooms, I wanted to create a world that is startling, impressive and memorable. So when the idea came to me to create a world that was one enormous building – there’s no outside, only inside – I knew I was on a winner.

The House of Many Rooms begins
Saul Harding shook his head. Whites and colours. His dad never managed to work out the difference between them. He didn’t appreciate how important it was to separate them, otherwise the colours would run and make the whites go grey.

Things like that never worried Saul’s dad. Not much did since Mum left.

Saul reached for the soap powder and measured a capful into the washing machine. Warm wash, cold rinse. Save energy, don’t use up all the hot water. Saul’s dad had installed the the water system, and it was an electric one he’d picked up second-hand somewhere. It was temperamental and too small, which was typical.

Saul and his dad lived in a half-completed house on a half-completed housing estate. No-one else lived there. The nearest neighbours were about five kilometres away, where the town proper began. Saul and his dad lived on the outskirts of the outskirts.

The place was cheap, his had argued. The developer had gone bust after putting in the roads and starting on a few houses, so it was a chance to pick up a home of their own for a song. Okay, it was a half-finished house, but it was a home.

That was four years ago. His mum had lasted three years, living in dust and draughts, waiting for his dad to finish the place. Then she left and went interstate.

Work sort of slowed down on on the place after that. His dad spent a lot of time not doing much, or going on long trips looking for second-hand doors and stuff like that. He never came back with anything useful.