The Gift-Knight's Quest
The Gift-Knight's Quest

This project has already launched.

Video filmed and produced by Herman Wang. Cover graphic created by Rona Dijkhuis.

Launch a book, a series, and a writer's career. Together we can bring to life a fantastic world of action, romance, and intrigue.

What is "The Gift-Knight's Quest"?

The Gift-Knight's Quest is an ambiguous-magic fantasy set on a large continent with a massive inland sea. This novel concerns the youngest descendants of two families which have traditionally been enemies: the Kenderleys, who now rule the world's largest empire, and the Wancyeks, who have been reduced to common status and have lived quietly in a chunk of their former empire for over a century.

Chandra: An Unexpected Throne

She started awake, in bed, where she was and must have been the whole time. A plump servant girl had her by the shoulders and was in the process of shaking her awake.

“Chandra.” The girl said firmly with a hint of concern.

Chandra might be Jonnecht's daughter, but it felt like this task was a chore and the concern was for someone else.

“Stop. I'm awake. Yes?” Chandra replied as firmly as she could manage at the time.

“The Captain of the Guard was ordered to check on you personally. He felt strange barging into a girl's chamber, so he insisted I help.” The girl smiled falsely.

“He's still outside. Now that we know no harm's done, you had better get dressed and ready to get to some place safer.” She relayed the order.

Captain Jan Donde, standing outside her door? What was so important?

“Let go of me, then, and I'll get started.” Chandra shrugged off the servant girl's grip.

Once free, Chandra asked: “Are you allowed to tell me what this is about?”

The girl peeked back at the door to make sure it was shut. She wasn't allowed at all, but she would tell, albeit in a soft voice.

“Something happened to the Queen. Word is, she was murdered last night.”

Soon, Chandra will find herself overwhelmed trying to cope with an empire of responsibilities. After suspicious tragedies leave her sitting on a throne she never expected would be hers, she must struggle to spare the lives of countless subjects from violent political unrest and the threat of war. But when she finds herself trapped in a room where she was brought for safety, accosted by the worst threat of all, her own life might be the most challenging to save.

Derek: Soldier Without a War, Knight Without a Quest

“I just fear for you, Derek. I tried to raise you right, but I'm afraid they've singled you out thinking so much time went by that good died of old age. They want you for a slave. If you go to them and give them what they want, then that proves to everyone forever that all the gold stolen from everybody else can buy anybody, even your oldest enemy. Then honour means nothing. For all time people will know that conniving wins in the end, and honesty is worthless.”

“Father, listen to me.” Derek interrupted. “What about the honour of tradition? Did the Free Plains ever send a disloyal gift-knight? Where's the honesty in that? Where's the good? You're putting me in a place where no matter what I do I'm betraying someone or something.”

“I know. I know. It's hard, Derek. Life's full of hard choices.” Emeric replied.

“It's simple to me. You want me to betray things that still live and that need me to treat them with respect, in favour of dead things that will never come back.” Derek argued.

“Not dead. Not what we hold dear.” Emeric was eerily placid, now, staring him down. “Not unless you choose to kill it. It's your turn, now, Derek. What wins in the world, good or evil, that gets decided by people with opportunities like yours.”

Derek will find himself being called away on a journey through loneliness, madness, and a tragic family history he once hoped to leave behind. He will question everything, and life's certainties will seem as easy to grasp as the winds worshipped by his ancestors. He is the Gift-Knight, and he struggles to discover his true Quest, even if it costs him everything.

I invite you into this vibrant world of intrigue and strategy, the power people create through belief, love and loss, beauty and tragedy. I have put the words together, friends, but only together can we bring this to life.

This podcast by Pam Mertz includes a deeper discussion of the story, including character motivations. It also has some more background about the author, like a longer version of the campaign video.

How you can bring this to life

To launch this novel is to launch its series, not to mention my career as a novelist. The manuscripts for two sequels are already written, and I'm plotting three other books on a separate story arc in the same world.

I had a chat with an interested self-publishing company that can assist me in all aspects of launching this novel, beyond what my helpful crew of artists and friends are already doing. This company can:

- cover all basic production including layout, ISBN, bar code and QR code, typesetting and proof revisions

- print at least 100 copies in 6 x 9 perfect bound paperback (useful not only for all perks involving paperbacks, but also donating copies to select libraries in Toronto and Vaughan and copies for reviewers and bloggers to get this novel widely written about and known)

- conversion to ePub and Kindle formats and distribution worldwide

- wholesale and retail trade distribution and marketing in the USA, UK, Canada, and potentially worldwide

- ongoing help and advice for marketing and sales of both ebook and paperback versions

These are just the basic services provided, and the established minimum funding goal easily covers these costs, plus some of the costs of shipping physical perks to backers, and paying Kickstarter fees owed upon the successful funding of the campaign. All funds raised up to the minimum goal will enter a budget for creating and marketing "The Gift-Knight's Quest" on an ongoing basis. Any funds raised beyond the minimum can buy premium level service packages from the same company, improving the novel's availability worldwide. In the strange event that funding extends unimaginably far beyond the goaland beyond the price of premium services I find to be beneficial to the novel's distribution, the extra funds can always go toward the next book(s) in this series.

What you can get in return for support

See the perks on the bottom section of this page. Summary: ebook and paperback copies of the story that we will have brought to life, a postcard, an autographed print, tickets to a Toronto-area themed event, and my sincere thanks, in various combinations.

There are also character sketches and art, inspirations and rough draft portions excluded from the final version, and other excerpts which can be unlocked solely for project backers as we pass funding thresholds (every $500 - 500, 1000, 1500, for example). The sooner you back this project, the easier it is to automatically get more unlocked bonuses, for the simple reason that if you join before a threshold is passed then you have joined in time to receive that email and all emails after it. If you want earlier/missed unlocked items, you will have to contact me so that I can send them to you.

Who is Dylan Madeley?

I'm Dylan Madeley, participant in/winner of National Novel Writing Month, and copy editor of/frequent contributor to Auxiliary Magazine. I have an Hons. Double Maj. BA in Professional Writing and Social & Political Thought. I currently live in Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada, in a temporary campaign headquarters where I care for two chinchillas, Liam and Basil. I am all set to return to Toronto in December 2014.

I came up with the first rough chapters and ideas for this novel in 2006, promptly felt blocked, and temporarily abandoned it until 2008, when I finally got around to participating in National Novel Writing Month. That produced a rough draft barely over 50,000 words in length, and still quite different from what you will read after this campaign succeeds. After years of rewriting and bloody revisions, and fewer years of offering the unsolicited manuscript to various companies, I have decided to try something new. I thought it would be a good idea to appeal to all the people who kept asking, year after year, "Where's your novel? Where can I buy it? Where can I read it?" And there's no reason why I shouldn't offer this to everyone else, too. Hello, world.

What is the dance event that you mentioned?

Dragonfly Bellydance has graciously donated their studio space for a show, "Danced To Life: Characters From The Gift-Knight's Quest" on October 11, 2014. Doors open at 6:30 PM. In addition to the world premiere screening of the two book trailers for The Gift-Knight's Quest, and a Q&A with the author, four dancers have taken on the challenge of bringing four characters to life. In alphabetical order:

Iana as the Crown Princess, Chandra 

Kaleena as the revolutionary, Zinnia

Shantell as the Goddess-Empress of the Coast

Victoria as the Duchess of the Festival Woods, Sonia

For single admission, please select a perk that includes admission and pledge the required amount. Be ready to provide a name that can then be put on a list at the venue so that no paper ticket is required.

Risks and challenges

Once funds are collected, I will approach Matador UK which has already shown interest in assisting me with formatting and printing The Gift-Knight's Quest in paperback, and furthermore in a variety of eBook formats. I have only an estimate of the time they will require to deliver this service, and an estimate of the time it might take for them to go to print after formatting.

My postcards will be ordered in bulk from a local printer. I may have to wait for the printer to create a template, and from there must handle all shipping to redirect packages to my backers. I have no idea at the start how successful this campaign might be so I don't know the volume of shipping I will have to process from home. When that shipping involves paperbacks, which I am not printing or binding in my home, that too can add to the delivery time.

"Danced To Life" is currently a go, approved by the studio and all participants. Should a terrible unforeseen disaster or other force majeure lead to the cancellation of that event on that day, I will work to schedule a new event and make sure that your name is still at the door and your admission still counts toward the rescheduled event.


  • Pledge $1 or more

    A personal thank you from the author to the email address that you provide.

    Estimated delivery: 
  • Pledge $5 or more

    An eBook edition of The Gift-Knight's Quest. Please specify the format that you will require (I will contact you unless you tell me first.) And a personal thank-you email from the author.

    Estimated delivery: 
  • Pledge $7 or more

    A cover postcard, and an eBook edition of The Gift-Knight's Quest.

    Estimated delivery: 
  • Pledge $10 or more

    Single admission for "Danced To Life".

    Estimated delivery: 
  • Pledge $15 or more

    A cover postcard & single admission for "Danced To Life".

    Estimated delivery: 
  • Pledge $20 or more

    Paperback edition of "The Gift-Knight's Quest".

    Estimated delivery: 
    Add $10 CAD to ship outside Canada
  • Pledge $25 or more

    Cover postcard & "The Gift-Knight's Quest" paperback.

    Estimated delivery: 
    Add $10 CAD to ship outside Canada
  • Pledge $30 or more

    Cover postcard, "The Gift-Knight's Quest" eBook & single admission for "Danced To Life".

    Estimated delivery: 
  • Pledge $30 or more

    Autographed 8 x 10 print & "The Gift-Knight's Quest" eBook.

    Estimated delivery: 
    Add $5 CAD to ship outside Canada
  • Pledge $40 or more

    Autographed 8 x 10 print & paperback copy of "The Gift-Knight's Quest".

    Estimated delivery: 
    Add $15 CAD to ship outside Canada
  • Pledge $50 or more

    Cover postcard, paperback copy of "The Gift-Knight's Quest", and single admission to "Danced To Life".

    Estimated delivery: 
    Add $10 CAD to ship outside Canada
Pledge $70 or more

Autographed 8 x 10 print, paperback copy of "The Gift-Knight's Quest", and single admission to "Danced To Life".

Estimated delivery: 
Add $15 CAD to ship outside Canada
Pledge $90 or more
  • Collector's Item Package: Postcard, autographed print, ebook & paperback

    Estimated delivery: 
    Add $15 CAD to ship outside Canada

Pledge $120 or more

All of the previous Collector's Item Package reward, plus a one-of-a-kind personally written vignette based from the world of the novel, minimum 1000 words.

Estimated delivery: 
Add $15 CAD to ship outside Canada
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