Colin J.D. Crooks has published his debut novel, a fantasy titled “The Shards of Etherious: Arisen.” (headshot photo courtesy Joslyn Kilborn Photography)

Colin J.D. Crooks has published his debut novel, a fantasy titled “The Shards of Etherious: Arisen.” (headshot photo courtesy Joslyn Kilborn Photography)

Cumberland author delves into fantasy world with debut novel

The Shards of Etherious: Arisen is the first book of a five-book series

Cumberland resident Colin J.D. Crooks has published his first novel – a fantasy book titled The Shards of Etherious: Arisen.

Arisen is the first book in the dark, military fantasy series The Shards of Etherious, with four more books planned.

Arisen is a first-person epic fantasy that follows Rodrick Corwyn, the right hand and Avatar of Khyber god of war, and their plan to slay an ally and steal her soul.

Crooks describes the main character as “a villain. A Darth Vader-like character, oppressing the weak and doing evil things.”

Crooks said writing has always been a passion of his, but to this point in his life, it has always been mostly a side-gig.

“I’ve been clawing my way out of bed at 5 a.m. to scrape together an hour, to put this book together, for years,” he said of Arisen. “It’s been seven years in the making.”

He said the massive amount of effort in editing and rewriting associated with the first book has paved the way for the subsequent books in the series, and he does not expect them to take nearly as long.

“I know exactly where it’s going,” he said.

Crooks said he has always had a love for epic fantasy.

“When I was a little boy, I was engrossed in The Hobbit, and Lord Of the Rings, and as an adult, I just gravitated to authors like Robert Jordan and Mark Lawrence. Fantasy is the thing that draws me.”

He said the limitlessness of the genre is appealing.

“Fantasy is one of the only genres where you can do anything you want. There aren’t any boundaries.”

Crooks said he is hopeful that book writing will become his full-time career.

“I have this series, and I already have two other series planned, should I be successful with this.”

Even the family’s arrival in Cumberland is the stuff of novels.

“We had been living in Bowser for about five years, I had a very successful business there… then my wife came up to Cumberland with my daughter and went to a little street festival,” said Crooks. “My daughter made three friends that day, my wife had a wonderful chat with a lady who invited them to the park, then they all went to a restaurant afterwards, and they all had just such a lovely time… she came home and was like. ‘Oh, I want to be in Cumberland.’ So we sold our house in Bowser and came here.”

The Shards of Etherious: Arisen is available on as a paperback or an ebook, and Crooks also offers a free prequel novella, Eclipse, on his website, at


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