Some writers visit the same places again and again. I don’t. My favorite bird is the mockingbird, which never sings the same song twice.
This can makes it difficult for readers to figure out which novels of mine they’d like. With that in mind, I’ve provided a few groupings of my work as a guide. If you like one book in a category, I suspect you’ll like the others books. Click on each book’s title for more information.
If you want to play with the nature of fiction and reality
- Adventures in Time and Space with Max Merriwell
- There and Back Again (by Max Merriwell)
- Wild Angel (by Mary Maxwell by Max Merriwell)
If you want a great read for a child or tween
If you are interested in wolves and wilderness and history
If you like fiction that plays on and with the borders between genres
To sample some of my short stories, head to short fiction.
The Wild Girls
Winner of the 2007 Christopher Award
My first novel for children and my first that’s not labeled science fiction or fantasy. The Wild Girls is about friendship, about learning to find your own answers and write your own stories, and about inventing the person you want to be.
Kirkus Review says: “Large, generous and creative characters populate this deeply satisfying novel that tells the story of ‘Newt’ and ‘Fox’ and how they learn to take on the challenges of their lives…. A terrific mix of imagination, insight, character inventiveness and kindness….”
Adventures in Time and Space with Max Merriwell
An adventure story about the nature of fiction. Author Max Merriwell (a pseudonym of mine) is teaching a writing workshop aboard a cruise ship. When the ship crosses into the Bermuda Triangle, the borders of reality become blurred. Max’s pseudonyms — Mary Maxwell and Weldon Merrimax — begin interfering in shipboard life. Together with Wild Angel and There and Back, this forms a three-book metafictional exploration of the nature of reality.
Publishers Weekly called this novel the “cerebral equivalent of a roller-coaster ride.” On Amazon.com, Roz Genessee writes: “Adventures in Time and Space is more than simply a wild ride through intersecting possibilities: it’s also an exploration of personal relativity, the power of individual choice to create any number of potential realities. Readers should be ready to enter into the spirit of the game: as one character says, ‘Reality is a much more flexible concept than most people think.’ Murphy’s clear prose, sharp wit, and keen observations of the dreams and fears of the human heart make the most of all the possibilities.”
A rollicking adventure story set in Gold Rush California. Raised by a she-wolf, young Sarah McKensie is an amazing young savage. Known to California’s gold seekers as the Wild Angel of the Sierras, Sarah rescues those in need, while eluding her parent’s killer, a man who wants to see her dead.
This book stands alone, a historical feminist adventure that echoes Tarzan of the Apes. It is also part of a three-book metafictional exploration of the nature of reality.
On Amazon.com, Eddy Avery notes, “Throughout this tale of coincidence, chance reunions, heroism, villainy, romance, revenge, and adventure, Murphy weaves deft comedic touches….Murphy has written Wild Angel as a novel ‘by’ alter-ego/imaginary friend Max Merriwell written ‘as’ Mary Maxwell. The conceit isn’t necessary for enjoyment of the novel, but the three explanatory afterwords, by Maxwell, Merriwell, and Murphy, are pure jam. Before embarking upon this delightful novel, readers would be well advised to check their realism at the door and adopt the motto of the Clampers — Credo Quia Absurdum, ‘I believe because it is absurd.’”
Read an excerpt
Buy the book, ebook (omnibus edition with Adventures in Time and Space), or audio book
There and Back Again
This novel was actually written by my pseudonym, Max Merriwell. In the tradition of classic space opera, this is a wild journey through space and time, from the asteroid belts of the Solar System to the very heart of the galaxy. It’s also a feminist parody of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit, and part of a three-book project that culminates with Adventures in Time and Space with Max Merriwell.
Starlog writes: “This light-hearted space opera version of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit delivers old-fashioned sense of wonder in a simple, but not simplistic, adventure. . . . In the biggest joke of all, the book is ascribed to Murphy’s alter-ego, Max Merriwell, a veteran author who, of course, writes fantasies under ‘his’ own feminine pseudonym.”
Currently out of print
Nadya: The Wolf Chronicles
A historic, feminist, werewolf novel with fistfights, Indian magic, and daring rescues — and on a deeper level, an examination of women and wilderness and sexuality. A word of warning: this isn’t a children’s book; it includes graphic sex scenes.
Publisher’s Weekly called it a “deeply absorbing dark fantasy…. With its strong heroines and passionate storyline, filled with romance, adventure, and dangers both physical and moral, this novel will appeal to a wide array of readers, not just those who shiver with delight when the moon is full….”
The City, Not Long After
A post-apocalyptic tale of San Francisco. After a plague wipes out most of the population of the United States, San Francisco is taken over by artists. They are remaking the city with their art (and a little bit of magic from the ghosts who haunt the city streets). Invaded by an army from Sacramento, they fight back using art.
The New York Times said of this novel, “In Ms Murphy’s skillful hands, the showdown between art and power takes on mythic dimensions. No one comes out of this confrontation unchanged, including the reader.”
The Falling Woman
Winner of the Nebula Award
This contemporary psychological fantasy is set on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. Archaeologist Elizabeth Butler has a special gift – she can see ghosts of the past. Her interactions with an ancient Mayan priestess draw her close to madness and tragedy.
Kirkus Review writes: “Impressive archaeological fantasy in a dramatic Yucatan setting… Murphy splendidly captures the atmosphere and spirit of the dig, and adds a well-realized backdrop, intriguing archaeology…”
The Shadow Hunter
In a blend of science fiction and fantasy, the power of myth clashes with future technology. A young Neanderthal is transported from the ancient past to a future of brilliant and terrifying possibilities. He brings the spiritual beliefs of his people to this alien world, while maintaining a connection with the earth and with the spirits of animals.
Publisher’s Weekly writes of this book, “The clash of prehistoric shamanic traditions with future technology makes for a gripping tale….”