An image of the cover of Orphans of Chaos by John C. Wright.Orphans of Chaos

By John C. Wright

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ISBN# 0765313332.
Published November 2005 as a hardback by Tor books.

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Awards and Honors

Nominated for the Nebula!Stand back! You may get winged in the eye when all my vest buttons pop as I swell with pride like a frog. Much to my surprise (because it did not appear on the preliminary ballot), Orphans of Chaos makes the Final NEBULA Ballot for 2006.

Recommend by Kirkus. Orphans of Chaos was placed on the Kirkus Year's Best list for 2005.

Reccomended by Locus. Orphans of Chaos makes the LOCUS Recommended Reading list for 2005.



"Wright... is formidably erudite, a stylist capable of moving prose and hilarious rodomontade and many measures between, a master of exceedingly complex plotting, and astonishingly fecund of ideas...these qualities are abundantly present in Orphans of Chaos." (Nick Gevers)

Kirkus (Starred Review)

"Fascinatingly, dazzlingly, almost pointlessly erudite fantasy that trends inexorably toward science fiction; addicts will pounce."

Publisher's Weekly

"Wright follows in the footsteps of Neil Gaiman and Tim Powers with his own distinctive style and ideas." (Quoted from Baker Books)


"Perhaps if Laura Antoniou were to get a degree in physics and both Roger Zelazny and Neil Gaiman were dating her and they were all reading Hesiod in the original Greek and studying Christian theology -- they might write something like John C. Wright's novel. Since that will not happen and you, dear reader, are neither easily misled nor offended, then you will certainly want to read Orphans of Chaos." (Paula Guran)


"Wright succeeds on many levels with Orphans of Chaos. He taps into the well of admiration of mythology and myth, a prerequisite to the bulk of fantasy readers; dropping clues both vague and familiar, while not limiting himself to the history we all studied in school ... Wright doesn't settle for and limit the sources of myths he draws from." (


"Like a master chef sprinkling seasoning over a dish, Wright has flavored his fantasy with hints of science, mythology, and mystery." (Student reviewer)


"Phaethusa, who goes by Amelia after her aviatrix role model, narrates the rich and frequently comic intrigue, which takes full advantage of the alluring juxtapositions that arise when the soul of a "monstrosity from beyond the edge of space and time" is trapped in a nubile teen's heaving breast. Mythological references and discursion on the nature of reality may prove substantial barriers for some; Wright's growing fandom will revel in his overlapping frames of reference. (Jennifer Mattson)

Book Description, Amazon. com:

Wright's new fantasy is a tale about five orphans raised in a strict British boarding school who begin to discover that they may not be human beings. The students at the school do not age, while the world around them does.

The children begin to make sinister discoveries about themselves. Amelia is apparently a fourth-dimensional being; Victor is a synthetic man who can control the molecular arrangement of matter around him; Vanity can find secret passageways through solid walls where none had previously been; Colin is a psychic; Quentin is a warlock. Each power comes from a different paradigm or view of the inexplicable universe: and they should not be able to co-exist under the same laws of nature. Why is it that they can?

The orphans have been kidnapped from their true parents, robbed of their powers, and raised in ignorance by super-beings no more human than they are: pagan gods or fairy-queens, Cyclopes, sea-monsters, witches, or things even stranger than this. The children must experiment with, and learn to control, their strange abilities in order to escape their captors.