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Reign of Spears enters the world

This is a very exciting time for me. Months of thinking, writing and editing contribute to the creation of a new book. Naturally, if I thought it might be really terrible I wouldn't be exposing it to the view of others, and it's certainly the case that one's self-confidence as a writer tends to grow as more and more books make it out onto the virtual bookshelves without attracting universal scorn and derision. Nevertheless, although I feel reasonably sure that I haven't written a massive turkey, I won't rest easy until I see or hear the first reactions from those who have read it. RoS is out with ARC readers right now which tends to instill a proper level of humility in the writer. More than that, this one feels a growing sense of anxiety that will only be assuaged once those reviews and reactions start to roll in.

RoS is the third in my Chronicles of Toxandria. The first, That Which The Deep Heart Knows was set in the Empire of Erenor, the second, A Trick of the Light, in the Hierarchy of Vhanakhor and this third one in the Kingdom of Skagaar. This realm is inspired by my knowledge of ancient states like Sparta or Macedon, although the technological/cultural context is that of the Renaissance period, c.1560s in our own world. Skagaar is a militaristic state that has conquered a large portion of the Empire of Erenor in recent centuries, through the military prowess of its disciplined pike phalanxes, at a time when the Empire was weakened by internal strife. At the time of the beginning of the story, the kingdom faces a growing threat from the resurgent forces of the Hierarchy of Vhanakhor to the north of it. Here, in a state that is essentially a religious dictatorship led by a priestly caste, a brilliant general plots the destruction of Skagaar and the extension of the physical dominion of his cruel god, Yuzanid.

This is the context for the story of Jerrakiyan Savanake and Preceptor Danazar Taradon, the two main characters in the book. At the beginning of the book, Savanake is a wealthy, good-for-nothing wastrel, hedonistic and conceited, who prosecutes his quarrels at the point of the sword and despises those whose interests are bookish or intellectual. Taradon is one of Yuzanid's blue-tattooed priests, a high-ranking cleric disgraced by failure through the events recounted in A Trick of the Light. The subtitle of the book is A Tale of Two Journeys, which relates to the journeys each of them is fated to make as they travel to the oracle of Sineffenoas on Mount Erebus. On another, deeper level, it relates to the emotional and philosophical journey that each of them makes during the course of the story. For Savanake, that journey is inspired by his love for a young woman; for Taradon, through an increasing disillusionment with his faith. I hope that readers will find all of these journeys interesting to follow.

I am indebted to fellow indie author M.A.Batten for making the wonderful cover for this book. His debut book, Dark and the boy in the hole is definitely worth a read!

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