Heroes turned villains, a villain turned a hero, and a princess who is neither and both.
Scourge of the Realm is my latest fantasy novel through Broken Eye Books, purveyors of weird, twisted fiction. This book has enough twists to keep you guessing, and I guarantee the ending will blow you away.
Isn’t that art amazing? And it fits my novel perfectly.
It’s like every epic fantasy campaign . . . with a serious twist.
Years ago, a band of heroes from all walks of life joined forces to rid the kingdom of Iavor from the evil tyrant Malagant, driving him from the realm and securing it for goodly folk everywhere. The barbarian leader of the group married the princess and became king, and his allies took on positions of authority in the kingdom.
But all was not well in Iavor, for power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Now it falls to the Black Princess Sidion, daughter of the old evil queen, on the run from the barbarian king’s hunters, to seek out some hope of restoring balance to the land. She must find the only man who ever defeated the former heroes: Malagant, the Scourge of the Realm.
All the World’s a Song
The first and deepest principle of the World of Song is music. Everything is a melody, from the singing birds to the waterfall to the hearts of lovers beating in time. Warrior roar ballads to direct their strikes in battle, farmers croon to their crops to nurture growth, and bards recount the histories of the land with raised voice. Those who know the true power of the world can harness this song into magic, shaping light and sound around them, healing wounds, and channeling the power of the elements.
But just as a shadow lengthens under the bravest of women and men, so too does discord lurk in the furrows and between the notes of the world’s lullaby. Darkness ever harmonizes with the melody of the light, singing of death, despair, and destruction. Once, long ago, the first mortal fell to temptation and gave voice to this Darksong, and thus was its influence loosed upon the world.
What does this mean for the book?
Magic’s inherent musicality makes the World of Song a world of bards. And before you freak out, these are bards that kick serious tail.
Visualize bladesingers weaving a symphony of dismemberment as they wade into battle. Hear arias so hauntingly beautiful they can kill. Imagine songs sung to tiny but deadly organisms that, when stirred by music that exists only for them, grow rapidly and overwhelm their host.
This is the World of Song, where music can give life–or take it away.
Nations and Gods of the World of Song
There are many nations and cultures in the World of Song, each with its own distinctive character and outlook, but the cultural context that features most prominently in SCOURGE OF THE REALM are the Kingdom of Iavor with its Triune Goddess, of which my main character Sidion, is both a princess and priestess, respectively.
The goodly kingdom of Iavor follows the Triune Goddess, a benevolent entity to whom love is true and sacred. Her celebrants teach of the ascendance of the three circles (i.e. aspects) of a woman or a man: Body, Mind, and Heart. Intimacy can be achieved with any of these three, and a joining between two (or more) individuals in all three circles (referred to as the circles overlapping or becoming concentric) is known as the Threefold Embrace, the perfect communion.
Celebrants of the Goddess (both female and male) are charged to go forth into the world to spread love, share pleasure, comfort those who are hurt, and take compassion on their worst enemies. The Goddess’s name is a treasured secret, shared only with a few favored celebrants initiated into her deepest mysteries.
Under the Goddess’s guidance, the matriarchal kingdom has flourished over its centuries of existence into the most powerful nation in the known world. Or at least it was, until the fall of Malagant and the death of old Queen Phila ushered in the reign of Korvin, a barbarian of the Kor Korom and adherent of Fflar, God of Fire and War. In many ways, the Burned God’s path is opposite to that of the Triune Goddess.
What does this mean for the book?
Sidion is a passionate young woman, one who loves freely and strongly, even when she might not want to. She believes earnestly in the supremacy and ultimate victory of empathy, intimacy, and compassion, and it is a constant struggle within her not to give into her darker, more violent urges. She is struggling to save her kingdom, and that means her hands will be bloodied. And she utterly hates Korvin and the horrible worshipers of the Burned God.
This was also a challenge I set for myself. Sometimes in fantasy you’ll see Gods and priests of love used uncritically, as sort of a “ooh, how sexy is this!” that runs secondary to the main plot. Think of playing a cleric of the goddess Sune in the Forgotten Realms–something that sounds like a cool idea in theory, but is really kind of external to an action-driven setting.
What I wanted to do was create a character and a faith that is so deeply bound in love and, yes, sex that it not only informs but drives the story, and in a sex-positive way. I also like flexing my erotica muscles every so often. (Ahem.)
Also, I just wanted to create a great character, one that challenges our expectations of what fantasy is. Equal parts Phedre from Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series and Lancelot, and with a little bit of mixed martial arts when she doesn’t have a sword. (I’m a fan.)
You may recall that I offered a chance to have your name appear in my book for supporting the BEB Kickstarter, and I am a madman of my word. A lucky few of you did indeed get your names into the book–sometimes in unusual forms–so be looking for those!
Praise for SCOURGE OF THE REALM
You need a bold, new direction in epic fantasy, you really need to check SCOURGE OF THE REALM.
~ Nathan Crowder, Publisher, Timid Pirate
Great dark fantasy reminiscent of Robin Hobb and George RR Martin. Really good character development and fascinating plot. Well worth my time.
~ Amazon Reviewer
Where can I buy it?
So glad you asked.