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Wrath-Bearing Tree
You Might Also Enjoy
Kindred and Wings
You Might Also Enjoy
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August, 2013

Greetings:
August brings the continuation of two exciting series. Philippa Ballantine's Kindred and Wings is the second installment of the Shifted Worlds. James Enge joins us to answer a few questions about The Wrath-Bearing Tree, which sees the further adventures of Morlock in A Tournament of Shadows.
Exclusive Q&A with James Enge!

Rene Sears-I'm excited to see more of dragons in Wrath-Bearing Tree. In what ways was it a challenge (or in what ways was it fun!) to write from a quintessentially non-human perspective?


James Enge: I feel about dragons sort of the way I feel about unicorns: they've become so familiar that they're somewhat domesticated and G-rated. I like some of these versions, actually. I thought How to Train Your Dragon was fun, and there's a very old series of kid's books by Ruth Gannett starting with My Father's Dragon, which is a lot of fun. But in This Crooked Way and A Guile of Dragons, I was trying to reclaim the wildness and dangerousness and the evil, in fact, of dragons. But you can't be evil without making a moral choice. (I know some people might disagree, but they can write their own damn books.) Even as I was writing Guile, I was wondering to myself, "What about the dragon, or proto-dragon, who chooses not to be evil? Do they still become a dragon? Do they become something else?" That was where the Gray Folk and their empty temple came from.

Having said this much, I wonder if the dragon-viewpoint is a nonhuman perspective at all. Maybe it's more of a scaly mirror for humankind.

RS-The gods of Morlock's world are meddling and active rather than aloofly looking down from on high, and they seem to differ from locality to locality. What inspired your gods?

JE- One thing many people in the modern world don't seem to get about the premodern world is the localness and weirdness and diversity of religious belief. For an an ancient Greek, God was as nearby as sunshine, or your last cup of wine, or a stray sexual urge. Like Elvis in the old Mojo Nixon song, he (or she) was everywhere. ("Elvis is in your ma!") And the same god looked different in different cities--different enough to be a different god if you wanted to look at it that way. The pantheon wasn't a peaceful eternal monarchy ruled by Zeus--more like a chaotic crime family, with internal gang wars constantly breaking out. That sort of thing makes for more storytelling possibilities, too. So I guess the bristling weirdness of ancient polytheism was one of the inspirations for the gods of Kaen.

Another thing: fantasy isn't really about the past, any more than science fiction is about the future. If the Wardlands are an idealized, utopian version of the country I live in, the cities of Kaen are a nightmare version--an unreal America where people are eaten by the ideas they worship. The perfect setting for a love story, really.

RS-Younger Morlock and older Morlock are very different in outlook. Have you ever felt constrained by something you've already written, or has his character arc remained pretty much unchanged?

JE-Young Morlock is sort of an epic-fantasy hero. Older Morlock is a sword-and-sorcery hero--an outcast, someone who has lost or given up on nearly everything, but is still no one to be trifled with. What lies between them isn't an arc so much as a cataclysm. Everything that young Morlock has is everything older Morlock has lost--except for who he really is. You know the old line from Fight Club: "You are not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet." Morlock is about to find that out by losing all that stuff he thought was him. But that's the subject of the third novel in this trilogy, The Wide World's End.

RS-What have you read recently?

JE- I just finished a binge of Napoleonic War history--Robert Harvey's A War Like No Other, and his biography of Lord Cochrane (one of the brilliant captains whose adventures were fictionalized by Patrick O'Brian, among others), and a biography of Sir Sidney Smith, who probably did more than any other one person to defeat Napoleon, but whom almost no one has heard of these days.

Now I'm reading King's The Stand (expanded version) and The Gunslinger. Which, as an American fantasist I guess I should have been doing about thirty years ago. If you're looking for the American Tolkien, it's obviously Stephen King. No disrespect intended toward George R.R. Martin (an amazing writer whose work I have been reading for 30 years--more like 35). But no one takes the matter of America and turns it into myth like King does.

Many thanks to James for joining us!


Wrath-Bearing Tree

The second book of a Tournament of Shadows!

Wrath Bearing Tree

Into the Unguarded Lands...

 

"I'm pleased to say that Enge is in fine form again...What could be a wild storm of confetti and mayhem is anchored beautifully by Morlock's pragmatic idealism, and everything comes together in a satisfying conclusion."

-Locus

"[A] satisfying second entry... Enge's swift-moving story offers both depth and classic sword-and-sorcery questing to create a solid addition to the series." -Publishers Weekly

 

The masked powers of Fate and Chaos are killing gods in the land of Kaen, facing the Wardlands across the Narrow Sea.
Vocates Aloe Oaij and Morlock Ambrosius go into the Unguarded Lands, on a mission to find the reasons for the godslaying, and to avert any threat to the lands the Graith of Guardians has sworn to protect.

You Might Also Enjoy
 

Blood of Ambrose This Crooked Way The Wolf Age
A Guile of Dragons Silverheart The Dusk Watchman
Kindred and Wings

A Shifted World Novel!

 

"I enjoyed [Hunter and Fox], but I liked the sequel even more...There are some great action scenes, including several battles, and all are handled well.  But ultimately this book boils down to personal conflict, and it's at this level that the author's abilities really shine... The sense of being there, of visualizing what was happening, was particularly strong.... a very satisfying read."

-Adventures Fantastic

On the back of the dragon Wahirangi, Finn the Fox flees the world he has known. As he sets out to find the brother he never knew of, he still holds in his heart the memory of the Hunter. He has denied his love for her, but he cannot deny it forever.

To celebrate what Booklist calls a "well-imagined" world, Pyr is offering Dragonsoul, a FREE EBOOK short story written by Philippa Ballantine and set in this same world. Click to download the free epub of Dragonsoul today, and enjoy what RT Book Reviews calls a "fascinating new world, peopled by characters you will genuinely care about."
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Hunter and Fox Blackdog  
Coming Next Month!
The Scroll of Years

"Willrich's beautifully written debut paints a vivid, richly imagined world populated by delightfully memorable characters. . . . This fantastical quest story contains witty narration, well-drawn characters, and a fast-moving plot."

            -Publishers Weekly



"Robert Ludlum meets Elizabeth Moon in this classic military 23 Years on Fire SF adventure, buoyed by Shepherd's knack for balancing crisp action with characters you can really root for." 
-Publishers Weekly

"A fast-paced story of intrigue and adventure set against galactic politics. With particular appeal to readers of high-tech sf and cyberpunk, this title belongs in most sf collections."
-Library Journal   

 

That's it for this issue. As always, please check out our website and drop by our blog.

Happy Reading,

Rene Sears
Editorial Assistant, Pyr

an imprint of Prometheus Books