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Also available as: Not in United States? Choose your country's store to see books available for purchase. Ruling from the island of Acacia, the emperor of the Known World has inherited an apparent peace and prosperity won by his ancestors generations ago. He's an intelligent man, a widower who dotes on his four children and it is this devotion that obliges him to hide a terrible secret from them: A man of integrity, he hopes that he might bring an end to this vile trade, but powerful forces stand in his way.
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The Witchwood Crown. Tad Williams. Grey Sister. Kristen Britain. The Death of Dulgath. Michael J. Master Mage. Queen of Fire. The Price of Valor. War of Shadows. The Dark Between the Stars. Kevin J. Honor Among Thieves. The Night of the Swarm. The Black Mausoleum. Stephen Deas. Sins of Empire. Lord of Ashes Steelhaven: Book Three. Richard Ford. Half the World. Red Country. Rogue Protocol. Martha Wells. The Tethered Mage. Melissa Caruso. Jay Kristoff. The Crown Tower. The King's Blood.
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Would you like us to take another look at this review? No, cancel Yes, report it Thanks! You've successfully reported this review. We appreciate your feedback. OK, close. With the drug Mist, and the mysterious yet seemingly all-powerful Lothan Aklun, I was reminded a bit of China and its relations with the British.
Great question, and the answer is yes on all counts. I did an awful lot of reading into actual world history as I wrote Acacia. Those aspects have so blended with the imagined influences that the connections blur and tangle—hopefully in a manner that gives readers lots of food for thought but skews away from being a commentary on any particular historical situation.
It sounds as though your skills as an historical novelist played a big part in the world-building for these books. It was a time of very different moral outlooks, different religions, values, fundamental beliefs. A lot of what we think we know about the ancient world is nothing more than informed speculation. Frankly, I had to make up an awful lot to fill in the gaps in the historical record and to make a textured narrative.
After that experience, I felt quite at home with the notion of building another speculative world—my own. We only see the first glimmerings of your magical system here in the first volume, but it promises to be a doozy. Can you expand a bit on the Santoth, also known as the God-Talkers, and how you developed their magic? Are they the only source of magic in your world?
The ancient tale goes that a creator figure called the Giver roamed the early earth, singing it to life. The words of his song had the power to breathe life, to give shape and form and substance to the world and all its creatures.
One of his human creations, a young man called Elenet, began to follow him as he walked the earth, entranced by his song. Problem is that Elenet learned the words of the God-Talk and before long began to speak it himself. When the Giver discovered this, he turned angrily away from the world and abandoned it. Elenet, however, coveted his knowledge and continued to use it. He became the first human God-Talker, and his followers became the Santoth magicians.
It may or may not be true, by the way. There was a problem with all of this, though. They were never quite capable of singing the words purely, and their flawed character always warped their magic, no matter what their intentions were. He kept for himself the Book of Elenet, the dictionary that the first Santoth had kept to preserve the knowledge of God-Talk.
And then he stopped using magic himself, hoping it would die from the world since it had always been a source of chaos. The novel begins many generations after Tinhadin. The Santoth are but a myth, and the Book of Elenet is believed to have been lost long ago. Suffice it to say that during the course of the first novel both the Santoth and the Book are found again. Tell us a bit about the main characters, King Leodan and his four children: Aliver, Corinn, Mena, and Dariel.
Do you have a favorite among them? I found myself initially very sympathetic toward Corinn. And the other children undergo similarly complex changes as they grow up. Yeah, by the end Corinn terrifies me too. I love all my characters for different reasons and in different ways. Leodan is a fine man in many ways, moral and troubled by the inequities the empire is built on. From page one of the book, though, forces are moving against him. Before long the empire is crumbling amidst a multi-pronged attack.
Aliver, the oldest son, is sent into a tribal culture from the south, where his insecurities are severely tested. Corinn, the beauty of the family, heads to the north, but has an unexpected turn. Mena finds herself far from the center of the empire, among an island culture in which she becomes a religious figure.
And Dariel, the youngest son, winds up in the care of a pirate-culture that he falls into so completely he almost forgets his earlier life as an Akaran prince.
Needless to say, being among the people this way provides them firsthand knowledge of how the empire really works, and this knowledge is part of what allows them to realize their potential in ways their father never could. If I had to pick a favorite Akaran, it would probably be Mena. One of the things I admired about the novel was how much care you took to make the Mein, the ostensible bad-guys, as complex and, in many ways, worthy of sympathy as the heroes and heroines.
With Acacia , though, I got to have even more fun with them. Hanish Mein is smart, witty, charismatic. His brothers are, in their own ways, even cooler. Icy, in fact. I relished skewing the familiar notions of good and bad, white and black.
But complexity is still a must. Is Hanish Mein relentless in the way he prosecutes his war? Does he orchestrate the death of millions to achieve his goals, even using a form of biological warfare?
Does he strive to unleash a sort of hell on earth in the name of his ancestors? And were his people gravely, gravely wronged by the Acacians, enough so that all his actions can be seen as a long-delayed retribution for past crimes done to them and to the larger world as well?
Conflicts between peoples never line up in terms of absolute good versus absolute evil. There are always shared human impulses on both sides.
There are always ways that each side justifies themselves, and almost always there are legitimate grievances that get hijacked by our baser impulses. How many books will there be in the series? And can you give us a hint of what lies ahead? Right now I envision three books in this series. That, at least, is what I think it will take to wrap up the narrative arc begun with The War with the Mein.
In terms of what lies ahead. The driving plot point is that the Acacians make the mistake of contacting The Other Lands directly for the first time. And then a whole lot of stuff happens. Just thinking about it starts my fingers itching to get back to work! A lot of writers, especially those who work across genres, like to keep a couple of irons in the fire at any one time. Are you working on any other projects? Nope, just this next volume in the Acacia series.
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