The Providence of Fire

US Cover by Richard Anderson

US Cover by Richard Anderson

The Providence of Fire, the second volume of the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, was released in January, 2015 to rave reviews. Have a look:

“Loved every second of it […] a full, immersive, magical, and exciting world, with characters to match.” – Fantasy Faction, 10/10 stars

“Following in the footsteps of George R.R. Martin and Joe Abercrombie… Brutal, intriguing and continuing to head toward exciting events and places unknown.” – Kirkus, starred review

“Staveley complicates the moral scheme with plausible villains and shaky political alliances.” – Publishers Weekly

UK, Australia, and New Zealand Cover

UK, Australia, and New Zealand Cover

“This. Book. Does. Not. Stop . . .”

“A stunning follow-up… Most definitely recommended.” – Beauty in Ruins

“Unexpected plot twists, fascinating characters, brilliant writing … It feels like a cross between Joe Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy and Daniel Abraham’s Dagger and the Coin series.” -The SciFiFanLetter Blog

Find more reader reviews over on Goodreads, and check out the FIRST SEVEN CHAPTERS FREE on

You can buy the book — hardcover, ebook, and audio — at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and pretty much wherever else you like to shop. Enjoy!



After the slaughter of the monks and the destruction of Ashk’lan, Valyn, Kaden, and the other survivors from The Emperor’s Blades fly east to the long-dead city of Assare and a kenta gate, which will lead Kaden and Rampuri Tan, his teacher from the monastery, to the fortress of the Ishien—an implacable order of Csestriim hunters—where Kaden hopes to discover information about the conspiracy against his family. The Flea’s Wing—the most deadly Kettral in the empire—have been hunting Valyn since his flight from the Eyrie. They attack, but Kaden, Tan, and, inexplicably, Triste (the concubine offered to Kaden at the end of The Emperor’s Blades), are able to escape through the gate.

The Ishien prove brutal, suspicious, and unhelpful; they imprison and torture Triste, believing her to be Csestriim due to her ability to pass through the kenta without training. Finally, Kaden and Triste escape with the help of Kiel, a Csestriim historian, and another prisoner of the Ishien.

Valyn, meanwhile, is left to face the Flea and his Wing. After Pyrre (the Skullsworn assassin responsible for rescuing Kaden at the end of The Emperor’s Blades) kills the Flea’s sniper, Blackfeather Finn, a full fight breaks out. Valyn and his Wing manage to escape. They flee west and crash-land on the steppe, where they encounter a small tribe of Urghul nomads led by a woman named Huutsuu. After subduing the Urghul, Valyn makes the difficult decision to send away Suant’ra, their kettral, because she is too injured to carry them any further. After deciding to leave Huutsuu and her people tied up but alive, Valyn’s Wing rides west on the stolen horses.

Many days later, Valyn’s Wing is captured by the Urghul. To Valyn’s dismay, he learns that Balendin, the vicious and traitorous Kettral leach responsible for Ha Lin’s death in The Emperor’s Blades, is also alive, also a prisoner of the Urghul. The Urghul take them all west across the steppe. After many failed escape attempts, Valyn and his Wing are dragged before the mysterious Urghul shaman and chief: Long Fist. In this audience, Balendin is tortured into revealing the complicity of Ran il Tornja (the top general in Annur, regent after the Emperor’s death, and Adare’s lover in the first book) in the attack against the royal Malkeenian family. Valyn agrees to help Long Fist defeat il Tornja, provided the Urghul don’t attack Annur, and departs the camp with Laith (his flyer) and Talal (the Wing’s leach). Long Fist insists that Gwenna (demolitions), Annick (sniper), and Pyrre remain behind as honored hostages.

Back in Annur, Adare, disguised, flees the Dawn Palace and the capital, aided in part by a soldier named Lehav. She travels south with a group of pilgrims devoted to Intarra, Goddess of Light. She hopes to make common cause with the religious leadership and the military wing of the religion (The Sons of Flame) in the southern city of Olon, then to use their military might against il Tornja, a proposition made extremely risky by her role in destroying the former Chief Priest, Uinian, at the end of The Emperor’s Blades.

On the road south, she befriends Nira, a curiously resourceful old woman who quickly ferrets out her secret. As Adare discovers, Nira and her mad brother Oshi, are the last of the Atmani, human leaches made immortal by the Csestriim years earlier. The siblings are hunting for the Csestriim who created them.

Immediately upon her arrival in Olon, Adare learns that Lehav is actually the commander of the Sons of Flame. Her Aedolian guardsmen (Fulton and Birch) arrive at the last moment, and try to rescue her, but they are all three captured and imprisoned. Adare finally convinces Lehav/Ameredad to join his force to her, but only after a miracle at Intarra’s most holy shrine—a lightning bolt striking Adare, leaving her beautifully scarred but otherwise unharmed—leads them to accept her as a prophet.

With the Intarran army at her back, Adare returns to Annur to find Il Tornja gone, headed north with the Army of the North. She has an audience with Tarik Adiv (traitorous Mizran Council from The Emperor’s Blades, a part of the delegation sent to assassinate Kaden) in which Adiv gives Adare a letter from il Tornja in which he admits to killing her father, but urges her to make common cause with him to fight a newly developed and dire Urghul threat on the northern border, a threat that could extinguish Annur. Adare, believing Kaden to be dead, decides to take the throne for herself.

When she reaches il Tornja in the northern town of Aats-Kyl, Adare discovers (through Nira and il Tornja’s own admissions) that he is Csestriim and has played a fundamental role in Annurian history. Nira wants to kill him for what he did to her and her brother, but Adare convinces the woman to leave him alive so that he can fight the Urghul. Nira does, however, place a magical leash around his neck. Valyn catches up with Adare in Aats-Kyl. She convinces him to wait until after the battle with the Urghul to kill il Tornja, arguing that Annur needs his military expertise to survive.

Kaden, Kiel, and Triste return to Annur, where they take refuge with Triste’s mother, a courtesan, in the Temple of Pleasure. Kiel, realizing il Tornja’s identity, explains that il Tornja has always aimed at the destruction of humanity and the return of the Csestriim. Kaden, hearing that Adare has claimed the Throne and believing her to be cooperating with il Tornja, concludes that the only way to stop them is to destroy the empire. With the help of a young political firebrand (Gabril the Red) and a cabal of malcontented aristocrats, he plots to dissolve imperial rule and institute a republic in its place.

In the north, Gwenna (now a POV character), Annick, and Pyrre escape from Long Fist when he shows his true intentions by freeing Balendin and elevating the leach to a position of great power, then marching on Annur. They are aided at the last minute by the Flea, who has been chasing them. The Flea, perceiving the threat to Annur, tasks Gwenna with holding the Urghul at a small bottleneck town known as Andt-Kyl while he tries to kill Long Fist.

Valyn, increasingly obsessed with his vengeance and scarred by his experiences, sees that il Tornja must come to Andt-Kyl, and lays a trap for him there at the top of an old lighthouse tower. Gwenna and the others are able to hold the town (though Laith is killed) until il Tornja and Adare arrive, putting the Urghul to flight. After the battle, Valyn springs his trap, but Adare, fearing the loss of il Tornja and distrusting her brother, stabs him. He tumbles into the lake, washing up miles down the coast at the very end of the book.

Back in Annur, through a series of deceptions and sacrifices, Kaden is able to pit the Ishien against the forces of Tarik Adiv, who survived the conflict in the Bone Mountains and is running the city while Adare and il Tornja are in the north. In the climactic final showdown, Kaden returns to the Dawn Palace through the kenta. Triste, after slaughtering hundreds of Adiv’s loyalists with her own unsuspected powers, discovers that she is an avatar of Ciena, the Goddess of Pleasure, who has taken human form to find her husband, Meshkent, the God of Pain. The republic established, Kaden turns his attention to Annur’s two most pressing threats: il Tornja and Meshkent.

183 thoughts on “The Providence of Fire

      • Daredevil is a fun read, and I encourage you to read it, but I wouldn’t compare Matt Murdock to Valyn in any way. They are both blind; that is about the extent of the similarity between them. Well, that and the rage.

  1. G’day Brian,

    Mate what a cracker! I enjoyed The Emperor’s Blades, I thought it was a very solid and engaging read with some interesting characters. However, I’ve got to say that I think you have taken it to another level in The Providence Of Fire. The twists and turns in the political landscape, your unflinching commitment to realism and the fact that people die in battle (even people we grow to care about) and the way the story builds to a crescendo is just top notch. I would like to thank you, sincerely thank you, for the hours of reading pleasure you have provided and your magical ability to make my 50 minute train trip to work vanish in the blink of an eye.

    Now I want more dammit!

    All the best mate.


    • Thanks for getting in touch, Christian! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the series, and that you think Providence is a step up from Blades. To me, that second book feels bigger (in a good way) — it’s longer, of course, but there’s also more of the world, more of the main characters, more secondary characters, etc. It was good fun (and sometimes a nightmarish challenge) to paint on such a broad canvas. I’m hard at work revising #3 as we speak. I’ve finished a full draft that I’m excited about, but there are lots of details to nail down. Looking toward release early next year…

  2. I massively appreciate the reply mate, particularly given how busy you must be. Thanks also for the great news on book 3. If you ever need an honest and completely unqualified opinion you know where to find me….

  3. I have really enjoyed the Unhewn throne thus far, it is hard in the fantasy genre to find stories with great character development and so far yours has been terrific! Believe me when I say I’ve slogged through a lot! Looking forward to the 3rd (and final?) installment, kinda hope it has to go 4! Keep up the good work

    • Hi Josh — Thanks for taking the time to get in touch. I’m working on the third book now, and I can say pretty conclusively that it will be the end of this particular story. Given that, I’m eager to write more in this world, and even to further explore the lives of some of these characters. Right now, I’m pondering the possibility of a stand-alone or two involving some of the secondary characters in this series. Any requests?

      • Hi Brian. I absolutely loved your first two books. Especially the constant theme of moral injury: adjusting to a world in which there is no morally pure action and how to be human in such a world. The Hendran quotes are priceless. And the cool use of what I suspect is modelled on Rinzai Zen. As an aside, I wonder about the Shin take on no-self/vaniate; other buddhist philosophies would say it’s not that emotion doesn’t arise, just that it is not the reference point, not owned by a self. That blankness is deadness, not enlightenment.

        Some unforgetable characters I’d like to see you write about would be Rishinira (love her well-earned bitter, smart-ass practicality with some good heart underneath), Akiil (giving you credit though for the short piece on him on the site), Rampuri-Tan of course (how did he “convert” to Shin and even then how did him become such as astute thinker about the limitations in all ways, even the Shin). and perhaps Adiv (what is his “dark side” philosophy and how did he come to be so willing to sacrifice his own daughter?)

        • Thanks for the kind words, Joshua! You’re absolutely right when it comes to both the inspiration for the Shin — Buddhism played a large role. But you’re also right that they Shin are emphatically NOT Buddhist. Shin (and Ishien) teaching, derived, as it was, from the Csestriim, departs in some crucial way from Buddhist (or Taoist) thought. In certain contexts, it’s almost like a dark mirror to Buddhism.

          I’d love to write a long piece (either a story or even a novel) about Rishinira and Roshin. That whole time period really interests me, and might warrant some further delving. It’s getting exciting thinking about what I’m going to work on after I finish this series. Thanks for the suggestions!

  4. Hi Brian I wish I could read your two books over again!!! Will have to before the third.
    How about starting a New Chronicle that is in the Time of Emperor’s life? I would like there to be a book on Valyn’s Wing but that would probably be before Emperor’s blade while there still training.
    It’s a great world you created with amazing characters I think you could use any of it and come up with a new saga.
    What about Flea and his wing when they were young.

    • I love the idea of revisiting the Flea — a little prequel about the formation of his Wing. There’s a lot of good material there that I’ve had to come up with in creating the characters, and I’d love to share some of it with readers. Hmmm. Might have to get on that…

      • Akiil thank God he Survives I look forward to his story in a book too! Yea your world is so Dense there is so much you could write about. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

  5. Hi Brian. I was tweeting with you and got frustrated by shortness of tweets!
    I know what you mean about the three siblings not knowing each other. I can’t imagine if I was separated from my brother at 8 or 9 and then didn’t see him for nearly 10 years. And it seems that Valyn and Kaden did not see any of their family for long periods, if at all. Not a life I could imagine sending my sons to.
    But it is a different world. It reminds me of watching Master and Commander and finally feeling the reality of what it was like for young boys to be sent off as midshipmen on sailing ships. They had to grow up young, as did Valyn and Kaden. And though Adare didn’t have the harsh training that they endured, she also grew up fast, and has really been thrown into the fire now. Sad that they lost their mother so young. I like the glimpse we get of who she was in this book. I sometimes feel I might have missed details in my hurry to find out what happens! Lately I’ve been going back and rereading books when they are as full of detail and complexity as yours.
    Reading the end of Providence of Fire, I felt that there in that tower, it was like a microcosm of the fog of war. Fulton doesn’t know who Valyn is or that he has no intention of hurting Adare. Valyn doesn’t know Fulton is true to Adare and his duty and that Adare is not taking the throne in a power play. Valyn doesn’t know what his father’s killer is. And I don’t think ANY of them realize just how powerful Ran il Tornja is. They are playing out their drama in the tower while Long Fist and Balendin continue to wreak havoc.
    You did leave us in suspense as to how Pyrre fared, but I feel confident she will show up soon in book III! At least I hope so! I really enjoy that your books have some really strong female characters. Some are warriors and fighters, holding their own, and even surpassing the men. But others fit into more feminine roles, like Adare and Triste, yet still have such strength.
    Thank you for writing two such wonderful, entrancing books and creating the fascinating world they are set in. I’m eagerly awaiting book III.
    While I wait do you have any suggestions for a good, long read? I haven’t had much reading time (did get a Ph.D. though!) for a number of years so am woefully out of step with anything that has come out in the past 10 years. Any recommendations are appreciated!

    • Thanks for the thoughtful response, Janis. I’m glad you felt the fog of war up there on that tower — that’s definitely what I was trying to evoke. Of course, that involves every single character making a crucial mistake, which can be frustrating for some readers — I just didn’t see any other way that it could really play out!

      As for recommendations, I’d steer you toward Elizabeth Bear’s Eternal Sky trilogy, Scott Lynch’s Lies of Locke Lamora, and Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, for starters. There’s been so much good stuff written recently, that you’re in for a lot of treats! I’m in the middle of V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic right now and it’s really wonderful…

  6. Wow! I just finished Fire and am thinking I need to read it again, to make sure I didn’t miss anything! It would be easy to do, it is DENSE with action, characters, and history. How ever did you keep up with it all?! I’m wondering what on earth the emperor was intending for his empire, based on the specific training he chose for his children. I’m eagerly awaiting book three to see what happens. With the kids at cross purposes, whatever is happening to Valyn, and the meddling of immortals and gods, it should be a bang-up read!

    Thanks for The Last Abbott of Ashk’lan. I liked Akiil and was glad to know he survived the massacre. Maybe you could do more of these short takes on other secondary characters! I hate to think book three will be the last act in this universe.

    • Thanks for getting in touch, Katherine! I’d like to write more shorts about Akiil — I have a sort of serialized novel imagined for him. Maybe fifteen stories over the next few years that follow his path. As for other secondary characters — you’re almost certainly in luck! The current plan, when this series is finished, will be to write a couple of stand-alone novels following some of these secondary characters. Any specific requests?

      • Hmmmm. Interesting. I think I would enjoy a serialized book. As a consumer, I would be worried about the cost though. ebook form during the run then a hardcover at the end maybe. I like the idea. Not many authors going this route.

  7. It’s me again! I was wondering if you have a pdf or jpeg of the map of your world? I have the ebooks and even though I can zoom in and see some things, the resolution is not that good. I would love to be able to see it on a large monitor or print it out to refer to since I find I sometimes get confused as to the relative locations of the places in the book. I’m in the process of re-reading Providence of Fire and paying more attention to details. Since the three Malkeenian kids are scattered to the winds and on the move, there are a lot of places to keep track of! If you had a poster size map for sale, I would buy it for sure!

  8. Hi Brian,
    Rarely have I read such a compelling and wonderful book. I was immersed immediately in its captivating world and characters. You have a great deal of potential as a writer and I feel we as the readers are about to see your full brilliance in your upcoming books. All of your hard work is tremendously appreciated.Thank you and please do keep the job well done.
    Kudos mate,

  9. hi Brian,
    i have never made a comment to an author before, though i have read many books.I am always looking for new and good fantasy writers.Having said that, i want to commend you on the first two books in this series.When i read a book and find myself wondering what the characters might do next, i know that im reading an excellent book.I didnt want to put them down.But when i had to, I found myself thinking about the it.Thank you so much for persevering until your work was published.

    • Hi Scott — Thanks for taking the time to reach out! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the books. Really can’t wait to finish this third one and see it out in the world. To your point about characters, a couple of the plot lines have gone in ways I didn’t quite anticipate when I started this final volume. I’ll be very curious to hear what you make of it when it’s finally finished.

  10. Hey Brian,

    Firstly, I would like to thank you for an excellent series of books. I would also like to commend you on the decision to put up the first 7 chapters on Amazon/TOR for free. After reading about your book on Reddit Fantasy, I decided to check them out, and I got hooked extremely quickly.

    Secondly, I really like the fact that there aren’t pages upon pages of worldbuilding and scene setting, everything happens in a quick and gritty manner while giving the reader ample information to understand what is going on. Kudos for that, it was masterfully done.

    Thirdly, I really like how these books are suitable for people who are just starting off in the fantasy genre and experienced veterans. I have read many fantasy series from multiple authors and I found this book to be very interesting. My Brother on the other hand has always put down fantasy books before, the only series he read was the Gentleman Bastards by Scott Lynch. However, when he picked up the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, he was absolutely hooked. He is in the middle of Providence of Fire and cannot stop asking me questions about this and that and theorycrafting with me about the limits of the abilities of Leaches etc. It is very hard not to spoil the absolutely magnificent ending you engineered, Thank you for providing another way for me to connect with my brother.

    In conclusion, thank you very much for writing amazing books, and making a gateway drug for my brother to get into fantasy.

    Thank you.


    PS: This is the first time I have written anything to an author, I am extremely excited at this time, hopefully everything makes sense!

    • Thanks for getting in touch! I’m so glad that the free chapters were a good hook for you; it seems from the emails I get that they’ve lured in quite a few readers. I’m surprised, actually, that publishers don’t release same chapters like that for more books — seems easy to do, and there’s really no down side. As for the question of world-building versus action — it’s a tricky one for anyone writing second-world fantasy. I usually try to sneak as much world-building into the dialogue as I think it’ll bear; seems like that’s the most exciting and palatable way to get across some of the crucial exposition. I, too, love the Scott Lynch books — I was floored when I first encountered Locke Lamora years back. The middle of that book still just guts me.

      Thanks again for taking the time to write such a kind and thoughtful note!

  11. Brian – firstly like some of the entries listed above – this is the first time that l have ever written to an Author about a book l have read. Such was the enjoyment and the pleasure l garnered from your books – l felt it was only fair to write and both congratulate you, and thank you for your work.
    l will preface this by saying l ‘listened’ to your book on Audiobooks – as l most often do, as there is few things more pleasurable than being out in the fresh air, walking and being totally engrossed in a storyline.
    May l be bold enough to start with a criticism?? Your use of expletives, e/g ‘Kent kissing’ – which on several occasions in the books was repetitive and annoying. Indeed the use of the noun/verb ‘fuck’ or ‘fuckers’ was unnecessary. Insofar as in such a brilliantly crafted world, presumably set in a time long before the 21st Century, I’m sure the word was never used!!
    Now that is rich coming from an Irishman – where expletives are part of our culture – almost !!!
    Excluding that little criticism – l have to admit that your books are absolutely brilliant. Like your earlier bloggers l was totally enthralled with your plots, planning and execution to date.
    I’m not going to go into detail about this and that – but suffice to say that you have a brilliant storytelling mind and you ability to put it to paper (or indeed audio) is magnificent.
    l thought Tad Williams was good – but you rock!!
    Really really looking forward to the next book or indeed books. Because you have hit on something special.
    l wish you huge success and may your mind continue to produce such gems, as The Emperors Blades and The Providence of Fire.
    Well done Sir and once again – thank you so much for the hours of pleasure you have given me on my many walks around my beloved town of Dundalk.
    as ever

    • Thanks so much for getting in touch, Paul! The kind words are much appreciated as I work my way through the twists and turns of the third volume. You’ll be happy to know that I’ve had many a long discussion with my father about the expletives in the book (which he can’t stand). I’ve thought a lot about this question, and even written a little bit about it on this blog. The etymology of the word “fuck” is actually pretty interesting. There’s much mystery and debate, in part because the writers of dictionaries omitted it for many years, but it seems pretty clear that it dates back at least to the early 16th century. This link has some great citations. It’s also my general go-to for questions of etymology, which come up way more than you’d expect!

      At any rate, I really appreciate your kind note! I’ll look forward to hearing what you make of the third book when it’s finally released!

      All the Best,

  12. I just finished reading The Providence of Fire this morning. It was immensely enjoyable! I particularly enjoy the world you’ve created; it reminds me a little of the Malazan world, in a good way. Congratulations on a fantastic novel. I’m looking forward to the next installment.

  13. So glad you enjoyed it! I’ve read the first few Malazan books — loved them — but feel as though I need a year with no distractions to hammer through the whole series and keep everything straight. Retirement, maybe. Although I’m not sure that writers actually retire. Huh…

    • It is no small feat to make it through that series, but it is an incredibly rewarding experience. I get the feeling that the conclusion of this series will be rewarding as well. Loved the way you used the owl in the ending of The Providence of Fire. It made me smile at the possibilities.

  14. Kudos on a great couple of books I’m sad to hear that it’s a trilogy , wish it was longer! I enjoy the way you’ve crafted the characters and delved into how they became who they are. I like valyn and he’s tough but I kinda get the feeling we havnt seen a fraction of what kaydn is going to be capable of!
    Anyway looking forward to the next installment

  15. I’ve been listening to the malzan books on audible during my commute , crazy how fast you can get through them that way

  16. Hi Brian,
    Just finished TPoF 2 nights ago and what a fantastic read. Glad to say I was imagining what happened to Triste since about halfway through when it was mentioned who Long-Fist really was, and glad to see I was correct! I’m already excited to reread it next year just before TLMB! Keep up the amazing work and may all your future series be as great as this one.

  17. One character I’d like to see more of after the trilogy is finished in Annick Frencha. Of course, my interest in this character may in part simply be due to my misunderstanding her fundamental nature. Her almost superhuman skill with archery, and her nearly emotionless personality suggests to me that she just might be Csestriim. Of course, since she grew up alongside the other Kestril, she can’t be an old Csestriim. Could she be one of the first members of her species to be born in millennia, possibly because some of the Gods didn’t influence her emotional development in the ‘normal’ way?

  18. Excellent series, Brian! As exciting and entertaining as Kingkiller, Stormlight, and Riyria for me. Keep up the great work.

    • Agreed! I think The Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne ranks up there with the best fantasy I have read in recent years, which I would say includes Brent Weeks Lightbringer series, Peter Brett‘s Demon Cycle, and Daniel Abraham‘s The Dagger and The Coin series.

      I’d love to hear how you (or your publisher?) pick who does the blurb for your books because the names I have seen so far include people I have never heard of. (Though to be fair, space opera is really more of my wheelhouse, but I do appreciate gripping epic fantasy like you have produced in this series!)

      Anyway, congrats on the success and I am very much looking forward to reading The Last Mortal Bond!

      • I’m thrilled you’re enjoying the story! As for blurbs, there’s no real system (at least as far as I’ve been able to determine). Some come in unsolicited, from other writers who have just stumbled across the book and enjoyed it. In other cases, my publisher or agent passes a copy on to someone they thing might 1. enjoy the book and 2. be willing to write something; sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. Then, some of the blurbs come from reviewers. It’s a bit of a mish-mash!

  19. Dude you had me when you first introduced me to the world of the Annurians with ‘The Emperors Blades’ … But damn! This second edition in the Trilogy is like book#1 on ‘SPEED!’. The plot twists, political conspiracies, targetted eugenics, and of course those awesome gritty battles. Your tale of a dying breed of immortals, of usurpers that would see themselves as Kings, of Gods playing at being human, of mad monks preaching Armageddon, and misunderstood monsters is freaking mind blowing. Zealots one and all, blinded by the righteousness of their cause. I’m sold, hook line and sinker. These saviours, monsters, warriors, monks do make for addictive reading.

    One of the truly genius parts of your writing was when Adare was asking Tanís if he was spending the whole afternoon counting trees. Then he did the 2 finger thing … how many fingers am I holding up…
    That short illustration, those few sentences were sheer genius. You in one swoop managed to demonstrate (to me at list … maybe I’m a bit slow) the magnitude of the rift between man and immortal. That was a dropjaw moment!
    If there is one negative thing I can say about this book, it’s that I read it too early.
    Should have waited a while as now I’ll have a long wait for book# 3 .. grrrrr

    • Thanks, Joseph! So glad that you’re enjoying the story. I enjoy trying to write characters that are sympathetic but deeply flawed, so I’m glad that that’s the way a lot of these folks are coming across to you. It’s always interesting to hear which characters resonate with which readers. There are people, for instance, who can’t stand Valyn, and, on the other side, people who are reading the story mainly for him.

      As far as book 3 goes, it’s less than a year out now. I’m working through the final large-scale edits this month, then it’s off to the copyeditor. Stay tuned today, by the way — is going to be doing a cover reveal of the US cover.

      Thanks again for getting in touch!

  20. Brian,
    The lifestyle demands of my career had brought me to a point in my life, that up until 3 months ago I had not read a fiction book in almost 8 years. While I read almost on a daily basis these are non fiction industry related books which have unequivocally contributed to where I am today. Having forgotten the book I was currently reading, (The Quest, by Daniel Yergin) I began browsing frantically for anything remotely industry related in the airport bookstore. My efforts were cut short with the sound of the last boarding call so I grabbed the first book I could (in the nonfiction section ?!?) expecting it to be about the history of Asian politics. After finishing both of your books in very short order I wanted to thank you personally for a change in thought process that a fictional book could not be beneficial to the advancement of my goals in life. Your creation and personification of various religions was executed flawlessly. The subtle mirroring of reputational traits in each character to their corelated religion was a fascinating take on human characteristics and the duality of the adverse and beneficial roles religion takes in shaping not only a society, but the traits and actions of the individuals that collectively make up the world you created. You’ve reignited a childhood passion of mine reading for pleasure, while in stilling thought provoking themes and messages peppered through out an engrossing tale thank you.

    • Thanks for getting in touch, Parker! How bizarre that someone shelved The Emperor’s Blades in the nonfiction section — first time I’ve heard that one. Of course, the germs for a lot of the ideas in the book came from my years teaching world history and comparative religion, and it sounds like this is some of the stuff that you cued in on in the book after all. I’m thrilled that you enjoyed it; the third book, THE LAST MORTAL BOND, is with my editor now. Can’t wait to get it out there. What other fiction are you reading in the mean time?

  21. A couple years late to the party is better than never, right?

    I just finished TPOF (audiobook, Simon Vance is a GOD), and am loving the Chronicle!

    I may not be the most well-read fantasy reader ever, and so there may indeed be genre precedents for some of the concepts at work here, but I am finding the entire world to be incredibly unique and engaging. I find the magic system to be simultaneously subtle and powerful. I am repulsed in the the most giddy way at the gruesomeness present (the term “torture porn” comes to mind, which I do not mean in a negative way), which probably reveals my teenager-years pedigree as a reader of the somewhat sterilized Dungeons & Dragons- and Forgotten Realms-style fantasy. I am reminded, however, of the latter’s Avatar Trilogy, in which gods took “human” forms and ran amok among the populace.

    WAIT, did Adare become the avatar for Intara, via the lightning?!? This just occurred to me, will be answered or not in Book 3 I’m sure, and I don’t expect an answer.

    As an aspiring fantasy writer, exposure to your work opens me up as to what’s possible or “allowed”. Without crossing any lines into too close an approximation, I can see where being even more gritty in my work can be fun. I can try to break through my hesitance at harming or killing characters. In my current work I’m already also playing with the concept of deities’ ability to influence events or individuals in this plane, and what happens when they cross planes. My wife’s question when I began this venture, and my question to you, I suppose, is this:

    “Why would you write fantasy? Isn’t that genre so vast and saturated as to become easily lost in the shuffle?”
    What say you?

    Thanks for your work, Brian. Now I have to go read your entire blog, and buy TLMB. 😉

    • Thanks for the note, Evan. Thrilled to hear you’re enjoying the story! Simon does an incredible job; I’m really bummed that we won’t be working with him on Skullsworn, but it just doesn’t make sense, given that the book is told in the first person from a woman’s perspective. I think he’ll be back to do the narration of the book I’m writing now (due in June). At any rate, regarding your question, I started out writing poetry. That’s what I studied as an undergrad, and that’s what I did my MFA in. The trouble with poetry is that it’s really almost impossible to make any money writing it. I turned to fantasy because it’s a genre I grew up reading, that I’ve always loved, and one in which I felt as though I understood the lay of the land well enough to see where I might be able to make a contribution. If I’d decided to write mysteries or romance, I’d often worry I was reinventing the wheel, but fantasy was familiar and exciting to me. Four books in, I’m realizing another great thing about fantasy is that it’s incredibly open-ended. Whatever type of story you want to write (mystery, romance, western, spy-novel, meta-fictional experimental work) you can do it within the boundaries of fantasy. As a result, I don’t imagine getting bored with it really soon. Thanks for reading, good luck with your own writing, and do let me know what you think of TLMB!

      • Thanks for your reply, Brian. Your reasoning matches mine extremely closely, so that’s very validating! A friend of mine wants to try writing at least one book in every genre he can think of, where the common thread is time travel (with which he’s obsessed). I think it’s an incredible idea!

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