If you leave Sisoa and travel east and north for many days into the desert, traveling past the mesas of the Lierven sky-dwarves until the land begins to rise and you can see the low rusty hills of rock climbing from the desert, and beyond them the mountains, purple after the pale gold of the sand, you may come to the Ring of Gods in the place called Edah. The Ring of Gods of Edah is old, old beyond any song to tell of it, and the stones rise up out of the desert worn by the wind and the wind-blown sand. Some of the figures rise crooked; on the far side of the circle one leans against another. It is long, long since any mortal knew words of praise for these gods, long since any mortal brought meat for these gods. They are ancient gods, and they are not your gods, but they are hungry, and the wise do not try to see their faces, for no one may look on the face of a god…
I'm excited to announce that I've finally published Ruin of Ancient Powers, the sixth (and last?) book in the Otherworld series! On the back cover I've described it thus:
From the ancient ruins of a lost civilization to the sudden ruin of a new city, a mysterious power stalks the desert. Oru of Sisoa leads an expedition to investigate, accompanied by his beloved Jiriya, the bard Svarnil, and the librarian Nulif. Their group also includes two young sky-dwarf orphans who may carry a curse from the destruction of their home, and three nomads of bitterly feuding tribes. Together the diverse members of this expedition must solve the mystery of the ancient curse of Edah and turn aside its terrible danger. But the greatest danger of all may not be the nameless gods of Edah, but the conflicts these travelers bring with them on the journey.
(Da Dum! Please imagine dramatic music there, if you will.)
A slightly more detailed plot summary is that Oru and Jiriya, who were central characters in the second book, Sleeping Legends Lie, must postpone their wedding because Oru's boss, the vizier, is sending him to the eastern desert to ascertain whether the mysterious and sudden destruction of a sky-dwarf town is part of a larger danger to the region. Svarnil and Nulif, who are visiting for the wedding, end up accompanying them. (Svarnil, for those who don't know, is the character who carries the entire series, a bard whose calling is to learn the truth about history and share it. Nulif, whose job is sort of a combination of librarian and archaeologist, is introduced in the fourth book, Vision Revealed.) There's a slow build-up of tension as the expedition comes nearer and nearer to the site of the ancient city of Edah, a lost civilization of which nothing is now known except that its ancient gods are said to have cursed the site of the ruins. Along the way there are cool new places, fabulous new creatures, intriguing new characters, and challenging new conflicts. Since I don't want to include any spoilers, I'll just say here that mystery, disaster, magic, suspense, murder, and ultimately hope ensue.
With this story I've been exploring a number of themes that have been on my mind a lot for the past few years - themes including good people doing bad things, how cycles of violence feed themselves, and perhaps most of all the idea that we are not called to succeed, but only to be faithful to what we are supposed to do. I've also enjoyed further exploring the relationships between characters I've been working with for a long time now, as well as some new characters.
I've already added the book to my web site. (This update added 2012) The Kindle edition and paperback edition are also available on amazon.com.
For those who have already read the rest of the series, I hope you enjoy this one. Let me know what you think! And for those who haven't yet read the others, if this sounds at all interesting, I encourage you to give it a try, starting with Song Against Shadow.
This now concludes the Shameful Self-Promotion segment of our blog. Thank You!
(And now to turn to the next project! Hmmm...)
[Pictures: sketch of the Ring of Gods of Edah, pencil and pen by AEGN, 1995;
cover of Ruin of Ancient Powers, by AEGN, 2o11;
detail from the cover of Song Against Shadow, border from a rubber block print combined with pen and ink drawing of harp, by AEGN, 2008.]