By Gail Z. Martin
Who do you want to have your back when the world ends?
When I first came up with the concept for my Ascendant Kingdoms Saga and its first book, Ice Forged, I envisioned a post-apocalyptic medieval world, one in which not only the land and buildings had been devastated by war, but also one in which the magic upon which people depended no longer worked.
With the death of the king and nobles, the kingdom of Donderath is in chaos. The war that raged with neighboring Meroven led to a disastrous doomsday magic strike by mages on both sides. Fire rains from the sky, and magic fails.
Heroes, I believe, are made not born. Blaine McFadden was born the eldest son of Lord Ian McFadden. Ian is violently abusive, a man who beats his sons and forces himself on his daughter. Ice Forged begins when Blaine decides someone has to do something about Ian and takes matters into his own hands, killing Ian when he discovers what his father has done to Blaine’s sister, Mari. Blaine fully expects to die for his crime, and accepts his fate. But when the king shows mercy and sends Blaine into exile, Blaine has to survive a brutal prison colony at the top of the world.
By the time the Great Fire destroys Donderath, Blaine has served his time and been released from the prison as a “colonist”—still a prisoner in Edgeland, but no longer within prison walls. He’s created a new life for himself, married and been widowed, and created a “family” of close friends who protect each other. Then the ships stop coming from home and magic fails. Several plot twists and turns later, Blaine realizes that he may be the only one who can restore the magic, and he has to choose whether to stay in the new home he has made for himself, or go back to the kingdom that exiled him.
What would you do? I liked the idea of working with a not-perfect hero, someone who is unrepentant about his crime. Yet at every step, Blaine’s actions develop the skills you’d want in a hero for the end of the world. His abusive childhood prepared him to survive the prison’s brutality. Prison also honed his fighting skills. Among the dispossessed, Blaine’s education and well-to-do upbringing enabled him to emerge as a leader of the colonists. His ability to draw a team together and inspire loyalty serves him well when he makes the decision to return. Living a bare-necessities existence in a harsh environment toughened him up for a post-apocalyptic environment. And the deep loyalty that drove Blaine to commit murder compels him to do what he can to restore his ruined homeland.
Creating the world of the Ascendant Kingdoms has been a lot of fun. But it’s been even more fun to allow the world to shape the character and supply just the right man for the job when the end of the world is nigh.
The Hawthorn Moon Sneak Peek Event includes book giveaways, free excerpts and readings, all-new guest blog posts and author Q&A on 21 awesome partner sites around the globe. For a full list of where to go to get the goodies, visit www.AscendantKingdoms.com.
Gail Z. Martin is the author of Ice Forged in her new The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga (Orbit Books), plus The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven & Dark Lady’s Chosen ) and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn and The Dread). She is also the author of two series on ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Series. Her books are available in bookstores worldwide and on Kindle, Kobo and Nook. Find her online at www.AscendantKingdoms.com.