Character Names: William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe
Relationship: Roommates; Playwrights; Co-authors
World: New Hell
Books: Rogues in Hell; Dreamers in Hell; Poets in Hell; Pirates in Hell (Heroes in Hell series)
How and where did you meet?
Will Shakespeare: When alive, we met as rival playwrights, Kit holding forth in the ‘Admiral’s Men company’ wheresoever the troupe played, or at the Rose; and I at the Globe, where I owned an interest in the house.
Kit Marlowe: Eyewash, all that. Shakespeare’s a famous liar. My Tamburlaine the Great, Parts I and II, were performed in my lifetime; the rest, posthumously, but for Dido, Queen of Carthage, writ by me and Thomas Nashe, and ‘performed’ by the ‘Children of the Chapel,’ as fair a clutch of boy charmers as ever gamboled on any stage. I met my death not too long after I met Will, a matter of my spying here and lying there, most times with Walsingham, whose wife took umbrage, as women will, when boys and men make love. Still, those plays set a new standard in quality and introduced blank verse. Mine were not, like Will’s, tripe writ for money-grubbery by the uneducated and for the uneducated. I helped Will write his Henry VI, Parts One, Two and Three and got no credit for it. Still, my own four plays performed on Earth after I arrived in Hell did what art should do: shined lights on evils hidden and calumny of the vilest kind.
Will: Kit, let’s not linger on this question, unfortunate as it may be. We were sometime lovers, sometime haters of one another, but always haters of repression and Elizabethan frippery. If your spying got you killed, Kit, your love of controversy sparked it — yea, incited it.
Kit: Incited? Poor choice of words, methinks. Edward the Second was first performed five weeks after my death; so that play, at least, retained its bite.
What is it you like most about the other person?
Kit: Like about Will? His soft white skin, his ample buttocks — his mobile mouth, empowered tongue, and nubile breasts.
Will: Kit means he adores my ear for language, my deeply probing artist’s soul, and my knack of staying out of trouble whilst I slip and slide among the rich and reprehensible at Court. Do recall I’m not the one who ended life with a bodkin thrust deep in that eye so like a doe’s.
What is it you hate most about each other?
Will: We said that. But, since you ask for more: his blasphemy and his need to fill his pages with the ‘vile heretical conceits’ that sent him to trial before the Privy Council.
Kit: We told you that, and, like the Privy Council, you’ll acquit me on the grounds that truth itself can’t be denied — for long.
Will: Christopher Marlowe, like your English Agent in the Massacre at Paris, I hate your overweening pride and lurid need to confess your days of secret agency under so thin a guise as that play. What were you thinking, to warn Elizabeth of agitators, a theme far too dangerous to survive? And how many refugees from the low countries died of your ideas planted in their tiny little heads?
Do you think your partnership will last?
Kit: Henry Sixth answers that, for my part. It’s what Shakey would have writ had he an education or a life made dangerous enough to enjoy. And the rest, you see before you: two souls forever doomed to one another’s company in the bowels of perdition, to count eternity’s every day, and nights more deadly still.
Will: Kit’s a good boy, a young fellow led astray by childish derring-do, and with a taste for the hurly-burly that snuffed his life before its time. But now I have infernity to reform him, and Satan provides the irritant around which we’ll secrete a necklace of pearls while we write as we’ve never writ before.
Describe the other person (max 100 words):
Kit: Will, go ye first, and light our path with your dulcet tones, so like a cello but a string or two short.
Will: Master Marlowe, my thanks for your recital, though it best be delivered later and revisited daily, as the Privy Council sentenced you to come before them every day: every day of the ten you had yet to live . . . Withal, I’ll try to answer the question: this Marlowe creature hungers for adoration and thirsts for justice, both of which were as precious scarce in life as they remain dubious in afterlife. Nevertheless, his talent is wider than the face of Paradise and tempered by a lifetime few would have dared to live — and I love him for his childish heart and indomitable soul.
Kit: My turn, then, to laud the Bard in terms free of spite and full with admiration: such a mind for the human animal has ne’er been seen on the black earth — not before he lived his quick span, or at any time thereafter. Although glorifying humanity may be an empty effort, he’s made them look into themselves, and find there what joy can be had, and give it value.
Describe how you think the other person sees you
Will: I think not, for safety’s bereftest sake.
Kit: As my better half insinuates, ‘twould take a three-part comedy of errors to do that story justice. So I’ll not begin it, lest it never stop till eternity runs out.
Tell us a little about your adventures.
Will: Then or now? Becoming famous in life holds no candle to sustaining afterlife. We’ve written three plays now for Satan, and suffered the attendant woes of those who know true ignominy. We wrote Hell Bent, and died in it every night. We wrote The Witch and the Tyrant, and fell afoul of its graveyard stench. We wrote another, Pirates in Perdition, and found the very sounding of its name an incantation to summon fiends and demons and all manner of unexculpated souls.
Kit: Read our plays writ here, to Abbadon’s order, or don’t. But be warned: you’ll risk your wizened hearts every time you turn our pages and let your eyes rub words too dangerous to speak aloud.
Tell us about your world – and your part of it.
Will: Hell is the Reformation come to grief, with no Third Act to cure it.
Kit: Hell is where the heart is, and seldom beats. But when it does, that heart beats as only love can. We are Satan’s personal poets, and no worse can befall a soul who yet owns an ear for courage or for rhyme.
Where do you see yourselves in five years?
Kit: Right here. Scoffing at evil while we glorify every flaw that makes man human. What else, in hell, is a playwright to do?
Will: Enough, Kit. The last line of this comedy is mine: We’ll be here as long as ghosts roam the world and fools rule it; as long as regrets power penance and singers keen their pain.
You can find Will and Kit in the following:
#Meetacharacter #fantasy #Heroesinhell
Name of characters: Daemon Grim & The Angel Grislington
(Short intro about each of the characters.)
Daemon Grim: Satan’s Reaper of souls and Pack Leader of the Hell Hounds (His Infernal Majesty’s Ancient Disorder of bounty hunters) and the Inquisitors (Royal interrogators).
The Angel Grislington.
Captive cherub of the Most High, taken prisoner during the final battle at the Time of Sundering. (Current unlawfully at large within the realms of latterday hell).
Q1 Daemon, why are you on this adventure?
I’ve got to track down the angelic retard sat opposite me. He seems to think he can abscond from unlawful custody with impunity and spread his holier than thou platitudes without repercussions. Think again sucker!
Q2 Grislington, who is your nemesis? Why is this?
That misguided fool on the opposite side of the table. If he’d just let me be, I’d while away my time among the masses without drawing attention to myself. This is hell, after all, and there must be plenty of things to keep an inquisitive chap occupied while he decides what to do in the long-term?
Q3 Daemon, at your final showdown what are your plans (promise we won’t tell)?
I don’t care if you do tell? In fact, I want you to shout it from the rooftops, because when I do catch up with this…this shiney whitey, sitting on a cloud all day yanking his own chain tosspot, I’ll rub his face so far into the dirt, he’ll be spitting out dog turds for what’s left of his incredibly short lifespan.
Q4 As an angel of God, it’ll be interesting to see how you’d define a hero?
My dear, that’s an easy one to answer. A hero is anyone who has to listen to Grim’s infernal rhetoric for more than a few minutes at a time. Honestly, could you think of anything worse? “I’m gonna cut you up – kill you – give you one hell of a Chinese burn for daring to do the slightest thing that doesn’t fit with Lucifer’s petty prince of darkness politicking.” Blah, blah, blah…For goodness sake, change the record. Can’t you think of anything original to say?
Q5 Daemon, you work for the Prince of Darkness. So how would you define a villain?
Anyone who dares question the tenets by which I lead my unlife. As the pack leader of the Hell Hounds, we are bound by ancient decree to always be guided by the Laws of Lucifer, and to protect and defend his most despicable doctrines. We will pursue all enemies of the state – without mercy – throughout the length and breadth of the Sheolspace continuum until they are brought to heel and subjected to injustice’s purifying scales.
Q6 Grislington, why do you think Daemon is on the path he or she is?
Because the poor boy hasn’t really got a choice. He has serious daddy issues that require the pandering of a constant urge to seek Lucifer’s approval on absolutely everything; from what he thinks to how he acts; who he sees and where he lives; he can’t even take a dump without fretting it might not fit into his regimented, regulated little world. Hand on heart, his path is leading him right down the toilet, but he’s too blinded by a false sense of loyalty to see.
Q7 Daemon, what are your feelings about God’s holy angel?
I don’t have feelings. I don’t experience love or hatred; joy or remorse; hope or despair. I’m merely possessed by the overwhelming, overriding urge to detach his head from his scrawny body and present it on a platter for my Dark Father to use as a toasting cup…a very small toasting cup. Perhaps something for pre-dinner aperitifs?
Q8 Grislington, where will you be 10 years from now?
I haven’t really decided yet. I might stay and savor the dark delights the damned have to offer or I might reach out and try for home again. It all depends if I can collect my wits – and my wings – from wherever it is they’ve been scattered.
Q9 Daemon, why should readers believe YOU are right?
Because as everyone in the underworld knows, I never lie. And I promise you, I’m gonna castrate this dick from the neck down the first chance I get.
Q10 This final question is to you both. Do you have anything you’d like to say to each other that you may not get the chance to say when you meet?
Daemon Grim: Not really, I’ll let my scythe do the talking.
The Angel Grislington: Good luck with that…Remember, I’m not just any old angel. I’m a cherub of the holy court, and unhinged or not, I just might surprise you.
Storm Seed (Sacred Band Series Book 7) Janet and Chris Morris
Author’s Cut Edition
Hot off the e-presses, the final “lost” volume of the Sacred Band series in an all-new Author’s Cut edition. Travel with the Stepsons to a future undreamed. Meet the changeling son of Tempus and Jihan. Learn what it takes to become a dragon. Bring gods to a godless realm. High adventure awaits in Storm Seed by Janet & Chris Morris.
Basic Book Spotlight
Title: The Forestal
Author: Blaze Ward
Genre: Epic Fantasy Poetry
Links etc. – http://www.knottedroadpress.com/book/the-forestal/
first: The Dawn of Hope
So many times I wanted to call you up
to apologize for everything
But there was always something else
to the list of sins
One morning it was simply too much
I could no longer bear the weight
of the world
on my shoulders
when I had done so little
became ten thousand
But when I sought to cry out
to end the farce
It became ten million
The only recourse left me
was to climb the highest mountain
Where you could not follow
and there find a kind of escape
Where the sins of mankind
were not mine alone to suffer for
You told me once
that you cared about me
In this dawn of a new year
I wonder if it might not be an end
to the night of madness
A dawn of hope
where the mistakes of yesterday
can be forgotten
In hopes of starting anew
without yesterday’s crimes
I had climbed the mountain in desperation
but looking back I see no path up
So I think I am safe here
where no one can follow
If we cannot end
this night of madness
I shall leave to make my own dawn
and forget you
to your high tower
and your troll
For I see the old desert
suddenly stretched out before me
my own dawn of hope
Name: Joe Bonadonna
*Who are/were you? Tell us about your life before you came here, and after.
My name, it is Quasimodo. In life, I was once crowned Pope of Fools, for I was and still I am the most ugly and misshapen cathedral bell ringer of them all. The Hunchback of Notre Dame . . . that is who I was and what I am now and forever more. The story, as I was later to learn, is that I was born to a Gypsy tribe, deformed at birth as if possessed by the Devil. My parents switched me with a normal baby girl . . . the one and only Esmeralda, of whom you will know from that most famous novel written about me. Her own bereaved parents had me exorcised, and later they abandoned me, placing me on the Foundling’s Bed of the cathedral. There was I discovered by the Archdeacon himself, Claude Frollo, who raised me, gave me what little education I have and then, when I was old enough, appointed me to be the bell ringer of Notre Dame. I was his foundling, his slave, his whipping post, and his accomplice in many acts of a nefarious nature.
My life, such as it was on earth, was one of misery and hard labour, empty of joy and love and hope. And the pain I suffered, much physical pain, in spite of my great strength. But the bells which I loved so much . . . ah, the bells of my cherished Notre Dame . . . their voices made me deaf, which did much to further my alienation from the society. You see, I was shunned as a monster, a flesh and blood gargoyle, which is what I still am. In Hell it is, perhaps, a little better, for the sights one sees here and the things that exist in the nether regions make me look lovely by comparison.
There is a sculpture of me at the cathedral, on the exterior of the north transept along the Rue du Cloitre-Notre-Dame. I was found on and named after Quasimodo Sunday, the first Sunday after Easter. In Latin, my name means “almost the standard measure.” In other words, “almost human.” Most apropos, don’t you think?
* Why do YOU think you’re in Hell?
I do not think: I know exactly why I am here, in Hell. For my master Claude Frollo, Archdeacon of Notre Dame, I committed many sins and many crimes. But none were so bad as when I threw him to his death from the high places of my beloved cathedral.
Who are your friends/allies here?
Life is strange, the perfect example being that of how Esmeralda, with whom I was switched at birth, (almost a sister, you might say) . . . how she came back into my life so many, many years later. And that story, I am most certain, you know. But here, in Hell, the afterlife is, by far, more strange. Here I have many friends, namely Doctor Victor Frankenstein, the master I gladly and willingly serve. The fine creature he made of his own two hands and brought to life, Adam Frankenstein, is also my friend. And so are Galatea, his beloved; Mary Shelley, the author; the Hellywood actors Jean Harlow and Errol Flynn; Argus the shipbuilder, and so many, many more. I have searched and searched for my beloved Esmeralda but have never found her. It is my hope, it is my prayer that she is not in Hell, for she was no witch in life and was unjustly hanged.
Do you have any enemies here?
One does not exist in Hell without making at least one enemy. In my case, the enemies of Doctor Frankenstein are also my enemies, and for him I would risk even the mortuary of the Undertaker and all his tortures and torments. I love the mad doctor, you see — love him as a son loves his father, for he gave me a home at Goblin Manor, gave me work, and gave me his trust. His enemies, my enemies . . . he and I, or I alone, have dealt with them in one manner or another.
Pirates – is that a word you resent?
And why should I resent such a word I consider to be one of praise? Pirates often ruled their vessels in a most democratic fashion. They are neither prejudiced nor judgmental, and never have I known a bigot among them. But we, Doctor Frankenstein and I, along with our crew, did not sail from New Hell in order to commit the acts of piracy, per se. No, we sailed under the pretence of filming a movie about pirates. But in truth, we sailed in search of the Isle of the Damned and the secret passage out of Hell. We fought many a pirate on the way — airship buccaneers and submarine corsairs, not to mention monsters of land and sea few of us ever knew existed in Hell. Plus, we battled or tried to battle the unknown monster that haunted the Snark, our very fine ship, and preyed upon our crew. No, to me, being a pirate is a noble calling, and I, for one, would gladly sign on and go to sea again, with Doctor Frankenstein as my captain.
*Name and bio.
My name is Joe Bonadonna, formerly a musician and labourer, now retired and writing as much as I can. To date, I have published three novels: the heroic fantasy Mad Shadows: The Weird Tales of Dorgo the Dowser, published by iUniverse; the space opera Three Against the Stars, published by Airship 27 Productions; and the sword and sorcery pirate novel, Waters of Darkness, (in collaboration with David C. Smith), published by Damnation Books. For Perseid Press I have stories appearing in Heroika: Dragon Eaters; Poets in Hell, Doctors in Hell, and now Pirates in Hell. I have also written short stories for Griots: Sisters of the Spear (MVmedia); Sinbad: The New Voyages — Vol. 4 (Airship 27 Productions); and Azieran Presents: Artifacts and Relics — Extreme Sword and Sorcery, (Heathen Oracle).) At this time I am waiting to hear back from a publisher regarding my fourth novel, a sword and planet sequel to my Three Against the Stars; I have also submitted a short, space opera story to a new shared-world anthology. In addition, I do some editing on the side, and help out with the Blue Ribbon Arts Initiative, which provides art supplies, toys, games, and other things to children on the autism spectrum; this organization was founded by my friend, author Rebecca Miller and her brilliant, autistic son Max, also an author.
* Tell us about your story for this edition.
In the original Baen Books editions of the Heroes in Hell series, screenwriter/author Bill Kerby (The Rose, starring Bette Midler) created and wrote about the film industry in Hell. I’m a movie junky, especially the old Golden Age Hollywood movies, have some knowledge of the industry and have written 5 unsold screenplays. So Janet Morris, author, editor and series creator, suggested I resurrect the Hellywood film industry, even if it’s just for one story.
My story is called The Pirates of Penance. At heart it’s an old school, pulp-fiction adventure, but with all the tropes, pitfalls, horrors and irony that are unique to Hell. In this story I resurrect the film industry in Hell — or try to, at any rate. Basically, under the guise of filming a pirate movie in Hell, Doctor Frankenstein and Quasimodo, along with silver screen legends Errol Flynn, Jean Harlow, Douglas Fairbanks Senior and Douglas Fairbanks Junior, and a number of others, sail in search of the Isle of the Damned. This all occurs during a time of massive floods plaguing all the nether regions, and the island must be reached before the oceans swallow it up again. From the Isle of the Dead there is purported to be a cave that leads to Hades and up to an exit on Cape Matapan, an island off the coast of Greece. While Flynn is actually shooting a film he hopes to show to the world once they escape, the others are more concerned with escaping Hell. Of course, Hell being Hell, there are dangers and set-backs galore before they eventually reach the island, where things are not what they hoped they’d be, and the futility of their mission hits them with despairing realization.
What inspired you to use the character(s) you’ve chosen?
Well, when the project was first announced, I had just re-watched The Sea Hawk and Captain Blood, both starring Errol Flynn. The idea to use old, long dead film actors known for playing pirates in the movies — like Flynn, the two Fairbankses, Wallace Beery — and combine them with other historical figures, just seemed like a natural for me, especially because it allowed me to write another pirate adventure. The irony of Hell, the failure of one’s ambitions and projects in life as well as in the afterlife, plus the futility of lost souls, long dead and trying to escape infernity, as we call it, were all right there for the using. The tropes of Hell are amazing, the rules of the shared-universe liberating, rather than constricting. I was able to use those as to further the character studies amidst all the action, create new creatures, ideas, punishments and torments, and to play the ultimate joke on my cast and crew. I was also able to tie this into earlier stories of mine, adding to the overall arc to my characters, as well connect it to events that took place in Hell long before I came on board. It was a long and hard story to write, but also much fun and very rewarding for me, personally.
How did you become involved with this project?
About 4 years ago Janet Morris became aware of me through some articles I wrote for Black Gate online magazine and a review I wrote of Rogues in Hell. She sampled some of my own stories, and I guess she liked my style and, more importantly, my sensibilities, because she asked me to write for Hell. Having the right attitude, sensibility and feeling for Hell is very important, because Heroes in Hell, like Hell itself, is a very special, very extraordinary and unique series. The Pirates of Penance now marks my third appearance in the series. I also have one story in another Perseid Press publication, the heroic fantasy collection Heroika: Dragon Eaters.
What are you currently working on?
Mad Shadows II: The Return of Dorgo the Dowser; another story for Heroes in Hell; some editing for other authors, and hopefully, I’ll be involved in the publication of my fourth novel.
In these days of movies and video games are books really influential?
Not really, these days. I don’t read much because my time is spent writing and editing. I read in other genres from those in which I write, and I occasionally re-read classics of fantasy and science fiction . . . the books that originally inspired me. Very few post-modern films influence me. My best cinematic influences come from silent films and the Golden Age of Hollywood, between 1930 and 1950; it’s amazing what one can learn from the films made back then. I am not a gamer, so video games, computer games and such hold no interest for me. I played a lot of pinball and backgammon in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, so many I can find some inspiration in those.
EXCERPT from your story.
Fading in through a muck-stained window, crimson light illuminates the laboratory of Goblin Manor. Doctor Victor Frankenstein stands there, gazing into the distance as the rising waters of the Lake of Tears threaten to flood New Hell. Dressed in red-flannel shirt, blue pea coat, canvas trousers and heavy black boots, he feels safe and secure high above it all in the Golem Heights — as safe and secure as anyone can ever feel in hell. With the seas and oceans of hell merging, with the Flux causing the always unstable geography of hell to become even more unstable, he wonders if all infernity will soon be flooded.
Turning from the window, Victor makes his way through a maze of tables sagging under a sorcerer’s sanctum sanctorum of crucibles and alembics, and a variety of scientific implements and instruments. Walls of blood-red stone bristle with electrical panels, toggles and switches. A few sputtering torches, set in iron brackets, illuminate the laboratory but cannot chase away the shadows hanging near the vaulted ceiling. Victor’s collection of gizmos and gadgets are as silent as the grave in which his mortal remains lie buried.
Frankenstein reaches his desk, sits in his chair and skims through a pile of reports from Hades, Gehenna and all over infernity. Rivers such as the Styx and the Lethe have either overflowed their banks or gone bone dry. Shorelines in one circle of hell or another have fallen into the sea, while in other areas landmasses have risen where before had only been open water. Even the great Sea of Purgatory has receded to such an extent that islands now poke their crowns above the surface. After the torrents of plagues cast down upon the damned by Erra and his Seven, Sibitti sons-of-bitches, Victor suspects the self-righteous bastard and his brood are responsible for the oceans threatening to swallow everything and everyone whole.
But Victor isn’t worried. Victor doesn’t care.
Victor has a plan.
He dons a stocking cap to conceal his brain, visible through the wire mesh that replaces the top portion of his skull, which had been removed by the Undertaker. It is Victor’s very own brilliant but tortured brain inside the head and body once belonging to Adam, the creature he assembled from parts of dead bodies and to which he had given life. Their brains had been switched by Merlin the magician, as part of a prior business agreement.
Still floundering in a private sea of guilt and sorrow over the part his vaccine had played in obliterating thousands of damned souls, Victor wishes he could remember the formula for his serum. But all his notes were destroyed when his Crapple Slablet crashed and burned; Satan himself then stole the vaccine and made sure Victor could never tell another lost soul about it. Soon afterwards, scores of black-market versions of the vaccine were being sold all over hell under various generic names to damned fools seeking protection against the ravages of the plagues sweeping the underworld. If he had even one drop of his vaccine, Victor would administer it to himself and go gently into sweet obliteration, all sins expunged in past, present or future.
A ship’s bell rings three times, echoing loudly throughout his quiet laboratory. He turns in his chair as a trap door in the stone floor pops open. A thick length of rope shoots into the air like a stage magician’s prop, standing stiff and straight without attaching itself to anything. The whistling of a sea chantey announces the arrival of Quasimodo, who emerges from the opening in the floor, climbing the rope as nimbly as he once scaled the walls of Notre Dame.
“Ahoy, le Capitaine Docteur!” the hunchback said in his quaint French accent. He gave Victor a sharp salute. “I ask the autorisation to come aboard.”
“Who taught you the rope trick?” asked Victor, rising from his chair.
Victor eyed his lab assistant with amusement. The hunchback sported white knickers, a flowery shirt open at the front, black shoes and a black Monmouth hat. He resembled Pip, from Moby Dick, although with his humped back he looked more a spawn of the infamous whale than the frail cabin boy. Victor noticed that Quasimodo’s clothes were dirty, torn and stained.
“It’s getting bad out there?” he asked.
Quasimodo gave a lopsided shrug. “No worse than it was when the plagues were raging, Docteur. Hell will forever be hellish, no?”
Welcome to Hell Week 2017 – brought to you by the Infernal Interview Service, the Library of Erana and with kind permission of Perseid Press.
The twentieth book in the much-acclaimed Heroes in Hell series brings us pirates, plagiarists, monsters, heroes and villains and, of course, the shared world of Hell.
Spotlight on Hell – check out the link for further details.
So what poor souls are joining us for this?
Joe Bonadonna, Seth Lindberg, Andrew Weston, Michael Hanson, Rob Hinkle, Larry Atchley Jr, and Janet and Chris Morris bring us their characters and their time.
So, dear minions…. er readers… pull up a pitchfork, get the marshmallows out and watch out for those pesky demons.
REVIEW #sci-fi #fantasy #dystopian #heroicfiction
The fourth in Silistra Quartet does not disappoint. As ever the action starts immediately, with incredible creatures, fierce battles and searching of souls. Our heroes are, by this time, ‘more than men (and women), and less than gods’ but in a land of largely bronze age people, ruled by creatures of ‘Wehrkind’ gods they appear. And the locals aren’t impressed. In a quest for answers and revenge Sereth, Estri and Chayin must battle to free themselves from old rules, old beliefs, old prejudices and ghosts of their own pasts and emerge not only victorious but as rulers of this land. Ties of loyalty are truly tested, and the question of evolution, species selection and ranking is very much to the fore.
The Wehrdom creatures are fascinating – semi-telepathic creatures of all shapes and sizes, from eagle like creatures, to half man half beast, to those who just communicate with them. Led by a ‘dreaming’ king for a thousand years they wage war, they live, they die and they are manipulated in a kind of selective breeding or eugenic programme to remove the lesser (ie human) species and in ‘Wehr rage’ they are truly formidable.
As allies and enemies, these beings shape this story and this part of the world they inhabit. I found them worthy of pity (as pawns), frightening for their strangeness, enlightening for their intelligence and loyalty, and infinitely intriguing. They appealed to the mythic aspect I love so much in this author’s work.
Delcrit – the simple and lowly character we are introduced to early on – proves his worth and his destiny in a surprising twist.
The entire quartet brings forth questions on the wisdom of technology, the place in the world for the sexes, species, politics and laws. Biology is queen here, nature is queen, but the heroes must find their place among their own kind, and forge a future and protect their world from enemies many of which are of their own making.
The Silistra books are not simple, or easy to read but they are enthralling, exciting and thought-provoking. Silistra is dystopian – it is not Earth – but it COULD be. The characters are not us – but they COULD be.
As with all Morris’s work, the prose is very lyrical and very poetic. There is a beat to her work which pulls in the reader. No words are wasted, no scenes are out of place or unnecessary and thus it makes for a thrilling and evocative read.
There is treachery, love, bravery, intrigue, a lot of ‘fight or die’, complex characters and a supremely crafted world – everything one would expect in such a work.
Loose ends are firmly tied off, scores are settled and places allotted, and answers found.
Name: T. M. Lakomy (Tamara Lakomy)
What attracts you to the genre in which you write? I was always attracted to the darker aspects of fantasy, the fabric of our dreams and nightmares, where our wildest imaginations often have free rein. I find that this genre allows the story to be raw and cutting to the bone, with a realistic touch, lending fantasy a feel of authenticity. It makes it easier to believe as it reflects the darker aspects of human nature and existence.
What piece of writing advice do you wish you’d known when you started your writing adventures? That the amount of rejection has nothing to do with the quality of your work but rather a reflection on whether someone thinks they can sell and market it, it is nothing personal but rather a business transaction. So basically, keep pushing and don’t be discouraged, write for yourself, pour your heart into it and someone will see the merit eventually. It takes time but perseverance pays off.
If you could have dinner with any famous person or character who would you chose? Tolkien, I would love to hear him describe his own works, and hear his opinion on current events and literature. I am sure he had such a wealth of wisdom exceeding what he bequeathed to his books and I would have loved to have seen his writing through his own eyes.
Who has been the greatest influence on your own work? William Blake. His poetry touched me very deeply, especially the religious/spiritual streak in it. I am deeply spiritual and most of my writings have some sort of message, questioning and seeking answers to divine enigmas. Poetry has always been my weakest spot, the outpouring of the soul in its most poignant form.
Do you think the e-book revolution will do away with print? No, I think people will always treasure a beautiful library and collect their favourite and previous books, but as we have hectic lives and schedules, it is easier to transport all your books in one small device and read them at leisure. It is a question of convenience. We like that which simplifies our lives.
Which 3 books would you take to a desert island and why?
- The Silmarillion: that book deeply influenced me, it helped me through some dark times in my teenage years. It was pure escapism into a wondrous world that allowed me to develop and discover my own literary talents.
- Any book by Mircea Eliade: I was fascinated with shamanism while studying archaeology. I was mostly enamoured with the occult and the spiritual and Eliade’s books are an amazing source of knowledge.
- “A collection of works” by Guy de Maupassant; I grew up in a francophone environment, exposed to French literature, and his writings deeply marked me, the morality behind his stories are quite striking and often bitter. I learned a lot and became enriched by his style.
Author bio and book synopsis
Please introduce yourself (250 words or so): I am T. M Lakomy (Tamara Lakomy). I was born in London, but grew up as a tribal girl in a North African repressive regime. I spent my childhood between the slums of Mellasine and the affluent neighbourhoods in Tunis.
I studied archaeology and became enamoured with the shamanistic practices of indigenous people.
I am an author and poet who seeks to challenge our notions of reality, and see life with a different perspective.
I work in East Africa with indigenous tribes studying the origins of mankind and the salient golden thread in the tapestry of humanity’s beliefs.
Tell us about your book(s) – title, genre etc (short) My novel is called “The Shadow Crucible: The Blind God”, it’s Dark Fantasy.
Synopsis: in a world where angels, demons, and gods fight over the possession of mortal souls, two conflicted pawns are ensnared in a cruel game. The enigmatic seer Estella finds herself thrown together with Count Mikhail, a dogmatic Templar dedicated to subjugating her kind. But when a corrupted cardinal and puppet king begin a systematic genocide of her people, the two become unlikely allies.
Taking humanity back to their primordial beliefs and fears, Estella confronts Mikhail’s faith by revealing the true horror of the lucrative trade in human souls. All organized religions are shops orchestrated to consume mankind. Every deity, religion, and spiritual guide has been corrupted, and each claims to have the monopoly on truth and salvation.
In a perilous game where the truth is distorted and meddling ancient deities converge to partake of the unseen battle, Estella unwittingly finds herself hunted by Lucifer. Traversing the edge of hell’s precipice, Estella and Mikhail are reduced to mere instruments. Their only means to overcome is through courting the Threefold Death, the ancient ritual of apotheosis—of man becoming God.
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Wind from the Abyss – Book 3 of the Silistra Quartet – Janet Morris
The third book of the Silistra series is, perhaps, the most passionate, the most evocative and the most enthralling. This is a book about power, amongst many other things. The power of biology, of technology and the problems it can bring, the power over another, and the power over oneself. Silistra is a supremely crafted world, apart from ours but terrifyingly familiar in many ways. It is, a could be – a might be, and the denizens thereupon are reflections of humanity.
Estri – our protagonist – is a shadow of what she was, and beholden to a man who is demigod, ruler and profit. He shapes his world and brooks no competition or threat. Estri, now little more than a slave, must find herself, and her past and future and use them to save herself and her world. Does she do it? You’ll have to read to find out. I’ll just say it’s a long and difficult journey, filled with sacrifice.
You’ll quickly be entranced by the world and its characters, and although it helps to have read the earlier books, even without that it’s a tumultuous journey. This is not for the faint of heart, nor those who want an ‘easy’ read. It’s cerebral, lyrical and evocative. You have been warned.