I’ve been pushing Crimson Son for so long, I’m getting nervous about one thing in particular: confusing my fans. Not that my fans are easily confused. If they read my fiction, they either enjoy puzzles and deep plots with a heavy dose of character development or…well…maybe they just like being confused.
For over a year the battle cry here has been “SUPERHERO FICTION!” Turns out this is a pretty nebulous thing. Nobody can really decide where it goes. Shelves at Goodreads have Crimson Son most often categorized under both Fantasy and Science Fiction in equal measure.
To clear up the air (for half of you at least) about the kind of writer I am, my next book will be more along the lines of a traditional fantasy. I’m pitching it as Kafka meets Tolkien on the Gangees. And there’s another unlikely protagonist involved. His name’s Sidge. (And my crit group knows what’s coming next….)
He’s a bug.
An Ek’Kiru to be more precise. A humanoid bug the size of a smaller than average human male. He’s got six arms, two legs (which aren’t incredibly different from his arms, but the distinction to him is important) and great big eyes with a near 360 degree field of view. Nearly. He’s got a blind spot.
Sidge was raised in a monastery among humans. They live in the Stormblade Temple on the edge of an eternal storm. There, the mighty dragon, Vasheru, rides the clouds and sets the sky on fire with his lightning. The land beneath is pockmarked by strikes and carved by the torrential rains.
The priests there have learned to channel Vasheru’s immense power. They can channel that energy outward to smite their foes. The most powerful of them can absorb his holy lightning and see into the mind of the god himself.
The Stormpriests were founded to protect humanity from an ancient enemy, the Children of Kurath, who used their earth magic to subjugate humans.
Humans. Not the Ek’Kiru.
But Sidge was raised at the temple. The only Ek’Kiru there, he knows the humans as his brothers. His Master, Izhar, is the father figure he never had.
Unlike my previous protagonist, Sidge is not snarky. He’s not prone to questioning authority or launching off on a half-ass plan to right his universe. He feels his universe is right. He has accepted his life as an acolyte at the Storm Temple with great zeal.
Sidge can recite the twelve thousand verses of the Forge with perfect precision. He performs the menial tasks of an apprentice with a great sense of duty. Sweeping, organizing his Master’s shelves, sewing – these are among his favorite activities. He tries his best to create order in the world around him and he wants nothing more than to ascend to the rank of Cloud Born and make his Master proud.
In order to ascend, he must perform more than recitations of the holy mantras. He must learn to channel Vasheru’s energy and embark on a pilgrimage to the West where he will stand at the edge of the desert which the Children of Kurath call their home. Prophecy says the enemy will one day sweep across the sands to enslave the humans once more.
Yet prophecy has said this for a timeless age.
This enemy lurks behind a veil of the past so dense that the Stormpriests have wavered in their duty. No longer the warriors they once were, the temple stagnates under divisive politics and what some might call hypocrisy. Only Sidge’s irreverent Master seems to recognize the truth but his answers verge on heresy.
On his pilgrimage, Sidge will dutifully try to fulfill his obligations for he believes in the mantras more than even the humans he is sworn to protect. However his perfectly righted universe will begin to tilt. And like so many stories, it all starts with a girl.
Keep an eye on the site and sign up on the mailing list to get the latest. And don’t think this means you’ve escaped Spencer’s smart ass. He’ll be back in 2016.