Hi everybody! My second novel will be publishing in November (ebook on Kindle, B&N, Kobo, etc and paperback). The title is THE HIDDEN FACE. This is the first in an epic fantasy (non-YA) series that I have been working on for many years. I would describe it as fast-paced, character-based epic fantasy.
Pre-orders will be available closer to the launch date. For now, here is the Goodreads page if you would like to add it.
Here is the brief synopsis:
A face without a face – an unmasking that leaves the mask.
Once every few hundred years the sun god, the Akhen, takes on human form and descends to earth. Each Unmasking of the Face of the Akhen ends one era and begins another; the last one created the Faustian Empire. Where and when will the Face next appear, and who will he – or she – be?
Dayraven, son of a great hero, returns to Faustia after years as a hostage of their rivals, the Magians. Those years have changed him, but Faustia has changed as well; the emperor Calvo now seems eccentric and is controlled by one of Dayraven’s old enemies. Following the brutal death of his old teacher, Dayraven is drawn, together with a warrior woman named Sunniva, into the search for an ancient secret that would change the fate of empires.
The central idea for THE HIDDEN FACE goes back a long time, to when I started searching for an over-arching connection that links different regions and periods in my world.
Faustia is based on the Carolingian empire in the ninth century, and I tried to drench the story in the feel of the early Middle Ages. In THE HIDDEN FACE, the empire of Faustia is at the end of its period of greatness; 575 years have passed since the last Unmasking of the Face of the Akhen, which makes the Faustian era already the longest in history. Faustia is therefore in its very last days as world leader, but what will replace it?
Once again, I have great support team working on THE HIDDEN FACE, all of whom are very well known in the fantasy genre:
copyeditor Richard Shealy
formatter Tim Marquitz
artist John di Giovanni
designer Shawn King
mapmaker Paul Weimer
I can’t wait to show everyone the great visuals – there will be a cover reveal soon. Thanks to the team and also to the beta readers. There will be a blog tour around the publication date, and thanks in advance to the bloggers who will host me.
So, what is THE HIDDEN FACE actually like? One beta reader described it as “a little like Brent Weeks but darker”, and I am happy with that. I would say it is not dark enough to be classified as Grimdark – after all, there are “goodies” that you are supposed to identify with! But then, it does also include a crazy hunch-backed assassin, a drunken elephant, a dynasty of telepathic magician-kings, a famously beautiful but deadly woman who is never seen, and a mute bounty hunter who communicates through the tattoos on his body… .
Here is a taster from the prologue of THE HIDDEN FACE:
The ring of metal on stone sounded like a death knell to Halakh.
He walked around the altar until he saw what had made the sound. It was lying in a pool of light thrown by a tall candle. He bent his tired old limbs to pick up the tiny thing.
Halakh’s heart jumped as he saw what it was: a golden bee with fine stones inlaid in the wings. He whirled around, but the flickering shadows in the corners gave no answer. He saw the shadow of his own cap and long robe thrown on the wall. It was a strange place for him to die, Halakh thought, but he was calm now. Everything was ready. The truth must survive.
‘I’m over here,’ said a voice. ‘I’ve been right behind you for days.’
Halakh spun around again. A shape slid out of the darkness. Halakh squinted his eyes to make out who it was and saw a short young man dressed in a black cloak. The face that peeped out from under the hood was handsome and the skin and eyes were clear.
Halakh felt a spasm of shock and looked again at the golden bee. ‘But you’re supposed to be dead – and you can’t be one of Them, can you?’
The stranger unclasped his cloak and let it drop to the floor; underneath, he was wearing a white tunic covered in golden bees. Halakh saw the mound of a hunchback between the man’s shoulders. The contrast with his face was shocking, and Halakh felt a shiver run down his back.
‘You know what I want,’ the hunchback said. ‘The scroll you went to get from its hiding place today.’
Go here to read a longer extract.