So, I promised you all an announcement. Here’s the story.
A few years ago, before I started blogging, I wrote a novel. I never found a publisher who was interested, so I shelved it and forgot about it for a while. But Amazon has changed the equation, and so I’ve finally decided to take the plunge and publish!
The book’s title is DARK HEART, and it’s a fantasy epic in the model of Robert Jordan, Ursula K. LeGuin, J.R.R. Tolkien, and some of the other authors I was reading at the time. It started out as a deliberate inversion of some common fantasy tropes – originally, it was going to be written from the perspective of the characters who’d be the villains in any other novel – but it became something different as I wrote it.
The protagonist is a girl growing up in a totalitarian theocracy who rebels against the beliefs she’s been taught since birth, and has to flee for her life when one spur-of-the-moment decision leads to her being unwittingly swept up in a far vaster and more dangerous conflict. (Yes, long before I would have described myself as a feminist, I wrote a book that has a female main character. Take what you will from that.)
This isn’t an explicitly atheist story. It can’t be, since it takes place in a world where gods, prophecies and magic are very real. But it does incorporate some of the themes that later found their way into my blogging. When my wife first read it, she said she could tell right away that I had some objections to organized religion. I didn’t deliberately put that in there, but maybe she knows me better than I do!
If this appeals to you, I’ve included a longer description of the book below. At the end of this post, there’s a link where you can download and read the first three chapters for free.
Three gods rule the world of Caliel.
Nimrod, once a human mage, now the god of healing and light, presides over the great cities of the west. Shayna, once a Dryad, now the goddess of nature and balance, holds sway over the vast forests of the south. And Vraxor, once a demon, now the grim god of death and darkness, rules the harsh and rugged swamps and mountains of the east.In Vraxor’s society, where demons walk the streets along with humans and the god’s terrible priesthood rules with an iron fist, a girl named Myrren has begun to see inconsistencies in the beliefs she’s been taught all her life. Accompanied by her demonic guardian and a brash young nobleman, she sets out on a pilgrimage to escape the hardships of her world and find out for herself what the truth is.
However, what begins as a simple journey soon spins out of control, as she’s swept up in events vaster and more perilous than her darkest dreams: a life-and-death struggle for power in the highest circles of her homeland, the rise of a prophesied hero destined to destroy Vraxor’s civilization, the rediscovery of a holy symbol called the Dark Heart that’s been lost for centuries, and the ominous discovery that the enigmatic and deadly priests of Vraxor are pursuing her for reasons unknown.
As she flees for her life across the length of Caliel, Myrren will find friendship in unexpected quarters and new allies she never would have imagined. But she’ll need all the help she can get if she’s to escape her new enemies alive…
Or, if you’ve seen enough:
And look, a shiny new website!
I haven’t adapted the book to other e-reader formats, but I will if enough people are interested. If you’re one of those people, let me know in the comments. I’ll be happy to answer any other questions about the book as well!