Announcing: Dark Heart

Dark Heart Cover

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…

Read the first three chapters for free! (In PDF)

Or, if you’ve seen enough:

Order Dark Heart on Kindle

Order Dark Heart in paperback from CreateSpace

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!

Awesome cover design by @ologies. Check out her page on Society6 for all kinds of goodies!

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About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, City of Light, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Steve Bowen

    Well now! I don’t read much fiction these days, but back when I did this was the genre I liked, so since it’s only the price of a pint and because it’s you I’ll download it…:)

  • Ramiro Fernandez

    For those of us outside the US where kindles aren’t as common, please provide copies for other bookstores.

    I’d probably buy it from kobo if it was up there!

  • Ani J. Sharmin

    This sounds cool. I kind of guessed/hoped your new project woul be a novel, especially after your hint in the #DiversityInSFF tag. I’m busy over the next couple weeks, but after that, I will definitely read it and post a review on my blog. I noticed on the title page that it’s book 1 of the Caliel Cycle. Any idea/plan about how many books there will be?

  • Adam Lee

    I was wondering if anyone had guessed. Clearly you know me well. :)

    And yes, well spotted about this being book 1! There are going to be four books. I’m planning to release the next one in March, and hopefully the next two at six-month intervals after that.

  • Adam Lee

    You used the magic words! The vast majority of sales for my last book were on Kindle, so I wasn’t going to convert it to other e-reader formats unless someone expressed interest. But I’ll do so now with dispatch!

  • TerraCognition

    Count me in. I’d buy it if it was in Kobo or epub format.

  • Ceetar

    spoiler alert: It’s good.

  • Ramiro Fernandez

    Well now if you don’t get at least one sale on kobo I’ll be in big trouble :)

    Another couple of tips:

    1) Have a look into smashwords, you can publish to heaps of stores and track sales super easily.

    2) Once you have another book or two, make book one free. I routinely hunt through the free books section on kobo and if I like a book from there I’ll typically buy the rest of the series. I’m sure I’m not alone. Smashwords data suggests free books get about 100x the downloads.

  • GCBill

    $5 on Kindle? It doesn’t even have to be good for that price (though I expect it will be).

  • Nancy McClernan

    It looks interesting.

  • Adam Lee

    Thank you, my friend! I sincerely hope you get at least as much enjoyment out of it as you would have from that pint. :)

  • Ceetar

    And if you’re really good, I might know a home brewer that could be cajoled to brew a Dark Heart beer, to combine the two.

  • Nemo

    I’d have to read it, but this doesn’t sound like a parable against religion. It sounds like a parable against the “wrong” religion. Wouldn’t a Christian reader interpret it so that Vraxor is Satan and Nimrod is Yahweh? Still, sounds like a good read.

  • Erin W

    I’ve got a Nook, so epub would be nice, though I have a program that can do format conversion, so I suppose it’s not a big deal either way.

  • Errant Endeavour

    Fantasy epics generally don’t interest me (but then again, I did love Skyrim), but this sounds like a good storyline, so I might check it out. I really hope this goes well for you! :)

  • FuzzyDuck81

    Only about 10% into it so far, but I’d say it’s grabbed me :) Will be reading more later