Release of Michael Bird’s First Novel: Iskandar

I am proud as punch to announce the release of my first novel Iskandar and the Immortal King of Iona. In a nutshell, “Iskandar” is a religious themed fantasy novel (more like LOTR than the Narnia Chronicles). It has messianic themes, good vs. evil, redemption, immortality, deification, an evil god named “Marduk,” determinism vs. freedom, even a minor character called “Aquinas.”

The story is set in the mythical kingdom of Iona where King Morpeth and Queen Prisca are seduced by the  evil demi-god Marduk and promised deification if they would  sacrifice their children to him. They nearly succeed, but two children, Jakov and Iskandar, escape alive with the help of their uncle Fallkirk. Morpeth and Prisca nonetheless become immortal and use their powers to tyrannize the country and to hunt for the children since they shall not become fully divine until their surviving sons are dead. The two boys share in the elemental powers granted to their parents, and after some years of separation, the two boys are brought back together to lead an army to overthrow the immortal king Morpeth and to liberate Iona from his reign. Yet Jakov’s ruthless quest for revenge against his parents is matched by Iskandar’s self-doubt as to whether he can really do what is asked of him. Added to the picture is a mysterious knight who periodically intervenes in their journey and it is unclear whose side he is on. It is a story with epic battles, gigantic trolls, magic, betrayal, romance, intrigue, and unexpected twists.

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  • Joe Rigney

    Is Aquinas a good guy or a bad guy? Or is he the mysterious knight who intervenes in surprising ways? Guess I’ll have to read to find out.

  • How dare you impugn the holy name of Marduk!

    In a ritual for the New Year festival, Marduk was invoked in this fashion:

    “My lord is my god, my lord is my ruler, is there any lord apart from him?”

    And Nebuchadnezzar II prayed at his accession to Marduk:

    “Everlasting lord, master of all that exists, grant to the king, whom you love,
    and whose name you name, all that is pleasant to you. Keep him on the right way…You have created me and entrusted to me the dominion over all peoples.
    O lord, let me according to your grace, which you pour over them all, love your
    exalted might, and create in my heart fear of your divinity.”

    And in Enuma Elish Marduk is:

    “The trust of the land, city and people. The people shall praise him forever. . . . At his name the gods shall tremble and quake. . . . Who administers justice, uproots twisted testimony, In whose place falsehood and truth are distinguished. . . . Who uprooted all enemies. . . . snuffed out all wicked ones. . . . his name shall be the truth!” (Tablet VI:135–36, 146 and VII:39–40, 43, 45, 54).

    He [Marduk] shall be ‘Lord of All the Gods’. . . .
    No one among the gods shall [make himself equal] to him.
    —Enuma Elish Tablet VI:141 and VII:14

    He [Marduk] established the holy heavens. . . Creator of the earth above the waters, establisher of things on high. . . . who made the world’s regions. . . . He created “places” and fashioned the netherworld.
    —Enuma Elish Tablet VII:16, 83, 89, 135

    He [Marduk] patterned the days of the year. . . .established the positions of Enlil and Ea [referring to the rotation of stars in the sky]. . . . made the moon appear, entrusted (to him) the night . . . assigned to the crown jewel of nighttime to mark the day (of the month). . . . [Marduk] d[efined?] the celestial signs [forreligious festivals]. . . . the doorbolt of sunrise. . . . the watches of night and day.

    —Enuma Elish Tablet V:3, 5, 8, 12–13, 23, 44, 46

    He [Marduk] made mankind. . . . creatures with the breath of life. . . . creator of all people.
    —Enuma Elish Tablet VI:33,129 & VII:89

    He [Marduk] shall be the shepherd of the [Mesopotamians], his creatures.
    —Enuma Elish Tablet VI:107

    Creation, destruction, absolution, punishment: Each shall be at his [Marduk’s] command.
    —Enuma Elish Tablet VI:131-32

    His [Marduk’s] word is truth, what he says is not changed,
    Not one god has annulled his utterance.
    —Enuma Elish Tablet VII:151–52

    Word of him [Marduk] shall endure, not to be forgotten.
    —Enuma Elish Tablet VII:31–2

    Let them ever speak of his [Marduk’s] exaltation, let them sing his praises!
    —Enuma Elish Tablet VII:24

    His [Marduk’s] beneficent roar shall thunder over the earth.
    —Enuma Elish Tablet VII:120

    [Marduk,] who crossed vast Tiamat [sea goddess] back and forth in his wrath, Spanning her like a bridge at the place of single combat.
    —Enuma Elish Tablet VII:74

    He [Marduk], profound of wisdom, ingenious in perception, Whose heart is so deep that none of the gods can comprehend it.
    —Enuma Elish Tablet VII:117–18

    [Quotations from Enuma Elish trans. by Benjamin R. Foster, From Distant Days: Myths, Tales and Poetry of Ancient Mesopotamia (Bethesda: CDL Press, 1995)]

  • Will there be a digital and/or Kindle version?

  • Andy Naselli

    Congrats, Mike. I didn’t see this coming!

    Will it be available as an audiobook?