Friday, July 8, 2016

The City in the Sea

The print edition of The King of Nightspore's Crown, the second book of my Antellus tetralogy, nears completion. I hope to have it out sometime in late July or early August. This works out perfectly, as my novelette "Salt and Sorcery" is due to appear at Beneath Ceaseless Skies in early August. Don't miss it!

But, to tide you over, here's some images. First we have the (tentative) front cover.

Then my personal favorite, the spine:

And the back cover:

In case you can't read it, here's the back pitch as it currently stands:
It has been one year since Keftu, the last phylarch of Arras, established an itinerant society of misfits in the bowels of Enoch, the rust-stained city of stone, mankind's omega. The end of all change is at hand, hastened by the machinations of the veiled warlock Zilla. What can one outcast warrior do to halt the slow slide into tepid chaos? Keftu is about to find out. His quest will take him from the crumbling tenements of Enoch to the black jungles of Ir. He will form alliances the like of which he would never have dreamed. In the end, he may lose his soul to gain...
Last but not least, here is the map, turned sideways, as you will have to turn it if you wish to consult it while reading the story:

However, I consider it sloppy writing to rely on extraneous objects like maps, and the attentive reader should be able to gather all relevant geographical details from the text. On the second or third reading, at least. Also, I'm always wanting to get into Rhûn and Harad when I read The Lord of the Rings, so it's possible that this map is not entirely adequate...

Rather than pontificate on the story's various influences and antecedents, as I am wont to do, I'll leave you with Edgar Allan Poe's "The City in the Sea," which provides a fitting epigraph.
Lo! Death has reared himself a throne 
In a strange city lying alone
Far down within the dim West,
Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best
Have gone to their eternal rest.
There shrines and palaces and towers
(Time-eaten towers that tremble not!)
Resemble nothing that is ours.
Around, by lifting winds forgot,
Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie. 
No rays from the holy heaven come down
On the long night-time of that town;
But light from out the lurid sea
Streams up the turrets silently—
Gleams up the pinnacles far and free—
Up domes—up spires—up kingly halls—
Up fanes—up Babylon-like walls—
Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers
Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers—
Up many and many a marvellous shrine
Whose wreathéd friezes intertwine
The viol, the violet, and the vine.
Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie.
So blend the turrets and shadows there
That all seem pendulous in air,
While from a proud tower in the town
Death looks gigantically down. 
There open fanes and gaping graves
Yawn level with the luminous waves;
But not the riches there that lie
In each idol's diamond eye—
Not the gaily-jewelled dead
Tempt the waters from their bed;
For no ripples curl, alas!
Along that wilderness of glass—
No swellings tell that winds may be
Upon some far-off happier sea—
No heavings hint that winds have been
On seas less hideously serene. 
But lo, a stir is in the air!
The wave—there is a movement there!
As if the towers had thrust aside,
In slightly sinking, the dull tide—
As if their tops had feebly given
A void within the filmy Heaven.
The waves have now a redder glow—
The hours are breathing faint and low—
And when, amid no earthly moans,
Down, down that town shall settle hence,
Hell, rising from a thousand thrones.
Shall do it reverence.
If you haven't yet, I hope you'll consider checking out Dragonfly, the first book in the series, which is available from Amazon.


  1. Now this is really great news.
    I'll be on the lookout - and congratulations!

  2. The cover is beautiful! Looking forward to reading it.

  3. Thanks! That's very encouraging to hear.