Yesterday, the cover to my upcoming book went live. Once, this project was known simply as “Untitled Fantasy”, which morphed into “The Orc Book”, and finally, “A Gathering of Ravens” — a title lifted, with a little modification, from the opening sentence of Robert E. Howard’s excellent historical tale, “Spears of Clontarf”. And now, it has a cover. Soon, it will answer the question of whether I believably inserted Orcs, fantasy’s favorite race of sword-fodder, into Norse and Anglo-Saxon myth. I think I did it just fine, but the answer must ultimately be yours, Gentle Readers.
The jacket copy hasn’t been finalized yet, but this is from my own synopsis:
He is called by many names. To the Danes, he is skraelingr; to the English, he is orcnéas; to the Irish, he is fomoraig. He is Corpse-maker and Life-quencher, the Bringer of Night, the Son of the Wolf and Brother of the Serpent. He is Grimnir, and he is the last of his kind – the last in a long line of monsters who have plagued humanity since the Elder Days.
Drawn from his lair by a thirst for vengeance against the ambitious Dane who slew his brother, Grimnir emerges into a world that has changed. A new faith has arisen, a Nailed God from the East, and against it the Elder World cannot abide. The Old Ways are dying, and their followers retreating into the shadows; even still, Grimnir’s vengeance cannot be denied.
Taking as hostage a young Christian to be his guide, Grimnir embarks on a journey that takes him from the hinterlands of Denmark, where the wisdom of the ancient dwarves has given way to madness, to the war-torn heart of southern England, where the spirits of the land make violence on one another. And thence to the green shores of Ireland and the Viking stronghold of Dubhlinn, where his enemy awaits . . .
But, unless Grimnir can set aside his hatreds, his dream of retribution will come to nothing. For Dubhlinn is set to be the site of a reckoning – the Old Ways versus the New – and Grimnir, the last of his kind left to plague mankind, must choose: stand with the Christian King of Ireland and see his vengeance done, or stand against him and see it slip away?
Look for A Gathering of Ravens on store shelves, both virtual and physical, come the spring of 2017!