Way back in the mists of last year, I wrote a wee book called Knight of the Blazing Sun for Black Library. You might have heard of it. You might have read it, and even enjoyed it (or not, which is okay too). It’s been out for almost a full year now, so I figured I’d write a bit about it, just in case anyone is interested in that sort of thing.
From the pull text:
The Knights of the Blazing Sun are a noble and venerable order of templars dedicated to the warrior-goddess Myrmidia. The young knight Hector Goetz is sent to the distant island of Svunum to investigate the disappearance of a group of knights. Reunited with his comrades, he battles vicious pirates and bloodthirsty raiders, but from his increasingly disturbing nightmares Goetz realises that there is more to the place than meets the eye. As northern savages lay siege to the island, a deadly secret is revealed that threatens to damn his order for all eternity…
It’s an odd book, for a lot of reasons. Not just because it was my first experience with a major publisher, but also because the book isn’t so much about a young knight and his heroic order as it is a murder mystery/political thriller with a PTSD-suffering protagonist armed with a magic sword (yes, it’s magic–why else would it be able to do half of what it does?), who happens to be a knight. Or at least that’s what I was going for.
I have a list of reasons for this as long as my arm, but they all boil down to ‘that’s the story I wanted to tell’.
Well, actually, the story I wanted to tell was set on the opposite side of the Old World, involved Arabyan corsairs rather than Norscan raiders and Estalia rather than Marienburg. It also had a rather psychopathic Estalian diestros (professional duellist, for those not drowning in game-lore) playing sidekick to the hero. For obvious reasons (RE: IP issues), this was swiftly changed.
The duellist managed to make it half-way through the first draft, but by the end of the book, I realized that he didn’t quite fit the story I was telling, and he was summarily excised in a frenzied evening of pre-edit edits set to the comforting background hum of the finals of The Great British Menu. I gave most of his dialogue to Goetz; the rest got sprinkled throughout the book.
I liked the character, but his removal helped to make Goetz more proactive in a narrative sense, albeit not smarter–dude’s fairly unobservant, but then, see how aware of your surroundings you are after undergoing a horrific experience and subsequent sleep-deprivation due to unceasing nightmares which may (or may not) be the work of a daemonic intelligence attempting to shuck your soul from your body like a corn husk. He had things on his mind, is what I’m saying.
Other characters just sort of sprang in to fill that duellist-less gap, however. Probably the best of these was Erkhart Dubnitz, Knight of the Most Holy (and Violent) Order of Manann, who got to help Goetz fight a keep full of death-traps and book passage on a boat. Dubnitz, perhaps unsurprisingly given that he’s based on Brian Blessed, is turning out to be the most popular character from the book, and has had a number of adventures of his own in the wake of its release.
I’d like to get back to Goetz at some point, though I think it’s fairly unlikely. The book doesn’t require a sequel to be enjoyed, after all. Though if you want one, feel free to mention it loudly and at length next time you’re at a Black Library event.