A big post today, at least so far as information goes. I think it’s time (past time, maybe) to start talking about this book Eidylon: Birth of an Empire that I’ve been hinting at, showing some maps for, and flashing covers of. The big announcement is that of a release date. After much thought and planning, I have settled on a schedule for releasing the serial novel that I think will suit both you readers and me.
One of the “complaints” I got regarding The Scion of Abacus was the month-long waits between volumes. Well, I am going to cut that down in half this time around, and for two main reasons: firstly, there are going to be eight (rather than six) parts, and secondly, the parts are shorter than those of Scion. This issue of length, mind you, is not out of some desire to make more pieces for sale but is dictated to me by the nature of the story (which I’ll talk about in a bit).
So the release date and schedule I have decided on is this:
Beginning December 3 and publishing every two weeks through March 11, I will begin serializing Eidylon: Birth of an Empire. Each volume will cost 99c and only that, so the entire volume will total $7.92 when done. Let me make this clear (given that another complaint, unjustly, was that I attempted to price gouge on Scion): none of the eight parts of Eidylon will cost more than 99c. Ever.
Episode 1 – Dec 3, 2012 – 99c
Episode 2 – Dec 17, 2012 – 99c
Episode 3 – Dec 31, 2012 – 99c
Episode 4 – Jan 14, 2013 – 99c
Episode 5 – Jan 28, 2013 – 99c
Episode 6 – Feb 11, 2013 – 99c
Episode 7 – Feb 25, 2013 – 99c
Episode 8 – Mar 11, 2013 – 99c
There will eventually be a collected edition, but I have yet to decide what form that will take or when it will release, as I will likely release a free short story that falls somewhere around Episode 5-7′s chronology, and which I will likely include in the final compilation as well.
So that’s it for news item number one. Item number two is the (near) final cover. Thanks to those who offered suggestions, both here and via email. I think the result is striking and mysterious without being confusing.
Now, the main thing, of course, is the story itself. Few people buy books just to stare at their pretty covers (though I must confess that I’ve bought books before without any real intention of reading them but purely to add to a collection or to say, “Why, yes, I do have that book”). I’ve dropped hints before that Eidylon is a Michener-type saga. What does that mean?
For those unfamiliar with the work of James Michener (or Edward Rutherfurd, his chief disciple), or with Steven Saylor’s excellent Roma, or even with Ken Follett’s currently publishing Century Trilogy, the idea is simple: follow a family/city/relic as it traverses the centuries. These are frequently called epics of place when tied to a specific location–as in Saylor’s Roma or Rutherfurd’s London. That is what Eidylon is. It is the history of a fantasy city called Eidylon from before its foundations to its ascension to global dominance as an empire. (A sequel Eidylon: Ashes of the Earth will focus on the slow yet sudden collapse of said empire.)
But this is fantasy, so Eidylon must take things a little bit further. It cannot simply be historical fiction in an imaginary world–though I am prepared for people to call it that, and the charge would be (within limits) accurate. Thus we arrive at the explanation for the eight-part division of the serial novel: Eidylon contains eight seperate novella-length tales that cover about 600 years of history.
How does this differ from a short-story collection? you ask. Well, the answer is in the fact that the city itself is a character, the main character, and that the story is not about individual heroes so much as it is about the transformation of a culture over time. Each individual story, while self-contained, necessarily progresses the larger narrative about the city of Eidylon.
And that story, in a fantasy, has to be fantastic, as it is in the case of Eidylon. I have not yet written any sort of blurb, but this most neatly sums up the plot as it now stands:
In a war between immortal gods, time means nothing, and those now losing can afford to take centuries, millennia even, to plot their eventual victory. In Eidylon, one dark god does so. He is imprisoned beneath a mountain, supposedly defeated, but he has time. Time enough to draw a far away refugee to the valley surrounding the mountain. Time enough to cause the refugee’s descendants to build a city at the foot of the mountain. Time enough to twist the hearts of those dwelling in the city to worship him where they once feared him. Time enough to make men who should have opposed him become the means of his release. Time enough to gather his shattered body back together all under the nose of the god who trapped him to begin with.
Not Pulitzer Prize stuff yet, but the idea is that a god is entombed, his body broken, his fate seemingly sealed. But he works slowly, over the course of generations, to manipulate men and release himself, all the while leading those men to believe he is serving their interests, is their friend, is making their empire a great light in the world.
More information will be forthcoming, but I’ve based the historical progression on a fanciful version of Rome, so savvy readers will pick out numerous similarities (such as a progression from monarchy to republic to empire, with parallels to Romulus, Lucius Junius Brutus, and Cornelius Scipio Africanus, among others). I’ve drawn on Roman myth and legend and added the buried god motif to tie it all together in an interesting package that says something about the nature of empire that, I think, runs counter to much of the “benevolent imperialism” that is rampant in fantasy. The spirit of empire, Eidylon claims, is only evil.
I’ll leave off with a few maps to give you a bit of an idea of the progression of time. These maps are drafts of the maps that will accompany episodes 2, 3, 5 respectively. Enjoy!
Right, that’s your lot for now. I’ll return soon with some more updates and information. Cheers!