Cimarronin is here!

By | Posted September 24, 2014

Today is release day for Cimarronin, our latest Foreworld adventure. Subtitled “A Samurai in New Spain,” it follows the adventures of disgraced ronin Kitazume Gonpachiro who is dragged into an adventure in Mexico by his old friend, the wily Jesuit priest Luis Manuel Pérez de Guzmán. Naturally, not everything is as it seems, and when the pair reach Spanish-occupied Mexico, Kitazume discovers that Luis had dragged him into not only a civil war but a conflict that extends both to China and Spain. It’s a re-envisioning of true events of the 17th century, Foreworld style!

cimarronin_cover_01

Jet City Comics has posted a five page excerpt from the comic showcasing artist Robert Sammelin’s process from the layouts to the inks to the final coloring.

You can buy the first issue of Cimarronin on Comixology (here) or on Amazon, where it is being offered as a serial–one price for all three issues, delivered over the next few weeks (here).

Symposium #3

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By | Posted June 22, 2014

The final issue of Symposium has been released. The secret origin of the OMVI lies in Ancient Greece, and this tale by Christian Cameron and Dmitry Bondarenko sets the stage for everything that comes after.

symposium_03_cover

Our heroes, seeking to realize the idea offered to them by the philosopher Plato, leave Athens and travel to Delphi with hope of visiting the oracle. They have a dream to found a city of their own, and they desire insight from the oracle as to their question. But their skills—both as warriors and as thinking men—will be tested by adversaries they do not even know they have.

You can get your copy of issue #3 here.

Dead God #3

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By | Posted April 12, 2014

The concluding chapter of The Dead God SideQuest is now available. Eadhild, Coll, and Valens face their final and deadliest trial in their quest for the lost head of the sky god Yvrnn.

deadgod3_cover

Written by Erik Bear and illustrated by Haiwei Hou, the Dead God is a three-part tale of swords and sorcery, in an age of myth and mist—a tale of brave warriors plunged into an adventure beyond anything they could have imagined.

Comics!

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By | Posted March 18, 2014

Foreworld stories have jumped formats, and we’re now reaching out to the comic book and graphic novel folks. While the third and final issue of Symposium is still in the works, our second graphic story, The Dead God is underway. Written by Erik Bear and illustrated by Haiwei Hou, this three-part story tells of the adventures of Eadhild, Coll, and Valens as they search for the lost head of a dead god in a land wreathed in Myth and Magic.

The first and second issues are both available NOW! The third issue shows up in just a few weeks. Queue on up for these as they’re coming fast.

The Dead God, issue #1

The Dead God, issue #2

Blood And Ashes is out!

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By | Posted March 14, 2014

Blood and Ashes by Scott James Magner is out!

Scott takes us back to the heady days of Pompeii for a little bit of gladiator and zombie action, as well as a reveal of some of the underlying conflict between the Shield-Brethren and them—you know, the bad guys. Though in this era, they weren’t quite so bad. Not yet . . .

It’s getting great reviews on Amazon, and dare I go so far as to say that it more entertaining than a recently released film that might take place on the same weekend in history? I do dare! I do! Plus as an e-novella, it is much cheaper than a film ticket. Just noting.

My favorite review of it so far is this one: “Once you get past the cover art (oiled up hairy chested dude) you discover an amazing story.” (Thank you, K. Stewart for your honesty.)

Siege Perilous Release Party

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By | Posted January 17, 2014

Siege Perilous is expected to be out in less than two weeks, and to celebrate the culmination of the medieval era storyline, we’ll be gathering at the University Bookstore in Seattle at 7:00PM on January 29th.

link to event

Nicki/E.D. is coming out from Boston area, and this is the one of the few times (I don’t want to say the last) that all seven of the original authors will be present. We’ll also have a number of the SideQuest authors on hand. It will be more of a party/signing than an actual reading/talkie event, but we would love to see anyone who is local to the area.

It was four years ago this month that we started doodling on the chalkboard in the new office at the circus school, putting down the first notes about what would become The Mongoliad. While the release of Siege Perilous certainly closes one chapter of the history of Foreworld, we really do feel like we’re just getting started.

Blood and Ashes

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By | Posted December 21, 2013

Our last SideQuest in this current round of releases is Blood and Ashes by Scott James Magner. Scott takes us back to the heady days of Pompeii for a little bit of gladiator and zombie action, as well as a reveal of some of the underlying conflict between the Shield-Brethren and them—you know, the bad guys. Though in this era, they weren’t quite so bad. Not yet . . .

As Mt. Vesuvius rumbles ominously, Pompeiian Councilor Valerius needs assistance in performing rituals to protect the city from the wrath of the fire-god, Vulcan. But his agenda is far from benevolent, as he cares less about quieting the volcano than taming it and taking the power for himself.

Now it’s up to Horatius, a former legionnaire and gladiator, to prevent Valerius’s sinister rites from coming to fruition. But with Vesuvius looming over the city—and the dead rising to defend the corrupt councilor—the warrior might have fled a troubled past only to have entered a doomed future . . .

Blood and Ashes will be out late February from 47North.

Siege Perilous Cover Reveal

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By | Posted November 26, 2013

As cover artist Nekro noted on his Facebook page earlier today, the cover for Siege Perilous, the last book in the Mongoliad cycle has been revealed.

The book is scheduled to be released in late January, and it sees the return of those characters who weren’t accounted for in Katabasis. The long-form arc that has been in motion since Feronantus decided to take a team east will finally come to a close. We’ve been working toward this book for nigh four years now, and we’re pleased that we’re almost there. Below is the marketing teaser for the book.

Ocyrhoe, a young, cunning fugitive from Rome, safeguards a chalice of subtle but great power. Finding herself in France, she allies with the persecuted, pacifist Cathar sect in their legendary mountaintop stronghold, Montségur. There she resists agents of the Roman Church and its Inquisition, fights off escalating, bloody besiegement by troops of the King of France, and shields the mysterious cup from the designs of many.

Percival, the heroic Shield-Brethren knight consumed by his mystical visions of the Holy Grail, is also drawn to Montségur—where the chalice holds the key to his destiny.

Arrayed against Percival and Ocyrhoe are enemies both old and new who are determined to reveal the secrets of the Shield-Brethren with the hope of destroying the order once and for all.

Alive with memorable characters, intense with action and intrigue, Siege Perilous conjures a medieval world where the forces of faith confront the forces of fear. Choices made by characters in The Mongoliad reach their ultimate conclusion in this fifth and concluding novel—and all of Christendom is at stake.

This will wrap up our adventures in the Medieval Era of Foreworld. As you can see from the SideQuests and upcoming comics serials, there are still more stories to tell.

Marshal vs the Assassins

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By | Posted November 21, 2013

In 1197, the Marshal—Sir William the Marshal—stormed a French castle single-handed. He was fifty years old.
 
A respected commander, past his best as a combatant, the Marshal had stood by and watched while King Richard Lionheart hurled his men at the ramparts. Two knightly storming parties weathered a rain of arrows, stones, lumps of wood, hauled themselves to the top of their ladders, took on the flails, forks and spears of the defenders. One of the ladders broke. Thousands of pounds of men and maille thudded into the ditch.
 
The other party retreated, all except for Sir Guy de la Bruyere, trapped at the top of the ladder—the defenders had him hooked by his maille. He could only keep his shield up while they hammered at him with flails, and archers peppered his armour.
 
The Marshal draws his sword, leaps down into the ditch, slithers through the mud. Shafts buzz past, ping off his helm. Long-limbed, he takes the ladder like an iron-skinned spider.
 
King Richard—the man who led the beach assault at Jaffa, crossbow in one hand, Danish axe in the other—wants to go after him. His advisors hold him back; Leave the crazy old knight to his fate, they tell him. We need to regroup and attack properly, or not at all.
 
The Marshal reaches Sir Guy, climbs over him, vaults onto the battlements. A single greybeard, outnumbered, out-of-puff, surrounded by a mob of men with spears and flails. How will this end?
 
Badly for the defenders.
 
The Marshal strikes to the left and the right, clears the parapet. He stands in the midst of the carnage, gasping for breath. He’s too old for this game.
 
Sir William de Monceaux, the young constable of the castle, sees his chance to win fame.  He charges over the blood-slick wall walk and lays into the greybeard. The Marshal cleaves his helmet with a single blow. The blade passes through the maille and padding beneath, shears into the scalp, throws the young knight unconscious to the stones.
 
Tired now, the Marshal sits on the downed man and waits for the rest of the army to join him.
 
#
 
And that was the Marshal at the age of fifty. At seventy he led the charge into Lincoln, carved his way through the bodyguard of the French captain. What must he have been like in his thirties when he went to the Holy Land?
 
More to the point, what did he get up to while he was there?
 
His rollicking contemporary biography, The History of William Marshal gives us a blow-by-blow account of his career. He’s pretty much a posh William Thatcher from the movie Knight’s Tale, working his way up from nothing via the tournament circuit (only with more fatality and less Rock and Roll). Then in 1183 his patron died, and the Marshal took ship for the Holy Land. All the History tells us is that he stayed there for a couple of years and did great deeds.
 
What great deeds?
 
The Marshal arrived too late for the main 1183 campaign—no glorious battles, that one anyway. By 1187, he’d been home for at least a year, so was not there when the Crusaders rode out to their doom at the Horns of Hattin.
 
However, we have a record of one feat of arms for the very end of 1183. It was the kind of crazy stunt only the Marshal could have pulled off, and therein lies the genesis of M. Harold Page’s new SideQuest, Marshal vs the Assassins.

This standalone SideQuest is out now via 47North.

Authors and Arthur

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By | Posted November 13, 2013

When you propose to write an epic martial arts adventure set in Medieval Europe, you can’t be blithely unaware of the nascent emergence of the code of chivalry, which is indelibly tied to the romantic stories of the Knights of the Round Table. The Mongoliad Cycle is set in years surrounding the Mongolian invasion of 1241, and when we decided to introduce a perfectly coifed and mannered knight named Percival, we did so being fully aware of the time period. And when you drop a knight named Percival into an epic adventure, you have to address the legacy of this name.

During one of the early conversations in the writers’ room, we had floated the idea that our Percival was the historical personage who the early romance writers based their character on. It felt like a nice little in-joke, but then someone did a date check and we realized that Chrétien de Troyes, who is credited with one of the earliest versions of the Percival story, had done so some sixty years earlier. Early in the 13th century, the German knight Wolfram von Eschenbach had written his romance, Parzival. The joke was on us, and we considered changing the name until Greg Bear offered the suggestion that perhaps there was a Percival in every generation. It was one of those quick fixes that writers come up with—a bit of spackling over a rough spot—and in an emotionally charged scene following one of the first encounters with the Mongols, our Percival has a religious experience. He receives a vision, and this vision haunts him throughout the journey to the East.

In our initial presentation of the Foreworld Saga, our focus has been on the heretofore neglected martial arts of the West. We have sought to bring to life the rich and varied fighting arts that are now being rediscovered and enthusiastically explored by numerous study groups around the world. But our underlying foundation of Foreworld has always been a crypto-pagan mythic structure. One that Percival glimpsed a portion of during his experience in the woods; one that lay underneath the life and death of Genghis Khan. And now, with Katabasis and Siege Perilous, the remaining two volumes of the Mongoliad Cycle, the mystery of the sprig and the cup come to the forefront. It all hinges on the knight for all seasons—the singular one born of every generation: Percival, the knight of the Grail.

It doesn’t end here, either. Next year, Mrs. Pankhurst’s Amazons, a graphic serial written by Tony Wolf and drawn by Yasmin Liang, will be released. It takes place in Victorian England and stars Mr. Bartitsu himself, Edward Barton-Wright, and his liberated niece Persephone Wright—“Persi” as she is known to her friends . . .

[Katabasis is out now via 47North. Siege Perilous will be out in January of 2014.]

[This post originally appeared on the Kindle blog.]

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