Posts tagged: Classical Era

Symposium #3

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By , 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.

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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.

Blood And Ashes is out!

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By , 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.)

Blood and Ashes

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By , 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.

Foreworld at Jet City Comic Show

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By , November 1, 2013

This weekend is the Jet City Comic Show in Tacoma, Washington, and Foreworld will be there. Neal Stephenson and Mark Teppo will be participating on a panel at 12:00 PM where they’ll be doing a Q & A with Alex Carr, the Senior Editorial Lead at Jet City Comics (Amazon Publishing’s comic book arm). What they’re going to show off is the Graphic SideQuests line of Foreworld stories. Symposium is the first, but there are three others coming soon. Drop by and get an exclusive look at some of the art for The Dead God, Cimarronin, and Mrs. Pankhurst’s Amazons.

Symposium

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By , October 24, 2013

Did we mention we’re getting into comics? We are. The Amazon publishing team has launched a comic book imprint called Jet City Comics, and we’re happy to note that the first of several Foreworld Saga serials is available for your digital comic reading. There will be a trade edition bind-up later, for those (like myself) who like to put things on shelves.

The first serial is called Symposium and it is written by Christian Cameron and illustrated by Dmitri Bondarenko. Both hail from Toronto and have extensive backgrounds in the Western martial arts, though as you’ll see from the story, these two go back a ways from the Middle Ages. Symposium is the origin story of the Shield-Brethren, and it takes place in the 5th century BC when a group of disenchanted soldiers, having returned from Xenophon’s long march, start to talk of founding their own city . . .

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ISSUE 1: As the soldiers of Greece return from war with Persia, they are greeted not as heroes but merely more mouths to feed. Athens is overflowing with the poor and desperate. For some of the former soldiers, this life is not why they fought. They crave adventure. They need money. More than anything, though, they long for purpose. One man may hold the answer: Plato. Not only is he versed in the art of philosophy, but he is no stranger to the art of martial combat. He believes there is a way to combine the two arts, creating a new way of life for the former soldiers.

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ISSUE 2: While the conservative ruling powers of decadent Athens arrange to have them watched, four young men go to a dinner party with Plato—Xenophon, the king of Macedon; a pair of Spartans; and the most beautiful woman in Athens. The question on everyone’s mind: What form would an ideal city take?

The answer is a quest, and a dream . . .

Issues #1 and #2 are out now, and issue #3 will be out later this winter.

The Foreworld Eras

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By , February 5, 2013

As we near the release of the third volume of The Mongoliad, we’re starting to pull back the curtain on the larger scope of Foreworld. In the navigation bar of the site, you’ll notice a link to the various eras. Over the next year, we’re going to start a number of stories in these time periods. The first of these is Barth Anderson’s The Book of Seven Hands, which will be out in March.

THE CLASSICAL ERA: Spartan and Athenian combat veterans, exiled from their home city-states but inspired by the ideas of their drinking buddy—a wrestler by the name of Plato—strike out into the north to explore the hinterlands of the classical world. In the mountains north and west of the Black Sea they found a new city-state called Petraathen (Athena’s Rock), topped by a towering acropolis dedicated to Athena Promachos (“Athena who fights in the front line”), an avatar of the Goddess of Wisdom dressed in a helmet and carrying a shield and spear. Conceiving of their duty as primarily defensive in nature, they dub themselves the Shield-Brethren and dedicate themselves to using their martial prowess to defend the ideals of democracy and wisdom personified by Athena and put into practice (albeit very imperfectly) in Athens.

THE AGE OF MYTH AND MIST: The classical Greek world has long since been absorbed by the Roman empire, now in decline and turning Christian. Cut off from its cultural wellsprings and trading partners in the Mediterranean world, Petraathen has dwindled from a self-sufficient city-state to a chilly fortress on top of a rock, making a living by supplying crack mercenaries to local warlords and training their sons in the martial arts. Rome gets farther and farther away, and its new religion brands the Shield-Brethren as heretics. The Shield-Brethren look to the north and forge a deep and fateful alliance with a coalition of pagan priests, druids, and sorcerers banding together in preparation for a long and bitter struggle against the people of the Holy Book. Embroiled amongst warring Goths, Geats, and Huns, the leaders of Petraathen send a team of their best warriors into the far north. Athena Promachos, viewed through a Gothic cultural lens, looks very similar to Nordic myths and archetypes of Shield-maidens, Valkyries, etc. and so the Shield-Brethren find an unexpectedly warm welcome. With local help, they found a new citadel on an island in the Baltic, named Týrshammar.

THE MEDIEVAL ERA: Bowing to the inevitable, the Shield-Brethren and the Shield-Maidens have become Christian monks and nuns. Petraathen and Týrshammar are now outposts of a Catholic military order called the Ordo Militum Vindicis Intactae, the Knights of the Virgin Defender, where the Virgin Defender is simply Athena with the overtly pagan insignia scraped off and relabeled Mary. Along with other military orders such as the Templars, the Hospitallers, and the Teutonic Knights, they have sent contingents to Crusades in the Holy Land and in the north. They are the smallest but the most accomplished of the military orders; as a consequence they have become enmeshed in intrigues and rivalries emanating from the Vatican.

THE RENAISSANCE: It is an era of intrigue and vendetta in the city-states and courts of Renaissance Italy, France, and Spain. The medieval tackle of longsword and armor is replaced by new weapons and styles better suited to the dueling field and street combat. Those who remember the OMVI of the medieval era move through the shadows, endeavoring to keep the virtues of Athena alive and in the hands of those who can make a difference.

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