Gail Z. Martin Guest Blog Post

As part of her blog tour, Gail dropped us a line to talk about her latest book in the Chronicles of the Necromancer series, Dark Haven.

Dark Haven is coming out in February, and with Book Three, the Chronicles of the Necromancer series turns an important corner. In The Summoner and The Blood King, we meet the characters while they are young, raw with grief and fresh with purpose. There’s a sense of hope and tempered idealism that even affects a cynic like Jonmarc Vahanian. The goal seems clear: accomplish it, and everything will be OK.

Except that it isn’t as clear as it seemed and everything isn’t OK. Dark Haven picks up just a few weeks after the end of The Blood King. (Spoiler here!) The Blood King ends with a coronation. Dark Haven begins with executions and assassins. As it turns out, Jared and Arontala might have been the most visible enemies, but they couldn’t have done the damage that occurred without lots of help—both from active agents and silent collaborators. Tris and his friends discover that winning the war is easy compared to winning the peace.

Dark Haven and the books that come after it take place in a fascinating and dangerous place. I was a history major in college, and I’ve never lost my interest in the rise and fall of empires, the ascension and descent of world powers and the passing of the torch. The most dangerous moments are those between what was and what will be. That void belongs to warlords, crime czars and ruthless opportunists. The Winter Kingdoms find that what seemed to be a passing problem—the short reign of a usurper--changes everything.

The new books give me the chance to share more of the world of the Winter Kingdoms. Through the holidays and ceremonies, the customs and the glimpses of everyday life, this world emerges more clearly. We also get to see a lot more of the vayash moru and other supernatural creatures and understand how they fit into the society. And we start to understand some of the long-standing tensions between kingdoms and between the living and the dead that simmer under the surface, waiting for the chance to boil over. Civilization is a mask, and war gives permission for people to remove the mask and show the beast that was always waiting underneath. In Dark Haven, the mask is gone.

I’m enjoying the chance to take the characters further. Even with 600+ pages, there just wasn’t space to get to know everyone intimately in the first books. Some of the minor characters in the first two books emerge as major characters in Dark Haven. We also get to see how changing circumstances pose new challenges to Tris and his friends. Questions of right and wrong often seem starkly black and white until you’re the one who has to do the choosing and live with the consequences. What are you willing to die for? What will you compromise? What price are you willing to pay? What do you do when the unforgivable seems to be the only option? We’ll see relationships put to the test and people pushed to the breaking point. Innocence is the first casualty.

— Gail Z. Martin

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