Q&A with Gail Z. Martin
Q: Does The Sworn continue the storyline of The Chronicles of the Necromancer books?
A: Yes, but it also provides a great “first” book for someone new to the series. I intentionally wrote The Sworn to be accessible for someone who had not read the first four books, so that they could jump in at this point without the need to catch up. Of course, I hope they will look for the first four books! (smile). For long-time readers, The Sworn picks up shortly after the end of Dark Lady’s Chosen with Tris and the gang up to their butts in new problems. There’s a brand new threat to the Winter Kingdoms that makes Jared the Usurper look like a choir boy by comparison, as plague rages throughout the kingdoms. Everything they’ve fought for is in danger, and all bets are off on whether Tris’s magic is up to the challenge.
Q: Why is The Sworn Book One in The Fallen Kings Cycle?
A: Two reasons: 1) The series jumped to a new publisher, Orbit Books; and 2) It’s a way to encourage new readers to jump in at the beginning of a brand new adventure without feeling like they’re coming in on the middle of something.
Q: When will The Sworn be available in stores?
A: February, 2011.
Q: What’s next after The Sworn?
A: I’m already working on Book Two, which is The Dread. Expect it in early 2012.
Q: Will we meet some new major characters in The Sworn?
A: You’ll meet some new characters, and some old friends will be back in action. Of course Tris, Jonmarc, Kiara and Carina will play major roles, but you’ll also find Cam, Berry and others coming back for important roles. And there will be some new characters, like Jair Rothlandorn and Aidane, whom you haven’t met before, who will play a major part in these books. Where the other books spent most of the time in Margolan and Principality, you’ll get to see more if Isencroft, Dhasson and Eastmark. We’re into some brand new territory!
Interview with Cam of Cairnrach
Q: You barely survived the last adventure after being blown sky high. Are you feeling better?
A: I’ve spent the last six months with my sister, Carina, healing my bones at Dark Haven. Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy being with Carina and Jonmarc, but I’m still not completely comfortable with all the vayash moru!
Q: Will you head back to Isencroft to resume your role as Champion for King Donelan?
A: That’s the plan. I’d intended to ride straight back to the palace once Carina decided I’d healed up enough, but then we got a letter from our younger brother, Renn, begging us to go home to Brunnfen. Carina and I hadn’t been back since our father threw us out because of Carina’s magic ten years ago, but father’s dead now, and Renn really wants us to visit. Carina can’t travel since she’s very pregnant with twins, so I’ll take the long way back to Aberponte, via Brunnfen. I’ve got to admit, I’m not looking forward to it.
Q: When you left Isencroft, there was a lot of unrest. Have things gotten better?
A: Donelan’s been pretty cagy in the letters he’s sent. I’m guessing that means no. The Divisionists scattered, but I don’t really think they’re gone. Probably a lot like roaches, except a lot more dangerous. We’ll see what’s what when I get back.
Q: Do you really think Isencroft is in danger of slipping into civil war?
A: I wish I could say no, but there are two many things that could go wrong. I can’t shake the feeling that something big is about to happen. And whatever it is, it’s not likely to be friendly.
Interview with Tris Drayke
Q: How have things gone for Margolan since your victory at Lochlanimar?
A: We defeated Lord Curane at Lochlanimar, but it was a bitter win. Thanks to his blood mages, there’s a plague loose, and it’s gotten beyond Margolan’s borders. The healers can’t do much about it. After the last few years, it’s more than Margolan should have to bear.
Q: I understand you’re soon to be a new father. Congratulations. Will this child solve the issue of the combined throne for Margolan and Isencroft?
A: Thank you. Let’s see that both Kiara and the baby are healthy before we get too far down the road looking at succession. Both kingdoms will require an heir eventually. Given the history and pride of both Isencroft and Margolan, I doubt things will settle down until the thrones are separate once again, even if it takes a generation.
Q: Now that Margolan is at peace, do you think you can rebuild what has been lost over the last few years?
A: It’s going to be difficult. Some of the farmers who fled when Jared seized the throne have never come back. Those farms are still fallow, even though we could use the extra crops. There’s no telling how the plague will affect the future. We’ve lost enough people to war and to unrest, now to plague. And although I can’t explain it, I can’t shake the feeling that something else is just over the horizon, something ominous. I hope I’m wrong.
Interview with Jonmarc Vahanian
Q: Since you’ve been lord of Dark Haven, you’ve put down a vayash moru war and restored the Truce between the vayash moru, vyrkin and mortals. Do you think things will quiet down for a while?
A: I’ve always found that it’s a bad idea to count on peace and quiet.
Q: Dark Haven has become something of a sanctuary in recent months because of the plague. There are rumors that you’re also taking in vayash moru and vyrkin who escape Nargi. Are you worried about repercussions, either from Nargi or from mortal neighbors?
A: Nargi would have to cross Dhasson to do anything about the refuge we provide, and King Harrol would never stand for that. The mortals are happy to have some breathing space in a place where the plague hasn’t really hit hard yet. I’m not worried about that. Somehow, it’s always the things you never even think of that sneak up and knife you in the back.
Q: Is it true that King Staden sent Princess Berwyn to foster at Dark Haven because plague has taken hold in Principality City?
A: Berry is wintering with Carina and me at Dark Haven. She’s been a great help to Carina with all the refugees and wounded we’ve taken in. Staden thought she’d be safer with us until the plague ran its course.
Q: You’ve had some visitors from Margolan, too, haven’t you? Carina’s brother, Cam, and Master Bard Carroway?
A: Never really thought I’d end up running an inn, but that’s what it’s started to feel like, between the refugees, the people outrunning the plague, and the folks who get themselves banged up enough to come see Carina. Cam managed to blow himself up, but Carina’s put him mostly right, although he’ll probably always have a limp. Damn lucky he kept his leg. Only Carroway could get himself skewered through the hand saving the kingdom. It’s trickier fixing a hand than a leg, Carina tells me. Then again, no one tries to play a lute with their leg. I hope she can patch him up. In the meantime, he and Macaria are free entertainment and I’ve got an overflowing houseful of guests.Q: There are rumors that strange things have been happening around Dark Haven: black robed strangers, animal sacrifices, grave robbing. Is it true that the followers of Shanthadura are trying to revive the old cult?
A: We’ve raided some of the Black Robes hiding places. Unfortunately, the rumors are true. Some of the vayash moru remember the days hundreds of years ago before the worship of Shanthadura was stopped. The Black Robes don’t stop at sacrificing animals; they like human blood even better. My goal is to stop them from getting a foothold. We don’t need that kind of trouble. So far, solving that problem has been tougher than I expected.