Jon Sprunk is the author of Shadow’s Son and Shadow’s Lure (Pyr Books). He lives in central Pennsylvania with his family. When he’s not killing off his characters, he enjoys traveling and watching pro football. For more about his writings, visit www.jonsprunk.com.
Thank you to SF Signal for letting me drop by to give a behind-the-scenes look at the setting of my Shadow saga books.
My trilogy is set in an alternate fantasy world that loosely resembles Dark Ages Europe. The first book, Shadow’s Son, took place entirely in and around the city of Othir, capital of the Nimean Empire. Nimea is based partly on the late Roman Empire. She once ruled most of the continent, but wars, internal turbulence, and expansion by foreign powers have eroded her influence. The biggest blow to the empire’s power came about twenty years before the book starts, when an upstart new religion convinced the realm’s nobles to overthrow the reigning emperor, and then seized control for itself.
The sequel, Shadow’s Lure, expands the scope of the story into the wider world as the hero, Caim, travels north to his homeland in search of clues about his misty past. This book also features two maps drawn by Ed Bourelle (copyright Prometheus Books).
The first map shows the Nimean Empire, and readers of the first book should notice some familiar names of cities and such. To the east of Nimea is the nation of Arnos, which takes much of its influence not from real history, but from Aquilonia per Robert E. Howard’s Conan saga. Beyond Arnos are rolling plains of Hestria, populated by roving tribes of horsemen akin to the ancient Scythians. On the other side of Nimea is a lawless stretch of badlands called the Western Territories.
The second map shows the Northern Marches, a strip of minor countries and clan holdings bordering the southern edge of the Drakstag Mountains. The depicted segment includes the burgeoning nations of Uthernor, Warmond, Sueteland, and Eregoth – all former Nimean satellites. Their peoples are similar to the Gauls and various Goths tribes. Not uncivilized, but considered less refined than their southern neighbors.
Obviously, there is more to this world than what is shown on these maps, some of which I’ll be exploring in the third book. And there’s always the possibility that future books may also be set here.