A primeval fiend is loose in the ancient metropolis of Malkandrah, intent on burning it to a wasteland. The city's leaders stand idly by and the sorcerers that once protected the people are long gone.
Maldren, a young necromancer, is the only person brave enough to stand against the creature. Instead of help from the Masters of his Guild, he is given a new apprentice. Why now, and why a girl? As they unravel the clues to defeating the fiend, they discover a secret society holding the future of the city in its grip. After betrayals and attempts on his life, Maldren has reason to suspect everyone he thought a friend, even the girl.
His last hope lies in an alliance with a depraved and murderous ghost, but how can he trust it? Its sinister past is intertwined in the lives of everyone he holds dear.
Can only evil defeat evil?
Creating the setting/world for Necromancer:
A book about necromancers has to feel dark, right? When creating my world, I concentrated on three major areas: Magic, creatures and the location.
Magic: I didn't want lengthy rituals with paraphernalia, chanting and hours of preparation. This is ostensibly an action book. I decided early on that even though my spells are taught and practised, they can be cast with a single thought and gesture. What I call "shoot-from-the-hip" magic. Since I insist on world consistency, I ruled that every necromancer or sorcerer has a pool of power within him, and there is a limited amount of it beore having to rest. This nicely prevented my magic from becoming all-powerful. The natural ability for magic is severely limited, so magic-users are rare in my world.
I gave each spell an interesting sounding name, my favourite being "Walk the Bones", and I mapped out what each spell looked like and its color. Certain spells are effective against certain creatures, so there was a purpose to each. Necromancers should concentrate on the dead, after all, so I created a rationale why necromancy cannot be used against the living. Actually it can, but there are nasty repurcussions, and this is central to the subplot involving the murderous wraith, Caradan.
Creatures: I needed lots of ikky monsters and undead, but I wanted them to be unusual. First off, I had to determine the planes of existence. Some undead can live in the physical world, such as ghouls and wights and other creatures that have risen from the grave. The Gray is a monochrome shadow of the real world, home to various non-corporeal spirits and ghosts. The Deep is a monstrous plane of infernal and very nasty creatures, like the fire elemental and demons. Necromancer has a solid mix of creature types, and this is what the Guild of Necromancers does - protects the living from all these monsters living among them.
And some of them are nasty indeed! My favourite is the grak, an example of what happens when a necromancer meddles with other-worldy creatures. The Lochtar is another sinister example of how man can summon spirits to do his bidding - if he is very careful! I hope both of these make the reader shudder.
Location: I wanted my backdrop to ooze with a sinister, horror-filled mood. The city is huge, full of labyrinthine, gloomy alleys and narrow streets where the buildings appear to loom and lean inward. If you lived here you would hurry home before sundown and lock your door. The first chapter shows what nastiness awaits if you open your door after dark! Then there is the undercity: Miles and miles of underground sewers, tunnels, crypts and catacombs, with stairs descending into the bowels of the Earth. Smugglers utilize the sewers and underground rivers to move goods and people around, and these are not the people to take home to mother!
High above the sprawl of the city lurks the moors, often draped in a spooky fog that rolls in from the ocean. Here, my necromancer hero must venture into a long-forgotten burial mound, and its occupant is not at all friendly.
Other Details: Those three items are just the start. I also designed the geopolitical scene. The city is the capital of one of many kingdoms, and just to be different, I decided that there was no King at present but a Crown Prince, whose coronation forms a pivotal scene in the book. A High Council forms an advisory board for the Prince, comprised of influential aristocrats and leaders of the prominent guilds in the city. Religion is represented by a pantheon of pagan Gods with prominent temples in the richer areas of the city. I never create a setting without purpose, so the High Council, the temples, all of these things are important to the plot of Necromancer, not just window dressing.
All that remained were the details that provide flavour: the food, the drink, clothing, modes of transport, names of inns and so on. I'm guilty of describing food a lot in my books, so don't get too hungry reading them!
To me, the setting is another character in the book. Worldbuilding is such a fun part of writing fantasy. I want readers to come away feeling that they have actually lived a while in my world, and that the places become familiar and interesting enough that they want to visit again. That's my goal. Only the reader can say if I have succeeded.
Thank you for featuring me on your blog today. :)
She glanced at me then the ground below, but only clung tighter. A man appeared at the window, his teeth bared. Four scratches on his cheek oozed red. White drool speckled his trimmed beard. He clawed at her. She scrunched her eyes shut and wailed.
With a crack, the casement tore free, and she plummeted into my arms. We tumbled to the ground and the smoke surrounded us like a pack of wild animals.
I rolled to my feet, helped her up, and dragged her down the street, holding my breath as long as I could. She coughed and choked, resisting my pull. Murder flared in her eyes. I slapped her.
“Trust me. Hold your breath and stay with me.” I yanked her forward.
I shouldn’t have spoken. Smoke surged down my throat and I gagged.
Rage ignited inside me. I wanted to tear out her rabid eyes. My arm squeezed hers until she cried out, and I knew that I could break it with a twist, could snap her entire frail body. My gaze fixed on her pale, sweat-soaked throat. It invited me to choke the life from her, watch her struggle and finally go limp. My pulse quickened. Anger flooded my veins. Then my hands were around her throat, squeezing, crushing. She coughed and drooled thick, white saliva. Her blue eyes locked with mine but she put up no resistance. A smile twitched on her lips as my thumbs dug deeper. Ah, the sweet moment of superiority. How would it feel to kill? Delicious. It washed the tight pain from my head.
Something flickered deep within me. This was wrong.
Graeme Ing engineers original fantasy worlds, both YA and adult, but hang around, and you’ll likely read tales of romance, sci-fi, paranormal, cyberpunk, steampunk or any blend of the above.
Born in England in 1965, Graeme moved to San Diego, California in 1996 and lives there still. His career as a software engineer and development manager spans 30 years, mostly in the computer games industry. He is also an armchair mountaineer, astronomer, mapmaker, pilot and general geek. He and his wife, Tamara, share their house with more cats than he can count.
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