Twelve Kings Tuesdays — A Sword is Not Just a Sword

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From now until the release of Twelve Kings in Sharakhai in early September, I’m going to be posting a new image from the Pinterest board I created for inspiration. I’ll be talking a bit about each image, why I chose it, how it affected the story, and so on.

The image I chose this week is a sword. A shamshir, to be specific. I’m pretty picky about weaponry. I’m a long time gamer, and have always loved poring over the player’s manuals on the weapon styles, looking at the differences, considering their strengths and weaknesses. Knowing this, it’s probably no surprise that my favorite role playing game was Rolemaster (referred to by some as Chartmaster). It’s the game that practically made a religion out of detailing weaponry.

I wanted something for the main character, Çeda, and also for the Blade Maidens, the elite women sword masters that protect the Kings of Sharakhai. Each Maiden carries an ebon blade granted to her by the King of Swords on the day she becomes a Maiden, and I wanted just the right look for it. I considered quite a few sword types.

The scimitar:



The falchion:



The tulwar:


The kilij:


And more, including a number of fantasy weapons based on traditional archetypes, including this wonderful piece from Raven Armory:


But I ended up liking the shamshir for the gentle curve about halfway down the blade and the weighting of it with the thickening of the blade near the tip. I searched long and hard for the “perfect” sword, and eventually stumbled across this image:


It’s a beautiful sword, my favorite of all the images I looked through and the picture I had in my head when writing about the fabled ebon blades of the Maidens.

And this brings up another aspect of the book that was really fun for me. The Lays of Anuskaya, my previous trilogy, was set in a world in the early age of gunpowder. There were cannons and flintlock muskets. Things were a touch more modern than the typical Medieval fantasy, and as such, it didn’t feel right to focus on the weaponry. The story just wasn’t about that, and the time period, the milieu, didn’t really call for it. In Twelve Kings, though, I really got back to my roots, as it were. There are magical weapons, some named, some fabled, and a number of them play key parts in the story. It’s been a lot of fun to let that particular geek flag fly after having been under a self-imposed gag order for so long.

There are a lot of other cool shields, arms, and armor on my Pinterest board that had a part in the first novel or that I’ll incorporate into later novels. Take a look and see if there are any you like.

I hope you enjoyed this installment. Join me for more Twelve Kings Tuesdays as the release of Twelve Kings in Sharakhai approaches!

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai, Book One of The Song of the Shattered Sands, is available for pre-order in the US via Penguin Random HouseAmazon, or Barnes and Noble and in the UK via Amazon UK and Waterstones. Audio versions will also be available via Brilliance Audio and Orion/Gollancz Audio.