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  • Writer's pictureG R Matthews

A world of maps

I love a good map. No getting away from that. Maps have been good to me over my life and career - I am a Geographer after all. Creating the map of Six Kingdoms was something I began to draw in my journal nearly 4 years ago. I was planning a new book, which ended up being called "Rivers of Song and Shadow", and I wanted it to start small, to be set in a world where there was room to expand, and for the history of the world to have an impact on the people. Anyway, have a look at this version I created this week and I'll talk about the books set there when you've gazed at its glory!

"Rivers" is set in Aeledyfr, that land in the North-West of the map, and began with a wounded man dragging himself through the snow and a forest of pine, bleeding out, preparing to die. There is an axe-wielding thief with no conscience, and a spy who sees sound as colours... I quite like the book and I hope one day to see it published!

Anyway, Aeledyfr is a land which takes its inspiration from the landscape of Yellowstone -- which I'd love to visit one day (expenses paid, first class, as I surely deserve). The giant caldera of a Supervolcano - you can see the mountains which ring the whole of that land (they mark the edge of the caldera) and are only cut through by river which becomes a delta. A land of rich soil and richer gemstones. The people of this land are miners, traders, merchants, and fiercely independent.

The second book set in the Six Kingdoms is called "A Good Day to Die." This one is tonally different to "Rivers" and structurally too. For a start it is told in the First Person, and that first person is a dark, revenge-fuelled former crime boss who cares little for anyone or anything. Nothing will stop him, but others will use him for their own ends.

This land is wet, soggy, marsh and a delta. The people are split between those of the marshes, from where poisons and many ingredients integral to the society are harvested, who are traditional, disliked, poor and looked down upon, by those of the towns who trade, are wealthy, and yet decidedly poor in other ways. I'm interested in this land because of the people - they are the same people, yet divided by tradition, lifestyle and perceived heritage. It creates some friction and personalities that I'd never considered writing before.

"Seven Deaths of an Empire" is set in the Empire and the lands of the tribes, and as the map hints there is more land and trade to the west and south across the sea. A land of farmers with good soil, traders, sailors, and city folk, and an army which is undefeated in battle. Again, many problems and conflicts arise from cultural differences; of religion, faith, and magic, but also between conquered and conquerors.

"The Silencing of the North", the hopeful sequel to Seven Deaths, is set even further north in the snow capped mountains, the deep glens and soggy moors of the Clan Lands. What is it like to be forced from your home, from all you've known, and try to forge a life with a people who hate and distrust you? Can you prove to them your worth? As you'd expect, or have gathered, the Clan Lands are loosely based upon the Scottish Highlands and the Clans that made it their home (and still do). So, if you've been counting, I've written 4 books in the Six Kingdoms - the first of which to be published (June 2021) will be Seven Deaths of an Empire. I hope you pick it up and read it... and leave, as always for all my books, leave some reviews and tell others how much you enjoyed them all. Though the road to publishing can be slow... it will vanish before I, or you, know it!

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