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Pushed Through Extraordinary Circumstances

Dylan Madeley
Dylan Madeley Author Interview

The Fate of Lenn continues to expand the world created in the Gift-Knight series with a focus on Duke Lenn Wancyek. What motivated you to write a book exploring this character?

Lenn and Zinnia appear in “flashback time” of The Gift-Knight’s Quest and they never got a complete story until now. In their first appearance, they represent intense action experiences to break up the longueurs of Derek riding to ruins, riding from his old home to his new one, and chewing the scenery. The same is true to a lesser extent for King Jonnecht the First and General Conrad, who both get a fuller story told in Prince Ewald the Brave. But the point is, an entire time period and situation were presented there that set the stage for the original trilogy. There was enough going on to deserve its own book. This time, instead of presenting a Lenn and Zinnia who are combinations of myths and legends and disputing historical records and whatever Derek might imagine them to be, I wanted to show you the reality that later got mythologized. Duke Lenn Wancyek, with a widow’s peak, a tummy, doubts and depression, well-liked but not exactly suave, and just handling life and responsibilities as best he can. A human being pushed through extraordinary circumstances.

What were some driving ideals behind Duke Lenn Wancyek character and evolution?

He is best known in the original trilogy for being a historically important figure who is willing to risk everything for a people not his own and a lover he only knows for a brief time. He recognizes that something terrible is in progress, and he expects nobody else to do much about it, yet he has the power, the privilege to do something. I needed him to be someone who understands that leadership is a role of service, one which comes with privileges that enable his work and compensate him for the burdens it places on him; Prince Ewald seems to understand the same, it is a running theme among my leader characters who have good intentions. I needed people’s lives to matter to him, not just people in his dukedom or the broader kingdom but people in general. He needed to be expertly capable of using deadly force yet reluctant to do so, because it’s a decision he can’t take back, and it tends to occur in situations that risk his own life as well. He always reaches for lofty ideals but has to work within the real, and the disparity between the two frustrates him, comparable to his descendent Derek–someone he must posthumously inspire. Most importantly, Lenn had to be the kind of person where even if it seems to be too late for him, if his situation looks no-win, he still finds the people who look like they have a chance, people he loves and people in need, and he does what he can for them. He is not the kind of person who says, “It’s too late for me, so I don’t have to care about anyone or anything else anymore.” And if it’s not too late for him to help a noble cause, perhaps it’s not too late for him after all.

What scene in the book did you have the most fun creating?

This is a tough call because I present a variety of scenes where I enjoyed different aspects for different reasons. Sometimes it’s simple: I like to choreograph a good barehanded fight because it lets me think back to my decade of commercial martial arts experience and how I would describe moves that I practiced and sometimes successfully executed in training. I also liked the entire arc of the musicians coming together to make something unique and beautiful, because I have spent so much of my spare time in the past twenty years hanging out with musicians, seeing them build something together, and always feeling like I could witness history in the making just by being their friend–yet it was so satisfying to produce this fictional account where people with completely different backgrounds and sounds figure out how to coexist and produce something brilliant. Lastly, I will admit my visceral gratification any time I got to write someone taking the piss out of Sir Wolter, whose reputation as a ridiculous man is so widespread that General Conrad took time to throw him some shade in the previous book of the series (Prince Ewald the Brave). Sadly, all the jokes in the world can’t exorcise the toxic mindset he represents and the legacy it has left/the influence it still has on the world today, but sometimes humour is the most scathing weapon I have.

Do you have future books planned for your Gift-Knight series?

At the moment, I do not. I will say this: there are two significant loose ends left between this book and its predecessor which suggest that more story could be told, and the words of Alathea herself in The Crown Princess’ Voyage summarize how those loose ends are tied together. But could it be wrapped up in a few short stories or a novella? The main reason I’m not looking at a full seventh book to the series right now relates to something you pointed out in your review, that these books do not just read like historical accounts. They are supposed to be more than that. I always have messages and ideas in mind, even if the reader doesn’t agree with them or if I don’t present the message clearly. The Gift-Knight Trilogy is about two people who have reasons to hate each other finding a way to work together because greater things are at stake, and the series has opinions about different people finding ways to coexist respectfully, without losing any of the variety and uniqueness that makes the world such a beautiful and interesting place. The prequel trilogy has a lot to say about service-minded leadership versus entitlement, and also the power of young people to either save or ruin their world depending on what guidance and support are available to them; also, the power of their elders to shape what’s to come, and how that’s a complicated process fraught with peril. But, returning to the idea of a seventh book. If I wrote one to tie up those loose ends, which would primarily be about Jarek (the reader may wonder what happened to him and there’s a reason it went unsaid) and Elcimer (the man to whom King Jonnecht offered to sell weapons and soldiers’ services) and the drama surrounding each of them before they meet on the battlefield, all I know right now is a history. “Here’s what happened, here’s the final groundwork of the world we see by the time Derek and Chandra get to have their story.” I don’t know what the intended message is or how it could be any different than what’s already presented. Or how it even upholds the messages already presented, for that matter. Idea-wise, it could easily become “a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing”, and I’m not currently interested in writing a book where I don’t even know what the broader message is. Maybe one day, if I find myself with a large fandom that craves it, I will bring that out for them. But right now it’s not even close to happening. I did release two books in a year and knowing little else of the situation someone might imagine I can pump another out, but my first drafts tend to sit for years before I know what they need. I don’t currently have any complete rough drafts ready for reworking.

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Future generations will mythologize Duke Lenn Wancyek, but he is a person like any other. He feels hope, worry, loss, pain, and the weight of a kingdom on his shoulders. When his responsibilities place him in a catastrophic situation from which he may not escape, his values will resonate through his actions more thoroughly than any speech he could ever make.

You will meet everyone who looks to him and you will see their struggles which run concurrent with his: a friend and adviser who wishes to steer him right; three musicians who think they have landed the greatest job in the kingdom; a gardener who does so much yet asks so little; a woman who works to free her people. The list goes on, but time grows short.

You will meet the man who becomes the legend. You will know the fate of Lenn.

The Fate of Lenn

The Fate of Lenn (The Gift-Knight Trilogy) by [Dylan Madeley]

The Fate of Lenn by Dylan Madeley is the sixth and currently final book in his series of fantasy novels. The book follows the story of Duke Lenn a good and honest man who rules over his lands fairly and honorably. He is haunted by the loss of his father at a young age and strives to be a god and noble man. Unfortunately, these are trying times for his Kingdom, and he must come together with allies old and new to fight against old rivals and protect those he loves. He is joined by a band of musicians, a beauty from a foreign land and his loyal lieutenant Tibor.

The Fate of Lenn is one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a long time and is unlike most fantasy novels. The world building is excellent and I was immediately engrossed in his world. This world has a living breathing history that is referenced just enough that the reader knows what is going on and understands character motivations without the book feeling like a historical text. This is a fine line that Madeley treads well. Madeley also uses his world in interesting ways. Firstly, this may be a book set in a medieval fantasy world, but the setting is down to earth. There are vague references to mystical beasts and deities which some characters believe in, but it is never confirmed or denied whether they exist. Likewise, Lenn is haunted by the ghost of his father, who he talks to regularly. However, it is never made clear whether the ghost is real or part of Lenn’s coping mechanism. Even Lenn seems unsure. The world also seems to be an allegory for the modern world. Lenn’s kingdom is a liberal land and is rightly proud of this. Gay and trans characters suffer no discrimination and the King makes sure that his populace is cared for and educated. However, there are dark undercurrents. Despite the kingdoms liberal image, it soon becomes clear that xenophobia and corruption are becoming rife. Meanwhile a struggling lower class are set to revolt against their dutiful King whom they now see as an oppressor. This book explores what happens when a society rests on its laurels and let’s social decay creep in.

The author avoids overly flowery language. His writing is descriptive but also straight to the point and comes across as well written. There are few fight scenes in the book, but those it does feature are blow by blow accounts that get the blood pumping. Madeley excels at getting us to care about not just the world he’s built but the characters in it.

The Fate of Lenn is yet another riveting entry in the epic fantasy Gift-Knight series that continues to expand the alluring world.

Pages: 267 | ASIN: B09G3J7WSQ

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My Real and Raw Self

Dylan Madeley
Dylan Madeley Author Interview

Prince Ewald the Brave is the story of a young prince who becomes a respected royal by standing up to his father. Where did the idea for this novel come from and how did that evolve as you wrote?

In my first novel “The Gift-Knight’s Quest”, I kept going to flashback time to show you the life and death of Derek’s ancestor Lenn. The antagonist in that flashback time is none other than King Jonnecht, who was presented there in his brief time as two-dimensionally bloodthirsty and petty. Since that novel isn’t about him, it leaves people with many questions; you never learn what happens to him after a particular scheme he perpetuates, you never learn if he gets punished or overthrown, or why he doesn’t just try a different scheme or attack the rival land of Wancyrik. Given that we know Chandra Kenderley will be his descendant in approximately a hundred years, that also raises questions of what it’s like having this man for a father; the family dynamic. And if he treated them exceptionally well compared to how he handles everything else, then why would his successors behave nothing like him, pursuing practically the opposite foreign policy? If they had, why wouldn’t the empire have collapsed from hubris long before Chandra was born? I wanted to answer those questions, and my first draft was actually called “The Mad King Jonnecht”. But the story became far more about all the people around him and how they live with him, and I no longer wanted to name the book after its most unlikeable character. His reign and fatherhood was a problem to be solved that’s central to the story, but by no means is he the hero. And given the weird political structure the Kensrikan empire has, no one would have been better suited to stop him than a family member–such as the heir. However, this heir shouldn’t solve problems the way his father does, or it would be difficult to imagine things getting better if he wins. From that complication came a novel-length story.

This seemed like a fun novel to write. What scene did you have the most fun writing?

Well, some of Ewald’s night-time adventures in the city borrow from adventures of my own. I don’t go to medieval/renaissance reenactment parties nor is Ewald headed for alternative/subculture clubs that would make more sense in the twentieth century or later, so I had to imagine what an underground club could possibly be in such an age. I wanted it to serve a purpose for people of different social classes and backgrounds to meet each other in a more relaxed environment. I also wanted something masked, but not a ball; I use masks differently in my other novels, but this use was more of a nod to someone in my life who was known to be real and raw, but also to wear a mask, an interesting juxtaposition; he spoke to me early in my career when I was very lost and concerned about being famous and making a fortune, and he just wished I would be concerned with what my real and raw message would be. So, my candid social and political views make their way into my fantasies without restraint, and I try to be my real and raw self on social media, and I hope this would have meant something to him. We were very different people. Anyway, the nights out were fun. I would also like to give a shout out to my editor who insisted I go ahead with the wedding scene, because I was initially too scared that I would mess it up, but it turned out very satisfying to me and I know readers who agree with that.

What was something you wanted to do in this novel that was different from any other fantasy novel you read?

This might just reveal the narrow scope of my reading so far, but I wanted to look at what responsibilities a good leader should have, and the healthy/unhealthy dynamics between leaders and their following. I think there is plenty of literature about noble leaders who are born for their role and living up to their name or their destiny, and I don’t believe in that enough to write it. There are also many books about corruption, scheming, siblings and rivals backstabbing each other for an imperial throne–realistic and rooted in history, true, but this has been done many times and memorably. I wanted to focus more on the damage done when someone behaves like power is nothing but entitlement and all about what others constantly owe him. I wanted to contrast that with people who having achieved or realized their privilege understand what it is to offer a way up for others, or empathize with suffering and do something positive about it with these privileges, or who at least understand that the throne should implicitly come with responsibilities that can be very limiting to anybody who would rather just have the most fun in life. And then I wanted to spend time with all the characters who work hard every day to minimize the damage done by this irresponsible leader, and who will no doubt get blamed by that leader when things go wrong, though that has plenty of inspiration from contemporary politics; it doesn’t belong strictly to imperialism or monarchy. But I also wanted to show how very difficult it would be to unseat such an irresponsible person, without using the same toxic solutions that the leader would turn to (I already have a book about that called “Alathea: Goddess and Empress”). I wanted to give people hope that even in the face of corruption, in a system where people don’t want to put their privileges at risk, someone will learn what’s needed and reach out to others to solve a huge problem in the best way, before it gets worse for everybody. Instead of showing one hero destined to save them all, I wanted to show that making things better is a complicated issue and a team effort that should be enriched with different viewpoints and approaches. There have been so many fantasy books in and out of print that I suspect all of this has been covered before, but I felt like doing it my way.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My next book is a story about a melancholy Duke who finds something to fight for, a good lady who wants her people to be free by as peaceful means as possible, and three musicians who think they have landed the most extraordinary gig in their kingdom. The current working title is The Death of Lenn, and it would end the six part extended series that began with the Gift-Knight trilogy; it would be a good point to stop and think about writing a different story. I would love to have this out in 2021 to be able to say I’ve released two great personal efforts within a year, but budgetary constraints may make that a questionable timeline.

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“No, father. You have gotten your way for too long. This ends here.”

Meet the Kenderleys, the wealthiest and most powerful family in the world.

The youngest, Prince Bonifaz, takes his lessons and trusts no one. The middle child, Princess Isabel, sneaks away to a secret regency of her own making. Their mother, Queen Dulcibella, watches out for her children just as readily as she watches over them. Their father, King Jonnecht, is a capricious tyrant who hopes to control his family as strictly as he does the largest empire, and his violent rage threatens all under his rule.

Then there’s Prince Ewald, eldest and heir to the throne. No one is more aware of the threat his father poses to everyone. No one has better legal standing to do anything about it. How can he save everyone he loves while upholding his mother’s kind values? He must learn the lessons required to be the best regent, choose allies wisely and earn their trust, and enact a thoughtful and detailed plan.

And even if he succeeds in all that, can one who draws the line and conducts a plan with honour defeat one whose rage, selfishness, and deceit know no bounds?

Can Prince Ewald stop his father?

This is a stand-alone prequel to The Gift-Knight Trilogy.

Prince Ewald the Brave

Prince Ewald the Brave, by Dylan Madeley, is the story of a young prince who becomes a respected royal. Prince Ewald is the sheltered first-born of the House of Kenderley with two younger siblings, Isabel and Bonifaz. With the help of his family, Ewald discovers who he truly is, what kind of ruler he wants to be, and how to finally stand up to his father.

Madeley begins the novel by introducing the reader to the capital, Bayrock, ruled by King Jonnecht. From the start, the reader can see that the “Great King” is a façade. To the people, King Jonnecht is the almighty conqueror who defeats their enemies, but to his family he is the villain of their story. The conflict that Madeley brews throughout the novel surrounds King Jonnecht and the affect he has on his family. Prince Ewald, being the oldest and heir to the throne, decides he wants to live life before ruling the realm. Ewald is tense and cautious, in part due to his father, but risks everything to experience a world outside of royalty. Princess Isabel helps her brother let loose and be relieved of his responsibility for a short while. These outings enrage the King who then beats his eldest son and disowns his only daughter. Ewald has finally had enough of his tyrant father and devises a plan to save his family and the kingdom.

Madeley has a writing style that effortlessly propels the plot forward. The novel intertwines modern themes of same-sex marriage and family abuse into a poignant fantasy novel. The character development of Ewald throughout the novel is wonderfully alluring. You see a cautious prince turn into a strong and clever regent-designate after confronting his father. Princess Isabel, although not in the spotlight, is a strong character that has fascinating dimension throughout the novel. Princess Isabel was my favorite character to read because she is sure of herself and what she wants out of life. Isabel’s personality and experiences show Ewald that he can choose how he wants to live, who he wants to be, and what kind of ruler he would like to become.

While the novel was entertaining overall, I felt that the war strategies of the King and his commander felt tedious. The choices the King makes throughout the war show he is not level-headed and could lead the realm to its demise, however, they were not that engaging to me.

Prince Ewald the Brave has enjoyable characters and an intriguing plot. This is a story that felt deep and thoughtful. I had a fun time reading this story because, I felt, the author had a fun time writing it. The story screams creativity and uses thoughtful but subtle social commentary to create a very compelling fantasy adventure novel.

Pages: 288 | ASIN:  B092WRZDGX

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Secretly The One

Dylan Madeley
Dylan Madeley Author Interview

Alathea: Goddess & Empress follows a young princess coming of age in a dangerous kingdom that shapes who she becomes. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?

The first works in which Alathea appeared were the three books I had written prior, the Gift-Knight trilogy. Alathea is barely in the first book of that series but she’s the primary antagonist. She has goals and an interesting way of going about them, and quite the aesthetic as well. I once had a reviewer suggest that they were more interested in Alathea because Alathea is a “stronger character”, more effective at getting things done than her rival Chandra. While I believe this reviewer might not have been interested in ethics at all, I must thank them for reminding me that compelling antagonists are often the protagonists of their own story and there are always readers who love them. This novel is the story that I decided to give Alathea, where she certainly is the protagonist and has some sympathetic goals.

I appreciated the slow development and subtle evolution of Alathea’s character. What were some obstacles you felt were important to developing her character?

My values permeate my works, so representing them well can be a challenge. I wasn’t about to write a story where it turns out Alathea was secretly the one you should have cheered for in the Gift-Knight trilogy all along, so I needed the reader to become invested in her world, what happens to it, what happens to her, and what she does to it, without writing a lawful good character who would make more dedicated readers wonder what went wrong between this and the Gift-Knight trilogy. I felt that I needed to show the many complicated things that can go wrong with parenting, especially in the halls of brutally acquired imperial power, without making it look like pure ineptitude or lack of effort. I didn’t want to show many characters who are being evil for fun, but I didn’t want to rule out the existence of such. As a writer, finding and maintaining this balanced perspective was an obstacle. Another challenge was the passage of time and how I express it, because Alathea does plenty of growing up in this story, yet if she began the story too young then it might seem she’s growing up unrealistically fast. I needed to be careful about anything I said that marked the passage of time, such as rainy versus dry seasons. I needed to give Alathea noble goals, then show you how difficult it is for her to live up to them when the tools she’s given are brutal ones, and when she’s not aware of any precedent in her culture or her world for successfully accomplishing such goals.

The world you’ve created for this story is intricate and intriguing. What were some sources that informed the worlds development?

For naming conventions, clothing and aesthetics, I looked to Ancient Rome and Greece. All the large port settlements in my created world feature different peoples and cultures, and Port Selumer is no different; I show people with different backgrounds living side by side, because one thing empires do is expand to forcibly encompass many lands and cultures that used to be independently governing. For the clans north of the empire, I once again looked to Ancient Rome and their attitude toward people who lived north of them: the Gauls, the Celts, people living in a large swathe of land labelled “Germania” by Ancient Romans, also the Norse. I didn’t go into such depth with my depiction of Einar’s people, but I did highlight the tension between these peoples and the empire south of them, the deal-making, the imperial game of playing some clans against others. Also, the tiered design of Port Selumer is inspired by port settlements in the Mediterranean such as Santorini, and any place where the urban geography is a bit vertical and descending toward the water. This is also seen in famous fantasy capitals like Minas Tirith. The idea of class divisions based on topographic elevation is probably not new but I didn’t look at a specific example when I decided to do that.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My current project is getting through this pandemic with my parents in as safe a way as possible. I have stories that I can pursue, but I can’t yet predict which one I will choose. The safest guess is another story within the same world that contains Kensrik, Port Selumer, Derek, Chandra, and their respective family histories, because I would only have to do local world-building instead of arranging an entire continent. I have a couple of options if I go that route. I would love to write something that’s a complete departure from this, just to know that I could.

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Alathea was raised to rule, but the benevolent and deranged forces that hope to prepare her for the throne may create a monster. She’s torn between her father’s reign of empty order through terror and violence, and a magical path that could be completely illusory. She can’t live one exclusive of the other, so she lives both.

Her father is bent on protecting his daughter from the same fanatics who killed her mother, but far too often his desire for revenge takes him away from her. His yearning to raise a strong and steadfast heir compromises what little time they spend together.

Her tutor intends to help her be better than her father, more sensible and knowledgeable, in control of her own story and the narrative of the empire just as her mother had been. But he isn’t raising her alone and can’t predict how his teachings will be used.

Her nurse subtly coaxes her toward a path of faith and enlightenment according to the nurse’s secret masters, believing that Alathea can be saved and in turn save the empire. But the Seers have grim plans that they would never reveal to their minion.

This tragic story touches on loss, the insatiable hunger for control, the way people live stories and narratives, the innocence and danger of dreams, the follies of love, the deep hatred and rage dwelling within people, and the dangers of using conquest to strive for peace.

Embattled by all the forces hoping to shape her to their whim, Alathea takes a piece of everything they give her and becomes something never before seen in the land. Goddess. Empress. Monster.

Alathea: Goddess & Empress

Alathea: Goddess and Empress by Dylan Madeley is an adventure-filled fantasy novel that is sure to please fans of  epic fantasy like the Game of Thrones. The name of Madeley’s novel intrigued me from the very beginning, and the novel kept me engaged through the closing pages with its fast-paced chapters and unexpected plot twists. Reading this in 2020 when many of us are stuck at home with few options for escape, it was certainly a treat for me to follow the adventures of the characters in Alathea: Goddess and Empress across the Coast Empire and through the streets of Port Selumer.

The novel centers on its namesake, Alathea, who is the young heir to the Coast throne. Alathea’s age is vague, she is not a girl although net yet a woman. Alathea is educated in the ways of the world by her sage tutor, Rheb, yet she has much to learn if she seeks to assume control of the throne. Alathea’s father, Emperor Maximian, is an abrasive character who frequently lets his rage get the better of him when dealing with both friend and foe. As the course of events unfolds, Alathea finds herself taking on the responsibilities of the throne and defending her kingdom from enemies at many angles who wish to usurp her power. With the support of Rheb and Einar, a young warrior from a northern clan, Alathea takes on new powers, both earthly and mythical.

With Alathea: Goddess and Empress, Madeley has created a novel that you can hardly put down due to the excitement and action contained within its 300-odd pages. I frequently found myself staying up past my bedtime to finish a chapter to see how Rheb and Alathea triumphed over their challenges, and Madeley does a good job of keeping the plot fresh and surprising. The novel struggled, though, with its main character: Alathea is not particularly likeable, and I frequently found myself feeling annoyed with her actions and her gratuitous self-indulgence. I struggled to relate to her emotions and felt she was a bit too unsympathetic of a character to be a protagonist for whom I would want to cheer. Thankfully, Alathea is surrounded with good people, and Rheb and Einar are strong supporting characters. Rheb was perhaps my favorite character, and I would love to read a novel by Madeley about his development and experiences. His vast knowledge and mysterious aura really appealed to me, and every chapter from his perspective was a delight. Madeley also excels in his descriptions of hand-to-hand combat – these scenes truly blew me away with their detail and expertise!

Alathea: Goddess and Empress is creative and engaging, with several very positive supporting characters. The world that Madeley has created in the Coast empire is one worth exploring and I hope for future installments in this literary world.

Pages: 288 | ASIN: B085LDXDZX

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The Last Conflict

Dylan Madeley Author Interview

Dylan Madeley Author Interview

The Masked Queens Lament finds Althea still trying to expand her empire from the shadows but is forced to come out of hiding to ensure victory. What did you want to accomplish in this last novel that was different from the first two books in the trilogy?

Beyond wrapping up every plotline I had hatched in a manner that I felt the characters deserved, I had a few other things to address. One was to sufficiently show how awful war is even when necessary–a point I’m not sure I drove home thoroughly enough in the previous book of the series. Another was to show human stories from every part of the world that I wanted to focus on, because Alathea’s empire is definitely not a realm of pure evil, and she’s not leading some horde of orcs or goblins. Nor was I going to allow Derek and Chandra to be completely responsible for saving everyone when some people have the opportunity to choose, albeit not easily nor simply, to decide differently. I also enjoyed giving text time to characters who may have been barely used in the previous books or whose motivations had not been adequately explored.

The world building in this novel continues to be superb. What were some sources of inspiration that guided you as you continued to build the world throughout the trilogy?

I’ve done a bit of travel in my life, visiting some of Europe/the UK’s castles and memorably the church structures of Lalibela, Ethiopia, carved directly from the rock with minimal brick and repairs needed after centuries of wear and some seismic activity. I follow aesthetic blogs and also try to learn a bit about the cultures that inspired aesthetics and also first names. The rest is having the map drawn up and trying to define each place in the context of the geography I’ve already given it. I once also got some advice about the realities of having a mountain range rather close to a coastline, as it looks in the southwest of Kensrik. If you’d like to know what I mean, consider the geography of places like Chile or New Zealand. I was inspired to make this mountainous edge of the continent seismically active and mentioned “mountains which belch fire”, the possibility of it raining ash, and the potential sulfurous odor.

When a trilogy comes to an end many readers expect an epic showdown, and you deliver on this point masterfully. How did you envision the final chapters playing out and what changed while writing?

The main challenge was not what the final showdowns would be, because I set most of them up in the previous books and just needed to follow through. A key challenge for me was making sure the last conflict with Derek against enemy forces was not just a repeat of the end of the previous book. In the first draft, it basically was the same, in the shadows of the old Wancyek castle, but once more with feeling! During the second-last revision cycle of The Masked Queen’s Lament, the further I went along in the draft, the more completely I rewrote what was there. By the penultimate chapters I was barely looking at the source material because of how wildly the final draft needed to diverge. Keeping in mind, the whole trilogy was written in first draft before the first book in the series was even finalized. I also needed to propagate every change that needed to come as a result of that. It just had to feel coherent to me, and I’m glad the coherent result worked.

Now that the The Gift-Knight Trilogy is complete, do you intend to expand this world with more books, or are you working on something new?

I have four total prequel manuscripts that don’t focus on Derek or Chandra, or even mention them. I could go and start reworking these, or I could write something completely different. For now, I’m enjoying the lack of commitment that comes from not having already promised what comes next! I’ll decide eventually.

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The Masked Queen's Lament (The Gift-Knight Trilogy Book 3) by [Madeley, Dylan]

Derek, Master and defender of his people, rides with Chandra toward a friendly city in the aftermath of a victory. They will have no time to celebrate as Derek suddenly finds himself up against a foe he can’t kill with a sword. Having delivered her friend and ally to a healer, Chandra contends with more than just waiting in dread: she will be faced with a part of her personal history that she never knew and the promise of a place to belong after her exile from Kensrik. But can she trust it?

And they will have so little time to regroup. Alathea, masked ruler of an expanding empire, still hungers to recreate the world in her image. Dissatisfied with the delays and failures of her minions, she intends to personally oversee the final victory over her most hated foe, the “witch”, Crown Princess Chandra Kenderley.

Whether they battle enemies from without or within, an ensemble cast faces the fight of their lives on every part of the Continent and its inland sea. No one but Alathea has the full picture of what she’s set in motion, and whether they have any chance of stopping her, nothing will ever be the same.

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The Masked Queen’s Lament

The Masked Queen's Lament (The Gift-Knight Trilogy Book 3) by [Madeley, Dylan]

Author of the epic fantasy series, The Gift-Knight Trilogy, Dylan Madeley brings to you the third and last in the series, The Masked Queen’s Lament. A brilliant novel that blends medieval times with on-going issues of the world we live in today.

A fantastical and medieval plotline combining elements of eccentricity, adventure, treason, power, knighthood and intrigue. The Masked Queen’s Lament continues Madeley’s narrative from books 1 and 2 (The Gift-Knight’s Quest and The Crown Princess’ Voyage) to conclude the dramatic twists and revelations conveyed throughout all three books.

The story is set in the medieval era where “Alathea enjoy[s] the feeling of all the thunder-men staring at her, not daring to blink, ready for her signal.” As a ruler of the land, the protagonist attempts to recreate a world in how she perceives it to be. However, all is not as simple as it seems. Alathea must reign in all of her troops in order to combat the wicked witch “Crown Princess Chandra Kenderley”. A real medieval plot line that allows the reader to envision concepts of reigning, power, control, and misjudgment.

Dylan Madeley does a fantastic job at writing fluently with regards to his characters. The characters are well described, and I was able to clearly envision what they would look and act like. The author clearly knows how to build his characters. Despite being the third book in the trilogy, Madeley still continues to keep the reader’s attention with these characters, reinforcing how their presence in the book is key to its success.

What I loved about this book is how the story follows the life of power and reigns. Think about this book like a Game of Thrones episode – packed full of terror, excitement, uncertainty, and conflict. As the story unfolds, the reader is made aware that the end result is going to be via battle, and who wins that battle is very much left in suspense until the very end. I won’t provide any spoilers for those of you longing to read this book, but what I can say is that the ending does not disappoint!

The only downside to the book is the flow. I found it slow at times, particularly in the first few chapters. However, the pace does pick up as the reader is subject to more action between the characters, and this is where it got more interesting for me. What makes for good reading is uncertainty, eccentricity, and uniqueness, and I believe the author of The Masked Queen’s Lament does this outstandingly. The grammar and punctuation is strong, and the narrative is creative and unique.

An emotive, fantastic, epic medieval storyline that is well-written and well-thought out by the author. Dylan Madeley has proven to be a great author, and this book is a great way to end The Gift-Knight Trilogy.

Pages: 476 | ASIN: B07DD18H76

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