Blaine McFadden endured six long years in the brutal Velant prison colony, exiled for murder. War devastated his homeland of Donderath, and destroyed the magic on which the Ascendant Kingdoms relied. Now, Blaine and a small group of fellow exiles have returned to a lawless wasteland, where unrestrained magic storms wreak havoc and monsters roam free.
Yet, amidst the chaos, rumors persist of a new magic that could restore the kingdoms. But the key lies within a dangerous, ancient ritual and a group of vanished survivors. Now, McFadden’s only hope is a small, desperate, quickly rallied army. Together they must make one last stand knowing that if they fail, the civilization of the Ascendant Kingdoms dies with them.
I’m enjoying writing a post-apocalyptic medieval epic fantasy, but it has its challenges. Namely, after the worst thing in the world happens, what next? A doomsday strike by the mages of the two warring kingdoms succeeded far beyond intentions, destroying not only the kings and the nobility (and thus the leadership of both kingdoms), but also destroying the bonds that enabled mortals to bend magic to their will. Magic reverts to a wild, uncontrollable state, and the kingdoms that relied on hundreds of small magics for convenience and everyday survival now find themselves on the brink of utter ruin.
We often think about apocalyptic novels as being modern or future-based, and the weapons of mass destruction being high tech. In Reign of Ash (and the first novel in the series, Ice Forged), the ‘M’ in WMD stands for ‘magical’, with equally devastating results.
Removing the ability to control magic in Blaine’s world is like taking down the power grid in our own—and the schematics to rebuild it. Storms of wild magic touch down intermittently, ripping open the fabric of reality. Monsters come through, and people disappear. Weather patterns change violently. Bandit gangs, highwaymen and warlords with private armies grab land and power.
Leaderless, with the infrastructure of the kingdom in ruins and its magic out of reach, Donderath struggles to survive. McFadden and his convict friends hold the key to bringing magic back under the control of mortals. But to do that, Blaine has to hold his own against self-styled warlords, outwit a vengeful immortal enemy, and figure out how to pull the shreds of magic back together—even if it kills him.
Find Reign of Ash in bookstores everywhere and online after April 1.
Gail Z. Martin is the author of Ice Forged in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga and Reign of Ash (Orbit Books, 2014), plus The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven & Dark Lady’s Chosen ) from Solaris Books and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn and The Dread) from Orbit Books. Gail’s new urban fantasy novel, Deadly Curiosities, debuts from Solaris Books in June, 2014. Iron and Blood, a Steampunk novel, will be published by Solaris in 2015. She is also the author of two series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Adventures. Find her at www.AscendantKingdoms.com, on Facebook as Winter Kingdoms, and on Twitter @GailZMartin.