Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Wars of Gods and Men by W. Brondt Kamffer

Eboric and his wife Idonea, a pagan witch, successfully assassinate the King of East Osland, usurping his throne in the process. Together, they reignite a centuries-old civil war with West Osland, ruled by the peace-loving Ayern, who was responsible for ending the war in the recent past.

Meanwhile, the ambitious Kjar Kolrig has united the fractured tribes of Vistgard, and now seeks to invade Osland in a bid to expand his fledgling empire. He is supported by a school of sorcerers, though they soon begin to undermine his war effort.

All of them become ensnared in an ancient conflict between the pagan gods and the Ossian God Eom, which threatens to ruin both Eboric and Kolrig, as well as their kingdoms, if neither man can surrender his pride.

W. Brondt Kamffer is South African by birth and a US immigrant (along with the rest of his family). He now resides in southern California where he lectures English composition at the California State University of Long Beach.

What will readers like about your book?
It has comedy and tragedy in abundance, sometime even in the same scenes together. There is sorcery, murder, war, torture, ambition...forgiveness, redemption, faith, and hope.

Why did you self publish?
My dad has a saying, "Never plan your life by someone else's efficiency." Therefore, I decided to skip the two-year-to-publication cycle of traditional publishing.

What is your writing process?
I plot for as long as I can tolerate it before I start writing. Then, I try to write at least two scenes a day. I write at about 1,500 words an hour, so I can usually write a 100,000 book in about 6 weeks to two months. I like to write in the morning. If I fail to get all my writing done before about 2pm, it’s unlikely I’ll do much writing later on.

How long does it take you to write your first draft?
Under two months. I compose fairly quickly. The hard work is in revision.

What inspired you to write this particular story?
A couple of things: religion and politics is big in the media at the moment, and I wanted to write something that examined the fine balance that needs to be struck between the two. I also wanted to write a fantasy novel based around the events of the Viking invasions of England. What ended up happening was finding I had several interesting convergences with Shakespeare's Macbeth, and so I decided to play up the play as a source of inspiration, bringing in added elements such as regicide to complement the emphasis on pride and conscience.


“Cenred,” she hissed. Only then did she realize that the voice of the gods had disappeared from her mind again. Worryingly, that was the second time this had happened in the sage’s presence. She covered over her unease with an angry question. “How did you get in here?”
The sage chuckled, a sound that sent cold shivers down her spine, out of place as it was. For all her newfound power gained by serving the old gods so faithfully, she felt very uncertain of herself in the sage’s presence, a man of immense power in his own right. She would not be foolish enough to underestimate him this time.
“Walls cannot keep me out if I want to get in, Idonea,” he replied in a strangely friendly, conversational tone, “just as walls cannot keep me in if I want to get out. You would do well to remember that.”
The queen spoke a word and the lamps around the room sprang to life. Cenred did not shift his gaze, did not so much as drop his annoying grin. She had not surprised him with her sorcery at all, or if she had, he hid it well.
“Thank you,” he said civilly. He walked over to a nearby chair and asked, “May I?” He sat without waiting for a response.
“Very dangerous stuff, sorcery,” he said, striking up a conversation with all the familiarity of a close, long-time friend. “If you are not careful, it will take over your consciousness. One should never dabble in it. The old gods are jealous and do not hand out power without a price.”
“And I suppose you know all about it, don’t you?” Idonea snapped. His calm demeanor was infuriating. She wanted to kill him now, strangle the life out of him where he sat, but she restrained herself. For starters, she felt unsure that she could accomplish the act, an unfamiliar and unwelcome feeling in itself. But she also wanted her revenge to be as public as possible. He had humiliated her with his prophecy. It had been delivered in private, but she felt the sting of it publicly, and she determined that his demise would be to the shouts of a hate-filled mob. The foolish Ossians who still claimed to worship Eom must be shown totally and conclusively that their sage was powerless before the old gods.
“Oh, I know enough,” Cenred replied. “Eom tells me things, warns me. I am his creature entirely.”
“Then it seems that you and I are in the same predicament.”
“Not so,” he countered with a grin. “I can leave my service whenever I want to. I just don’t want to.”
“Because you enjoy torturing the rest of us with your unendurable smugness, is that it?”


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