Just published: an interview with a mystery guest and Lt. General Quain Marln (of The General’s Legacy, by Adrian G Hilder
What do you need to build a real fantasy castle?
Madness, imagination and a royal fortune…
On November 1st I shared a blog article with you “On location in the Kingdom of Valendo” with pictures and a video of a unique waterfall in the Jungfrau region of Switzerland that inspired locations in The General’s Legacy. The article was popular. I promised a follow up article about Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria that inspired Dendra Castle in The General’s Legacy. Disney also based the design of the Cinderella Castle on Neuschwanstein and some others.
Neuschwanstein was build in the late 1800s as a palace by King Ludwig II of Bavaria – a pure flight of fantasy since castles have been almost pointless for military purposes since the invention of the canon.
I’ll hand over to Fred Mills of the youtube channel The B1M to tell you this tale of fantasy construction and deadly conspiracy!
Up close and personal – Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau from youtube channel Amazing Places on Our Planet.
Now take a horse drawn tour of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau in this next video from youtube channel NorthValleyArtStudio.
“My early years in continental Europe meant family holidays immersed in the bewitching beauty of Bavaria, the Swiss and Austrian Alps. These locations inspire some settings and even events in my stories.”
The part of the world that most inspired The Kingdom of Valendo setting is the Jungfrau region of Switzerland near Interlaken. Covering an area similar in size to Disneyland, Florida it is a playground stuffed with mountain railways, cable cars, hiking and mountain biking trails, winter ski slopes and some of the worlds most breathtaking scenery. In the late 1970s early 1980s my parents took me here twice, I took my new bride there on our honeymoon in September 1992 and in August this year (2018) we returned with our three train-mad boys to share it with them. For the boys it was the best holiday they had been on except perhaps for Disneyland the year before.
A few shots that inspired the landscape from Tranmure to Dendra Castle in The Kingdom of of Valendo
Approaching Kleine Scheidegg
From Kleine Scheidegg
View of Jungfrau from Kleine Scheidegg
Kleine Scheidegg to Wengen
The “waterfall like no other” in The General’s Legacy Chapter 5 Diplomacy and Espionage
This one is a video – the only way to do the waterfall justice.
Edit November 11, 2018: In one place in The General’s Legacy I described the waterfall as jetting horizontally out of the rock. This description was inspired by the following photo featuring me on my honeymoon in 1992.
You can find the Jungfrau region right here on Google maps.
There is one key location I have not covered in this post because it was too far away for us to visit with children but my wife and I did visit it years ago on our honeymoon with a 3 hour each way car drive to get there. I’ve found a great video on youtube documenting the making of a real life fantasy castle. Follow this blog or join my email newsletter to get notified when I publish a new blog post about this soon.
Fantasy swords look cool, but are they any good?
Mega swords, super swords and all other kinds of made-up dragon-slaying swords belong where they rightly exist–in fantasy! But why do they belong there, and not in real life? In Earth’s historical reality, the European one-handed arming sword has become a well-known and predictable symbol. But in popular medieval fantasy, whether it be in video games, books, movies or comics, the European sword has become a target for unpredictable creative reinvention!
Unlike real historical swords, fantasy swords, in a generic sense, don’t care about proper weight distribution, an important factor medieval swordsmiths took seriously. The classic medieval arming sword, shaped like a cross, has developed into a very specific shape that is the optimal design for hand rotation when you consider key pivot points in the sword’s geometry.
The two YouTube videos below by Roland Warzecha explain the secrets of sword geometry in way more detail than I’ll be…
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US and UK book covers.
“The sky was sobbing, long purrs of sharp, cold nightmare as the dawn broke. At least the rain had abated.”
This is a description of the dawn sky over the Misery. There are other descriptions of the Misery involving the wind howling through cracks in the sky, bronze and purple bruise colours and more. Descriptions of the Misery are as elusive to their precise meaning as they are evocative. I love it this way and I’m content not to have a full grasp of what the Misery looks and sounds like – I enjoy the sense of mystery and depth.
The Misery is the region of the land left “polluted” after Nall’s Engine does its worst. The engine is a super weapon with an immense destructive power. It is the only thing that can hold back The Deep Kings, beings with god-like power, their massive armies and other magical nightmares such as the Darlings. The Darlings appear as delightful children that are actually horror novel type creatures with sickening magic that can rip through men and other wielders of magic like the proverbial knife through butter. They feel no remorse.
Our hero Captain Galharrow commands his Blackwings, a group of men and women soldiers and a sorceress in the hopeless defence of their land. It’s hopeless because Nall’s Engine is a hoax – it no longer works and the Deep Kings are learning this. Their armies and agents are moving to conquer.
I love Blackwing as it is a hopeless quest full of emotion with a hero who is downtrodden, a drunk, has lost almost everything he cares about (wife, children) and is but a pawn played with by his masters. His great redeeming quality is that he cares deeply about those under his command and will sacrifice almost anything that is his to save them. They are all he has left to cling onto.
For me, the “Holy Grail” of stories is one that gives me an ending I don’t see coming. Blackwing does just that. Great job Ed!
Normally I find stories written in the first person like Blackwing don’t work that well for me as I know the protagonist who’s words I’m hearing must survive the tale or be speaking from beyond the grave. Given how merciless life is on the wall by the Misery death for Galharrow would seem like a gift. I assume he will never get this gift as he is the narrator.
Blackwing is fine grimdark fantasy with plenty of gruesome scenes that will not suit every reader. Lovers of dark fantasy will have a great time in the Misery.
No question, 5 stars from me.
Please join me at the BIG charity anthology book launch event on Facebook featuring 3 books:
The One Million Project is a collective of creatives offering their work to raise money for international charities engaged in Cancer research and supporting the homeless.
As a contributing author (look out for The Silver Warrior in OMP Fantasy) I will be hosting on Saturday, March 3rd from 4pm to 5pm US Central time, 10pm to 11pm UK Time when there will be a chance to win an eBook copy of my recently released fantasy novel The General’s Legacy