Wednesday, January 13, 2016

"The Geomancer"

Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith are a married couple who have written together for nearly two decades. Their credits include novels such as the Vampire Empire series (Pyr Books) and the Crown & Key trilogy (Del Rey).

They applied the Page 69 Test to their new novel, The Geomancer, and reported the following:
Page 69 in The Geomancer is oddly symptomatic of the book as a whole. We meet our two heroes, Adele and Gareth, as well as several of the supporting characters. The villain, while not present, is mentioned. His ultimate plot is unknown to our heroes at this time, but several mysterious elements of his scheme do come up.
“First we’ve seen vampires able to resist geomancy. Now humans, killed by some unknown force. I don’t think there’s any other reasonable possibility except that Cesare’s Witchfinder is still alive and active. We have to find him and stop him.”
We also encounter the primary fantasy conceit of the story, geomancy, which is the power to interact with the energies of the Earth, and if you are powerful enough, to manipulate those energies for creation or destruction.
Fighting down growing apprehension, she pressed her hands onto the frozen ground. Immediately, she tasted bile. The colors and sounds that wafted from a nearby rift were different, muted. She felt a surge of rage at the foul stench and garish blasts of light. Instead of warm comfort, she was met by raucous pollution. A stain of black sludge undulated in a turbulent sea. With teeth clamped, Adele pushed deeper into the disturbing mire. She couldn’t keep her sense of direction. The anchoring cold air from above was gone. Lances of light seared her skin and her ears throbbed with the beating of her heart.
So there’s a lot happening on page 69. This is symptomatic of the book too. There is a pretty full plot. That’s partly because this is not the first book starring these characters. Adele and Gareth are the protagonists of our Vampire Empire trilogy. This book is set in the same alternate history world and follows that original trilogy with many of the same characters and situations. Therefore The Geomancer has the burden of being a new book to new readers and a continuation for continuing readers. Tricky. Page 69 shows the struggle to fold what came before into what is happening now.

But what pleases us most when glancing page 69 is that no matter how much world-defining plot there is, the core of the story remains the relationship between Adele and Gareth, and how that relationship impacts their world. We see glimpses of that on page 69 through their interaction.
“So you’re doing it no matter what I say?”

She touched Gareth’s hand. “If it gets too dangerous, I’ll withdraw.”

“What if you can’t?”

“Then remove me bodily from here.” She turned to Kasteel and Nadzia. “You two should move far away. Gareth, you too. I don’t know what your limits are.”

“I’ve been burned before.” He stood rooted. “Do what you’re going to do, I’ll be here.”
Adele and Gareth show concern for each other, and despite their concerns, they relent to the other’s strengths. Ultimately, that’s what this book is about.
Learn more about the book and authors at Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith's website.

--Marshal Zeringue