Tuesday, September 27, 2016

"Gods of Nabban"

K. V. Johansen is the author of The Lady, The Leopard, and Blackdog and numerous works for children, teens, and adults.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Gods of Nabban, and reported the following:
From page 69:
Yeh-Lin angled the inscribed silver mirror to catch the moon. Something had been nagging on the edges of her dreams, prickling when she drifted on the edge of sleep, for some time now. She had found herself unusually reluctant to pursue it. That fact ... began to interest her.
Well, page 69 in Gods of Nabban turns out not to be one of those pages that encapsulates the flavour of the book. Gods of Nabban is very character-driven and heavy with both action and psychological drama, focused, more than the other books set in the world of the caravan road, on a single pair of characters, though the story does have threads that follow other people as well. Ghu, a runaway slave and the returning heir of the gods of Nabban, and Ahjvar, the severely troubled assassin whom he loves and who, though he wants only to die, is trying to live for Ghu’s sake, are the primary protagonists and they don’t get a look-in on that page. Neither does Ivah, a character who’s been around through assorted traumas and revelations since her villainous beginnings in Blackdog; she’s now on a spiritual quest that will bring her to cross paths with Ghu, as will the journey of Kaeo, a slave actor and most unwilling prophet of the dying gods, and his rescuer Rat, who is, shall we say, rather high up in the counsels of a conquered nation currently at war with Nabban.

However, on page 69 what you get is Yeh-Lin, who is one of the seven devils -- formerly-human wizards who exist as beings of conjoined or imperfectly merged souls, having bound themselves to seven devils who escaped from the hells in which they were imprisoned long ago. Yeh-Lin is also a former empress and tyrant of Nabban. She claims to be reformed and repentant, and is, at the moment we see her, a tutor in history and languages to Ahjvar’s great-something-granddaughter. The young apprentice bard Deyandara doesn’t really need her any more, though, and Yeh-Lin, here, has been scrying around -- probably trying to keep an eye on Ghu, who fascinates her -- and is seeing a vision of something in Nabban that troubles her -- a young man “so bruised and bloodied and bandaged, blood seeping through his bandages, too, that it was hard to guess at the bones underlying his swollen features...” and a very grand and elegant woman handling him, but there is “a third presence in the room, an attenuated thread” which hurls her out of the vision and leaves her briefly, though she denies that even to herself, afraid. She conquered a fair chunk of the world in her day. Gods sacrificed themselves trying to overcome her. She doesn’t do fear.

Yeh-Lin, if she were an animal, would be a cat. Something weird. Hmm. Maybe it’s scary. Maybe it’s fun. Maybe I’ll just poke it daintily with my paw a little, to see what happens ... So there’s something disturbing and dangerous brooding in the heart of Nabban, and Ghu -- probably the one being in the world Yeh-Lin would actually admit to standing in awe of -- is, with his dead king (as Yeh-Lin calls Ahjvar because it annoys him so much), heading for Nabban ... possibly to claim the empire as his own. Clearly the boys can’t be allowed to keep all the fun to themselves.
Visit K. V. Johansen's website.

Coffee with a Canine: K.V. Johansen & Ivan.

The Page 69 Test: The Leopard.

The Page 69 Test: The Lady.

--Marshal Zeringue