Saturday, January 19, 2019


Anna Stephens is a UK-based author of gritty epic fantasy. Godblind and Darksoul are the first two books in her grimdark trilogy about a religious, political and ideological war, the people caught up in its midst, and just what, exactly, they are willing to do to win – is the cost ever too high when the fate of an entire people is at stake?

Stephens applied the Page 69 Test to Darksoul and reported the following:
From page 69:
‘I doubt you,’ Lanta hissed. They were nose to nose, will to will, and although Corvus would have wagered everything he owned that the Godblind would back down, the opposite happened. Lanta let the links of the chain slide through her fingers one by one, releasing the tension so the Godblind could sit back. She waved a hand in dismissal, as though nothing of much importance had occurred.

‘I will commune with the gods.’ She rose to her feet and stared down at the men kneeling around her. ‘Do what you must to win this war. I will seek knowledge of our enemies. Remember whose voice it is that has guided you thus far.’ She stalked away through the grass, and the guards scattered from her path like sparrows from a cat.

‘Fuck me,’ Valan breathed once she was out of earshot. The Godblind cackled, and then they were all grinning foolishly at one another.

‘I’ll get the trebuchets moved,’ Skerris grunted, hauling himself to his feet.

Corvus nodded. ‘Agreed. Let’s get those stump walls down and that weak spot exploited in the time we have before the fucking West Rank arrives. I want those inside the city too busy to sally in support when they arrive. We fight on as many fronts as necessary.’

Corvus stood and held his hand out to Rivil, who clasped his wrist. ‘We know the timeframe, if this one is to be trusted,’ he added, though there was no doubt in his mind. Not even a shred. The Blessed One’s communion would confirm it. ‘What say you we get busy taking the city?’

‘Agreed,’ Rivil said. ‘And there’s to be no let-up, day or night, until it’s ours.’
This is quite a fortuitous page choice for this extract, as it establishes some of the stakes and allegiances that have occurred. Darksoul is the second book in the Godblind trilogy and the Wolf seer, Dom, has become Godblind - his will shattered and bent to that of the Dark Lady. He is giving up everything - himself, his people, his soul - to the Red Gods and this has led him to offer himself to the enemy as their captive and prophet.

The larger tapestry against which this scene is playing out is the siege of the capital city, Rilporin. The defence is led by Commander Durdil Koridam, whose forces are significantly outnumbered and are attempting to keep the peace among thousands of terrified civilians at the same time as defending the walls. Ranged against him are King Corvus of the Mireces and Prince Rivil of Rilpor and their armies. They believe conquest of Rilpor is ordained by the gods and will stop at nothing to see it come to fruition.

Darksoul's main focus is on the siege and the individual stories that play out on the walls and in the houses of Rilporin as heroes rise and fall and villains employ every strategy at this disposal to prove themselves heroes to themselves and their gods. It's bloody and desperate and hopeless - and yet hope remains.
Visit Anna Stephens's website.

The Page 69 Test: Godblind.

--Marshal Zeringue