The Song of the Tides – Map Reveal

A simple map this time, for a simple, short story – this is Armorica – today’s Brittany – at the end of the 5th century, just as the old, classic Imperial city names from Tabula Peutingeriana change to common tongue ones, as used in Notitia Dignitatum and later texts.

The Song of the Tides – a Song of Octa novella – is out on pre-order, to be released on August the 1st.

The Wrath of the Iutes – Map Reveal

In 10 days, “The Wrath of the Iutes” will be released on Kindle – and on paperback around the same time – so it’s time to reveal the new map for the 5th book of the Song of Britain saga.

“The Wrath…” takes place in Armorica, Isles of Scilly and what is now known as Wales. It’s in Wales that most military action happens, with armies moving from fort to fort and ships going from port to port, so the one new map drawn for this book is one of Wales – or Western Britannia Prima.

Incidentally, this is my second novel that is partly set in Wales – so did my first book, the Shadow of Black Wings, and even the map was somewhat similar, if a fantasy version. I can’t tell myself if it’s just a curious coincidence or is there something special about Wales that makes me go back to it time and time again?

The Blood of the Iutes – Map Reveal

It’s that time again – the premiere of the new volume is fast approaching, and the first marker of the book being ready for release is the map is now done.

There’s only one map this time – but one that shows more of the ancient world than any of the maps before – all of late Roman Gaul and Germania north of Augusta Treverorum.

This should tell you how much greater the scope of the story has become – the interests of Iutes are no longer confined to Britannia, they now enter into the power plays of the late Empire

Pre-launch promo deals, updates and news

The Shattering Waves“, book 7 of the Year of the Dragon, is now available for pre-order – and to help you prepare for it, I’ve reduced the prices of all the prior books, starting with the bundle of all first four volumes:

The Year of the Dragon, 1-4 $9.99 > $0.99

The Chrysanthemum Seal – $3.49 > $2.99

The Withering Flame – $3.99 > $2.99

The Shattering Waves (pre-order) – $3.99 > $2.99

This promotion lasts only until Thursday, so hurry up!


Part of a promotional push before the launch of “The Shattering Waves” is a little interview I did with the ManyBooks site – I’m the author of the day there.


As always, there’s a new map coming for your enjoyment in the new volume – this time it’s the Kanto Plain, a region around Edo.

Map of Kanto Plain
Kanto Plain


A finally, a bit of fun – I made a “What’s your attunement?” quiz based on the elemental magic system as described in the books.


That’s all for now – see you again on May 15th, when “The Shattering Waves” is released on Nook, Kobo and Smashwords!

The Game of Daimyos

To celebrate the long-awaited start of the new season of Game of Thrones, here’s a GoT-style map of Yamato, showing the major Clans at the time of the events in the book, along with their crests.

Game of Clans

The map was created by metruis, and will be included in upcoming The Year of the Dragon Book 5: The Chrysanthemum Seal.

Europe by Google

These two maps were based on results of Google’s auto-complete feature, on Google.co.uk, in incognito mode.

1. WHY ARE YOU SO TALL?
The first one answers the question “Why are such-and-such so…” ? Not all nations came up with the result (mostly because of people unable to spell the nationalities properly), so sometimes I had to tweak the question a little, but not enough to change the spirit of the investigation.

Why are... ?

As you can see, there’s quite a lot of diversity here. The Nordic countries are generally perceived positively, while the Central-Eastern Europe is a dark hole of despair. The former Yugoslavians are, weirdly, all Tall, whereas Hispanics are Short. There aren’t that many racists in Europe as you’d think, and Rudeness seems mostly contained to the former Carolingian Empire.

2. THE GREAT RACIST/RUDE DIVIDE
This one is result of “such-and-such are” query, and it’s far more straightforward: most of Europeans are either Racist or Rude.

europe2

This time, the former Yugoslavian nations come out far worse: Evil Stupid Nazi Serbs, the lot (that’s Google saying that, not me!). There is some weird debate between Italians, Greeks and Albanians going on around their racial identity, and Belarusians and Austrians are apparently confused. Also, you’ll notice that the Welsh and Estonians remain firmly Racist on both maps, while Bulgarians, Latvians and the Franco-German alliance keep being Rude.

(PS: incidentally, if you count Google results for “… are rude” and “… are racist”, Europe’s nations are far more often perceived as rude than racist. I guess that’s… positive? At least we discriminate equally against everyone 🙂

(PPS: although, “Europeans are racist” is three times more popular than “Europeans are rude”)

Japan, according to “The Wolverine”

“Our islands are long and thin. The trains only run in two directions.”
Shingen Yashida

One of the movies I chose to watch on the flight to Japan was “The Wolverine”. It’s a bad, bad movie, with even more Oriental stereotypes per square inch than Last Samurai’s “traditional Japanese village” sequence. Since whatever little of the plot there was failed to pull me in at all, I had ample time to focus on the particularly shoddy job the Wolverine does of Japanese geography. Wolverine’s escapades around Japan are far more intriguing than even Thor’s famous Tube journey from Charing Cross to Greenwich in three short stops.

Here’s a (badly drawn) map of what Wolverine’s Japan looks like, based on what’s said and shown in the movie:

Wolverine

PEDANT’S NOTES (contain Spoilers):
(PS: I know geography is never a strong point in action movies, but usually the action itself is distracting enough not to care about it. In Wolverine, it wasn’t.)

1. All of Japan’s city centres are, apparently, perfectly walkable. It’s about 8km from Tokyo Tower to Ueno Station. Wolverine and Mariko run all the way (Mariko in her wedding kimono). Also, the Tokyo Tower can be visible from any point in the city.

2. There are no bullet trains from Ueno to Osaka. Why they couldn’t just run to Tokyo Station (which is half-way to Ueno) will remain a mystery.

3. Since there is no public transport in Wolverine’s Japan, he and Mariko must walk again, a few miles from Shin Osaka station to the “centre”, where they stumble upon an unexpected clone of Tokyo’s Nakagin Capsule Tower.

4. There is never any sense of Japan consisting of several islands, rather than one long one. Japan’s main geographical regions are “The South” (Osaka and Nagasaki) and “The North” (where the Yashida research facility is). As mentioned above, Japan is a one-dimensional place, with only one railway line running along it. No wonder Shingen is so angry with his lackeys.

5. The distances covered are not explained, but we do get one glimpse into how long it takes to travel between major cities, when Yukio takes Logan in her Audi all the way from Nagasaki to Tokyo in a matter of one cut-scene, and doesn’t even manage to explain him her visions along the way. In reality, the non-stop journey would take the best part of the day (also: how fast is that Audi? Logan mentions earlier that the bullet train runs at 400-500km/h, and yet it’s easier to get back to Tokyo in Yukio’s car)

6. The only actual distance mentioned in the movie is the ominously uttered “500 km” from Tokyo to Black Clan Village. It’s so far away that even the weather changes from summer to winter. Never mind that Logan and Yukio just drove some 1200 km from Nagasaki apparently without even having time to talk.