I’m so excited to announce that my next novel, THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE, will be released by Ragnarok Publications later this year.
Joining the Ragnarok family is a true pleasure for me. They are one of the fastest-growing and most intriguing of today’s indie publishers. They make fantastic books and they have a growing stable of stellar talent such as Kenny Soward, Django Wexler, Alex Bledsoe, Tara Cardinal, Rob Hayes, Seth Skorkowsky, Mercedes M. Yardley, and more.
(Hit up their website for a complete list of authors and books.)
TALL EAGLE is what I call a Tribal Fantasy. It’s a tale of high adventure born in the mysteries of pre-colonial North America. The protagonist is a young Native American fighting to lead his people from the jaws of extinction to a new life in the Land Beyond the Sun. To greatly simplify the story, it’s a bit like LAST OF THE MOHICANS meets LORD OF THE RINGS.
While most traditional fantasies evolve from pseudo-medieval European concepts, this one grew directly from North American history. It takes place somewhere around the year 1700, about twenty years after the “great horse dispersal.” My initial inspiration for THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE was a terrific non-fiction book by historian T.R. Fehrenbach called COMANCHES: THE HISTORY OF A PEOPLE. The extensive research in this book is fascinating, evocative, and like nothing else I have experienced. Reading it in between the writing of SEVEN PRINCES and SEVEN KINGS inspired me greatly. That raw enthusiasm gave birth to a new fantasy epic that sprouted directly from the soil of history.
TALL EAGLE‘s people are NOT Comanches, but they are loosely based on earlier tribes whose migration created the Comanches (who discovered horse power and became masters of the Great Plains in the 1700s). At this time in history the Amerindian peoples were confronted with aggressive and overwhelming European cultures … but what if one of those lost tribes was exposed to a culture of the fantastic? And what if that changed EVERYTHING for those people? That was the seed that grew into THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE.
Another influence I’m proud to acknowledge was Max Brand’s classic THUNDER MOON series. These were pulp tales written during the heyday of pulp fiction, featuring a white youth raised by the Cheyenne. The THUNDER MOON stories pack a powerful punch of old-west adventure, but they also reflect the dignity and wisdom of the traditional Cheyenne way of life. The author obviously did his research, and despite the white protagonist these books showcase a keen understanding of the Great Plains cultures.
The old story of the “white man adopted by natives” has been used time and time again in fiction and movies–from A MAN CALLED HORSE to LITTLE BIG MAN to DANCES WITH WOLVES—it’s a well-explored myth. However, I didn’t want to tell that same old story, so my protagonist is a full-blooded member of his tribe. He embodies the culture, philosophy, and spirit of the ancient Amerindians, who inhabited a pristine magical world long before European invaders took it away from them.
TALL EAGLE is not meant to recreate history, but to inject it with traditionally fantastic elements. On that note we have monsters, giant eagles, and alien races all showing up. It’s also a coming-of-age story, a romance, and a tale of primal adventure.
Another huge inspiration for me was the 1980 film WINDWALKER, a forgotten classic starring Trevor Howard and James Remar. I saw this movie when I was 11 years old and I never forgot this powerful story of love, family, and survival.
WINDWALKER features very little English, as the languages of the Crow and Cheyenne are spoken for most of the movie, supported by English subtitles. It has always been one of my favorite films, a timeless story of prehistoric North America.
We’re currently working on the TALL EAGLE cover art, and I’ll be showing it here as soon as it’s ready. Needless to say, this is NOT your typical fantasy novel, and I’m so grateful to find a publisher unafraid to take a chance on something unusual. Fantasy enthusiasts will not be disappointed.
THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE is set for a late June release.
More info here as news develops…