The Sum of All Shadows is the final book in #1 New York Times bestselling author Eric Van Lustbader’s thrilling Testament series. As the end draw nears, Lustbader shares his reflections on the start of the series and how it has all led to this epic conclusion.
The Sum of All Shadows will be available on July 9.
There was never a time when I wasn’t fascinated by myth. When I sat down to write The Testament, my goal was not so much to write a novel along the lines of Tomb Raider, but, after much research, to explore the ancient history of artifacts that lay somewhere between truth and myth.
This I did, but when, a number of years later, I returned to the saga of the Shaw family, times had changed and I with it. It seemed to me that the canvas I had created with the first novel was no longer big enough. What was happening in America and, indeed, the entire world dictated that Bravo and Emma Shaw needed to take on a creeping malevolence that seemed to have invaded our world from virtually every direction. The former antagonists seemed to me to be inadequate for what I saw happening in the world.
To a greater or lesser extent, my novels have always been reflections of current – and, sometimes, future events. I felt as if my world – the world I knew and loved – was under threat of invasion. The ideals I espoused – the ideals I learned from my parents, teachers, and professors – were being systematically destroyed by tyrants, bigots, and a pervasive and frightening ignorance. That people should willingly embrace ignorance was astonishing and terrifying to me. How was I to reflect that in The Testament novels?
Our world had fallen from grace, so that’s where I started. The Fallen tells the story of those angels who rallied around Satan to challenge God. They were defeated and cast down into hell. They were the Fallen. But Evil is never defeated, and the following novels chronicle the resurrection of Evil, its vow to return to our world and conquer humans in its plan to gather a final assault on God in Heaven.
All this may seem quite fanciful on the surface. But this is the battle that we ourselves are waging right at this moment. How to fight back against the reassertion of Evil. I created a historical background for the Shaws and delved into that background to explain the powers Bravo and Emma slowly realize they have—powers that will be a last line of defense against Satan and his army of Fallen angels.
In the end, this is a war that will engage everyone, whether or not they want to participate. This, I think, is true for all of us in our own world, for I feel certain darker days lie ahead for us all, and unless we, like Bravo and Emma, are willing to join the fight, we will find ourselves in dire straits, the kind from which even the cleverest defense is no longer viable.
This last possibility is underscored in The Sum of All Shadows, by a group of near-immortals who for centuries have been judges of mankind, neutral in all ways. But now they find that they can no longer remain above the fray. They are forced out of their centuries-long role; they must choose a side and, by choosing, will live or die to defend that choice.
The Testament series is one of the most exciting projects I’ve ever created. The elements of literary horror which I’ve added to the action/adventure backbone of the novels are simply metaphors for the bleak times in which we currently find ourselves. They are, in my opinion, the best way to get across where we are and where, unless we course correct, we might be headed.
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