The Providence of Fire - Tor/Forge Blog



Presenting the Big Summer Road Trip Tour!


To celebrate the 2015 releases from some of our Northeastern authors, Tor Books is excited to send Elizabeth Bear (Karen Memory), James Cambias (Corsair), Max Gladstone (Last First Snow), and Brian Staveley (The Providence of Fire) on tour in the New England region!

Tuesday, July 14
Harvard Book Store
Cambridge, MA

Thursday, July 16
Pandemonium Books and Games
With a special live game of Pathfinder, with GM David Montgomery!
Cambridge, MA

Friday, July 17
Odyssey Bookshop
South Hadley, MA

Saturday, July 18
Friends of the Simsbury Library
Simsbury, CT

Sunday, July 19
Bank Square Books
Mystic, CT

Monday, July 20
Ferguson Library
Stamford, CT

Wednesday, July 22
Towne Book Center
Moderated by Chris Urie from Geekadelphia
Collegeville, PA

Friday, July 24
Northshire Books
Saratoga Springs, NY

Saturday, July 25
Everyone’s Books
Brattleboro, VT

Sunday, July 26
Phoenix Books
Burlington, VT
Hosted by Geek Mountain State


Three Ekphrastic Dialogues; or NO DUAL WIELDING UNTIL BOOK THREE

The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley
By Brian Staveley

Setting: Book One of the Epic Trilogy

In the first scene the WRITER is bright-eyed, fresh-faced, and recently showered, perhaps even wearing a jaunty blazer. The CHARACTER looks confused, wary, even a little frightened.

Character: Hey! Who are you?
Writer: I’m the writer. I made up your world. I made you up.
C: That’s impossible.
W: Amazing, right? But it’s true. That beard you have–I put it there. That mysterious dude over there–the one in the black cloak; I made him up. That suspicious ancient ruin; I made that up, too.
C: Whoa. Why don’t I…know more stuff? Why don’t I have a better sword? Why can’t I do anything awesome?
W: Like what?
C: I don’t know. Call down a rain of fire on my foes. Maybe I could defeat a dozen knights single-handed?
W: Nice try, kid. This is book one. You can’t be too cool yet. Gotta leave room to grow.
C: Can I at least shave this stupid beard? It itches.
W: Nope.
C: You’re an asshole.
W: Good! You have spirit! You’re starting to get a life of your own!
C: If I have a life of my own, why can’t I shave my…hey! HEY! What the hell just happened?
W: Your house burned down. That guy in the black cloak did it.
C: You made him do it.
W: Sorry. Needed an inciting incident.
C: Well who the hell is he?
W: No way. This is book one. You don’t get to know that. I might not even know that.
C: I think I hate you.
W: Just don’t lose that spirit.

Setting: Book Two of the Epic Trilogy

The WRITER looks more disheveled than last time–slightly twitchy, slightly confused. The CHARACTER has a larger sword now. His hand rests comfortably on the pommel.

Character: I shaved my beard.
Writer: No! That’s not until…Fuck it. Fine. I’ve got other problems to deal with.
C: Also, that asshole in the black cloak. The one who burned down my house. He’s Algar Ka, the Dread Lord.
W: What? No. He’s not. He is most definitely not.
C: He totally is. It’s obvious. Should I kill him?
W: Of course you shouldn’t kill him! Are you insane? This is only book two. You’re not even supposed to know who he is yet.
C: Well I know who he is. He’s right there, and he’s not looking. I’m going to stick him with the sword.
W: NO! What do you think we’re going to do in book three? Eat lasagna and watch cartoons for six hundred pages?
C: Here goes…Wait. What just happened?
W: He’s gone.
C: What do you mean, gone?
W: Whisked away by a greater power.
C: By which you mean you. [Shakes head] Fine. Can I do something else awesome? Maybe I’ll defeat those lizard men over there.
W: Fine, fight the damn lizard men, but you can’t be too awesome.
C: Check out this double-sword flip attack…
W: NO. No dual-wielding in book two. No flips in book two. Did you forget that there’s a whole other book after this? Can you please make this fight look difficult? It would actually be ideal if it looked perfectly commensurate with your growing confidence and abilities.
C: Sounds contrived.
W: DO NOT SAY CONTRIVED. Ginny said contrived.
C: Who’s Ginny?
W: I don’t know. Someone on Twitter. She didn’t like book one.
C: Whatever. Contrived. I said it. This is contrived…Ouch! What the hell was that?
W: Lizard man spear. In your leg.
C: The lizard men don’t have spears, you asshole.
W: That one did. Anyway, it’s book two. You needed to suffer a setback. There you go. Setback. Now go get the mysterious cloaked guy.
C: You mean Algar…
W: [Singing loudly] MYSTERY! MYSTERIOUS!
C: I know who he is…
W: Shut up and get him.
C: Where is he?
W: [Whistles innocently] Other end of the continent.
C: The other end of the…why?
W: This is book two. You need to do some walking. Everybody walks a lot in book two.
C: I really hate you.

Setting: Book Three of the Epic Fantasy Trilogy

The WRITER looks crazed, even a little demented. Hair is unwashed. Clothes are unwashed. There is a coffee pot filled with stale pizza crusts next to the computer monitor. The CHARACTER, on the other hand, has never looked better. The leg is healed, leaving a nasty scar that does nothing to slow him down. His stare is so hard it might have been hammered out on an anvil.

C: Ah, the Golden Western Sea. Almost as impressive as the Mountains of Night.
W: What? You saw the Mountains of Night?
C: [Patiently] Yes. Chapter twenty-two of Book Two. I defeated the Ice Demons there?
W: Right. Shit! [Scribbles madly on a notecard while muttering] He already saw the Ice Demons? That means none of this works. This whole chapter doesn’t work!
C: Hey, there’s an evil army over there.
W: What? Who are they?
C: You let them loose in Book Two. Said something about needing to set-up the big, set-piece battle.
W: Holy hell, I did. But….
C: Don’t worry, I’m on it.
W: You’re going to attack the army alone?
C: Sure–I got the blessing of the goddess. Plus this orcish gizmo that fits on here, like this. Plus, double battle-axes.
C: It’s book three.
W: What?
C: I said, it’s book three. I can dual wield now. I can do all the stuff now.
W: [Reverently, to self] It’s book three. We can do all the stuff.
C: There. I routed that evil army. Wait, what is that?
W: [Cackling madly] ANOTHER EVIL ARMY! It’s book three!
C: [Sighs. Annihilates second evil army.] Now what?
W: Kiss your love interest!
C: Did that in book two.
W: Right. Right! Have sex with your love interest! Here–have a whole chapter, just for that.
C: Cool….
W: Now fight these guys!
C: I’m still….
W: Now fight those guys!
C: Fine….
W: Destroy that fortress.
C: Don’t you think there’s been enough violence?
C: Good point. Done. You want me to get Algar Ka now?
C: I think you need to take a break.
C: I’m unleashing the ancient powers.
C: Done.
W: [Reeling.] Done?
C: It’s done. I did it. I won.
W: We won.
C: Well, you went sorta crazy while I did the work, but yes. Now I want to eat lasagna and snuggle my love interest. You should get some sleep.
W: Sleep? [Shakes head slowly, in a daze.] No sleep. I need to start on the PREQUEL.
C: I hate you.


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Starred Review: The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley

The Providence of Fire by Brian StaveleyComparing Staveley to the likes of George R. R. Martin and Joe Abercrombie, Kirkus concludes that The Providence of Fire is “Brutal, intriguing and continuing to head toward exciting events and places unknown.”

Brian Staveley’s The Providence of Fire got a starred review in Kirkus!

Here’s the full review, from the December 15 issue:

starred-review-gif The heirs of the murdered Annurian Emperor Sanlitun take separate paths toward uncovering and defeating the coup that toppled their father in this sequel to The Emperor’s Blades (2014). Kaden, the uncrowned emperor tutored as a monk, vainly seeks answers and aid from the Ishien, a vicious cult devoted to defeating the immortal, emotionless Csestriim who are apparently at the heart of the conspiracy. Kaden’s younger brother, Valyn, and his band of elite warriors struggle across the steppe toward the imperial seat at Annur, only to encounter a vast army of the nomadic Urghul, seemingly poised to invade. And the dead emperor’s eldest, Princess Adare, having discovered the true assassin of her father—the Empire’s regent, head general and her lover, Ran il Tornja—attempts to secure her own army, that of the fanatic worshipers of the goddess Intarra. At every juncture, the siblings confront constantly shifting truths concerning why their father died and who deserves their trust. Following in the footsteps of George R.R. Martin, Joe Abercrombie and the like, Staveley doesn’t hesitate to treat his protagonists harshly, subjecting them to utter privation and pain, devastating betrayals and the vast uncertainty that results when long-distance communication between potential allies is impossible (ah, for the magical equivalent of a cellphone!). But none of this feels gratuitous; all is in the service of the series plot, which remains gloriously unpredictable, although it’s at least clear by the end of this installment that an affectionate reunion among the three imperial siblings has been ruled out. Brutal, intriguing and continuing to head toward exciting events and places unknown.

The Providence of Fire will be published on January 13.


Sneak Peek: Read an excerpt from The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley

The Providence of Fire by Brian StaveleyThe first seven chapters of The Providence of Fire are now up on for your reading pleasure! But we know that’s not enough of this awesome world. So we asked Brian to pick a chapter from later in the book, so you can see what kind of trouble Adare, one of our favorite characters, is getting into. Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 18 of The Providence of Fire, by Brian Staveley.

Chapter 18

Olon straddled the blue-brown shallows of the northern end of Lake Baku like a gracile thousand-legged spider of stone, her body an oblong island a few hundred paces offshore, her legs the narrow quays stretching into the shimmering water and the slender stone bridges reaching toward the north bank. Even seen through the blindfold, the narrow towers and shapely domes were far more elegant than Annur’s stark angles and rigid lines, but Adare couldn’t spare much attention for the architecture, not with two score armed men blocking the bridge on which she stood.

The men weren’t uniformed, not that she could make out, anyway, but it was clear enough from the neat ranks, from the well-polished weapons and obvious military discipline that they weren’t a band of thugs out to rob pilgrims. They might have been legionaries, only they weren’t wearing imperial armor, and besides, none of the armies had a legion stationed in Olon. Which meant the Sons of Flame. Which meant the reports Adare had heard were true. She wasn’t sure whether to be relieved or terrified.

She had thought, at first, that the men were just running a routine patrol on the bridge, checking carts and carriages, maybe strong-arming money out of the merchants, some sort of “levy” to support the faithful. As she approached, however, caught up in the knot of pilgrims, she realized they were waiting—forty or fifty of them, well-armed and alert—just waiting. Adare glanced over her shoulder, half expecting to find another army marching on the city, an attacking force that might warrant the presence of so many armed men, but there was no army. Only the stragglers of her own pilgrimage alongside a few local cart drivers lashing ponderous water buffalo.

“Looks as though the light lovers think they own the bridges,” Nira groused, spitting onto the flagstones.

Adare nodded nervously. She’d expected the Sons of Flame to be hidden away somewhere, holed up in alleys and cellars, not standing at attention athwart the main bridge into the city. Ameredad was either very bold, very stupid, or both. Such an open display of force risked the full retaliation of Annur, at least once il Tornja heard of it.

On the bright side, she thought bleakly, at least I don’t need to go hunting around for them in the taverns. At least they’re here.

She reached up to adjust her blindfold, squared her shoulders, then moved forward with the mass of gold-robed faithful, just another pilgrim returning to the city where the faith was born. The soldiers, younger men mostly, some with onion-pale skin, others dark as charred wood, watched the throng approach. Adare waited for them to move aside, to allow the devout into the city, but they did not move. Instead, when the first wagons reached the height of the bridge, a broad-shouldered man with a neck like a dock piling stepped forward. He must have been well into his fifth decade, though the years had done nothing to chip away at the heavy muscle of his arms and chest.

“Stop,” he said, voice loud enough he didn’t bother to raise a hand. The pilgrimage clattered to a halt in a welter of confused questions, those behind demanding answers from their friends nearer the top of the bridge. Adare’s hands were slippery with sweat. She forced herself to leave them at her side, not to wipe them on her robes. She felt light-headed, as though she might pass out. It would be a disaster, of course. If she fell, the pilgrims who came to her aid would remove the blindfold, and then she was dead. (more…)

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