All my life I wanted to be a fantasy writer like Edgar Rice Burroughs or J.R.R. Tolkien. And I have tried to create an epic fantasy, but the truth is, I’m a lot more like a twisted version of Robert E. Howard. Howard wrote mostly short stories about Conan, Kull, and other characters. Yes, there is a whole heroic world in Howard’s myth-making, and there is a whole heroic world behind Tunnels and Trolls now. These worlds grow out of fragments. The longer you work with one, the more fragments pile up, and the more the World and the Mythos take shape.
For Trollworld I have mostly written games and game modules. People and places were implied, but there was no depth, at least not until 2008 when I decided to tell the real story in some detail of the formative event in the history of Lerotra’hh, the Death Goddess. She just started as a name for me, a big bad guy, only a gal, not a guy. Play against type. Delusions of godhood are endemic with figures of power. The Egyptian Pharoahs thought they were gods; the Roman Emperors thought they were gods; both Chinese and Japanese Emperors were considered divine Sons of Heaven. Greek mythology is full of Hero-Kings that were demi-gods, sired by Olympians.
I have read so many hero stories in my life, and I love them, but I wanted to play against the standard stereotypes. Let me not tell the tale of a male hero who turns out to save everybody. What if the good guys were really the bad guys? What if it was really the “Monsters” who needed saving? And so, over decades the story of Lerotra’hh, the woman who broke the power of the Men and Elves, and saved the endangered monster kindreds from annihilation grew in my mind until I could finally put it down in words.
It is an epic story. I first sketched it out in the Chronology of Trollworld that I did back about 2003. That wasn’t so much a story of the world, as a grocery list of stories that might be told about the world, and given the game of Tunnels and Trolls, many of them focused around the characters that appeared in the games that I ran over the years. There are three main characters in that chronology, Lerotra’hh, Khazan, and Gristlegrim.
But it’s so hard to write about gods. People don’t relate to gods. They relate to other people. And besides, I’m not really very devout–I don’t really believe in gods. I do believe in people raising themselves up, acquiring more and more power until they seem godlike to common powerless people. I believe in that because I see it happening in the world around me, and I see countless examples of it happening throughout human history.
Well, call me pretentious if you wish, but I personally do want to create an Epic Fantasy that will outlive me, just as Middle Earth has outlived Tolkien, the Hyborean World has outlived Howard, the worlds of Tarzan and John Carter have outlived Burroughs, Nehwon has outlived Fritz Leiber, and there are so many other examples. I’m doing what I can, and it won’t be perfect, it won’t cover everything, and it will never be complete.
Griffin Feathers is a vital part of my epic fantasy, perhaps the most important part. It’s a minor quest out in the wilderness, and it ends in tragedy. Have you ever noticed how history is so often shaped from personal tragedies?
This book is not just a reprint of the first edition from 2008. I went over the whole thing and tried to improve it. I added an encounter with Dwarves that places them firmly in the camp of the oppressive Elves. I included the entire chronology of Lerotra’hh and Khazan in the back of the book. I got my artistic friend to beautify the text with a host of new illustrations that were not in the original. And I’m making it available to the world, and especially to you members of Trollhalla.
Authors need to sell their books–they need some return on the time and money invested in making the book happen. I do too. I hope I have roused your curiosity about this minor novel. I hope you’d like your own personal physical copy. They are available on the internet from Amazon, and in virtual form from drivethrufiction.com, but you could also get a personally autographed copy from me. The price is $10 plus $3 postage to get it to you. The best way to buy one is to simply send $13 to paypal for me: firstname.lastname@example.org. You will get my best tale ever of Trollworld.
And if you like Griffin Feathers, you would probably also like my second attempt at a T & T novel: Rose of Stormgaard. It’s a slightly bigger book, and it also has extras included in it to make it better for you as both reader and gamer. You can get Rose, a novel that takes place about 500 years after the events in Griffin Feathers for $15 plus $3 shipping from me. (Double the postage if you’re not inside the USA.)
And if I can sell enough to cover my expenses, there may be a few more mighty tales of Trollworld before I’m finished. I’d like to write them, and I hope you want to see them.