Master of Plagues by E. L. Tettensor Tour
Today I’m very excited to welcome E. L. Tettensor to the blog to talk about her awesome Nicolas Lenoir series! If you haven’t read book one, Darkwalker, you should get on that, but after you read this guest post because it is spoiler-free :D. You should then be sure to mark down Feb. 3rd to go get your copy of Master of Plagues because you don’t want to miss out on this crazy “flintlock fantasy mystery” series! Be sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom too :).
I have a theory about reading, and specifically, about enjoying the books we read. It basically goes like this: reading is a lot like eating, in that our expectations greatly affect the extent to which we enjoy the experience. If you bite into something assuming it will be sweet, only to find that it’s salty, you’ll probably recoil in disgust. But if you took that same bite expecting salty, you might have a very different dining experience. Similarly, if you open a book expecting rip-roaring adventure, only to find a slow-burn character study, you might be disappointed. Not because you don’t like character books, but because that isn’t what you were looking for this time around.
If my theory is correct, it poses a significant challenge for authors, marketers, publicists, and others in the business of trying to sell a book. It means that you want to be as accurate as possible – without sucking all the mystery (and therefore the fun) out of it. I think the back-cover blurb for my latest novel, Master of Plagues, does that pretty well. Just to be sure, though, I’ve pulled together this handy list of five facts about Master of Plagues, to help you decide.
Thoughtful of me, right? You’re totally welcome.
Here we go.
- The main character, Inspector Nicolas Lenoir, is not exactly Mr. Congeniality. In fact, he’s kind of a jerk. Arrogant, impatient, and quick to deploy his trademark withering sarcasm. Whatever social skills Lenoir once had have grown decidedly rusty after years of hiding from a dark past. He’s come a long way since Darkwalker, but he’s still… well, Lenoir. If antiheroes aren’t your cup of tea, this book isn’t for you. (Anya: or if you can’t get enough of antiheroes, you can wait in line at the book store with me!)
- In a genre that delights in subdividing itself into ever more specialised niches, the Nicolas Lenoir mysteries don’t fit neatly into any category. They have variously been described as urban fantasy, dark police procedural, flintlock fantasy, paranormal mystery, gaslight fantasy, fantasy mystery… well, you get the idea. It is all and none of those things, and that’s before you throw in the plague. There’s no snappy label I can give it that really covers what you’re going to find in Master of Plagues. I like to think of it as a flintlock fantasy mystery with light paranormal elements following the rough narrative format of a zombie apocalypse. Try asking for that sub-genre at Barnes and Noble – I dare you.
- As an eerie coincidence, the plague in Master of Plagues is based on the Ebola virus. Imagine my surprise and horror when, shortly after sending the manuscript off, news hit of an Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Creepier still, some of the key events in the book are disturbingly similar to events that actually took place in Liberia in early 2014.
- Related to #3, there’s a lot of African influence in the book. I’ve worked on the continent for many years, and my travels have made a deep impression on my writing. The Adali, a race of foreigners who play a big role in the series, are loosely based on the pastoralists of East Africa, and the slums where much of the story takes place is a composite of refugee camps I’ve visited all over the world. So while readers will recognise Regency London in the City of Kennian, there are more exotic elements at play too.
- Braeland, the country in which the story is set, is not a place of high magic. There is no Hogwarts here, no goblins living beneath the steaming storm drains. There are soothsayers, witchdoctors, necromancers – sometimes rolled into a single person – and at least one dark spirit (though he doesn’t make an appearance in this volume). Like the X-Files, the degree to which we glimpse this paranormal world varies from one episode to another; Master of Plagues is a low-magic entry. But don’t let that lull you into a sense of complacency. The fey are out there, and they are watching.
So there you have it. And since reading is a lot like eating, let me wrap up by suggesting the perfect pairing for Master of Plagues: dark chocolate, a steaming cup of tea, and later, a nice rich red wine. I suggest something a little spicy, like a Shiraz. If that sounds like a nice way to curl up on a dreary Saturday, then this book might just be for you.
Master of Plagues Giveaway!
Roc has very graciously offered a copy of Master of Plagues for me to giveaway to one of you lovely people! This giveaway will need to be US only due to Roc’s policy. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email and I will of course be checking entries so please don’t cheat!
© 2015, Anya. All rights reserved.