One of the very finest epic fantasy series of all time – and by the most underrated – is Paul Kearney’s five-volume Monarchies of God. Published between 1995 and 2002, the series depicts a multi-sided war for the fate of the continent of Normannia, the home of the five Monarchies of God and numerous lesser principalities. The Merduks of the east have captured the Holy City of Aekir, the centre of the Ramusian faith, and now stand poised to invade the kingdom of Torunna. Torunna’s armies muster at Ormann Dyke to try to hold them at bay, but are outnumbered almost ten to one.
Meanwhile, in the far western kingdom of Hebrion, master mariner Richard Hawkwood is commissioned by the crown to lead an expedition to find the fabled Western Continent. Hawkwood is dubious, but the mission will be crewed by Dweomer-folk, persecuted witches and wizards in danger of being burnt at the stake by the increasingly zealous Inceptine Knights of the Holy Church. King Abeleyn of Hebrion is enraged by the Church impressing itself on the secular powers of the Five Kingdoms and yearns to defy them, even if it risks a religious civil war.
Other forces are at work. Dark magic is prowling the land, and in the east the seeds of a new conflict are sowed. The ruthless and fanatical Himerius has been declared the new High Pontiff, but word has come that Macrobius, the old Pontiff, has survived the fall of Aekir. The nations of the west are torn asunder and have to choose their causes. The fate of the continent falls on the shoulders of one redoubtable sea captain, one woman from Aekir taken into the camp of the enemy and one low-ranking officer who finds in himself the gift for war.
A Map of Normannia
Paul Kearney created maps of Normannia for the original publication of The Monarchies of God, along with expanded maps of several local regions. For the reprinting of the series by Solaris in omnibus editions, the maps were redrawn by designer Simon Parr.
The maps here are based on both the redrawn maps and Paul’s originals, correcting a few minor errors (the Saeroth River is rendered as “Sabroth”) and adding numerous locations and names given in the text of the book.
Notes on the Map
Ramusian Kingdoms, Major: Hebrion, Astarac, Perigraine, Almark, Torunna.
Ramusian Kingdoms, Minor: Principality of Fulk, Duchy of Touron, Candelaria, Tarber, Finnmark, Gardiac, Kardikiam, Gabrion.
Merduk Kingdoms, Major: Hardukh, Kambaksk, Kurasan, Ostrabar, Nalbeni, Calmar.
Merduk Kingdoms, Minor: Ridawan, Kashdan, Danrimir, Kolchuk, Yazdegard, Punt, Azbakir.
Other Nations: Hardian Provinces, Hardalen, Fimbrian Republic (Ramusian but not controlled by the church), Macassar (corsair enclave).