Last year I created a map of the known world in J.V. Jones’s two fantasy series, The Book of Words trilogy and the ongoing Sword of Shadows sextet. I decided to revamp the map to the new style employed by my more recent maps, as well as increasing the size so I could integrate all of the Clanhold locations on the same main map.
Jones explores the southern part of this map in The Book of Words (The Baker’s Boy, A Man Betrayed and Master and Fool, 1995-97), which sees the scheming wizard Baralis seeking to manipulate the mad Prince Kylock into conquering the Four Kingdoms, Halcus and the city-state of Bren. He is opposed by Jack, an apparently simple baker’s boy who is anything but; the Lady Melliandra, who seeks to escape Kylock’s attentions; and the disgraced knight Tawl, whose search for redemption leads him into the machinations of the redoubtable Archbishop Tavalisk. This series is noted for its jet-black sense of humour mix of adventure and melancholy.
The Sword of Shadows (which consists so far of A Cavern of Black Ice, A Fortress of Grey Ice, A Sword from Red Ice, Watcher of the Dead and Endlords, expected next year, with one more volume projected) moves the action north of the great mountains into the Northern Territories. The Clanholds are divided, partly by long-standing feuds but also the manipulations of Penthero Iss, Surlord of Spire Vanis, who plans to unite the city-fortresses under his leadership to conquer the Clanholds. Key to his plans is his adopted daughter Asarhia, who harbours powers of unknown origin. When Asarhia escapes and falls in with an exiled Blackhail warrior Raif Sevrance, she discovers they share a joined destiny and a mutual threat from the slumbering, evil Endlords.
As people are hopefully now aware, J.V. Jones had to put the fifth Sword of Shadows book, Endlords, on hold for several years due to a series of unfortunate events in her personal life. However, in 2017 she restarted work on the novel and it is now in the “six figures” of word count, with the author hoping to complete the book this year for publication in 2021. Jones continues to provide updates via her Patreon page and Twitter.
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