Guide to the classics: the Epic of Gilgamesh

Guide to the classics: the Epic of Gilgamesh

Image 20170322 27966 yag6gc
Gilgamesh explores what it means to be human, and questions the meaning of life and love. Wikimedia Commons

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article

Louise Pryke, Macquarie University

“Forget death and seek life!” With these encouraging words, Gilgamesh, the star of the eponymous 4000-year-old epic poem, coins the world’s first heroic catchphrase. The Conversation

At the same time, the young king encapsulates the considerations of mortality and humanity that lie at the heart of the world’s most ancient epic. While much has changed since, the epic’s themes are still remarkably relevant to modern readers.

Depending upon your point of view, Gilgamesh may be considered a myth-making biography of a legendary king, a love story, a comedy, a tragedy, a cracking adventure, or perhaps an anthology of origin stories.

All these elements are present in the narrative, and the diversity of the text is only matched by its literary sophistication. Perhaps surprisingly, given the extreme antiquity of the material, the epic is a masterful blending of complex existential queries, rich imagery and dynamic characters.

The narrative begins with Gilgamesh ruling over the city of Uruk as a tyrant. To keep him occupied, the Mesopotamian deities create a companion for him, the hairy wild man Enkidu.

Gilgamesh in his lion-strangling mode.
TangLung, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY

Gilgamesh sets about civilising Enkidu, a feat achieved through the novel means of a week of sex with the wise priestess, Shamhat (whose very name in Akkadian suggests both beauty and voluptuousness).

Gilgamesh and Enkidu become inseparable, and embark on a quest for lasting fame and glory. The heroes’ actions upset the gods, leading to Enkidu’s early death.

The death of Enkidu is a pivotal point in the narrative. The love between Gilgamesh and Enkidu transforms the royal protagonist, and Enkidu’s death leaves Gilgamesh bereft and terrified of his own mortality.

The hero dresses himself in the skin of a lion, and travels to find a long-lived great flood survivor, Utanapishtim (often compared with the biblical Noah). After a perilous journey over the waters of death, Gilgamesh finally meets Utanapishtim and asks for the secret to immortality.

In one of the earliest literary anti-climaxes, Utanapishtim tells him that he doesn’t have it. The story ends with Gilgamesh returning home to the city of Uruk.

Mesopotamian mindfulness

Gilgamesh and his adventures can only be described in superlative terms: during his legendary journeys, the hero battles deities and monsters, finds (and loses) the secret to eternal youth, travels to the very edge of the world — and beyond.

Despite the fantastical elements of the narrative and its protagonist, Gilgamesh remains a very human character, one who experiences the same heartbreaks, limitations and simple pleasures that shape the universal quality of the human condition.

Gilgamesh explores the nature and meaning of being human, and asks the questions that continue to be debated in the modern day: what is the meaning of life and love? What is life really — and am I doing it right? How do we cope with life’s brevity and uncertainty, and how do we deal with loss?

The text provides multiple answers, allowing the reader to wrestle with these ideas alongside the hero. Some of the clearest advice is provided by the beer deity, Siduri (yes, a goddess of beer), who suggests Gilgamesh set his mind less resolvedly on extending his life.

Instead, she urges him to enjoy life’s simple pleasures, such as the company of loved ones, good food and clean clothes — perhaps giving an example of a kind of Mesopotamian mindfulness.

The king-hero Gilgamesh battling the ‘Bull of Heaven’.
Wikimedia Commons, CC BY

The epic also provides the reader with a useful case study in what not to do if one is in the exceptional circumstance of reigning over the ancient city of Uruk. In ancient Mesopotamia, the correct behaviour of the king was necessary for maintaining earthly and heavenly order.

Despite the gravity of this royal duty, Gilgamesh seems to do everything wrong. He kills the divinely-protected environmental guardian, Humbaba, and ransacks his precious Cedar Forest. He insults the beauteous goddess of love, Ishtar, and slays the mighty Bull of Heaven.

He finds the key to eternal youth, but then loses it just as quickly to a passing snake (in the process explaining the snake’s “renewal” after shedding its skin). Through these misadventures, Gilgamesh strives for fame and immortality, but instead finds love with his companion, Enkidu, and a deeper understanding of the limits of humanity and the importance of community.

Reception and recovery

The Epic of Gilgamesh was wildly famous in antiquity, with its impact traceable to the later literary worlds of the Homeric epics and the Hebrew Bible. Yet, in the modern day, even the most erudite readers of ancient literature might struggle to outline its plot, or name its protagonists.

A statue of Gilgamesh at the University of Sydney.
Gwil5083, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY

To what might we owe this modern-day cultural amnesia surrounding one of the world’s greatest works of ancient literature?

The answer lies in the history of the narrative’s reception. While many of the great literary works of ancient Greece and Rome were studied continuously throughout the development of Western culture, the Epic of Gilgamesh comes from a forgotten age.

The story originates in Mesopotamia, an area of the Ancient Near East thought to roughly correspond with modern-day Iraq, Kuwait and parts of Syria, Iran and Turkey, and frequently noted as “the cradle of civilisation” for its early agriculture and cities.

Gilgamesh was written in cuneiform script, the world’s oldest known form of writing. The earliest strands of Gilgamesh’s narrative can be found in five Sumerian poems, and other versions include those written in Elamite, Hittite and Hurrian. The best-known version is the Standard Babylonian Version, written in Akkadian (a language written in cuneiform that functioned as the language of diplomacy in the second millennium BCE).

The disappearance of the cuneiform writing system around the time of the 1st century CE accelerated Gilgamesh’s sharp slide into anonymity.

For almost two millennia, clay tablets containing stories of Gilgamesh and his companions lay lost and buried, alongside many tens of thousands of other cuneiform texts, beneath the remnants of the great Library of Ashurbanipal.

Tablet V of the Epic of Gilgamesh.
Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin, Wikimedia Commons

The modern rediscovery of the epic was a watershed moment in the understanding of the Ancient Near East. The eleventh tablet of the Epic was first translated by self-taught cuneiform scholar George Smith of the British Museum in 1872. Smith discovered the presence of an ancient Babylonian flood narrative in the text with striking parallels to the biblical flood story of the Book of Genesis.

The story is often repeated (although it may be apocryphal) that when Smith began to decipher the tablet, he became so excited that he began to remove all his clothing. From these beginnings in the mid-19th century, the process of recovering the cuneiform literary catalogue continues today.

In 2015, the publication of a new fragment of Tablet V by Andrew George and Farouk Al-Rawi made international news. The fragment’s discovery coincided with increased global sensitivity to the destruction of antiquities in the Middle East in the same year. The Washington Post juxtaposed the “heart-warming story” of the find against the destruction and looting in Syria and Iraq.

Ancient ecology

The new section of Tablet V contains ecological aspects that resonate with modern day concerns over environmental destruction. Of course, there are potential anachronisms in projecting environmental concerns on an ancient text composed thousands of years prior to the industrial revolution.

Yet, the undeniable sensitivity in the epic’s presentation of the wilderness is illuminating, considering the long history of humanity’s interaction with our environment and its animal inhabitants.

A cedar forest in Turkey.
Zeynel Cebeci, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY

In Gilgamesh, the wilderness is a place of beauty and purity, as well as home to a wild abundance. The splendour and grandeur of the Cedar Forest is described poetically in Tablet V:

They (Gilgamesh and Enkidu) stood marvelling at the forest,

Observing the height of the cedars …

They were gazing at the Cedar Mountain, the dwelling of the gods, the throne-dais of the goddesses …

Sweet was its shade, full of delight.

While the heroes pause to admire the forest’s beauty, their interest is not purely aesthetic. Gilgamesh and Enkidu are aware of the economic value of the cedars, and the text provides a clear picture of competing commercial and ecological interests.

Where to read Gilgamesh

Since Gilgamesh’s reappearance into popular awareness in the last hundred years, the Standard Babylonian Version of the epic has become accessible in numerous translations. This version was originally compiled by the priest, scribe and exorcist, Sin-leqi-uninni, around 1100 BCE.

The scholarly standard among modern translations is Andrew George’s The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic: Introduction, Critical Edition and Cuneiform Texts (2003).

Despite its all-around excellence, the two-volume work is decidedly unwieldly, and the less muscle-bound reader would be well directed to The Epic of Gilgamesh: A New Translation (1999), by the same author. Most readable among modern treatments is David Ferry’s Gilgamesh: A New Rendering in English Verse (1992), which gives a potent, poetic interpretation of the material.

Like the snake that steals Gilgamesh’s rejuvenation plant, the Epic of Gilgamesh has aged well. Its themes – exploring the tension between the natural and civilised worlds, the potency of true love, and the question of what makes a good life – are as relevant today as they were 4,000 years ago.

Note: Translations are sourced from Andrew R. George 2003. The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic: Introduction, Critical Edition and Cuneiform Texts, Volume 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Louise Pryke, Lecturer, Languages and Literature of Ancient Israel, Macquarie University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

The real-life origins of the legendary Kraken

Original article on The Conversation by Rodrigo Brincalepe Salvador –PhD student in Paleontology, University of Tubingen

The Kraken is perhaps the largest monster ever imagined by mankind. In Nordic folklore, it was said to haunt the seas from Norway through Iceland and all the way to Greenland. The Kraken had a knack for harassing ships and many pseudoscientific reports (including official naval ones) said it would attack vessels with its strong arms. If this strategy failed, the beast would start swimming in circles around the ship, creating a fierce maelstrom to drag the vessel down.

Of course, to be worth its salt, a monster needs to have a taste for human flesh. Legends say that the Kraken could devour a ship’s entire crew at once. But despite its fearsome reputation, the monster could also bring benefits: it swam accompanied by huge schools of fish that cascaded down its back when it emerged from the water. Brave fishermen could thus risk going near the beast to secure a bounteous catch.

The history of the Kraken goes back to an account written in 1180 by King Sverre of Norway. As with many legends, the Kraken started with something real, based on sightings of a real animal, the giant squid. For the ancient navigators, the sea was treacherous and dangerous, hiding a horde of monsters in its inconceivable depths. Any encounter with an unknown animal could gain a mythological edge from sailors’ stories. After all, the tale grows in the telling.

Scientific legend

Giant squid found in Ranheim, Norway, measured by Professors Erling Sivertsen and Svein Haftorn. NTNU Museum of Natural History and Archaeology, 1954

The strength of the myth became so strong that the Kraken could still be found in Europe’s first modern scientific surveys of the natural world in the 18th century. Not even Carl Linnaeus – father of modern biological classification – could avoid it and he included the Kraken among the cephalopod mollusks in the first edition of his groundbreaking Systema Naturae (1735).

But when, in 1853, a giant cephalopod was found stranded on a Danish beach, Norwegian naturalist Japetus Steenstrup recovered the animal’s beak and used it to scientifically describe the giant squid, Architeuthis dux. And so what had become legend officially entered the annals of science, returning our image of the Kraken to the animal that originated the myths.

After 150 years of research into the giant squid that inhabits all the world’s oceans, there is still much debate as to whether they represent a single species or as many as 20. The largest Architeuthis recorded reaches 18 metres in length, including the very long pair of tentacles, but the vast majority of specimens are much smaller. The giant squid’s eyes are the largest in the animal kingdom and are crucial in the dark depths it inhabits (up to 1,100 metres deep, perhaps reaching 2,000 metres).

Like some other squid species, Architeuthis has pockets in its muscles containing an ammonium solution that is less dense than sea water. This allows the animal to float underwater, meaning that it can keep itself steady without actively swimming. The presence of unpalatable ammonium in their muscles is also probably the reason why giant squid have not yet been fished to near extinction.

Hunter or prey?

For many years, scientists debated whether the giant squid was a swift and agile hunter like the powerful predator of legends or an ambush hunter. After decades of discussion, a welcome answer came in 2005 with the unprecedented film footage from Japanese researchers T. Kubodera and K. Mori. They filmed a live Architeuthis in its natural habitat, 900m deep in the North Pacific, showing that it is in fact a fast and powerful swimmer, using its tentacles to capture prey.

Reconstruction of an epic battle between a giant squid and its nemesis, the sperm whale. American Museum of Natural History.

Despite its size and speed, Architeuthis has a predator: the sperm whale. The battles between these titans must be frequent, since it is common to find scars on whales’ skins left by the squids’ tentacles and arms, which have suckers lined with sharp chitinous tooth-like structures. But Architeuthis doesn’t have the muscles in its tentacles to use them to constrict prey and it can never overcome a sperm whale in a “duel”. Its only option is to flee, covering its escape with the usual cephalopod ink cloud.

Although we now know it is not just a legend, the giant squid remains perhaps the most elusive large animal in the world, which has greatly contributed to its aura of mystery. Many people today are still surprised in learning that it really exists. After all, even after so much scientific research, the Kraken is still alive in popular imagination thanks to films, books and computer games, even if it sometimes turns up in the wrong mythology, such as the 1981 (and 2010) ancient Greek epic Clash of the Titans. These representations have come to define it in the public mind: a beast lurking in sunken ships waiting for reckless divers

Cry of the Firebird Second Edition Giveaway

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In the last few weeks I’ve been in full editing mode. It seems to be around Christmas that  I tie up projects and turn ‘Editor Feral.’ I don’t know if it’s because I don’t have the time to write new material or if it’s because I need a month or so to start the year again, but it seems to have turned into a pattern.

This year the main book on the chopping block was the US Second Edition of Cry of the Firebird. I wanted to piss and moan about going back to it but I discovered something magical…Second Editions are for the writer to adjust those small niggly things that didn’t sit quite right the first time round, those random annoying things that probably only a writer would see, and finally end up being satisfied. I really enjoyed it which was a new experience for Editing Amy.

I am stoked how the new edition all turned out so I’ve popped it up on Instafreebie on giveaway. Get it HERE if you feel like giving it a go!

Description

A firebird hatches in the far corners of Russia, where gods still walk and magic slumbers, sparking a supernatural war that will tear the worlds apart.

Inspired by Finnish and Russian Mythology, ‘Cry of the Firebird’ is a noir paranormal series that brings to life the bloody fairy tales of the North in a new modern setting.

Born on the crossroads between worlds, Anya’s magic is buried deeply until one fateful night it causes a firebird to hatch on her farm. Through a twist of dark magic it is sharing its body with Yvan, an ancient prince from legend.

With Yvan’s dark magician brother Vasilli and other powerful enemies closing in around them, Anya has no choice but to sober up and follow Yvan into Skazki, the land of monsters and magic.

Kirkus Reviews says ‘…the story incorporates a fair share of surprises, and never fails to provide new scenes featuring bloodshed and strange new creatures…’

 

 

Theories on the Enduring Power of Myth

Myth is defined as being a traditional or sacred story, the latter essentially distinguishes “myth from other forms of narrative such as folktales, which are ordinarily secular and fictional,”[1] however whether or not these stories are universal or only culturally significant for their intended audience is debatable. Psychoanalytical studies of myth theorise that myths express unconscious desires or anxieties, or in Carl Jung’s case they are the result of a collective and inherited consciousness, whilst the Naturalists like Max Müller claim they are pre-scientific theories to explain natural phenomenon. Mythologists such as Geoffrey Kirk argue that  “all universal theories of myth are automatically wrong”[2] as the complexity of each myth differs and are made up of cultural symbols, traditions and charters of that people. Despite similar themes and archetypal characters, it is man’s desire to use story to answer larger truths that is the core of the universality of myth. It is through their retelling that keep these stories, myths and morals alive and relevant in today’s global society.

1922 --- Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist. Head and shoulders photo, 1922. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Carl Jung created his theory regarding myth through a method of proof focusing on archetypes or primordial images, found in the collective unconscious of humanity and accessed by dreams. His perspective was that “myths are essentially culturally elaborated representations of the contents of the human psyche”[3] which is why there are common characters and themes such as the Saviour Child and Devine Mother found throughout the world. Jung’s archetypes can be applied to a whole manner of story not just myth, his Hidden Saviour Child figure can be likened to Moses, Horus, Jesus as well as Sleeping Beauty, Harry Potter and Kal-El.

'Moses'_by_Michelangelo_JBU140            horus_nefertari_afterlife

Max_Muller Max Müller focussed his studies on attempting to “trace scientifically the development of human thought in terms of the artefacts of language, mythology and religion”[4] and theorised that people were inspired to write allegorical stories to explain natural phenomenon and create anthropomorphic personifications of these in the form of Gods. Müller’s studies could be used to explain why the Greeks had Zeus to create lightning just as the Norse had Thor. Universal theories on myth, while presenting an interesting study and view point, “can be negated by citing many obvious instances of myth that do not accord with the assigned origin or function.”[5]

Despite the similarities that can be drawn from various myths they are filled with symbology, social and religious charters and other codes of conduct which makes them all genuinely unique. Geoffrey Kirk’s research and deconstruction of myth reinforces the concept that myth cannot be defined in any universal way, citing that “the wide range of morphorical and functional variation…from practical charter type uses to responses to abstract dilemmas of human existence…suggests that the mental and psychic process of myth-formation are themselves diverse.”[6]

42-fightpatroklos“That myths are sacred means that all forms of religion incorporate myths of some kind”[7] and it is the interference of the Devine that separates mythology from other traditional stories. Each mythology incorporates God or Gods in some form or fashion, which is why despite The Iliad having every indicator of being a legend, it is through the squabbling Greek Pantheon that it is classed essentially as a myth. With Gods comes religion and these stories often provide insight and explanations to religious ceremony or charter through origin stories.Foster_Bible_Pictures_0062-1_The_Angel_of_Death_and_the_First_Passover For example, the final plague of the Angel of Death in Exodus is the root of the Jewish Tradition of Passover still celebrated today, and why only bones and fat were sacrificed to the Gods in ancient Greece that is explained in the story of Prometheus who tricked Zeus out of the best cuts. In both examples these myth stories explain the reason behind certain practices but without specific cultural knowledge a person not sharing that cultural background might never understand why such rituals are performed, thus reinforcing Kirk’s position on why universal theories of myth should be rejected. “Mythology constitutes stories, symbols and rituals that…together they construct the truths of a culture”[8] and therefore can’t be studied with the broad universal ideologies some scholars like to apply to them.

Elias_Lönnrot_portrait-2Myth is so culturally significant that it can be used as a vehicle to strengthen a people’s social customs and national identity in postmodern times. The Kalevala , a collection of epic mythology oral stories collected by Elias Lönnrot and published in 1835, became “a rally-flag for national aspirations, and its regarded as the ‘national epic’ by modern Finland.”[9] The Kalevala played an intrinsic part of the Finnish people regaining their cultural identity in the early 20th Century which contributed and finally led to their independence from Russian rule. These mythological tales spanning from Creation myths to the Christianisation of Finland inspired a Renaissance of music, literature and art helping to cement Finland’s social and cultural heart.display_image.php A strong example of a social charter found in this mythic poem is in Canto 22 Laments, where the Witch of the North, Louhi the Hag of Pohjola, is instructing her daughter on how to be a good wife to the Smith Ilmärinen, thus imparting the traditional women’s wisdom onto the young maidens who would have heard it recited.

Ancient Greek philosophers defined myth as mythos and from it came “oracles and the arts…while logos came science and mathematics. From mythos came intuitive narrations, from logos reasonable deliberations”[10] and it is through mythos that the larger and more ambiguous questions of life, such as why does man exist and where does inspiration come from, were studied and answered.

It is therefore a mistake to study myth with the eyes of an logos academic, as if myth were only an ancient construct of pre-scientific peoples, as “myths are compost”[11] from which new stories, interpretations, art and revelation can grow from. Myth composition is an evolutionary process that grew from oral storytelling and the defined artistic preferences of the performer. This inevitably resulted in inconsistent interpretations when writing down these mythic stories and collecting them in latter time, as seen with the conflicting Jahwistic and Priestly interpretations of story cycles like the Flood Myth in the Book of Genesis.

“Scholars agree that myth has meaning, yet there is no consensus on what that meaning might be,”[12] but one thing that is certain is that myth has the ability to appeal to readers from varying cultures and religious beliefs from all over the world.

4666eaf0b49411fa40b9f3aa7dfc162f“These stories have power”[13] because “myth is truth which is subjective, intuitive, cultural and grounded in faith.”[14] They have universal appeal and longevity because they are symbiotic in nature and it is through retelling of these stories that core truths are passed on through each generation; Cupid and Psyche begat Beauty and the Beast which begat Twilight respectively.

Despite the variations of culturally specific symbols or the possibility of these stories being a representation of a collective unconsciousness, myth represents “ways of making sense of universal matters…and exert more of an inspiration and influence than we think.” [15] “Stories are ways that we communicate important things”[16] as a human culture and society and it is through the universal vehicle of myth that man has always sought to answer the larger, often metaphysical, questions in life.

 

Footnotes

[1] Dundes, A., 1984. Sacred narrative, readings in the theory of myth. Univ of California Press.pg 1

[2] Kirk, Geoffrey S. 1977 Methodological Reflections on the Myth of Herakles. In Il Mito greco: atti del convegno internazionale (Urbino 7-12 maggio 1973), edited by B. Gentili and G. Paioni, 285-297.

[3] Walker, S., 2014. Jung and the Jungians on Myth. Routledge. pg 6

[4]  Stone, J. ed., 2003. The essential Max Müller: On language, mythology, and religion. Springer.pg2

[5] Kirk, G. and Dundes, A. (1984). On Defining Myths. In: G. Kirk, ed., Sacred Narrative: Readings in the Theory of Myth, 1st ed. University of California Press, p.54

[6] Kirk, G. and Dundes, A. (1984). Sacred Narrative: Readings in the Theory of Myth, p.55.

[7] Dundes, A., 1984. Sacred narrative, readings in the theory of myth pg1

[8] Pattanaik, D. (2006). Myth = Mithya. New Delhi: Penguin.pg16

[9] Lönnrot, E. and Bosley, K. (1989). The Kalevala. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pg8

[10] Pattanaik, D. (2006). Myth = Mithya. New Delhi: Penguin.pg1

[11] Gaiman, N., 1999. Reflections on Myth. Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, pp.75-84.

[12] Plant.I., Myth In the Ancient World, Palgrave MacMillan, South Yarra, 2012

pg 23

[13] Gaiman, N., 1999. Reflections on Myth.pg84

[14] Pattanaik, D. (2006). Myth = Mithya. pg1

[15] Warner, M, 2010. Managing monsters. Random House. pg3

[16] Brain Pickings. (2015). Neil Gaiman on How Stories Last. [online] 2016

Rise of the Firebird – The Last One

FirebirdFinal-FJM_Mid_Res_1000x1500You would have seen every where that Rise of the Firebird is the last book in The Firebird Fairytales. I want to reassure you, this isn’t one of those random ‘I’m tired of writing the series’ things. It’s a ‘I had finished the writing the whole trilogy two years ago’ thing. It’s always been one complete story with each book starting directly after the last. It’s why Book 1 feels a bit like a prologue, Book 2 a Middling and now Book 3 be prepared for an Ending.

To give you a bit of history the third book was a bitch to write. I originally had a whole different book planned out, I had nearly 40k words written. Then I rewrote book 1 &2 and scrapped 35k of book 3. It didn’t want to work. At the end of 2012 I was a wreck. I had gone through a really bad break up, was made redundant, moved states and was in a job I couldn’t make work for love or money.

Mentally, physically and spiritually I hit the wall so fucking hard I had to spend the subsequent 6 months scraping my shit back together to make an Amy shaped person again.

For the first time in my life I couldn’t write.

Not to put a too fine a point on it but have you met a writer when they can’t write? It’s frustration and madness personified. It’s a wailing shit bag chaos incarnate monster face.

In other words, I didn’t ever think Book 3 was going to be finished…like ever.

In June 2013 things started to change. I changed jobs, met my Future Partner (Hi honey) and met Anna (yeah, that Anna). She was really great at harassing me until I started writing again. We brainstormed a lot at the local Swedish café over huge coffees, waffles and Karelia Pirrika. Asgeirr released an album and he and Sibelius provided the soundtrack to finish writing Rise of the Firebird. For those that wonder, no – my character Asgeirr was already written by the time the musician arrived in my life although I took it as a sign that I was on the right track.

I finished writing The End on a plane somewhere between Cairns and Melbourne the following June. When I landed Future Partner had a bottle of Finlandia waiting – can you see why I fell in love with him?

I went to Finland in late August and gathered mountainous notes to add an extra layer of awesome to Rise and ended up with enough for a completely other story (I’m about 30k words into that one). Yep. I want to go back to Finland.

Back to the actual story. People who’ve read the second book know that things have not been left well for our fearless warriors and many have been cross (sorry Fox) about the casualties’ of war.

Rise is a big book (100 pages more on the others) and there is much that goes down. You will hopefully get all the answers you have been scratching your head over and muttering ‘why have you created a massive plot hole here woman!’ (spoilers-plot device, not plot hole)  and little pieces will suddenly start falling into place. That’s what I’m hoping for anyway. You will meet some new and mythological faces, a pack of volk krovi, two gods, two wizards…and the list continues. I’ve added an updated character list in the back but be careful not to give yourself spoilers. I’ve tried to make sure you all get a bit of clarity and closure by the end (DON’T EVEN THINK OF READING THE LAST PAGE *squints*), there are a lot of character arcs so I’ve done my best. Some I’ve left intentionally hazy as yes, I do have spin off books planned even though they will not be Firebird Fairytales.

There is going to be a digital box set :

FIREBIRDFAIRYTALES

(Damn…Don’t they look so pretty together? you can order it here)

The good news is I’ve also transferred the paperbacks to new publishers so they can be printed in a lot more countries (they have a house in Melbourne Aussie Readers) which means that shipping won’t cost more than the book due to exchange rates.

I’ve also got a thing going on with Kylie Chan and Queenie Chan’s BentoNet site that I will give you an update on when things are up and running. Keep your eye out, it’s going to be awesome.

Once Rise has been out for a month and people have read it I’ll put a blog up about some of the mythologies and folk tales I refer to in it. There’s a lot more Finnish shenanigans going on so I need to nerd out about that.

It’s going to be out this weekend to coincide with my 30th birthday. 3 is my lucky number and being book 3 I couldn’t help myself. Also it’s like a present to me (it makes sense in writer logic).

As always, I hope you enjoy it and feel free to ask me questions on Twitter or Facebook about it.

 

Free Books Promotions

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