Welcome to Rilpor, please enjoy the stabbing! by Anna Stephens

On 5 September 2019, the third book in my Godblind Trilogy will be published. Godblind, Darksoul and Bloodchild chart the story of an epic, world-changing and god-killing war of conquest and religious zealotry, not just between the neighbouring kingdoms of Rilpor and Mireces, but between the Gods of Light and the Gods of Blood.

On the border between Rilpor and Mireces live a tribe called the Watchers; their warriors are known as Wolves, and their self-appointed task is to defend the border from Mireces invasion, aided by the elite wing of Rilpor’s army, the West Rank.

Dom Templeson is a Wolf and also the calestar – the seer blessed (or cursed) with visions from the Dancer, Rilpor’s principal God of Light. Dom foresees a Mireces invasion on a scale not witnessed in a millennium, an invasion orchestrated by the Dark Lady and Gosfath, God of Blood, Themselves. It is a war that will break the world and kill gods and end the hopes of thousands. And it cannot be stopped. It can, perhaps, be survived, but only by a few, and even they will be shattered by it.

Dom’s inner conflict, and the messages he has received from the Gods of Light throughout his life, make him a less than reliable prophet, a man whose destiny is so bleak that he wants nothing more than to run away from it. But in a war that will see men and women sacrifice everything they hold most dear to achieve their ends, running is not an option.

As the invasion begins, the trilogy follows the stories of many characters on both sides of the conflict as they discover just how far they will go to get what they want, whether that be the survival of their families, the utter triumph of their religion, or ultimate power. We follow warriors and soldiers, princes and slaves, priestesses and the gods Themselves, as each faction strives for victory or for peace – no matter the cost.

The Godblind Trilogy is grimdark, epic fantasy that deals with issues and themes of the modern world – religious fanaticism; LGBT+ equality; gender equality; and political instability – within a framework of total war in which mercy is a forgotten concept and the best that the captured can hope for is a quick death.

Mace, the West Rank general, wants nothing more than to do his job, but his destiny is grander and far less palatable. Rillirin the escaped slave wants only to understand how to be free, but everyone – including her brother – wants something from her that she doesn’t know how to give, or if she should. Tara is the first woman in the Ranks, dealing with everything that that entails in a patriarchal world that thinks she should marry and settle down, while Crys, also a soldier, discovers that gods can take a much, much closer interest in the lives of mortals than he ever expected – or wanted to know.

Each will face odds they cannot survive – and yet survive they must if there is ever to be peace. Against them stand Corvus, King of the Mireces by his own cunning, and soon to be King of Rilpor too – if the gods are good. Lanta, Blessed One of the Gods of Blood, will stop at nothing to see Them ascendant and the Gods of Light cast down. And Rivil, son of the King of Rilpor, betrays everything his father and his people stand for in return for a power he doesn’t understand and cannot wield.

In this war, the gods are fighting for survival as well as the people, fighting a war that could easily see the destruction of the entire world to ensure victory. And when gods meddle in the affairs of their followers, there’s no telling what people will do in Their names.

Whether it’s single combat, assassination, or full-scale war, the trilogy doesn’t shy away from the bloodier, darker side of fantasy, but there is still – always – time for humour and even a dash of romance. Because when death is the only certainty, laughter and love may be all that keeps a man or woman fighting, for the truth, for duty, or for each other.

Bloodchild, the final book in the Godblind Trilogy, is published on 5th September 2019.

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