Today I’m excited to welcome Jeffrey L. Kohanek to the blog as we showcase Eye of Obscurance, book one in his Fate of Wizardoms series! If you’re a fan of Epic Fantasy and Sword & Sorcery, then this may just be the series you need in your life. A sprawling tale of adventure, magic, gods, and more, Eye of Obscurance is the starting point for a grand journey that you do not want to miss. Storytellers on Tour has been invited to participate in the festivities, so keep an eye out throughout the day for features showcasing this beautiful book!
Jeffrey L. Kohanek stopped by to give us a Behind the Scenes look into the creation of this series of his. It’s a fantastic post that gives us in-depth insight into the various aspects of Fate of Wizardoms. Keep scrolling to learn more about the book and author, read the guest post, and enter to win…SIGNED COPIES OF ALL THE BOOKS IN THE SERIES! Yep, you read that right!
For more info, visit the official event page at Storytellers On Tour.
A rollicking adventure: Can a quick-witted thief assassinate an almighty wizard lord?
Power. The ambitious thirst for it.
In a realm where wizards rule, those able to claim a throne are granted the power of a god.
How can one defeat a god?
A clever thief, a determined acrobat, and a troubled dwarf are joined by an old storyteller as they attempt the impossible: Assassinate a wizard lord. Their slim hope relies on an enchanted amulet, the Eye of Obscurance.
These unwitting pawns are embroiled in a contest of wizards. The stakes: The fate of the world.
From bestselling author Jeffrey L. Kohanek comes the first novel in an epic fantasy saga where magic reigns, wizards scheme for power, and the world teeters on the edge of breaking, perfect for readers who enjoy Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, or Robert Jordan.
Download and prepare for a spectacular, thrilling adventure.
Behind the Scenes
by Jeffrey L. Kohanek
What inspired this book? It is a common question for authors. While often toss out short summaries, the answer I’d rather provide is far more complex because there are many elements to a book or series. Thus, I decided to cover four key elements and the inspiration behind each for my Fate of Wizardoms series.
I had to begin with characters. As a reader, nothing is more likely to cause me to bail on a book than a disconnection with the characters. The more I am drawn to the characters, the more tolerant I am of any other aspect falling short of expectations.
Here are the key characters from Eye of Obscurance, the first book in the series.
Jerrell “Jace” Landish: I list Jace first because he is the central character, which is not easy because he is not a fierce warrior or powerful magic user. Instead, he was inspired by the likes of Mat Cauthon, Han Solo, Star Lord, Locke Lamora, and Kaz Brekker. He is clever, arrogant, and a complete rogue. As a thief for hire, his exploits have become legendary, forcing him to use alternative names or face fierce distrust from others. His sharp tongue and flamboyant nature make him a blast to write. Yes, he is a scoundrel, especially in the first book, but he has a core of loyal integrity beneath his self-centered exterior.
Rhoa Sulikani: At nineteen years of age, she is the youngest character in my series. When she was nine years old, her parents were taken from her, a tragic event that molds her personality and motivations. I wrote her in as an acrobat as a plot tool, partially driven by the opening scene of the book, and because I wanted to include a menagerie (circus) as a unique element of the world. Fierce, brave, and determined, Rhoa is similar to Inej from Six of Crows in many ways (I was nearly finished writing Fate of Wizardoms book one when I read Six of Crows).
Narine Killarius: As a princess and wizardess, Narine grew up in a different reality, pampered in every way…until you realize that neither her father nor brother offer an ounce of affection(her mother died when she was a toddler). Although beautiful and curvy, she envies her bodyguard, Adyn, for her lean frame and athletic prowess – classic “grass is always greener”. Narine gets a chance to shine in the second book of the series and beyond, joining Jace as a true “central character”. In fact, by the middle of book three, I have a total crush on Narine, and I am the author! She is a sort of conglomeration of numerous women from Wheel of Time, combining the aspects I liked best from Egwene, Elayne, and Nynaeve.
Rawkobon Kragmor: Rawk is a dwarf of a different sort. Unlike his brethren, who take great pride in their beards, Rawk is hairless and has been treated as an outcast his entire life. When Rawk violates a sacred law of his people, he is cast out of his mountain home. Shy and reserved(very undwarf-like), Rawk is also loyal to a fault. Also, he can do a special type of magic, and his unique abilities become critical tools at opportune times. I very intentionally made Rawk a non-standard dwarf and needed a character who just did not fit in his society.
There are other characters, including scheming antagonists, power-hungry wizards, a world-traveling storyteller, additional dwarves, seers, and many others. I also add new POV characters as the series progresses, including a huntress and jaded ex-soldier who are drawn into the main quest.
One final note regarding characters: I happen to love dialogue, particularly banter. The interactions between these individuals are among my favorite elements of the series, and it only gets better as they spend more time together.
This is a big subject for epic fantasy, and like most of my favorites, this world began with a map. My love affair with fantasy maps has gone on for ~35 years. I enjoy maps, the terrain, climates, and how it all affects the story. I sketched out a map as I built my world (and later paid a pro to make it pretty).
Before I had a plot, I needed to craft a world with a long history, and one where magical beings such as dwarfs, elves, dragons, and others were legendary. Having been absent from the world for 2,000 years, the general populace believes them to be mere myth. This would add a sense of wonder and discovery when these beings return.
The lands to the distant east are split from the wizardoms by impossibly high peaks, too high to breath even in the saddles. The only means to reach these lands is to circle around through the frigid tundra to the south or to journey through the chasms known as the Fractured Lands: The battlefield between mankind and darkspawn from the Murlands.
I also wanted this series to explore many of the most classic epic fantasy tropes, turning some on their head while explaining others in a new manner. A simple twist was to set the continent in the southern hemisphere with a hot, desert land in the north, ice fields in the south. Much of the middle ground is around a sea that is similar to the Mediterranean with climates moderate throughout the year.
Each wizardom has its own culture, some more exotic than others. The capital cities are ancient, built by a lost race known only as the Makers. Each of those cities has a structure called the Tower of Devotion while the smaller cities each have an obelisk used for the same purpose. These are critical elements to both the plot and the magic system of the world.
I am enthralled with magic, both mystical and defined. My love for “superhuman abilities” began with Marvel comics when I was five years old, and magic is an extension of that love affair. Those who have read my Issalia books might see the connection between the uses for magic and what you would find in a Marvel movie.
In the Wizardoms world, there are various types of magic. This post will focus on wizardly magic.
Wizards are the ruling class. Those born with a natural ability to harness magic fall into this category, their very blood sparkling with the unique metals that enable this gift. Conversely, the rest of the population is simply known as “Ungifted”.
Going back to Marvel, Doctor Strange was an influence on the magic wizards utilize. A wizard gathers latent energy, converting it to magic, a slice of which is used to form a construct around their hand. Each construct is a unique pattern that will yield a specific result. The wizard funnels the remainder of the gathered magic through the construct and the spell is cast. Think of it like aiming a bright light through a lens, filtering the light into another shape or color. A heat construct with enough magic channeled through it turns to a spout of flames. Another heat construct could form a fireball…you get the idea.
While wizards have a natural ability, they must train to memorize these constructs, perfecting the patterns, learning how to use or combine these spells, and comprehending the consequences of each execution. A poorly formed construct can yield disastrous results. Overextending yourself or holding the magic too long can burn out the user, igniting the metal in their own blood.
There is also a far more mystical type of magic, used by the Seers of Kelmar. Others call those women witches, scorning and distrusting them. In addition, creatures born of magic, such as dwarfs, elves, dragons, and other monsters, have intrinsic magical abilities depending on their nature. For instance, one dwarf might be a stone-shaper, able to use inherent abilities to bend stone to their will, shaping it with their bare hands (one of my main characters has this ability). Lastly, there are sorcerers – those who use blood magic, which is both mysterious and forbidden.
The magic does not end there, but you will have to read the series to discover it for yourself.
From the onset, I wanted gods, or the power of gods, to have a heavy hand in this world. These gods do not walk among us, but they do connect with society in a meaningful way by gifting wizard lords with extraordinary abilities.
Once a god anoints a wizard lord, the wizard becomes near-immortal, able to wield far more magic than a typical wizard while also possessing the ability to instantly heal themselves. Cut them with a poisoned blade, they will seal the wound and burn the poison from their blood in an instant. This magic extends their life, some surviving for as long as three centuries.
Wizard lords derive their power through the prayers of their people, their citizens forced to participate in an act of Devotion every evening. How does this work? The capital city of each wizardom contains a Tower of Devotion. A persistent fire burns at the top of these towers — a magical light created by a crystal throne. When the wizard lord sits upon that throne and embraces his magic, the fire becomes a blazing inferno and beams of light connect to the other cities in the wizardom, each of which contains an obelisk with a similar fire. These magically powered pylons collect the prayers and draw them into the wizard lord. The rub: these rulers are essentially trapped in their own city, reluctant to miss even one day of Devotion should they stray too far from the tower.
Each wizardom has a unique god, but these deities, the gods of man, are not the original gods of the world. In the beginning, there were two other gods, the gods of old, brothers known as Vandasal and Urvadan. While time has all but erased these old gods from history, time means little to a god, particularly when said god is also known as the Dark Lord. I would say more, but it is best told in the pages of my books.
If you made it this far, thanks for hanging with me. While I covered four key elements to the Fate of Wizardoms series, you may have noticed I avoided posting about plot. I prefer to leave that arena dark until you embark on your journey. I abhor spoilers and would hate to ruin the surprises.
I hope you will check out my books and reach out to me if you ever have questions or comments.
Jeffrey L. Kohanek grew up in rural Minnesota where comic books sparked his young imagination, inspiring fantasies of heroes with super-powers saving the day. His tastes later evolved to fantasy epics featuring unlikely heroes overcoming impossible odds to save worlds born from the writer’s imagination.
Now residing in southern California, Jeff uses that imagination to weave tales of engaging characters caught in fantastic plots to inspire young adults and the child within us all.
Want to win signed copies of an entire series? Here’s your chance! Enter to win the grand prize of a set of SIX signed books of the Fate of Wizardoms series by Jeffrey L. Kohanek! Runners-up win signed copies of book one, Eye of Obscurance!
US Only • Ends 5/21