Today I’m excited to welcome back J.D.L. Rosell to the blog as we kickoff The Throne of Ice & Ash Book Tour presented by Storytellers On Tour! On April 1st I had the honor of revealing the beautiful cover for this book – after showing off a truly atrocious creation to celebrate the holiday, of course. It’s no secret I’m a fan of J.D.L.’s work, A King’s Bargain and A Queen’s Command were among my favorite reads of last year! I’m very much looking forward to hearing what readers have to say about this one. Stay tuned for some fantastic features from our Roadies – it’s going to be an awesome week.
J.D.L. stopped by to share his views on the allure of mythology, namely Norse, and how his lifelong interest and passion led to the creation of this story of his. Keep scrolling to learn more about the book and author, and read the beautiful piece he has put together!
We’ve enlisted a group of wonderful and talented bloggers and Bookstagrammers to help us feature The Throne of Ice & Ash. This is what we have going on, so make sure to check out each and every one throughout the week for some brilliant content, including reviews and more.
MAY 23RD – THE KICKOFF
Whispers & Wonder (IG: @whispersandwonder)
Out of This World SFF Reviews
Beneath A Thousand Skies
FanFiAddict (IG: @plot_head)
Book Steff’s Bookish Blog
Spells & Spaceships
Fantasy Book Critic
The Book & Nature Professor (IG: @bookandnatureprof)
MAY 29TH – THE ENCORE
Queen’s Book Asylum
For more info, visit the official tour page at Storytellers On Tour.
In the frigid storms of winter, leaders and warriors are forged… Can the Jarl’s heirs avenge their kin and protect their throne from ancient foes?
Bjorn, son of the Jarl of Oakharrow, has always felt more at ease with a quill than a sword. Yet when tragedy strikes his family, he finds himself drawing a blade and leading a company of warriors into the cold, deadly mountains in pursuit of a mysterious enemy. But vengeance comes at a high price…
Aelthena, Bjorn’s sister, was born with the aptitude to lead, and she’s eager to prove it. But her society’s rules for women, and her love for her brother, restrain her efforts to command. As she walks the fine line between ambition and virtue, the city stirs in unrest, and even her allies question her right to rule…
Yet more than one city’s fate hangs in the balance. Mythic enemies emerge to conquer all humanity. And the only way they can be overcome is for Bjorn and Aelthena to unite their feuding peoples and master mysterious powers few humans have touched before…
The Runewar is rising — and it begins with the fall of the throne.
The Throne of Ice & Ash is Book 1 of The Runewar Saga, a Norse-inspired series by the author of the bestselling Legend of Tal books. Begin a new epic fantasy tale brimming with political intrigue, vast sojourns, grand-scale wars, and awakening magic…
New Takes on Old Tales — The Allure of Norse Mythology
by J.D.L. Rosell
“That is how the worlds will end, in ash and flood, in darkness and in ice. That is the final destiny of the gods.”Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology
There’s a question I’ve been pondering for a while now:
Why do so many people — readers, writers, and other folks from all walks of life — keep coming back to Norse mythology?
Many creators are indeed still enchanted by it, judging by the numbers of works in the milieu. They run the gamut from George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire to Disney Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok, from Neil Gaiman’s American Gods to John Gwynne’s recent release The Shadow of the Gods — and everything in between.
I’m one of those guilty of being enraptured by Norse mythology. As a boy, I used to curl up in a big, cushy brown chair in my parents’ living room and become lost in tales of winter and warriors, even when it was a sunny summer afternoon outside. The myths weren’t exactly light reading material, nothing like the Hardy Boys or Harry Potter. I can’t imagine they were written in words a child could easily grasp.
Yet something clearly hooked me. So what was it?
Perhaps by looking back at the above Gaiman quote, we might get a clue as to the appeal. This quote is one of the final lines from Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology, and I think it captures an essential part of what I personally love about Norse mythology: how it portrays the raw, elemental nature of life and humanity — and inhumanity. In the Norse pantheon and the stories around them, we experience a wide breadth of the archetypal characters seen again and again: the shrewd ruler, the foolish noble, the sly trickster.
But I’m also fascinated by the things that are strangely and uniquely Norse. Valhalla is just an amazing afterlife — what could be better than a great mead hall where the drink never stops pouring? And Yggdrasil, the World Tree, spanning the nine realms; the Midgard Serpent, encircling the mortal plane; plus all the other fascinating characters and features.
But what captivates me most of all are two things: Ragnarok and giants.
Ragnarok is a truly mad apocalypse story, with all the gods squaring off against the big baddies of the mythos as the universe is utterly trashed. And isn’t it interesting that a people who lived on the razor’s edge of life wanted to dwell on how their world would come to an end? (Or very nearly so, at least.)
Other than how epic such a pitched battle might be, and the grand stakes of it, the players involved in Ragnarok caught my interest upon revisiting the mythology seven years ago. Giants have often received short shrift in modern fantasy. In games like Skyrim, for example, they’re shown to be big, dumb, and slow, even if they remain strong and dangerous. (And I don’t know about you, but I always felt a little bad hunting them! They seem so peaceful with their mammoths… But where else are you going to get giant toes?)
Anyway, in the stories, the frost giants of Norse mythology seemed every bit as intelligent as the Aesir (the gods, that is). And when I set about writing my first attempt at a novel, re-reading these stories got me wondering: how bad would it be if intelligent giants came to a world? Just how much havoc would they wreak, and how could they be overcome?
From this kernel blossomed the plot for a book, which has now morphed through many drafts and revisions into my latest release, The Throne of Ice and Ash. The series as a whole (The Runewar Saga) takes the idea of a Ragnarok-like apocalypse in a world with both frost giants and fire giants — but without gods to battle against them. So we have the great puzzle of how humanity can survive the oncoming war pitched between two types of indomitable giants who are in conflict with one another, and how the survivors will build a new world.
As Heimdall says to Loki in Gaiman’s Norse Mythology, “Rebirth always follows death.” And when creators like myself take on Norse mythology and reinvent it and riff on it, that’s a kind of rebirth as well, isn’t it?
So I hope you’ll grab a drinking horn, prop your feet up by a wood-burning fire, and see how my interpretation of a classic story and cast will unfold.
(Caveat: I’m not totally up to date on my Norse scholarship, but I think I heard recently that “giants” were not actually supposed to be any bigger than normal. For the sake of imagination, let’s pretend they are, indeed, quite giant in form.)
J.D.L. Rosell is the author of the bestselling Legend of Tal series, The Runewar Saga, The Famine Cycle series, and the Godslayer Rising trilogy. He has earned an MA in creative writing and has previously written as a ghostwriter.
Always drawn to the outdoors, he ventures out into nature whenever he can to indulge in his hobbies of hiking and photography. Most of the time, he can be found curled up with a good book at home with his fiancée and two cats, Zelda and Abenthy.
Find out more (and claim a free book) at www.jdlrosell.com.
That’s all I got for ya! Be sure to keep an eye on the official The Throne of Ice & Ash tour page over at Storytellers On Tour to see what the other bloggers and Bookstagrammers have to share!