I have a new book out released last Friday to coincide with my appearance at Rose City Comic Con. The story takes place in Ilauris, my fantasy world. Like the book that came before it, Damsel In Distress, this one focuses on a young woman who has to learn how to be her own hero. Unlike that book, this one takes up that mantle with the belief she has to outwardly be a man to accomplish her goals.
Fakhira’s story has many parallels with Disney’s Mulan, but is not a children’s tale. Her struggles take place under the harsh desert sun in a culture inspired by–but quite different from–Ancient Arabia. The peoples of the Ilaurian deserts venerate the Fires and Waters, the two forces of life and death. The Fires inspire Fire Dancers, whispering wisdom into their ears to pass on to the men who rule the lands.
Centuries ago, a Fire Dancer ruled all the sands of Serescine as the Sultan with a troupe of fellow Dancers to advise her. Under her rule, the people prospered and became complacent until men interested in nothing more than power rose up and managed to murder her. Those men refused to agree on a single Sultan among them and fell into petty wars over the matter. Over time, those skirmishes became more about entrenching themselves in regions and controlling resources, especially water.
The Waters, content to lie dormant, have no dancers or other representatives. Until the bloodshed and misery becomes too much to bear. Then, and only then, does an Al-Kabar, a champion of the Waters, rise up to set things right. Whether she feels competent to handle it or not.
Lee French has published several fantasy and superhero novels, and is a member of the Edgewise Words Inn staff.