By my reckoning, Gods of Londinium was drafted about eight years ago, finally. What I thought would be a relatively smooth road from draft to publication was not. As so many things in this industry go, the unpredictable and unexpected happened, and years later the book was without a home. Thankfully, we were able to re-release Pilgrim and get Gods into readers’ hands through Falstaff Books.
Originally, the novel was called Watcher of the Skies, and it was even longer than it now stands (and it is no short story). I wrote the story because I was grieving, and I have always processed my emotions through the written word. But the story is about so much more than grief.
From the get-go, I wanted a drastically different story than in Pilgrim of the Sky. In Pilgrim, Maddie discovers who she is. What if, though, the godling was aware of their power from their birth? What if they were more powerful than anyone else? What is it like to come of age as an immortal being?
Joss Raddick’s story plays with those questions. It does not answer them all, entirely, because there’s not a lot of fun in that. It’s also not the kind of storyteller he is. Though he is a mostly reliable narrator, this is just one snapshot of his life.
At its core, Gods of Londinium is about love--love between friends, lovers, and siblings (in a way)–but not just the pursuit of it. It’s also an exploration of loss, the after the happily ever after. The book is about meeting the right person at the wrong time, chronic illness, PTSD, and the burden of a long life lived in pain.
It’s also about who we choose to be. That’s a theme I explore time and again in my writing, and I can see the seeds I planted here about that very concept much more fully drawn later in Queen of Fury in Gawain’s POV. Joss and Gawain are similar: bigger than life men who feel too much, are tempted by violence, but are ultimately redeemed by love.
Stylistically, it’s also a departure for me. I wanted Joss’s story to start slowly, as he’s growing up, to mirror the very beginning of a great river: trickling in of information, meandering through rocks and joining smaller tributaries. Then, it picks up the pace and starts building, surging, through waterfalls, storms, and more. And in Joss’s dialogue, I have very deliberate choices: he doesn’t ask a question until 1/4 through the book.
Of course, my favorite relationship in the book is between Joss and La Roche. I could write scenes of their bantering, flirting, and fighting all day long and be quite content.
This is not the end of Joss’s story. In fact, the end of this book is the beginning of Pilgrim of the Sky. And the end of Pilgrim of the Sky is the beginning of this book. Randall and La Roche, Vertacordia and Maddie, they are mirrors of each other across the worlds.
I do hope, someday, to go back to this world. There are still so many stories to tell. Meanwhile, thank you for reading, and for sticking around.
Enjoy the book trailer below and the excerpt. Gods of Londinium releases December 15, 2022.
The rope ladder came down and I made my way up, my staff slung to my back. As I ascended, I tried to think of what I should say, what background I should give myself. I was thinking an exotic alter ego, a world traveler perhaps. An explorer. I’d need something that took me out of the conflict for long enough while remaining plausible.
I needn’t have worried, though, because the first face I saw when I put my foot on the wide boards of the deck, was Andrew La Roche, looking fresh and fine and fancy. Wind in his hair, cheeks pink, amber eyes wide with wonder and, if I was not mistaken, a little fear.
“Joss!” He was as surprised as I.
“La Roche,” I said.
Then I punched him straight in the mouth.