A Bowl of Questions

Staveley, Sauron, and The Last Mortal Bond

Next week will see the exciting conclusion of a fantastic epic - The Last Mortal Bond has mysterious magic, Gods full of guile, and ninjas riding giant hawks. The Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne are written by rising genre star Brain Staveley and we are excited to have him on the blog today to answer a few questions!

The ancient csestriim are back to finish their purge of humanity; armies march against the capital; leaches, solitary beings who draw power from the natural world to fuel their extraordinary abilities, maneuver on all sides to affect the outcome of the war; and capricious gods walk the earth in human guise with agendas of their own.

But the three imperial siblings at the heart of it all—Valyn, Adare, and Kaden—come to understand that even if they survive the holocaust unleashed on their world, there may be no reconciling their conflicting visions of the future.

The trilogy that began with The Emperor’s Blades and continued in The Providence of Fire reaches its epic conclusion, as war engulfs the Annurian Empire in Brian Staveley’s The Last Mortal Bond—available March 15th from Tor Books and March 24th from Tor UK.

Read an excerpt and learn more or find purchase links here.


What comes to mind when you hear, “Serial Box”?A small, stainless steel room with no windows or furniture in which Ray, who appears to everyone in his small town to be nothing more than a mild-mannered electrician, plies his grisly trade.Is that too much? Maybe too much, at least for the first question.Can you describe your most recent project in one sentence?A Comedy of Errors meets Predator meets Spy Game meets Pride and Prejudice.Where are you a local? Every coffee shop in southern Vermont.If you could live in one fictional world, which would it be?Vermont. Who would be the 5 people (alive, dead, or fictional) at your dream dinner party?Sauron. I’d sacrifice the four others just to sit down for a while with Sauron. I really want to know what he’s up to. Like, why does he live in such a shitty place? Would it kill him to do a little landscaping? What’s his plan to be happy, after he holds Middle Earth in his iron fist? Has he even thought about that? I almost never understand the bad guys…Who is the author or book you will always recommend?The Last Samurai, by Helen DeWitt. (No relation to the terrible Tom Cruise movie.)Favorite quote or line?“The readiness is all.”Who is your favorite writer outside your genre?Contemporary: Hilary Mantel or David Mitchell or Kay RyanDead: William FaulknerCaveat: This answer changes weekly.If you had a nickname for your writing persona, what would it be?Distracto, the Inefficient IdiotYou now have a time machine – to where and when do you go?I’d like to see Tang-era China. Or maybe the Bannister/Landy 4-minute mile. Or way, way back, just to see those house-sized ferns that evidently used to be everywhere.If you could have one magic spell up your sleeve, what would it be?Right now, it would block out the conversation that’s happening at the table next to me: “Suzie is, like, I dunno, like, such a little liar. Like, she doesn’t know I think that, but don’t you think so?” This is a verbatim transcript. Unfortunately.Where is your happy place?Farther away from Suzie’s “friends”. Last thing you read that made you think, “Well damn, that was cool…”Everything by David Mitchell. Discovered him only recently. And also, N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season, which manages to pull off the second-person point of view—something I’ve never seen done successfully (at least to my mind) in a novel. If your soul was manifested outside of your body in the form of an animal (like in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series), what would it be?Probably an ant. I’m stubborn. I like routine. Although all those other ants… I don’t know about them. Sort of like, a lone wolf of an ant. If that’s a thing.BRIAN STAVELEY has taught literature, religion, history, and philosophy, all subjects that influence his writing, and holds an MA in Creative Writing from Boston University. He works as an editor for Antilever Press, and has published poetry and essays, both in print and on-line. He lives in Vermont with his wife and young son, and divides his time between running trails, splitting wood, writing, and baby-wrangling. The Last Mortal Bond is his third novel, following The Emperor's Blades and The Providence of Fire.

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