I just finished the manuscript for a novel titled THE DEMONS OF PARIS. This is the first book in a series I’m starting with Gorg Huff and Paula Goodlett. They have now been co-authors of mine on four novels — three in the 1632 series (1636: The Kremlin Games, 1636: The Viennese Waltz and the upcoming 1637:The Volga Rules) as well as The Alexander Inheritance — and by now we have a very productive and comfortable writing partnership.
The series is a cross between alternate history and fantasy. The alternate history aspect is that it begins in Paris in the year 1379, during the late Middle Ages. The fantasy part stems from the premise that a curse leveled on Tamerlane tears open a rift between our universe and a netherworld, through which a multitude of demons pour through. The term “demons” is not used as a pejorative; some of them are beneficent, many — probably most — are rather neutral in their moral attitudes — and only a minority are given to wickedness. That minority, of course, is often Very Wicked and Very Powerful and so… we’re off to the races!
Despite being set in a medieval period and having plenty of swords and sorcery, I wouldn’t call it “epic fantasy.” To me, at least, the series has more of the flavor of contemporary urban fantasy. The reason for that is that the alternate history side of the story has a time travel element, in that a van full of (mostly American) teenagers attending an English-language private school in Paris gets sucked into the world of medieval Paris by a demon who is himself getting (very unwillingly) sucked through the rift and seizes upon their van as a vessel, not realizing that it’s an artificial machine rather than a living creature.
Thereafter, the demon has essentially possessed (or haunted) the van and his interactions with the modern era teenagers get… complicated and interesting. More demons get invited to the party and many of them accept because they are fascinated with 21st century cyber technology. The teenagers, being from the year 2017 and wealthy families, have a LOT of cyber technology in their possession — laptops, cell phones, tablets, you name it — and all of them soon become inhabited (sometimes but not usually also possessed) by co-operative demons.
(Full disclosure: The school from which these teenagers derive is rather closely modeled on a school which I actually attended as a kid when my family lived in Paris for several years. The real life school was then named the American Community School and still exists today under a different name. It was originally set up right after WW2 for the children of American expatriates living in Paris, but soon attracted people from many nationalities for whom English rather than French was their preferred educational language.)
I don’t know of any existing fantasy series that weaves AI into the setting and storyline to the extent that we do. That’s why, although the setting is that of medieval sword and sorcery fantasy, I think the flavor of the story is a lot closer to urban fantasy. That said, YMMV.
We’re publishing the series through my Ring of Fire Press, partly because established publishers that we showed it to (including Baen) tended to look at it cross-eyed, and partly because a long-running series like this is likely to provide RoF Press with a valuable boost. Publishing it through RoF Press also gives Gorg and Paula and me complete control over the project since (cough cough) I am the publisher as well as one of the co-authors.
As usual with RoF Press, our main emphasis is on electronic publishing but we do provide a POD option for readers who prefer paper editions. I’m not sure how soon THE DEMONS OF PARIS will come out. Larry Dixon is doing the cover art and we’ll need to wait until he’s finished. He’s already started working on it, but Larry is one of the top illustrators in F&SF and needless to say he’s awfully busy. That said, it shouldn’t take more than a few months. I figure — this is just a suck-it-out-of-my-thumb estimate, you understand — it will get published early next year.
How long will the series run? We’re not sure yet, but it will be at least four novels, just based on the plot outline we’ve already developed.
And now, I’ve got to get back to work on ALL THE PLAGUES OF HELL. I think Baen is going to publish that novel late next year. That’s still a year off, but I want to finish the novel by the end of November. Somewhere in the next six weeks I also need to write my story for GRANTVILLE GAZETTE VIII, which is definitely slotted to come out in June.
After that, I’ll start writing the sequel to OTTOMAN ONSLAUGHT. I’d piss and moan about my work load except, even all these years later, I can still hear David Drake’s none-too-sympathetic response when I complained to him about the work load I had at that time — which wasn’t nearly as heavy as the one I have now. “There are only two states of existence for a freelance fiction writer, Eric. You either have too much work or too little. Decide which you prefer and stop belly-aching.” (No one is ever going to give David Drake an award for “Most Tender-Hearted Person of the Year.”)
Is there any genre that you have forgotten to include? Sounds very interesting, although the van of teenagers indicates it may be a young adult series?
Western? There are zombies so we got horror covered.
“Van of teenagers” with demons involved sounds at least like there’s a “Scooby-Doo” joke to be made here. :-)
That was also my very first thought.
Is the haunted van nicknamed scoobie? sorry when i rea
Nope Pucorl. But it started out Sir Albert van Demon. “Dutch from the netherworld you know.”
But surely some vanquished demon must, at least once, complain that he would have gotten away with it, if not for those meddling kids.
Mr. Flint, Sir, concerning the time and place you chose for the â€œtime-travelâ€ of your protagonists. What sources did you use to recreate the atmosphere and the time period? E.g., are you familiar with the Registre criminel du ChÃ¢telet de Paris (compiled by A. Cachemaree)? Itâ€™s considered as one of the most exhaustive sources not only to the judiciary of the period (late 14 c.), but also provides a good â€œslice of lifeâ€.
It’s fun. Lighthearted entertainment that shouldn’t be over analysed. Just experience it, don’t look at its bones.
“Lighthearted entertainment that shouldnâ€™t be over analysed. Just experience it, donâ€™t look at its bones.”
Ah. Sweet-sweet anti-intellectualism coupled with “c’mon, it’s just for [category X/Y/Z]!”, the great excuse to write something… sub par.
You know what is also “fun”? Nearly anything else. For some – alcohol is fun. Or spicy food. Or video games. Why should I choose this particular brand of “fun”? If I see “alt-hist” and “time-travel” I expect accurate portrayal of the time period. Just because it became “urban fantasy” does not invalidate the laws of logic and all the past.
Gosh. I guess that might mean maybe they didn’t write their book with you as the target audience. It’s shocking, I know.
“Gosh. I guess that might mean maybe they didnâ€™t write their book with you as the target audience. “
And who are those people they consider their “target audience”? People without any knowledge of the past?
Probably anybody with a little money in their pocket. This is a business, after all.
“Probably anybody with a little money in their pocket. “
Just because you have “a littly money in you pocket” does not mean that you will resort to buying “pageturners” with no substance at all. You can’t feed the hungry with a chewing gum.
That’s probably why nobody buys or has anything good to say about the works of Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss)/
“Thatâ€™s probably why nobody buys or has anything good to say about the works of Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss)/”
Sarcasm is unwarranted here. You just provided an example of the “made for category [X]” (children in this instance) done right. A solid, timeless work, that does not allows itself to be subpar “just because”.
Mmmm~ The term alternative history does require some conform to established sources. If you dont want to conform, then your book simply doesnt get recognized as alt-his. More like pure fantasy.
Um. Hello! DEMONS!
You said in a complaints on Alexander Inheritance (snippet 10), that “Iâ€™m perfectly fine with [authors making up historically inaccurate details]. If they put â€œfantasyâ€ in the genre.”
Well, this is – (urban) FANTASY. What book could get posted on this site without you criticizing or nitpicking every little detail?
“You said in a complaints on Alexander Inheritance (snippet 10), that â€œIâ€™m perfectly fine with [authors making up historically inaccurate details]. If they put â€œfantasyâ€ in the genre.â€”
100% true. But tell me this – was the “destination world” of these kiddies a “fantasy” one all along OR did it was normal, historically accurate our past, which only had “fantasy” thrown into it just recently?
So – yeah, demons. Does their introduction change the geography of 14 c. Paris? Does it change the history before that?
“What book could get posted on this site without you criticizing or nitpicking every little detail?”
A good one.
Look at it. The whole premise is unlikely and not meant to be taken as a serious tome. It is entertainment, and acknowledged alternative history, so it doesn’t have to correlate to OTL.
As to “people without any knowledge of the past” and “anti-intellectualism”, virtually anyone who is interested in what these writers produce is smarter than the average bear, and better informed, but most don’t insist that a book set seven centuries ago is absolutely accurate. Plus who knows what is accurate and what is supposition of various historians in the intervening years? From other comments you have made about other books it appears that you believe yourself to be a superior intellect, and enjoy preaching to the peasants, however you just come across as foolish and pretentious.
“It is entertainmentâ€¦”
Yes, it is entertainment â€“ so what? “It’s just [X/Y/Z]!” is not an excuse for su par penmanship and lack of efforts.
” and acknowledged alternative history, so it doesnâ€™t have to correlate to OTL”
In everything that happened before the “Event” (or whatever) it absolutely must. And because most of the people in this warped universe lived their entire lives before the “Event”, this past experience is absolutely more important in the formation of them as the people.
“…virtually anyone who is interested in what these writers produce is smarter than the average bear…”
Can you provide the statistical data to support that? Because what I read here, is people endorsing a potentially forgettable “pageturner”.
“…but most donâ€™t insist that a book set seven centuries ago is absolutely accurate”
But they take it a step further. They claim, that because there is no 100% accuracy, there is no need to strive for it at all. That’s both lazy and anti-intellectual.
“Plus who knows what is accurate and what is supposition of various historians in the intervening years?”
You just said that there is no scientific truth – you understand that? That’s the textbook example of being anti-intellectual.
Newsflash – yes, historians, being scientists, know. They research, find new evidence, test them, debate, research and debate some more all in the order to find the truth about the past.
If you are a fan of solipsism – then my sincere condolences.
“From other comments you have made about other books it appears that you believe yourself to be a superior intellect”
I do not believe in that. I’m just providing my knowledge here. Everyone is free to provide theirs in order to debate me and proving me wrong.
“…and enjoy preaching to the peasants…”
People here are not peasants though.
“…however you just come across as foolish and pretentious.”
But the people who endorse anti-intellectualism – they are not foolish and pretentious?
Historians are scientists? Must tell the Deans of the Science and Humanities Departments of my old Universities. I repeat that history is never totally accurate, always filtered through the perception of the historian. Not scientific in any way.
“Must tell the Deans of the Science and Humanities Departments of my old Universities.”
“I repeat that history is never totally accurate, always filtered through the perception of the historian. Not scientific in any way.”
What is science according to you?
(What’s amusing here is that the authors never said they didn’t study this text that Lyttenburgh is insisting upon as a litmus test of their scholarship. Maybe they did!)
“Whatâ€™s amusing here is that the authors never said they didnâ€™t study this text that Lyttenburgh is insisting upon as a litmus test of their scholarship. Maybe they did!”
Where did I call it “a litmus test of one’s scholarship”? I merely asked what sources they used and whether they are familiar with the one I suggested. Good for them if they did use it. Hope they’d demonstrate this in the finished product. Besides, there are also many, many others they’d better to study before writing about the period, which I didn’t mention though.
It is time for me to confess a truly horrible historical oversight. I hope you gentle readers will find it in your heart to forgive me.
You see in the entire writing of this book through all the titles “Paris is for Demons” that got rejected. All the rewrites, discussions of mythology, all the studies of Paris at the time, history of religion, so on and so forth. One vital historical fact failed to occur to me. It may have occurred to Paula or Eric but is so it never came up.
Wait for it.
I never once thought till Terranovan mentioned it here of Scooby-Doo.
(bows head in profound shame)
Glad to have mad the authors laugh! :-D
Sounds like you have become like me in the only way I really, really want you to: a fellow cancer survivor!
Well, I really would have preferred that you never have cancer in the first place, and in this I am sure I speak for all (maybe except one) RoF readers. Stay healthy!
It is possible that since the following books were NOT published by Baen,
That is part of the explanation of why there have been only two books in
“The Trail Of Glory” Series:
“The Rivers Of War” : and “The Arkansas War”.
I will have to reread those books.
My imperfect memory says that “The Arkansas War” ended in the middle of The War.
Is this post the complete non-sequitur that it seems like to me?
Mike: _I CAN NOT FORCE YOU_ to care about “The Trail Of Glory” Series.
I would like to see At Least ONE M ore book in said series.
Glad to see you back at work. Now I really feel connected to your work I went to ACS Athens 69-73 and a cousin of mine went to ACS Paris, around 72 through 78.
I know of a series that involves AI in the urban fantasy setting. It is, in fact, central to the books. Kelly McCullough’s MythOS series.
Correction, WebMage series.