When people ask me what one of my books is about, I always have this terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. If I could describe a story in a few sentences . . . well, then, I wouldn't be writing whole books now would I? So let me tell you instead a little of the characters who live in Raven's Shadow.
Tier is a man who does not accept the way the world is supposed to work. He was born the son of a baker. In pre-industrial times bakers were held in the same esteem as, say, our modern doctors. Hemmed in by the rules and talents that tried to force him into becoming his father, Tier, as a very young man, ran off to war. Upon returning, he choses a different road altogether. He marries a Traveler woman and creates a farm in the mountains, where fear of Shadow magic has long let good land lie fallow.
Seraph is a Raven, a mage of the Traveler people. From her childhood she had been set apart and give the unthankful task of saving people who hate and fear her kind. When the last of her family is killed, she leaves her magic and her people behind for the safty of Tier and their isolated farm. But she is no meek and mild village miss, no matter how hard she pretends.
It seems, oddly enough, that each book I write is more difficult . . . and more rewarding as well. This story was particularly contrary. I think it's because I've always seen this story as part of a larger one -- unlike Dragon Bones and Dragon Blood which I never had planned to be two books long. Raven's Shadow gave me so many characters, and so many stories that it was sometimes difficult to do any of them justice. The early drafts of this novel were . . . well, horrible. Nothing worked quite as it was supposed to. For example, ever since reading The Son of Tarzan by Burroughs when I was ten or so, I have hated the quest novel. Imagine my consternation when, upon completing the silly manuscript the first time, I discovered that I had written one. Ah, the shame of it . . . I would have hung my head in despair and thrown away my keyboard, except -- there were moments . . . a few scenes here and there that made the rest of the dreck worth rewriting until it worked.