Note to Readers: My historical fiction novel Prester John and the Brigand King is once again available to read in full. Just click on the novel's title in the "Full Series" menu on the sidebar.

Monday, December 21, 2009

On My New Novel

I just got the happy news from my publisher that my latest book, Freedom Cry, is now out and available for sale from Amazon.com (it will also be out in other markets and distributors in a few weeks). For those of you who are interested, I thought I would give you a little background and synopsis of the book.

It's a fantasy/adventure novel. "Fantasy" is a wild and weird genre, so it merits some explanation of how my novel fits into that landscape. In this case, "fantasy" refers to the fact that my story takes place in an entirely made-up world, complete with its own cultures, history, languages, and so on. While other fantasy novels are rich in details like wizards, magic, dragons, vampires, and the like, my story is a bit more "down-to-earth," in the sense that its characters are all basically human. There is a small spark of otherworldly mystery in the story, but I can't really give that out without spoiling some of the plot. "Why fantasy?" some of you might ask. Well, a couple of the more superficial reasons are that it's fun to write, requires no research, and allows the broadest scope of creative imagination in the writing process. On a deeper level, though, fantasy offers possibilities that other genres don't, because it allows us to step outside of the problems of our world and our history and to examine the human condition from an entirely new perspective. I know that fantasy isn't everyone's cup of tea, but if you like a good adventure story, I'm pretty sure you'll like this book.

Freedom Cry takes place in a rich and vivid world, and it follows the story of a group of young men and women from a nation of slaves. They toil under brutal conditions in the mines of the pagan Empire of Rameress, just as generations before them have done. But they have their own culture, their own stories and histories--and those stories tell them that they were once a free people, enslaved against their will. Inspired by these traditions and their faith in Imminya, the Most High God, Dryhten (the main character) and his friends set a plan in motion to liberate their people. Against all odds, they break out from the slave-camps and begin a race across the Empire. Through long marches and battles and the delight of finding new allies along the way, they push towards the sea with the one hope that somehow they will be able to find a way back to their ancient homeland. And along the way, as they challenge their old enemies with their faith and virtue, they end up changing the Empire itself.

Freedom Cry is the first of three books--"The Hidden Kings Trilogy." It's actually based on a fanciful story I started writing way back in the 6th grade. During my high school years I put out a few historical fiction novels, but when I came to my college years and was in the middle of my overseas work, I found that I didn't have the research materials available there to do another historical fiction book. So I decided to resurrect my childhood novel just for fun. By the time I was done, I had fallen in love with the story. So I wrote a second book, The Conqueror's Song, which explores the ancient histories from which the Freedom Cry characters draw their inspiration. By that point I had decided at least to try to get them published, so that my family and friends could enjoy the story as much as I was. As I pursued that process, I finished out the trilogy with the final installment, Pathways of Mercy. (Neither The Conqueror's Song nor Pathways of Mercy are out yet, but I expect to start the publication process on them soon).

If it sounds to you like Freedom Cry shares some themes with the Exodus story, you're right. The trilogy is kind of a fun imagination-experiment: What might the story of salvation-history look like if enacted in an entirely different world, with its own cultures and history? Freedom Cry is the introduction to that world, and it's in The Conqueror's Song and Pathways of Mercy that the whole story, full of the cosmic wonder of God's grace, is unraveled and told. So the trilogy will have themes and parallels that you will undoubtedly recognize, but these stories will also be new adventures in their own right. (A good example would be in the way that C. S. Lewis' Narnia-world borrows themes and parallels of the history of salvation from our world, but sets them in a whole new context and history). On a more basic level, though, Freedom Cry is simply a story of virtue in action, of a cast of characters who must wrestle against injustice and violence, and who strive to find, in the midst of all that, paths of forgiveness.

If you choose to buy the book, I really think you'll enjoy the story, and I hope that it serves to inspire and lift up your heart. And on a completely different note, you should also buy this book because my wife and I are having a baby in a few days, and we could use a few royalty checks!

Blessings, and happy reading!
-Matt Burden

4 comments:

cloots said...

You Rock Matt! Can't wait to read it, got mine on order and I'm stoked to read it. I have no doubt that it will be stellar!

Justin

Rhapsody B. said...

Happy Holidays and Congratulations on your book

Hiram said...

nice, Matt!

HannahBG said...

Excellent plug for your book! We haven't ordered it yet, but we will. :~)