Olive D’Alton has his book The Golem of Wacza, the first in the Empyryon series free June 25 and 26 on Amazon.
I had the time to read some of the beginning of the book and the characters are interesting and already developing. The premise is one I haven’t seen before, so I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the book.
A fast moving epic fantasy novel set in a mythic era. It traces a journey of survival in a time of warfare, intrigue and oppression.
The Emperor, a bloody usurper of the Archaki Kingdom, rules the land with an iron fist. His winged Hussars swoop on the villages every five years and steal the boy-children for his armies. A group of conspirators from the village of Wacza enlist the aid of a mysterious hermit to combat the tyranny. Together they create a golem, a soulless killer, to slaughter and beat back the Hussars. Everything changes.
Colonel Kuntz, leader of the Hussars, falls in love with Natasha Archaki and, with a price on his head, they flee to join the northern alliance that is at war with the Emperor. Together with a small group of other fugitives they face the perils of the journey through the fearsome Wood of the Suicides, the territory of the fierce isolationist Hadre and must outrun the murderous White Wolves who pursue them in their quest for freedom.
Oliver D’Alton’s Bio
Years and years and years ago my first novel, a pulp fiction thriller called The Affair of the Dragon was published. Since then nothing. I became caught up in Academia and all my writing was devoted to the publication of scholarly research works. I’ve finally thrown off the academic yoke and have returned to my first love, writing fiction. Empyryon is my new book series that fits roughly into the genre Epic Fantasy with leanings towards adventure, military fantasy and quest. The golem, a monster, has its genesis in ancient folklore from Prague and the winged Hussars historically are Polish warriors. I am interested in both history and mythology and weave these themes together throughout the book.
I caught the travel bug at an early age and travelled extensively. During my travels I followed various cultural themes. For example, I followed the Siva myths in India and was ‘initiated’ into some of the mysteries of the rock-cut temples in Mahabalipuram. In Egypt I sought out the step pyramids of Zoser and the temple of Karnak. In Crete I followed up the remnants of the Minoan civilization and wondered about the legends of Atlantis first mentioned by Plato who had learned from the Sais priests of Egypt. And so on.
I have an abiding passion for racing cars and for sailing yachts.
I must confess I am also a stereo nut.
The Golem of Wacza looks interesting. What made you decide to use a golem as a focal point of the book?
Many years ago I read a book entitled “The Sword of The Golem” and this sparked my interest in the mythology and legends that surrounded the creation of a Golem. I read about the Golem of Prague which seemed to be based either on some truths or simply folk stories about the savior of the Jewish population in Prague, created through faith to protect the Jewish population from religious oppression. Some myths hold that the Golem is still hidden somewhere in that city and can be reawakened by a religious man, pure of heart. A Golem is conceived of as a huge humanoid monster created from mud and its controller breathes life into it. It is reputedly a mindless killer, in thrall to its creator. It hates the person who brought it to life but is forced to submit to all the demands of its creator. In my novel, the central oppressor is an emperor who ruthlessly stamps out all hints of religion and faith. The oppressed villagers under this regime reminded me of the repressed population in Prague. In my story, there is no countervailing force against the Emperor. The villagers turn to a mystic hermit to save them. As in Prague a Golem was the solution. However, in this context the Golem is animated through hate rather than faith.
Tell us more about yourself. What else have you published?
I grew up in Sydney in a house by the waterfront and trained for many years to become an Olympic swimmer. I recently completed a book entitled ‘Swimming’, yet to be published.
I was an academic for many years. I have a Masters in Economics, a Ph.D. and a Juris Doctorate. I have taught Economics, Politics, Sociology and Law at numerous universities.
Apart from my academic publications which include text books and many articles, I published a pulp fiction novel, The Affair of The Dragon many years ago. That was a lot of fun!
I also to love to paint and to write poetry. I have produced a series of ‘painted poems’ that will be slowly added to my webpage over time. I taught art in London and have had art exhibitions in London, Sydney and Collioure.
I’ve always had at least one cat. I have been living in Gozo for the last couple of years in order to concentrate on writing and sketching. For those who haven’t heard of Gozo, it’s a tiny Maltese island in the middle of the Mediterranean just below Sicily and above North Africa.
You can find me on my webpage at https://empyryon.wixsite.com/oliverdalton
What inspired you to write The Golem of Wacza?
I was an avid reader of Tolkien, who I met at Cambridge. I found it easy to be swept up in adventure stories and mysteries, as well as film versions of his work. More recently I enjoyed reading ‘A song of Ice and Fire’ by George R.R. Martin as well as watching the HBO series ‘Game of Thrones’. This combination is probably what sparked my interest in writing epic fantasy.
What are your favorite kinds of stories to read and write?
I have eclectic tastes in reading from classics to contemporary fiction. I love a good spy story like those of John Le Carre, as well as the thrillers of John Grisham. I find the adventure stories of C.S Forester engaging, especially the Hornblower series which is one of my favorites. I also like to read more complex existential fiction novels like those of Sartre and Sadeg Hedayat who wrote The Blind Owl, an amazing book.
I am sure my writing is influenced by all of this in subliminal ways.
What is your writing space like?
At present, I have an apartment in Gozo with a magnificent view over farmland and the sea. Lately I’ve been sitting on the terrace and writing under an umbrella, on my laptop. Sometimes I write in front of the TV with the sound off (especially if there is snooker or tennis on – these don’t require much concentration). Sometimes at the dining table.
What projects are you currently working on?
Empyryon Book 2 The Black Isles.
What question would you ask yourself? Answer that question.
Do I will my world or does my world will me?
I don’t know.
Here’s a brief snippet from the book:
The full meaning of this sank in for Nadja and a cold hand gripped her heart but hate for the Hussars and the Emperor burnt stronger than any fear. She took the stones from the outstretched hand of the hermit in a bold and triumphant way. The other conspirators cowered together as Nadja walked towards the lifeless body of the golem. The hermit pointed out the stones one by one as she knelt by the huge head and pushed them into the still soft brow. She placed them in reverse order so the last would be first. The hermit chanted an incantation as Nadja placed the sigils but as she began to push the final stone into place he was silent. The stone settled in with a sound that made Nadja wince and draw back. She stared at the golem’s face but nothing happened. Confused, she looked to the hermit. He was gone. Startled by the sound of a throaty intake of breath she turned back to the golem. She found herself staring into hollows of hell. The golem had opened its eyes. Rumor had it that anyone who looked into the eyes of a golem as they died went straight to Hades, to burn forever. The fire in the depths of its eyes was not the golden fire of candlelight but the blue, almost invisible flame of a cutting torch, a chilling, destructive, violent flame. The eyes, set deep in the armored face, blazed with menace.
Nadja suddenly realized the enormity of what she had done. She staggered back a few paces. The golem’s giant frame stirred and it slowly rose to its feet in front of the terrified band of conspirators. A strong odor, like rotting flesh, pervaded the glade as the monster shuffled towards Nadja. It stopped in front of her and a low, guttural growl was wrenched from its body as it bent its great craggy head before her. Its ears were holes surrounded by thick ridges, its mouth a gash. Conflicting emotions tore at Nadja as she stared at the huge monster. She controlled this thing. Partly fearful, partly triumphant she felt a surge of power in the realization of the force that was now hers. If the golem was invincible so was she.
“Stand up!” she ordered, and the golem straightened to its full height, towering above her, its huge chest rising and falling to the slow rhythms of the muffled thunder that rumbled in its depths.