by Mark Rosenfelder

If you're a longtime reader… this is it! My first Almean novel, which I've hinted at for years, is finally being published, in September 2014.

The novel itself is available in two formats:

  • In trade paperback, at $13.95:
  • In Kindle form at $6.25:
The Book of Cuzei (see below) is now available on Kindle and in print!
What it's about
The year: Z.E. 287.

The setting: the Plain of Cēradānar.

In the west, Cuzei, the most advanced and prosperous state it knows, a comforting fact which it attributes to the worship of Iáinos, Eīledan, and Ulōne, borrowed from the non-human iliū.

In the east, past the Gaumê mountains, the land of Munkhâsh, said to be ruled by demons— in fact another non-human species, the ktuvoks. Munkhâsh is many times larger than Cuzei, and it's been steadily expanding, destroying all resistance and converting the survivors into worshippers of the ktuvoks. But it's still hundreds of miles away, and surely Eīledan will protect against the demons, anyway.

Some Cuzeians think it will take more than piety to face the Munkhâshi. To begin with, the Cuzeian allies in between Cuzei and the mountains, the Caďinorians, should be strengthened, and perhaps reminded that they are allies.

The proposal, then, is to send one Beretos of Etêia Mitano to the Gaumê, with his companion Oluon, in a mission that combines the functions, but not the salaries, of ambassador, military advisor, missionary for Iáinos, and teacher of Cuêzi.

But Beretos finds that it will take hard arguing with his fellow Cuzeians to be allowed to undertake a mission he doesn't want to do, and once he's there, the local Caďinorians will make him wish he'd stayed home…


The meta-story
Babblers has had a long, somewhat circuitous history. I wrote the first draft almost twenty years ago. No less than three times, it seemed close to publication in print form, with small presses. But, well, small presses have their problems, and take a long time to decide anything, and it didn't happen.

And then, I started publishing books! I slipped an sf novel in there, and though the people who've read it have liked it a lot, its sales have been paltry, and I concentrated on non-fiction. But Babblers' moment has finally arrived.

Babblers isn't much like other fantasy novels I've read (though I'll be the first to admit I'm not an avid fantasy reader— I read far more history than fantasy). If you've read much about Almean history at all, you'll know that the Munkhâshi did eventually invade— in 440, over a century after the time of Beretos. The invasion would be a time of epic battles… but I'm not so interested in that story, which has been told a thousand times. I'm more interested in the question of why the Evil Empire was allowed to grow without check. Why didn't people face down the evil overlord while he was still faceable? That's a large part of what Babblers is about.

The cover teases From the annals of Almea, and I'd like to keep writing novels about Almea. The next one will probably be A Diary of the Prose Wars, set in Xurno, and detailing a sub-revolution in a nation ruled by artists: the establishment of the Salon of Prose.

That is, rather than writing a single long story in multiple volumes that drags on and on, and possibly dying before it's finished, frustrating my legions of fans, I'd like to write standalone stories set in various times and places on Almea.

If you'd like a sample, by the way, just use the Look Inside feature on Amazon.


But wait, there's more!
I've been working on Almea for more than thirty years… surely there will be some tasty appendices to Babblers?

Yes, but they've grown into an entire book! Along with Babblers I'm publishing The Book of Cuzei, over 375 pages in length, which includes:

  • A short history of Cuzei, to orient all the information, with multiple maps
  • An expanded and corrected grammar of Cuêzi
  • A detailed description of Cuzeian religion
  • The Count of Years, the Cuzeians' own account of creation, the iliu-ktuvok wars, and the creation of Cuzei
  • The Shame of Etêia Mitano, a letter written by a pietist, giving the 'opposition' view of Beretos and his book
  • The Munkhâshi, a comic Silver Age play, the satirical account of a Munkhâshi lord who comes to Cuzei in hopes of learning the true number of gods
  • "The Babblers Write Back"— selections from Cadhinorian writings referencing Cuzei in the Imperial ages and later
  • A full king list for Cuzei
A good deal of this is available for free on my website, and will continue to be. But there's new material as well, and besides, it's nice to have it all in lovely printed form, or in a Kindle you can read on the subway or on the beach, or both. An astonishing 50 people have bought the print Historical Atlas, so I hope the book will make a few people happy.
The trade paperback is $14.95:
The Kindle is a paltry $3.49:

But why not combine the two? I have! An omnibus edition is also available, containing both Babblers and The Book of Cuzei, for $22.95. (That's as cheap as Amazon will allow; it's currently on sale for $21.80) It's a bit of a brick, but it's over 630 pages of pure Cuzeianness (cuêzīras).

(The pricing for a Kindle omnibus didn't really make sense— just buy the two books.)