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Due to events outside the scope of this post, and generally not of real importance, Drew and I found ourselves having to think about the cover.

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What it would look like, and who would create it. The who was a no brainer — Jure my long time collaborator on all things Midnight was the perfect fit, and we had an image of his that both Drew and I loved and had used already in promoting the book. There were just two issues with the picture though. One, we had used it already, and two its focus is the wrong way around. If you fold the above image in half the Lord would be on the back and the Citadel on the front. I also had an image that I used in the game for the main menu. The image shows a group of Lords marching out from the Citadel, albeit this one juxtaposes new and old art work.

And that was the idea I liked. So I created a mockup by flipping the image and sticking on a cutout of the citadel and the lords. This I sent to Jure and asked for something like that. Within a day or so, Jure sent me his draft sketch.

Doomdark’s Revenge | The Lords of Midnight

Which Drew and I discussed. Needless to say we loved it. We both liked the way that the sun pops up from behind the mountains and sprays across the lake on the original image. So I asked Jure if he could adapt the sketch to take that into account. Jure sent a new image, but he felt that the switch of the sun made the right side of the image, and therefore the front cover, too dark.

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We agreed with him and so asked him to create the final artwork based on his sketch. To be honest, I could have just gone with the sketch! This time however, we might give Jure more time! This was something that I did for him with The Lords of Midnight and it helped greatly. However, the problems that I have had with the building of the games because of the loss of the Marmalade SDK are still plaguing me.

I was slowly coming to the acceptance that I would soon be removing the games from the Apple app store as each new release of iOS and new devices makes the game unobtainable. This will likely follow through to Android and Windows. All this has been compounded that my general motivation has been through the floor for a number of years now. The main menu and surrounding screens are all working. At heart it has a female protagonist on a quest with a female antagonist, but after that, what is it really about…?

At this stage we already have a few ideas that link all the stories together, we had to discuss them right at the start of this process, but for the actual main narrative, I for one look forward to finding out…. One side effect of this is that I now absolutely need to get the games up and running again. As much as my life has become entwined with The Lords of Midnight, it has also for similar reasons become linked to the solstices. Now I live about 25 miles and have made both the summer and winter pilgrimage many times.

Lords of Midnight uses two concepts that align with Stonehenge, the winter solstice and standing stones — the henges. So it seems apt that today at the Summer Solstice I have hit another Lords of Midnight milestone — the release of the novel. I must make it clear that I am not the author of the novel, that role was taken on by Drew Wagar.

I still have some way to go before I manage to tick off my author goal. The original game publishers promised a novel that never happened, and 34 years later, Drew , Fantastic Books , and I have delivered. Firstly the novel came about because of a chance twitter conversation.

Let that sink in a little, I have to. The Lords of Midnight was due to be removed from the store in 30 days. In theory, a recompile would solved the problem, and as I had slowly added some new functionality, this should gain me a stay of execution for possibly another 5 years. The issue appears to be the Marmalade system incorrectly reporting those devices as Retina devices even though there are not. So, I might have to make a decision. Going 64bit would be much more restrictive. Long term, I need to look at porting the games to another platform, and this is something I have spoken about before….

Back in January I had a bug reported to me by Simon Foston, I managed to get some save games from him and just needed to find some time to look at it. I checked the original code and it looked as if the bug was there too, however, I then found that the isDead check was happening later in the process. Strangely what it means is that battles at a dead lords location are processed as part of a dead characters turn, and not as part of other characters in the location. This causes a problem in the AI logic for a character choosing to follow their liege.

The AI goes something like this…. The code ripples up the liege tree until it finds someone to follow, or bails and decides to hunt down Luxor instead. When the bug occurs it follows the tree and finds a liege who is dead but they are also their own liege, and thus we get stuck in an infinite loop. There are only two places where the liege can change, the aforementioned follow liege routine, and being recruited. I stuck some debug info on both cases and set the game to run on automatic to see if the issue triggered, and it did.

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  • Anvarorn starts with Fangrorn being his liege. Fangrorn gets recruited by Anvortheon the Barbarian, and thus his loyalty changes to the barbarians, and his new liege becomes Anvortheon. Anvarorn decides to follow his Liege, who is still Fangrorn. When he gets to the same location as him he notices that they are not the same loyalty and thus tries to recruit him. So we now have a circular liege issue. I went back and checked the original code, and this issue can happen.

    At worst the character would end up following themselves and end up not moving. This is something that has been mentioned as possibly happening in the current version. Thus no infinite loop. This would possibly occur with characters following their foe. If their foe is dead it walks the liege tree of the foe to find the next foe. It had just a project name then, and I had to sign a whole host of documents before I was even told watch the service was, and then another whole host of documents when I agreed.

    Before deciding that I would, I thought long and hard. By having the Midnight games as a full purchase game, it has probably stopped it from being installed as many times as it might have been when free, indeed I have seen the spikes when the game has been reduced in price for promotion. But even those extra sales have not amounted to much in the way of cash as the price reduction has obviously hurt. Android sales of the games are well under a 3rd of Apple, but they appear to have a So, as we hit the tail end of sales, I wondered if the Amazon pay-for-play where they pick up the tab, might be an interesting approach for some additional Android sales.

    Amazon pay a fraction of a penny per minute played. And those who do, have either already bought the game, or still have the option to through Google Play, or Amazon Store proper. I just need to keep an eye on whether the Amazon Underground sales hurt the Android sales, better them, or just become another small income stream. Long journeys that characters undertake can often drag, but there is enough going on to keep the characters, as well as the reader, occupied.

    At no point did I feel that the journey was the be all and end all, as often felt the case with "Lord of the Rings", as when there was no immediate threat to a character, we were treated to some of their back story, which proved as fascinating as the present. The way the story is told heightens the tension, as it is split into sections, each one dealing with a different character. This allows for plenty of time to become involved and settled into the journey of each of them, before stealing you away to the next.

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    Fitzpatrick manages to leave each section at a point such that you want it to continue, but are forced to wait until their story comes around again; much like the episodes in a soap opera, only far more interesting. This does cause a minor issue with forgetting what has happened to the characters at points, which was also an issue with the works of Kate Elliott mentioned earlier, although with a much smaller cast of major characters than Elliott's work the impact was far less here.

    We spend so long away from the individual characters that by the time you return to their part of the story, it is difficult to remember where you left them. I found myself flicking back through the pages on a couple of occasions just to pick up the thread of events. This was most noticeable with the story of the fisherman; he has the least distance to travel, so there's less of his journey to relate and so he's the one who gets the least attention.

    This is just a minor concern, but it did interrupt the flow of the story and slow things down a little for me. For the most part, however, this was the only thing that could disrupt the flow of things. I found the whole idea of trying to find a way to kill an immortal a fascinating one and from the start, I was eager to see how this may be accomplished and some of Fitzpatrick's ideas concerning immortality itself were also interesting. Whilst some of the other ideas aren't quite so original, such as the stone that repels magic, the idea of such a stone being naturally occurring instead of created by magicians was slightly different and that part of the story left huge scope for the rest of the trilogy.

    Indeed, it is this geological aspect that provided one of the more novel touches I've seen for some time. Whilst the traditional maps of the world were present, one of them was a geological map. As well as being unusual, this certainly helped underline the part of the story about the magic stone as well as visualise the route that parts of the story may take. One of the other maps, showing what one of the characters was looking at in another part of the story was also beautifully rendered, even incorporating a similar scale to that the character could see and this was again really helpful for seeing through the character's eyes.

    This was a wonderful read and, judging by the characters locations on the map at the end, it's a trilogy with a long way yet to go. I just worry that Fitzpatrick won't be able to maintain the momentum he's built up here through another two books of this size. But that is a worry for the future; for the present, this is the perfect response to someone too quick to judge a book by the distance between the covers. There was not a word wasted and not a page that hasn't earned its place in this book and this is a path well worth travelling.

    This review may also appear, in whole or in part, under my name at any or all of www. Jan 29, Andrew rated it really liked it. New Zealand fantasy author Russell Kirkpatrick returns to his immpressively realised world in his second fantasy series "Husk". Seventy years have passed since the company from Firanes saved Faltha from a Brudwho invasion, and now Kirkpatrick's vision expands to encompass the three continents. Husk is the shattered shell of a once-powerful magician, imprisoned deep in the dungeons of Andratan by the ruler of Brudwho; the Undying Man.

    From afar he manipulates three people, drawing them inexhorabl New Zealand fantasy author Russell Kirkpatrick returns to his immpressively realised world in his second fantasy series "Husk". From afar he manipulates three people, drawing them inexhorably nearer to him and his plans for revenge.

    In Faltha we find ourselves with a familiar character from his "Fire of Heaven" trilogy; the Queen of Instruere, embarking on a quest up the path of the Aleinus River towards Adratan and an pulling she has fought her entire life. In Brudwho we follow the plight of a fisherman who must track government recruiters who have kidnapped his family. While in the south, in Elamaq, a devoted servant and a gifted girl who sees the world in numbers set out to assist their Emperor in his enduring quest for immortality.

    There's the feel of a setup about the book, with only the fisherman's narrative really resolving itself within the book. There's no doubt that these narratives will come together in the second and third installments, but for now each must be appreciated on their own, and unfortunately they don't perhaps deliver as well as they could. Kirkpatrick is a fantastic worldbuilder, and this new novel provides an opportunity to explore more of his well-crafted world. It's easy to be lost in the volume of details and his lofty prose.

    However the Faltha and Elamaq narratives in particular lack independent structure in this first volume, and the story suffers somewhat for it. The queen's story in particular, feels like a mere episode from a journey, with very little arc from beginning to end. Despite this flaw, Kirkpatrick sets the reader up for a vast and epic continuation of the narrative, which will satisfy most readers.

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    • Those familiar with Kirkpatrick's style will find much that's recognisable. His treatment of his characters is ruthless; he seldom allows his characters to remain comfortable for long, and he manages to maintain the feeling that everything could fall apart at any moment. A whole lot of characters to get to know. As well as the land they live in. The way it is written is very clear and complete which I love in fantasy books. The main plot is still unclear so the reader has to fill things in for themselves. The world building in this book is vast, detailed and exquisite.

      The characters are complex and varying, with realistic ambitions and motivations. As a writer, I thoroughly admired the craftsmanship of this book. Some parts were a little dry, and I would have liked a little more emotionality from the characters, as well as more vivid and sentimental character interactions I'm a sucker for intense, complicated relationships between characters , but overall the book was a masterpiece.

      This book o The world building in this book is vast, detailed and exquisite.

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      This book only missed out on the fifth star due to my personal preferences - I'm sure that the things I found lacking may be very different through another person's eyes. I'll definitely be continuing on with the series, and Kirkpatrick's other works. Kirkpatrick creates a vast world, with interesting and complex politics, characters and history. The book focuses of three characters; a fisherman who is more than he appears, a queen escaping her kingdom, and a young cosmographer who sees the world in numbers.

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      Each sets out on their own quest, but their paths are not clear and they are being controlled by a force unknown to them. It is a great fantasy read and I will certainly be getting the other books in the series. The story is well written, Kirkpatrick creates a vast world, with interesting and complex politics, characters and history. The story is well written, though at times it was annoying to have been following one character and be absorbed in their story, then find that the next chapter was about someone else. Switching back and forth, which at times made the story lose momentum.

      Overall though a great read. Set in the same world as his previous trilogy, the world setting remains excellent and the writing style appears to have matured. The story is great and, I for one, was glad to get some subtle or not so subtle reminders of the stories that went before. Great characterisation - so much more than the synopsis indicates. My new favourite characters are Noetos and, strangely enough the mysterious Halite - Conal. I also rather like Robal. Who else would have written "the cirrus laced sky". I can only hope that the trilogy strenghtens and does not run out of steam which I seem to recall that I felt about the first one.

      Feb 02, Pamela Lamb rated it liked it. Apart from Lord of the Rings, I've never really been into fantasy but I picked up this book by Russell Kirkpatrick at the Library recently. Apparently it is Book One of a follow on series - I wish they'd tell you that stuff before you start reading.