Bradley P. Beaulieu, sometimes contributor here at A Dribble of Ink and author of The Winds of Khalakovo, announced this week that he has completed work on the first volume of his upcoming trilogy, The Song of the Shattered Sands, for DAW Books. Beaulieu is known for his comprehensive, diverse world building, and Twelve Kings in Sharakhai looks no different. He’s established a Pinterest board that illustrates some of the imagery he’s used as inspiration for the series, and gives readers a taste of what we can expect from the series.
In the cramped west end of Sharakhai, the Amber Jewel of the Desert, Çeda fights in the pits to scrape a living. She, like so many in the city, pray for the downfall of the cruel, immortal Kings of Sharakhai, but she’s never been able to do anything about it. This all changes when she goes out on the night of Beht Zha’ir, the holy night when all are forbidden from walking the streets. It’s the night that the asirim, the powerful yet wretched creatures that protect the Kings from all who would stand against them, wander the city and take tribute. It is then that one of the asirim, a pitiful creature who wears a golden crown, stops Çeda and whispers long forgotten words into her ear. Çeda has heard those words before, in a book left to her by her mother, and it is through that one peculiar link that she begins to find hidden riddles left by her mother.
As Çeda begins to unlock the mysteries of that fateful night, she realizes that the very origin of the asirim and the dark bargain the Kings made with the gods of the desert to secure them may be the very key she needs to throw off the iron grip the Kings have had over Sharakhai. And yet the Kings are no fools—they’ve ruled the Shangazi for four hundred years for good reason, and they have not been idle. As Çeda digs into their past, and the Kings come closer and closer to unmasking her, Çeda must decide if she’s ready to face them once and for all.
While he admits the book is still early and ‘not perfect,’ it will be going through at least two more drafts after it has passed through hands on his editors, agent and beta readers.
He also illustrates the interesting draft structure that he uses for writing his novels, saying that the draft he completed is the first finished copy, despite having ‘finished’ a ‘zeroth’ draft a couple of months ago. The [zeroth] draft is filled with so many needed changes, that I wouldn’t (under normal circumstances) send it out for review. Why? Because of the simple fact that I know there are so many things wrong with it. If you’re going to have someone review your work, you want them focusing on the things that you can’t find, not wasting their time and yours on the things you already know need fixing,” he said.
Twelve Kings in Sharakhai is due for release in 2014 from DAW Books (North America) and Gollancz (United Kingdom).