I am extremely pleased to see that the first volume in Arts of Dark and Light, A THRONE OF BONES, is available again on Amazon. Seeing as I am elbows’ deep in the guts of the sequel, (and a very convoluted, but action-filled Book Two it is too), I found it more than a little irritating that all of the secondary works were back up online again, but the central one was not.

If you haven’t read A Throne of Bones yet, it is my answer to the modern epic fantasy. Interestingly enough, Amazon appears to have categorized it in the category Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Myths & Legends > Greek & Roman. I take this as the same sort of compliment that a Black Gate reviewer once paid to Summa Elvetica: A Casuistry of the Elvish Controversy when he commented on the arguments by Thomas Aquinas it contained. I don’t claim that A Throne of Bones rises to the level of Greco-Roman myth, much less that my argument for elven ensoulment is as logically sound as the arguments in the Summa proper, but the mere fact that my works can be mistaken for such things, however briefly, is interesting in its own right.

As for the present lack of reviews, I am confident that all 134 reviews, including the spurious ones, will soon be attached to the new Castalia House listing. The price remains the same as before, and at $4.99 for 854 pages, A Throne of Bones has to be one of the better bargains Amazon is presently offering. As for the book itself, this three-star review might provide an informative perspective:

“Vox is adept at balancing out a very complex story. This is only the first book, but Vox wastes no time establishing what are, I assume, the majority of the key forces at play on the chess board so to speak. And that’s one of the biggest draws of the book, because I don’t know how you could read it and not at least be a little curious who’s going to come out on top considering not just the volume of opposing forces, but the variety as well, between demons, different humanoid races, and monsters. Vox has created a house of cards that should be entertaining to watch come crashing down.

“Making this conflict an even more exciting prospect is the way he handles the battles. The battles are some of the best I’ve read in a fantasy novel. Whereas Tolkien didn’t care about strategy, or going into the specifics of the personal impact of the conflict, and seemed to only put the action into his books because he thought that’s what the readers wanted, Vox relishes in strategy, and the up close and personal consequences of the violence. The battles are great, and they don’t feel forced in just to add conflict. The final battle in the book was the end result of a chain of dominoes first tipped over right at the start of the book. Kudos on that, because it definitely has more impact when the battle literally couldn’t exist without the prior 600+ pages setting it up.

“I’d like to give this book a four star review, because I enjoyed reading it despite its flaws, but it’s a three star book. With just a couple of (easier said than done) improvements, this could be an easy four stars if not five. Vox has laid a solid foundation, and I’m still looking forward to seeing who dies next, who betrays who, and how the alliances change.

“Also, just sayin’, I’d much rather read this than Martin’s Game of Thrones.”

I don’t know if I will succeed in making the series continuously improve or not; presumably no author wants to see his books on a downward-trending arc. But I have paid attention to all of the substantive criticism that has been offered. Some of it is admittedly beyond me: it is clear at this point that I’m not going to magically become a more talented weaver of prose. Some of it is simply misguided: “a shrieking, struggling dwarf-sized body” is not necessarily a dwarf and if you can’t figure that out, well, that’s perfectly understandable, but in that case you are not my ideal reader. Some of it is simply subjective and therefore irrelevant. But some of it is very useful indeed, and I very much appreciate those who have criticized the book with the objective of making the subsequent ones better.

I am presently on track for Book Two to be published in ebook in December. Kirk and I were discussing the cover just yesterday, and there will be a hardcover versions of both Book One and Book Two available, although I can’t guarantee that the hardcover release will coincide with the electronic one.