Fourth Novel Finished!
When deciding on a follow-up to Pride of Carthage I wanted to make sure I wrote a novel similarly large in scope, with the feel of a literary historical novel, intricately plotted and thematically grand. I also wanted it to be a uniquely imaginative project. It was with that in mind that I began writing Acacia.
I think of Acacia: The War with the Mein (Acacia, Book 1) as an historical novel of an alternative world. Like Pride of Carthage it's the saga of one great family in the swirl of war. But also, in my mind at least, I was inspired by some other wonderful books. As in The Mists of Avalon it chronicles the struggles between royal lineages and religious faiths. But it's also similar to The Lord of the Rings in it's fantastical setting. Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea Trilogy is also an inspiration, and Acacia takes a serious look at the origins, uses and dangers of magic. And in some ways it's inspired by the mystical complexity and political machinations of Dune. Having said that, this novel is also decidedly different than any of these, and it's virtues are limited to my talents. But these books and writers were significant inspirations.
The novel opens well into a long period of prosperity for an empire known as Acacia. The ruler of this kingdom, Leodan Akaran, has inherited a long run of peace and prosperity, won ages ago by his ancestors. He's a man of high intelligence, who has raised his four children in a sheltered, idyllic setting. He's hidden them from dark realities that fund the Acacian peace, such things as a global slave trade and a state-sponsored drug program that sedates mass labor forces.
Those wishing to overthrow Acacian rule are lead by Hanish Mein, a charismatic young prince from one of the northern provinces. They are on the move right from the beginning of the novel. Before long an assassin's poisoned blade takes the king's life and announces the crumbling of the empire, but not before Leodan manages to implement a plan for his children. He sends each of them into hiding in a different geographical direction, into very different racial and ethnic societies. The hope is that once the children all grow to maturity they will gather the forces of their host nations and attempt to regain the lost throne.
Before they can actualize this utopian multiculturalism they learn the hard way that the benevolent Acacian Empire they've always cherished never existed. Acacia was founded on inequities their father never told them about. Nonetheless, they set out to create in reality what had only been a myth before. What they end up with - after a massive military effort and a full measure of twisting fates and fortunes, love affairs, triumphs and tragedies - is a very different world than anything they or their father ever envisioned.