Today, I’m excited to welcome James A. Moore, author of the The Last Sacrifice, back to Bookwraiths.  And while I could spend pages gushing over his sword and sorcery books, I believe everyone would rather I turn the stage over to Mr. Moore.  Which is exactly what I am now doing.

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Okay, so I’ve said before that I walked away from fantasy for many, many years. It wasn’t because my love of fantasy dwindled. Far from it. I left because I ran across the same story too many times.

Here’s the basic gist: daydreaming orphan boy runs across mythical Item of Power (Sword, ring, whatever it might be) and learns how to use it just in time to stop the return of the Rising Darkness. The first time I ran across that story was in The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. When he wrote it the concept was new. When I read it, the concept was fairly new, having been in print for only around 35 years. It was the couple of dozen riffs on this particular theme that chapped my hide.

Know what else was doing me in? Dragons, elves, dwarves and the occasional griffin. I like my monsters just fine, but those particular tropes started becoming, well, tropes. I like a good vampire or zombie story, too, but I don’t want every damned story to be a rehash of the same old monsters. Either make them unique, or get them off the pages of what I’m reading. No offense to those who enjoy them, but now and then I need a surprise.

And now and then, as I have said before, I am forced to write the stories that I want to read. I wrote the Seven Forges books with the promise to myself that any beasties showing up would have to be original. No mythologies that had been around for decades. I don’t have orcs, or goblins, or even kobolds in those books. Instead I have the Sa’ba Taalor and their Mounts as my primary sources of “things that are not quite normal.” I have wizardry, but I tried to make it my own.

And I did the exact same thing again with The Last Sacrifice. There are gods, yes, but they have only been mentioned so far and not truly seen. Instead of using what I’ve read about a hundred times, I decided to try making my own mythology again. This time, that required coming up with servants of the very gods I’ve mentioned. There are the Grakhul, a pale-skinned race with a few surprises, and there are the He-Kisshi, the direct servants of the gods, also called the Undying and a dozen less savory names.

The Grakhul are almost human. Their culture is very different from ours. The men serve their purposes, the women serve their purposes, and both in turn serve the He-Kisshi. The men take care of manual tasks around the area, including offering sacrifices to the gods. The women handle the ritual cleansing of sacrifices and the preparations that must happen before the men can fulfill their part of the rituals.

I also considered where they lived and why they lived there. The area is desolate, a barren land on the edge of the ocean, where nothing grows except some moss and the air is damp and cold at all times. What do they eat? Fish, of course. How do they capture the fish?

Well, I decided they don’t use nets. They move out into the water, they change to adapt to the water and they gather fish with their webbed, clawed hands. When they are done they come out of the water and change back into land dwellers. They are shape shifters.  They change in small ways, true, but they become stronger and faster when they are in the waters.

They live in a miserable area that most people would never consider inhabiting, but the gods have made it easy for them. And they live there because the gods demand it.

The He-Kisshi are a different lot. The Undying are just that, undying. Theya re tough, they are sinister, they are arrogant and they have control over the elements. Should they want a storm they can summon it. Should they want the winds to lift them into the air, it happens. They appear as cowled monks until they are seen up close. They have claws, they carry weapons, they speak little and they are the very voice of the gods. They choose who will be sacrificed to the gods and they deliver those sacrifices to the Grakhul. They are feared by all five kingdoms, and they are obeyed by all five as well, because their station in life is to be the voice of the gods, and no one who is wise disobeys a god. No one who is wise catches the attention of that sort of servant, either.

Because I like my inhuman thingies, I made the He-Kisshi as nasty as I could. They have a face that is little more than a mouth filled with enough teeth to make a shark jealous; they have hot, leathery skin and claws that are a long as daggers. They are hard to hurt, and even if you kill them, they come back to life.

Oh, and some of them hold a grudge like nobody’s business.

That’s book one. There will be more critters. I’ve hinted at the Night People, the Marked Men and the demons that the gods have punished and locked away. They have been seen, but what I have shown is not the complete picture. Where would be the fun in showing the whole deck of cards before the first hand is dealt?

The thing is, I’m having fun making new critters, because the old ones have lost their appeal for me. Mostly. That can change from time to time.

What else will I bring to the table? I have no idea, but it will be fun deciding when the time comes.

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the-last-sacrificeAbout The Last Sacrifice 

Since time began the Grakhul, immortal servants of the gods who choose who lives and who dies when it comes time to make sacrifices to their deities, have been seeking to keep the world in balance and the gods appeased. When they take the family of Brogan McTyre to offer as sacrifice, everything changes.

Brogan heads off on a quest to save his family from the Grakhul. The decision this time is costlier than they expected, leading to Brogan and his kin being hunted as criminals and the gods seeking to punish those who’ve defied them.


james-mooreAbout James A Moore 

JAMES A MOORE is the award-winning, bestselling, author of over forty novels, thrillers, dark fantasy and horror alike, including the critically acclaimed Fireworks, Under The OvertreeBlood Red, the Serenity Falls trilogy (featuring his recurring anti-hero, Jonathan Crowley) and his most recent novels, The Blasted Lands and City of Wonders both part of the Seven Forges seriesIn addition to writing multiple short stories, he has also edited, with Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon, The British Invasion anthology for Cemetery Dance Publications.

Moore’s first short story collection, Slices, sold out before ever seeing print. He is currently at work on several additional projects, including the forthcoming The Last Sacrifice, book one in the Tides of War, series. Along with Jonathan Maberry and Christopher Golden, he hosts the Three Guys With Beards podcast and currently he lives in Massachusetts.

Meet him on his blog and @jamesamoore on Twitter.

Purchase the novels at Amazon.

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  1. Nathan says:

    Sounds interesting to me. I am a major sucker for gods in fantasy; a good many of my favorites have this aspect.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. PHS says:

    Reblogged this on Archer's Aim and commented:
    A very interesting guest post from James A. Moore from over on Bookwraiths. It covers his development of fantasy with his unique set of fantasy creatures.

    Liked by 1 person

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