An Amuse-bouche for Fans of A Pattern of Shadow and Light

As some of you may know, I’ve been traveling in Europe this month gathering a plethora of research for book three. Much of the third installment of A Pattern of Shadow & Light is set in the Empire of Agasan – specifically in the Sacred City of Faroqhar – which in turn is based on Italy. So my time abroad has been well spent, even if it hasn’t seen new words written to move the story along.

I’ve been getting a lot of mail recently from fans wanting to know when book three will be ready—and rightly so. I want you all clamoring for more. However, since I am ultimately benevolent towards my readers, and since book three is still a ways from hitting the shelves (even the cyber ones), I thought I would give you some fodder for thought on where the story is heading. A few little nuggets to chew on to satisfy your craving, even if it only just takes the edge off your hunger.

[SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t read Book 2, The Dagger of Adendigaeth, stop here and go immediately to download it. I don’t want you left behind.]

[SECOND ALERT: What I say now, below, could still change. I think it’s fairly set or I wouldn’t be sharing it with you, but I reserve the right to reshape the story.]

Okay, now that that’s all covered, let’s look at a few threads we’ll pick up early in book three:

Tanis and Phaedor – when we left these intrepid explorers at the end of Dagger, they were gazing out over a lush valley and a sliver of ocean beyond, a place the zanthyr had just named home.

In book three, Tanis will head into that valley with Phaedor, where he’ll learn more about his mother and father, more about his own unique nature, and ultimately head to the Sacred City of Faroqhar as he continues on his path. He will also face another Malorin’athgul (cue scary music riff).

Franco and Carian – we last saw these Nodefinders in T’khendar. Franco has been training under Dagmar, and Carian was making new friends with the Sundragons as he learned T’khendar’s secrets.

In book three, these two will team up at Björn’s behest to stand against Niko van Amstel as he seeks the Vestal appointment and ousts Dagmar as the realm’s Second Vestal. Niko has plans that will rattle the firmament of the second strand. Unless Franco and Carian can find a way to stop him, he could further push the realm out of Balance to disastrous consequence.

But more troubling to Björn than Niko’s plans alone are the faceless men who stand behind him. Björn needs Franco and Carian to unmask the masterminds using Niko as their pawn, and our two favorite Nodefinders will be wading through a morass of unscrupulous characters in this search (and cursing the entire way).

What about Gwynnleth, you may ask? Currently she’s staying in T’khendar, and I’ll have to keep the why of that a secret for now.

Queen Errodan – When we left the Queen of Dannym at the end of Cephrael’s Hand, she stood upon the quay watching King Gydryn’s ship vanishing into the dawn.

Ean’s queen mother has already shown herself strong-willed and steadfast – she stood apart from her king for five years to protect Ean, never mind the strain it placed upon her heart. With the king and his generals now gone from Calgaryn, Errodan stands alone to meet the Duke of Morwyk as he makes his play for the Eagle Throne.

She’s a powerful woman in her own right, but in Lord Stefan val Tryst, Errodan will face unimaginable trials to both her integrity and her honor.

We’ll also meet some new characters in book three: the Empress of Agasan and her Consort, the High Lord Marius di L’Arlesé, as well as their daughter the Empress’s heir.

We’ll spend some time in the head of the young Agasi Nodefinder Felix di Sarcova as he maneuvers the halls (and forbidden nodes) of the Sormitáge seeking answers to the mystery of his best friend Malin’s disappearance.

And we’ll pick up a new viewpoint character in an old friend whose thoughts have, until this point, been a mystery to us.

I hope these threads (which are all in progress) reassure you that in fact I am working on book three and not just resting on my laurels basking in your adoration. Although that would be nice, too.

And if, dear readers, you raise a loud enough clamor, I’ll even consider posting the first chapter of book three on this blog.

It picks up with Tanis, by the way. 

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18 Responses to “An Amuse-bouche for Fans of A Pattern of Shadow and Light”

  1. Craig Van Sickle says:

    I am truly impressed. I just read books 1 and 2, back to back and I really wish book 3 was ready. Please keep me updated on your progress on book 3. Can’t wait to read it. Craig

  2. Melissa – thanks for the update! Definitely looking forward to Book 3. Of course any chapters you would love to share ahead of time would be greatly appreciated :-)

  3. Suzan ott says:

    Melissa, Lovely update– and welcome back from your trip! I’m ready for Chapter 1 of book 3.

  4. jai says:

    Clamor! Clamor! Clamor!

  5. Micheline says:

    Yes, please, post Chapter 1–and I think picking up with Tanis is just perfect…
    Every now and then, my mind wanders to thoughts of what might be happening in the world of Agasan.

  6. Willow says:

    Dear Ms McPhail,
    Just whizzed through your first and second books, and thoroughly enjoyed them. Particularly liked the way there is no clearly delineated ‘baddies’, although this meant I spent most of the first book extremely confused! Just one thing I’d like to ask– I’m delighted to see you include gay characters, but does the dubious morality of the Prophet and Sandrine reflect a personal opinion, or it it mere coincidence that they should be both gay and personally corrupt? Great characters anyway, all of yours are. Well done!

    • Melissa McPhail says:

      Willow, I’m so happy you’re enjoying the series so far, and thank you for letting me know.

      I love that you brought this point to my attention! Regretfully, it never occurred to me to see that association. I certainly didn’t intend to imply any correlation, but I do see how a negative association between immorality and homosexuality could be construed from reading those two characters. The intention behind their sexual orientation was more to elicit an emotional (or sometimes visceral) response. Perhaps this casts sexual orientation in an unfair light, especially since the books explore so many philosophical ideas (and ideals). I am actually not opinionated about the topic and believe people should be free to love whomever they choose.

      I actually have another gay character already planned for book three who I think you’ll enjoy (she has no amoral associations). I’ll definitely take a look at this idea more as I continue writing the series. It really is a great point, and I appreciate the feedback.

  7. Willow says:

    I’m so glad you reassured me on that point, I didn’t think you were homophobic but once the idea occurred to me I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I’m happy you include such characters at all, really, much fantasy seems to be stuck in the dark ages when such things dare not be mentioned…

    I hope you have a long and fruitful career ahead of you, and after the first two books, I’ll gladly buy anything you publish. Good luck.

  8. Erin says:

    Your books are so intricate I am sure it takes a while to get it all down on paper. I love them because they are intricate but I’m aching for book 3!

  9. Michele says:

    Me too!

  10. Dodie McPhee says:

    I just finished reading my way through both books on my kindle and know I need to buy them both in hardcover.
    Your stories need a permanent place on my bookshelf… Leather or paper bound to give weight to the wonderful stories you have intricately woven for us.
    I must wait for your next book… And it is very hard to do so…
    Thank you…

    • Melissa McPhail says:

      Thank you so much, Dodie. I’m thrilled you’re enjoying the series and would be honored to have a place on your library shelves. Hang in there – book three is coming soon!

  11. Tim says:

    Melissa

    I have been reading this genre constantly going back twenty years (the Belgariad, LOTR of course, etc) Your prose and your characters are believable beings and not caricatures or two dimensional personalities. Although you have the characters follow a quest, or multiple quests seeking answers, I didn’t find myself thinking “o.k. I get it, but could we arrive at the destination please?” Looking forward to Book Three.9824422

    • Melissa McPhail says:

      Tim, thank you so much for saying so. I appreciate knowing that others find my characters as real as I do. I want the story to always be moving forward, but I admit a certain desire also to share as much time with these characters as possible. There is a little bit of Trell’s viewpoint in the creation of this story, in that the journey feels as important as the destination.

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