Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the Escapist Book Tours virtual book tour for Christopher Russell’s Epic Fantasy/Steampunk/Military Fantasy novel Divinity’s Twilight: Rebirth! Today, I am excited to help kickoff the tour by sharing an interview with the main characters from the book!
You can find our Q&A below, along with all of the info about the book, the author, links to purchase a copy of Divinity’s Twilight: Rebirth for yourself, and a chance to win a copy in our giveaway! Also, be sure to take a look at the schedule at the bottom of the post and follow along to see the stops from our other awesome hosts!
Divinity’s Twilight: Rebirth by Christopher Russell
Series: Divinity’s Twilight #1
Genre: Epic Fantasy/Steampunk/Military Fantasy
Intended Age Group: Adult
Published: September 22, 2020
Publisher: Morgan James Publishing
A world consumed by war . . .
An ancient evil resurrected . . .
A millennia old bargain comes due . . .
When two blades clash, the third will fall, and the fate of all will be jeopardized. To save Lozaria, the failures of the past must be atoned for by a new generation of heroes. The time has come for mortals to cast off sight and, in doing so, truly come to see . . .
Victory is never absolute.
Seven centuries ago, the forces of order won the Illyriite War on the plains of Har’muth. Darmatus and Rabban Aurelian slew their elder brother, Sarcon, the despotic architect of the conflict, then sacrificed themselves to banish the cataclysmic vortex opened with his dying breath. The first advent of the Oblivion Well was thwarted. Even without their vanished gods, the seven races of Lozaria proved themselves capable of safeguarding their world.
Or so the story goes.
The year is now 697 A.B.H (After the Battle of Har’muth). Though war itself remains much the same, the weapons with which it is waged have evolved. Airships bearing powerful cannons ply the skies, reducing the influence of mages and their spells. Long range communication has brought far flung regions of Lozaria closer than ever before. At the center of this technological revolution are the three Terran states of Darmatia, Rabban, and Sarconia, who have fought a near ceaseless campaign of 700 years in an attempt to best each other. The roots of their enmity lie buried beneath the wasteland of Har’muth, a place all three nations consider best forgotten.
However, an ancient power sealed within Har’muth has not forgotten them, and the descendants of those who fought on that field must now take a stand to rectify the mistakes of the past.
You’re So Vain (You Probably Think This Book is About You) • If I Only Had a Body • Let’s Get Down to Business, to Defeat the Sarcs
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/4EPLpO/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Divinitys-Twilight-Rebirth-Christopher-Russell-ebook/dp/B088PB6M5D
“H-hello, everyone. Matteo here. Sorry for interrupting your day, but my author and these blog people wanted me to come on and answer some questions. You don’t have to read them. Dear Veneer, I’d kind of prefer if you didn’t. I . . . I’m really not that interesting, and will probably void things up but . . . well, here goes . . .”
What music do you listen to?
“Something soft and soothing, like a babbling stream or wind whispering over a hill. Nothing sharp, nothing violent. Maybe a classical orchestra? My heart can’t take sudden noises, and if I have to deal with gunfire, or explosions, or . . . ‘Why am I training to be in the army then,’ you ask? It’s sort of a long story, but if you read the Tale of the Elder Three, Crossing the Divide, and these twenty other books about the Hero King Darmatus, you might— I’m rambling again, aren’t I. Sorry, so, so sorry. Let’s move on.”
What are 3 items you can’t live without?
“I don’t need a lot to get by. My glasses, of course. If you think I’m clumsy now, wait until you see me stumbling around like a blindfolded dragon in a glass factory. It also goes without saying that I’ll need something to read—a big, thick tome will do nicely, one that’ll double as a shield in an emergency. Be prepared, and all that. Lastly . . . can I take Velle with me? N-no, forget I asked. She’s a-a person, not a thing, and I really have no business asking her to stay with me. She wouldn’t say yes, so that’s the end of that. Just give me something from my family, something I can hold while thinking of them.”
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what is one thing you’d like to have with you?
“I hate to be a bother, but isn’t this a slightly more detailed version of the previous question? What do you mean, ‘No one has ever pointed that out before?‘ Look, I don’t have confidence in very many things, but dissecting books, phrases, and questions is an area I excel in. Fine, you want me to give a more practical answer? Drinkable water. Vallen might give a foolish response like, ‘My weapon,‘ or, ‘Good food,‘ but I know better. Secure the most critical necessity first, then work backwards from there . . . N-not that I’m giving you orders, or anything.”
What is your biggest pet peeve?
“People that sleep in class. Who? I . . . I can’t tell you. If I report them again, they’ll know it’s me, and, well . . .”
What do you do in your free time?
“Curl up in a secluded corner of the Academy library, surrounded by stacks of books, and read until they ring the curfew bell. You too? Oh, have you read On the Ten Schools or The Noble Lineages? What about Farn’s At the Corners or . . . You know what? Just take this pile, sit there, and we’ll discuss them all when you’re done.”
What makes you want to get out of bed in the morning?
“I need to graduate. Why? To be like my heroes, of course. Darmatus and Rabban, Illara and Venael. They faced monumental odds—famine, disease, war, and the Oblivion Well crisis on top of everything else. And you know what? They won. If I can become an officer, if I can lead men and women like they did, maybe, just maybe, I can get better. Overcome my doubts and fears, stand a little straighter, and help others like they did. I . . . I doubt I’ll ever be a true hero like them, but if one person smiles a little brighter because of me, that’ll be enough. Oh, and to hear Velle say, ‘Good morning, Matteo.’ Don’t write that last part down.”
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Find your own path, your own goals, and your own reasons to accomplish them. I’m not the . . . most self-assured person ever, so those words really spoke to me. I don’t need to be like others. I don’t need to be the best. I just need to be the best me that I can, and—like she said—that’s enough.”
What do you carry in your bag?
“Textbooks, my notes, four scrivles—can’t have an odd number, since that would be weird—a water flask, some ration bars, a change of smallclothes, my glasses’ rag, and a couple illyrium crystals that can double as lights. That’s too much? Honestly, I think I could fit a few more things, like a rain poncho, a change of socks, some backup laces for my boots, a sewing kit for my coat . . .”
What’s your favorite animal?
“Drakens. Dear Veneer, NO, I do not want to meet one. Besides, experts say they’re extinct. Why do I like them, then? They’re fascinating! What kind of crazed sorcerer would think to combine a kraken and a dragon, and what kind of ritual was necessary to join them together? Can you imagine it? Massive tentacles swirling through the air, an impossibly long neck and a head crowned by four ruby eyes. Best to steer clear of those fangs, though. A book I read said each was as long as my arm. I get shivers just thinking about running into one.”
What do you think about [other MC(s)]?
“Vallen is, well, Vallen. He’s less a person and more a force of nature, doing what he wants, when he wants. I wish Steward Metellus would rein him in, otherwise our squad will probably fail our graduation exam. Obviously I’m not going to say anything to him. He wouldn’t listen, and his reply would be . . . unkind. Sylette? I know as much about her as you do. She’s the Academy’s darling little mystery, a scholarship student from the Rabban Imperium that popped up out of nowhere a few semesters ago. Rumor says not to cross her, so that’s good enough for me. Here’s hoping she and Vallen butt heads and take each other out—preferably after I have my graduation medallion in hand.”
Do you have favorite saying?
“Discretion is the better part of valor. It’s hard to keep fighting when you’re dead, so knowing when to run away is important. No, I’m not scared! Retreat is a perfectly legitimate battlefield tactic!”
What is your favorite holiday?
“Festivus! Parades, concerts, performances—something is happening on every block and corner, and the whole city is decorated with enough bright streamers and bunting to make a rainbow look drab by comparison. But my favorite part are the reenactments. Actors wearing ceremonial robes and masks bring scenes from history to life, like the Battle of Har’muth, the Sundering, and the Void’s Bargain. They use magic for special effects, and an orchestra provides a thrilling accompaniment. If I didn’t have exams to study for, I’d be out watching them right now.”
If you could go anywhere in [the book’s world], where would you go and why?
“The library at the World’s End monastery. I hear they have old books and scrolls that don’t exist anywhere else in the world, including the Nemare and Sarconia archives. What? You don’t think that’s exciting enough? Adventure is for fools, my friend. Better to read about a hundred journeys from the safety of a comfy chair than risk your neck to experience one yourself.”
What do you do to relax?
“I think this would be fairly obvious by now, but aside from reading, I enjoy a good soak in a steaming tub. I let my fears wash away, melt into the water, and as my eyelids start to droop . . . I grab a book from inside my bath towel and start reading again. Not to be rude, but you really should have seen that answer coming.”
What is your favorite food?
“Seafood cannelloni in a marinara sauce. My hometown, Etrus, has the best fish market in Darmatia. Crab, mussels, clams—you name it, we have it. And the zesty sauce at Luceno’s bistro smeared atop a juicy cannelloni that melts in your mouth is . . . simply divine. I’m not a picky eater, but I’d have it every day if I could.”
What is your favorite season?
“Summer, despite the oppressive heat and humidity of southern Darmatia. Let’s just say that where I live, winter isn’t very pleasant because of a . . . plant problem.”
How would you define happiness?
“A warm room shuttered against the elements, stacks of books on my left, the soft murmur of friends and family on my right. Nothing extravagant, nothing fancy.”
What are you passionate about?
“Golden age stories—stuff about Darmatus, Rabban, and Sarcon. I also like piloting, but my airship simulation results aren’t the best. I’ve crashed so many times I’m starting to have nightmares about it. Maybe I’ll be better at the real thing, but I doubt they’ll let me fly unless I’m literally the last person left who knows how to. Let’s pray that never happens.”
How do you feel about your government?
“I don’t know Steward Metellus personally, but he seems like a good man—the kind that would give his robe to a beggar and walk home in his smallclothes with a smile on his face. I’m not so sure about the Council of Overseers beneath him, but they don’t seem to have made any major missteps. We’re not at war, right? And the parts of the capital I’ve seen are breathtaking. Pristine canals, vibrant bazaars, soaring minarets and gleaming temple domes. They put a lot of effort into keeping Nemare pure as a crystal. But . . . I’ve heard Vallen mention there are some pretty big slums beneath the surface. Makes me wonder if all the glamour is just that—a nice facade hiding the rot beneath.
Still, it’s all way, way above my station. Veneer willing, I’ll never have that much responsibility.”
If you could change one thing about [the book’s world], what would it be?
“Someone really, really needs to sit the Sarconians and Rabbanites down and ask them if a seven-century-long war is worth it. We don’t get much news about the day to day conflict in Darmatia, but I’ve heard merchants talk about horrible wartime conditions in both countries. Supply rationing, mandatory drafts, rampant poverty and inflation. Their people have it rough, and that’s just the civilians. When our instructors talk about the killing fields in front of Varas Fortress, I double over in my seat, holding back vomit and tears. I have to run away, otherwise I’ll end up spilling my guts while imagining . . . No, I’m not going to think about it. Both nations are destroying their people, and it’s past time they realized and did something about it.”
What’s your biggest secret?
“I’m . . . I’m not really sure. I tell my parents everything, and my squad doesn’t really care enough to ask about my life, so it’s not like I’m trying to hide anything. Wait. Oh, oh no. There was that time. When I was four, and my mom had just finished baking cookies and put them on the kitchen windowsill to cool. I . . . I maybe, possibly, might have . . . taken one without asking and never told her. Do you think she knows? Does that count as a secret? Plague and pox, I’ll spill everything to her next time I visit.”
What do you hate?
“Nothing, though Vallen comes close. I can’t believe someone so gifted can be so nonchalant, so carefree, so lazy. He leaves dirty uniforms scattered around our apartment, makes a racket when he stumbles home well after the void’s hour, and mocks me with that little nickname of his: Professor Nightlight. I leave the bathroom light on for safety purposes, not because I’m afraid of the dark.”
What’s your biggest fear?
“Vallen? Renar? Drakens? The Consumer, Sarcon? Or maybe the shadowy blob that hunches in the corner of my room at night and slowly oozes toward my bed? No, I’m not imagining it. Yes, it’s perfectly normal to leave a light on when you sleep so you don’t trip on the way to the washroom.”
What do you think your best quality is?
“Perseverance. I’m not terribly strong, fast, or skilled with magic, but I don’t give up. I will protect those I care about, even if it means facing my fears. Except Drakens. I don’t want my bones used for toothpicks.”
How would you describe the world you live in?
There’s war, yes. And sickness, hardship, and hate. But there are moments of brilliance, too. The rays of the setting sun kissing the top of Etrus’ central hill, painting the adobe homes in glittering orange and red, making the countless stained glass windows sparkle like a rainbow tapestry. The white-capped surf pounding the obsidian coast nearby, casting forth tendrils of mist that brush the day’s heat from your cheeks.
Bawdry taverns packed to the brim. Theatres crowded with eager listeners, ready to hear a word or song that will set their soul aflame. Airships cut through the skies like swallows, and caravans trundle along the roads bearing treasures that will brighten eyes and make tongues dance with delight.
This world is full of darkness, but I have seen the light. And I will fight for it, because it is beautiful and worth saving.”
About the Author
Christopher Russell (native of Williamsburg, VA) is a 29-year-old mechanical and aerospace engineer (graduate of the University of Virginia) who has loved reading since the day he picked up a book and writing since he could scrawl his first letters. After voraciously consuming titles from every genre—ranging from Star Wars to Lord of the Rings—he decided to combine the expertise from his professional education, passions, and Christian faith into a fantasy epic bridging the gap between magic and science. He currently resides in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his loyal dog, Vallen, named after the protagonist of his first work. For behind-the-scenes information on all of Christopher Russell’s works, visit christopherrussellauthor.com.
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