One of the most common questions Eldon receives is that of how
he came to write a particular story. These readers want to know where he drew
his inspiration, hear some of the challenges he may have faced, etc. The
following note from Eldon offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse, explaining some of
the story background and how it all came about.
"Here it is, the grand finale, the culmination
of a story more than 700,000 words long. My poor editor deserves a
medal at the very least.
One of the problems with a tale of this size is the
level of expectations that are built up along the way. The bigger
the story, the bigger and more exciting the conclusion must be.
Readers don't want to have slogged through three books and several
hundred pages only to feel duped by an ending that comes across as
flat or contrived. The payoff must be rich and compelling, both
visually and emotionally. Readers want surprise without trickery.
They want to feel that the story has reached a complete and natural
conclusion, while at the same time being left with a sense that the
world and its surviving characters will continue to move forward
after the last page has been turned. As an author, you try to leave
your audience satisfied, yet wishing there was more.
Whether or not I've succeeded in that must
obviously be left up to the individual reader. I can promise,
however, that every aspect of this story has been meticulously
planned from the beginning. For those who wish to go back and
re-read the series, you'll find numerous details established way
back in the first book that resurface here in the end. Facts that
might have previously seemed insignificant rise to the fore to play
a major role in terms of plot or theme. A proper finish must have a
proper opening, and vice versa. Story threads must tie off where
they began. That is the nature of storytelling: a circular arc where
setup meets payoff. Whatever else you may think, know that I have
endeavored in every way to bring this story full circle, with the
hope that more readers than not will agree.
Regardless, this is the third act, the last hurrah,
my final chance to instill a sense of wonder and excitement in my
readers' hearts and minds. Knowing that, I've held nothing back,
even when concerned that I might have pushed the envelope too far.
To quote Publishers Weekly, "The gory final Legend of Asahiel
novel (after 2006's The Obsidian Key) brings this grim
fantasy epic to conclusion with plenty of violence and magical
mayhem." Obviously, this story is not for the faint of heart. It is
in essence a holocaust tale, after all. It's intended to be about
real people who must fight their way through horrific
circumstances—including several who perish in the attempt. Readers
looking for rainbows and fairies and sunlit skies might want to take
a closer look at the monstrous, acid-scarred dragon on the cover.
Even fans of the first or second book in the series should be warned
that matters most definitely worsen before they get better, and not
to expect a fairy-tale ending.
In the final analysis, what matters most is that
readers are entertained, and that the author remain true to his or
her story. As I said before, a third act is all about meeting or
exceeding established expectations. With that in mind, I hope
readers will once again agree with the assessment by Publishers
Weekly, in that: "The final chapter of this dense trilogy is not
for new readers, but those familiar with previous events will be
satisfied with its sneering villains, bloody battles, and decisive