As I write this, one of my daughters is blasting a symphonic version of “The Amazing Spiderman” from her room upstairs. It makes me very proud, both as a musician and a fantasy fan. You try to educate your children in life areas of critical importance—Star Wars, LOTR, Marvel—but you can only show them the path; they have to walk it for themselves.
That so many of you have found a path into my world is one of my most rewarding joys. As we head into the final month of book five famine, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for being so supportive over the past three years. In all the time I was writing book five, I received only encouragement, despite the gnawing hunger I know you all are/were experiencing. Your support means more to me than you can ever know. So, thank you.
Now that The Sixth Strand is off to press and available for preorder, I can spare a moment for reflection on the work. One of the aspects of the story that I most enjoyed writing was exploring the magic of Alorin in a new and different way.
In Kingdom Blades, Arion’s memory thread touches upon the idea that the strands of elae as outlined in the Sobra Iternin are merely one way of codifying of the lifeforce. Isabel points out to Sebastian in a later chapter that there are other schools of magic that don’t use Patterning at all. We see this with Tannour’s thread in Kingdom Blades. He works the lifeforce with no understanding of Patterning or even of the strands of elae.
In The Sixth Strand, as I continued to develop Tannour’s backstory, I was able to delve into the Sorceresy and their methods of teaching magic. I can’t reveal too much of what transpired on that thread or I’ll spoil the surprise, but my delving unearthed a new character that I’m now quite infatuated with (I always have a soft spot for the dark, dangerous types) and a far deeper understanding of the Sorceresy’s work—along with why they teach their inductees to stay far away from Sormitáge Adepts.
Arion made a personal soapbox of the Fifth Law: A wielder is limited by what he can envision. And for good reason. In The Sixth Strand, we began to see how the teachings of the Sormitáge might actually limit a wielder’s ability to envision what can be done with the lifeforce.
On a broader scale, this concept is an important exploration for me. Codification of esoteric subjects (e.g. philosophy, religion, advanced mathematics) is necessary to achieve unified understanding and agreement, but when one is taught something is without recourse to his own evaluation, this has a limiting effect on one’s consciousness—curbing to some extent one’s ability to revise that information thereafter.
If something IS, the data is not necessarily free to be re-examined beneath new information, new viewpoints or new understandings gained. The idea can become fixed. Immutable. There is one God and his name is______ has caused turmoil in the Middle East for centuries.
There are many Sumarian texts that have been intentionally mistranslated because the data appeared to conflict with the timeline of the Bible.
Einstein’s theories are as limiting as they are visionary.
I have no particular religious or political agenda. If I ever take a soapbox, it’s only to advocate for the right to free thought. But I do believe that how free our thoughts are is limited in no small part by our education, and even by the way we’re educated; hence, Arion’s views on the Fifth Law, and my exploration in The Sixth Strand of another side of elae—one you may never have envisioned before (I know I’d never thought of it until I met Tannour Valeri).
I look forward to hearing your thoughts after you read book five, and where your ideas take you thereafter.
Is the new book available in hard copy from Amazon please. I am in England and only have facility for books in print not digital
Hi Jane, due to Amazon’s preorder policies, The Sixth Strand will go on preorder on Amazon during the second week of June. I’ll email my mailing list as soon as it’s live for purchase.
I am a die hard Kindle user so buy all my fantasy books from Amazon. I would stick to paper but at my age eyes aren’t what they used to be. Nook and iPad are not my favorite for reading books. So do keep me on that list for Amazon preorder!
I am, as I am sure other readers are, completely smitten by Epiphany’s Prophet. Loving yet powerful – who was your model for her character? GoT has just one episode left and will be back in show hole. I’ve seen thoughts of a possible series and artist renditions and actual mode suggestions for characters from the story. I for one would be glued to my seat should it ever happen, as I live for fantasy. Scifi is no longer so fi anymore but fantasy will never be, unless you’ve become an arhat and learned the siddhis through your yoga practice!
Love you bio you sound amazing. Have been a reader if yoga and buddhism for a long time, practiced buddhism for a while, have started yoga finally (!) at a ripening older age, better late than never. I can see the influence each has on your writing which I think contributes to my enjoyment of the story.
I read your explanations for the parts with Isabel and her captor (sorry not goos at remembering names). I will admit I found it very powerful. Usually one sublimates sexual desire with another, an interesting concept to sublimate an even darker desire *with* sex. I look forward to seeing how you resolve Arion’s internal strife over what he perceives her “betrayal”.
Have you ever read Thomas Covenant? Stephen Donaldson resolved his world’s mage’s inability to use the Staff of Law tonit’s fullest extent ultimately by their embracing anger and accepting it as a source of energy to fuel the Staff of Laws inherent powers. I wonder if Arion might walk that same path if rage and find the courage to find his path.
Do you know Spanish? Courage, if you pronounce it as it might be in Spanish (coraje), means rage! I found that enlightening in my own life when I stumbled on this. Should have figured that one out though when I saw the movie Anger Management lol.
I am very excited to see what happens next. An unfettered rageful Arion in book 5 who maybe learns to sublimate his rage for the good of the universe and in so doing resolves his anger towards Isabel who has dine the same…!? Take care!!!
I don’t really model characters off of real people, Felix. Instead I try to have them embody ideals that could inspire real people. Sometimes Isabel is so serene she feels inhuman to me, but wouldn’t we all love to be able to maintain a benevolent equilibrium when everything seems to be going awry?
I would definitely think that being a yogi yourself, many things within my story would resonate with you.
It’s interesting, your take on Isabel’s captivity and solution. You’re right – sex is usually the thing being sublimated. I see Pelas actually moving beyond this outlet to channel Darshan’s compulsion eventually into his art. Sex was merely the medium Isabel used to teach him how to channel instead of fight that force, per the Ninth Law.
I’ll be interested in your thoughts on Ean and Isabel’s reunion after you read book five. Please keep me posted. 🙂
OMG did you just give up a spoiler? Pelas and brithers are awesome characterizations of Chaos. Physics tells is there really is no chaos that there is in fact order (balance) in chaos, simply, over such a length of time that mere humans cannot observe the pattern. Pelas Darshan and brother ultimately serve balance in their own way. Pelas’ change brings his Pattern more observably to the foreground.
When the book comes out I am heading to the beach and will read in a day! Hope the sun is not too too hot! 🙂
I’m new to the teachings of Taoism but much of this story seems to coincide with it. I understand that the whole story is an allegory on different philosophies, is Taoism in there intentionally? Absolutely astounded by this series. Finally found my fantasy home! Thank you!
Hi Kiera, I’m thrilled that you’re enjoying my series. Your kind words mean a lot to me.
I have definitely studied the Tao Te Ching and found many truths within Laozi’s teachings. I didn’t deliberately base any of the series on Taoist beliefs, but universal truths have a way of going in and attaching themselves to each other such that it becomes difficult to separate them again. 😉
Melissa, I’m excited to get your next book and in time for summer in the sun! I loved how you framed the past books and your thoughts in the Email I just read from you. I’ll order right away!
I’m excited to get your feedback, Suzan.
Truly I have always have my doubts on the limitations the laws of patterning put on Adepts when it comes to the life force *elae* each time i look at both the laws and the Esoterics i think and wonder *that’s contradictory. If Absolute Being is the entire concept of actuality.and pattern lies within the boundaries of Absolute Being furthermore if the weilding of a Form must encapsulate Absolute Being. And the 1st Law states Know the effect you intend to create and we put into consideration the 7th,11th,12th and 13th Law* Then the Idea of Elae having strands is nonexistent. And in a way Tannour verified this notion, the way he works the life force one can imagined he is a 5th strand, but he did more than just that. The laws are there as guidelines but not to act as limiters.
I am really REALLY looking forward to Book 5.
You’e amazing, Chernor. LOL! My thoughts exactly!
Love your image choices! I’m not going to read the blog until I’ve caught up on your entire series though. #nospoilers
Smart thinking, Matt. 😉
I am rediculously excited about book 5! I’ve been relistening to all the series on Audible.
I think a weilders vision is limited by the realm he exists within. Beings from the Shadow realm, or the realm of Chaos perceives their world differently than people from the realms of Light!
I want all of these books in print on my bookshelf!
Thank you Melissa!!
I couldn’t agree more, Eric! Great perspective on the realms and perception. 🙂
Still 2 books behind. Wish I had not found this thread
Oh no! Definitely don’t read blog posts titled with books you haven’t read yet!
Love that you take time out to talk to us and that you always reply personally to each and everyone.
Fab to read through your reflections and only add to the anticipation of the new book.
I for one can’t wait to continue the journey!
Thank you so much, Peter. I love being able to interact with all of you. Gaining your viewpoints and perspectives has enabled me to broaden my own. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on The Sixth Strand in June. Thank you for reading!
I am excited to learn that your view is almost identical to mine. That all humans, every soul is viewing life from a different angle… their own! It really is ‘ The Big Picture’ perspective. Free your mind
So true, Laurie!
It’s a rather deep concept of learning you talk about, almost Montessori in style but even that has limits. I have a nearly 5yo daughter and I worry sometimes that I am constraining her by my own experiences and views despite wanting her to choose her own path and interests. I think it is very hard to truly and freely think outside the box since we are all products of our experiences and education and that doesn’t tend to fit well with truly free learning.
I look forward to your next book and I’m sure there will be ideas I can use to try and free myself from old learned patterns so to not limit my daughter unintentionally!
Other than that, I have loved reading all my life, especially fantasy and have simply loved your books. Thank you for this story which hooked me after the first advert I saw on fb, whether or not you continue writing after this, I will always treasure this and I hope to pass on to my daughter – when she’s a little older! Have a lovely summer, namaste from Salisbury UK!
Yes, Taylor. Mine is quite a different outlook on education from the American norm, which is often more like socialization than education at this point, to our great sadness. The whole subject fits very squarely within the frame of my only soapbox of freedom of thought. I agree with you – it’s all but impossible to think beyond the scope of our own experiences, since that is what the mind is meant to do at its fundamental – differentiate, associate and identify.
I had similar fears for my daughters when they were young. My husband and I ended up moving our family across the country to place our daughters in a school whose philosophy promoted individualized education and independent thinking.
I wish you the very best with your daughter’s education. There is hardly anything more valuable we can give to our children than the stability, independence and potential for success that a great education can provide.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts about The Sixth Strand in June (or as soon as motherhood allows you time to read it). 🙂
“A soft spot for the dark, dangerous types …” now you’ve REALLY got my attention!! Cannot wait to see what has bubbled to the surface now.
I totally agree with your comments about our own beliefs boxing us into false realities, and am quite excited to see how that idea is addressed within your world. So looking forward to hearing this installment.
Thank you! I’m really looking forward to your feedback too, Lauri!
I just finished The Sixth Strand on a plane heading back home. I read the last few pages with eyes filled with tears. I imagine I would’ve sobbed had I been alone.
I wanted to tell you I believe your writing and storytelling have continued to improve with each book. The realm and characters you’ve developed are incredibly illustrious.
I cannot wait to read more!!!
Thank you for your kind words, Leah. I agree with you – I also think my writing is improving with each book. I’m thrilled you’re enjoying my series and honored to know you care so much about my characters. Thank you for sharing your experience with me. I love the visual of you on that plane. 😉
You’re awesome and I love your books so much. Can’t wait until June 15th. Thanks for being so available. It means so much more as a reader.
Your comment about how we ourselves are limited by our education reminds me of a book I read a few years ago by Rupert Sheldrake called “Science Set Free” in which he describes this very thing. He describes the dogmatic laws and theories taught to us by the established scientific community block our minds into a narrow scope of the universe. He points out how they do us a disservice by limiting the questions we ask about the infinite possibilities that can be pondered and potentially discovered. He states if our minds were free from this almost religious like scientific dogmas that are now taught and circulated by the educated elite we could go so much further. He even points out how their lab coats have become like a uniform or robes of priesthood.
Wow, now I want to read Mr. Sheldrake’s work. He sounds like a kindred spirit. 🙂
I think the same is true of mathematics. Most of the mathematicians I have met can only conceive of a single way to approach any specific problem…and that limits the proofs that they can manage. I remember someone proving the “Knight’s Tour” problem by simple observation…if a knight starts in one corner of the chessboard and makes 63 moves he can’t possibly wind up in the diagonally opposite corner, because every odd move will be to a square of the opposite color than that on which he started. After that, apparently somebody was able to write a very complex mathematical proof. I seriously doubt that most of the math folks I’ve known would have accepted the empirical proof. Very few of them are able to make the leap from what they’ve learned to an entirely new concept. It’s a pity…because they’re generally pretty bright…but only a chosen few can claim brilliance.
So very true, Edith.
Is this the final book?
No, there will be one more after this, Joseph.
Time to start over…forgot my name and all that happy stuff. Pre-ordered Book 6, and gulped it down in 2 days. It might have taken less time but my granddaughter graduated from Oregon State on Saturday, so streaming that took a bit of time.
I want to thank you for echoing a sentiment I have expressed many times over the years…though never with very good results. Why should god want to be worshipped? Only humans truly WANT worship…or think it’s somehow necessary. Even wrote a short story on the subject once (though it’s far more of an essay…I don’t have a gift for character development).
Anyway, thanks for the book…it’s wonderful. The denouement with King Gydryn was pretty much anticipated, and I can’t wait to see how all the rest comes together, no matter how many books it takes.
I’m so glad you enjoyed book five, Edith. It is an interesting question – how much have we anthropomorphized our gods?
What’s the old saying…something along the lines of: The more your god agrees with your own concepts, the more you may be sure that you have created god in your own image.
One of my favorite SF authors (though her books have elements of fancy) is Sheri S. Tepper. In one of the series she wrote (and a good many of her books are interconnected at some level) there is a “meeting” with god. The women see the manifestation quite differently than the men, who insist that god looks just like them.
It’s also interesting that although the Greek and Egyptian gods were often associated with (or even partly consisting of) animals, once the monotheists took over, god could only be human and we must have been created in god’s image, thus validating all our greed and waste.
Just so, Edith. Same book, same page.
Just finished the book and I loved it. Better than the last as I then found the parts with Tanis and the warlord(s) a bit long. This time they were, for me right. Now the only problem is that I have to wait so long for the next one 🙂 . I might have to re-read the series as well as I can’t remember some of the stuff that happened before but I couldn’t wait for that before I read this one.
I understand not wanting to wait for a reread, Jessica. It might be smart before book six, though, since so many long-outstanding threads will be wrapping up.
Any idea, very roughly, when the last book will be with us? As an avid fantasy reader for the last 36 years (found Tolkien when I was 12) I am used to waiting but it would still be nice to have an estimate. Though as they say, good things happnes to those who wait.
I completely understand, Jessica. I’m back on my 2-year production schedule, which would mean the final book publishes in 2021.
So I have just finished the sixth strand and would like to congratulate you on another brilliant work of art……Well done
Thank you so much, Anthony. I’m thrilled you enjoyed it. Did any particular story thread stay with you this time around?
What a great book. Wrapped up a lot of story neatly. Stellar writing. One request (spoiler) please, oh please, leave DM dead. Inexplicably escaped Darahan don’t let him survive Meshaia’s chastisement.
LOL. Noted on DM. We’ll have to see how the wind is blowing in book six. I’m so glad you enjoyed The Sixth Strand. Thank you for reading.
I just picked up the 1st book a few weeks ago and now I’m finding out there is no last book. The agony! I read wheel of time as my first fantasy book a couple years ago and was fascinated, which sent me through so much hardship trying to find other fantasy books that were that good. I found books that were okay, but not that I would read more than once. Then I saw an ad for book 1 of this series and downloaded a sample. Instantly hooked. I was somewhat surprised by two things: 1. The timeline of the book’s release. The story is so timeless that I assumed nothing about when it was written. 2. It’s written by a girl. Usually books written by the fairer sex are from a viewpoint that doesn’t feel completely comfortable for me and I tend to overlook books because of that. These books are my new favorites. The wheel of time series had a few really slow books where nothing happened and tested my will to keep reading. These books were so full of story that I didn’t want to miss a word. Thank you for the adventure and I can’t wait for more.
I know what you mean about female writers, Bryan. I have at least twice as many male-written fantasy series in my library as female. I have the same problem connecting with some female writers, oddly enough. 😉
I’m thrilled you’re enjoying my series. Honestly, as you mention Wheel of Time, two things I’ve tried to do as a result of my own experience with WoT is to a) give every chapter a sense of forward motion and b) make every character as interesting and entertaining as possible. I’m perfectly happy for you to get to the end of a chapter and say, “darn it! I want to stay with this character!” but it’s always my hope that you start the next chapter and say, “Ohh… its so and so!” and be happy to be with them anyway.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience with me, and thank you for reading.
Just finished the sixth strand. After a quick reread of kingdom blades. You nailed this one! Great finish. The hair were standing up on my neck. Thanks. Keep writing.
So glad you enjoyed it, Gordon! I’m trying to get book six out of the gate here. It’s a bit reticent, but I will prevail. 😉
I have to admit I’ve kept on reading through the night quite a lot of times. The book has at times left me hysterical with laughter and I’ve had my share of strange looks from people. The storyline is absolutely brilliant. The description of scene and character’s state is enchanting at times and I could clearly visualise the scenes.
I absolutely love the frankness of language and thought that you’ve brought in. This series has turned out to be one of my all-time favourites and I’m really looking forward to the next book.
I’m thrilled that you’re enjoying book five, Guarav. It kept me up late reading too during those editing stages, and I knew what was going to happen. 😉 Thank you for sharing your reading experience with me, and thank you for reading.
When is the audible release date? Thanks for the update.
Latest update is here, Jeremy. I’ll post to my blog when I know more.
I just finished book five for the second time. This series is one I read multiple times a year, and I always have to time it carefully because once I start, I can’t stop until I’m done. Makes things like going to work, sleeping, eating, etc quite difficult.
LOL, Michael. I used to have that same problem with some of my favorite books, too. I’m thrilled you’re so enjoying the series. You should email me with some of your speculations (or post them in the FB group) and any outstanding threads you’re really hoping will get wrapped up in book six. Thank you for reading. 🙂
OMG Melissa, what a fabulous ending to The Sixth Strand! I started this series in Audible, and this is the first time I just couldn’t wait for the next book to be released there. It has been a long time since I stayed up so long to finish a book, but just had to. Crying, holding my breath, laughing, all so wonderfully brought out in your writing.
But I also truly enjoy how you interweave different philosophies, spiritualities, societies, cultures, and political structures (I do understand to varying degrees), alongside the physics and sciences (I don’t understand) into your worldbuilding.
Thank you so much, Amy. I’m thrilled you loved the fifth book. And I’m so glad you’re enjoying the juxtaposition of science and soul. 😉
I just finished the 6th strand and am thoughtful. First let me say I’ve enjoyed the series tremendously and bought this as a preorder but then put it down for a long time because it was so hard for me to remember all the elements of the Game. More recently I have been reading about intercultural translation in Chinese philosophy (Hall and Ames) and was struck by some similarities between the worlds you are portraying and Daoism. To wit, the idea of everyone finding their true path to walk, and the idea of Balance. The Chinese see everyone as a node made up of different relational networks, every act is predicated on time and space which are always changing,. Chinese religious thinking does not operate with causal logic but through correlative thinking. Actions are seen as creative. Every action has an effect across ones networks. There are so many similarities between the worlds you describe and the ways that Hall and Ames describe Chinese philosophy that I was wondering what influenced you when creating these alternative worlds?
That’s truly fascinating, Patricia. I haven’t studied deeply into Chinese philosophy, though I have read the Tao Te Ching. The philosophies I delve into the the series are definitely closer to the Eastern religious and spiritual world view, though, so I’m not surprised that you’re finding parallels in Chinese philosophy. There are, of course, universal truths to be found, no matter which religious path you follow. 🙂