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Posted by Charles Rice on 2008-12-16
Call it an introduction. Or a mission statement. Either way, here's the best description of what this setting is and why you'll want to join me in exploring it.

Terra, as its name suggests, is a world much like our own and similar to earth-like worlds found in other great works of sword and sorcery fiction. Unlike many of those worlds, however, Terra has advanced to an era roughly equivalent to our 19th century. Cannons are the ultimate weapon, especially when carried by large, fast frigates capable of ruling the seas and operating independent of supply for years on end if necessary.


The political scene of Terra is likewise eerily familiar. During a bloody revolution in one of the Continental Kingdoms, a common soldier of unusual charisma and tactical brilliance became a king. In a series of stunning defeats, he defeated the Continental Kingdoms one by one and has now styled himself an emperor. Because of his megalomania and barbaric tyranny, his opponents have taken to calling him the Mad Emperor.


In a typical act of bravado, the Mad Emperor has now begun a new war of expansion on two fronts: on the seas, his fleet attempts to neutralize the “wooden wall” of ships protecting the Island Kingdom, the last hold-out of the Continental Kingdoms. And in the east, his army, as yet undefeated, has begun a push into the Frozen Kingdoms.


For the moment, the kingdoms of the Ancient East and the Southern Kingdoms remain neutral, though both are in a state of almost-frantic preparation for a war they know must eventually come. Unknown as yet to any of the major powers, the Island Kingdom sponsored a great voyage of discovery and has discovered a New World in their quest for allies.


What Admiral Hellstrom found there is both an enormous risk and an enormous opportunity. Though several of the tribes are willing to help, they require help in return in bitter wars against the Near Men. This race of cannibalistic savages was driven nearly to extinction in the Old World, in a war that united the Continental and Southern Kingdoms in a fight for survival. In the New World, Hellstrom discovered that the Near Men are much stronger, much more organized and have something approaching civilization.


To combat this menace, the friendly tribes of the New World have developed a new type of magic based on runic tattoos. An alliance has been proposed, where the New World tribes would provide their Tattoo Shaman in return for firearms and the tall ships of the Old World.


In a desperate gamble, the Queen of the Island Kingdom has agreed to this alliance, requiring her to completely do away with the old order, eliminating serfdom and slavery and instituting universal suffrage to create a completely free nation, one with a navy large enough to fight in two worlds at the same time.


While the Queen’s Army fights in the New World, spies stoke the flames of rebellion on the continent and envoys seek to draw the Southern Kingdoms into a new alliance against common enemies. Meanwhile lone explorers seek out uncharted lands in a hope of a discovery as great as that of Admiral Hellstrom and privateers prowl distant seas to return badly needed wealth and captured ships to Her Majesty.


It is a time of discovery. A time of desperate struggle. A time of heroes.

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Posted by Michael Lafferty on 2008-12-19 14:10:02
Just wondering - while I have some suspicions -- was wondering if you'd talk about your influences/inspirations for Voyage of Discovery...
Posted by Charles Rice on 2008-12-19 20:34:04
Well- I have always loved the Master and Commander books so I'm sure that's an influence...

Also Conan- I really think there need to be more ballsy sword and sorcery settings out there... not grande(TM) Tolkien rip-offs or froo-froo settings with magic deer...

Finally- Star Trek, which I consider to have more in common with naval fiction than sci-fi (we're talking TOS here- not the one where the Captain has a personal therapist on the bridge)
Posted by Michael Lafferty on 2008-12-22 19:07:54
hmmm - that's an interesting fusion - and I'm surprised not to see any Hornblower in there.
Strikes me as the kind of setting where a list of books and movies that inspired it might make a nice sidebar in the main book to help a reader get the flavor....just a thought..
Posted by Charles Rice on 2008-12-23 03:05:45
Ive watched a little of the Ioan Gruffauld Hornblower movies, but never read any of the books. I'd probably like them, just not something I've had a lot of exposure to.

But don't consider my list below exhaustive by any means, those are just the "big three".
Posted by Paul King on 2008-12-23 12:17:47
I watched all the Ioan Gruffauld Hornblower movies before reading the series. I definitely enjoyed both of them.

And I like how Weber expaned upon the Hornblower themes as he writes his Harrington series.