We have a wonderful treat for you guys today, with another two-in-one post courtesy of the wonderful people at Angry Robot. First up, we’re going to reveal the beautiful cover for Micah Yongo’s Pale Kings — sequel to Lost Gods, which was released in June earlier this year. Seriously, this is cover is gorgeous.
Secondly, Micah was kind enough to stop by the Inn for a quick chat about books, myths, writing, and historical celebrity deathmatches. Y’know… just the usual stuff.
Pale Kings Cover Reveal
The Sovereignty has been at peace for three centuries, but now the war to end all wars has finally come. The border cities of the Reach are destroyed, others are falling rapidly, and a nameless force lays waste in the north. When Neythan and his friends are led to the Summerlands in search of answers, he is unexpectedly confronted with secrets from his forgotten childhood, long buried beneath past trauma, and linked to the ancient scroll he has always carried. As the mysterious invasion continues, and the supernatural forces responsible are revealed, Neythan must learn the truth that lies in his blood… before it is too late.
Pale Kings is scheduled for release on May 7th, 2019.
An Interview with Micah Yongo
Hello, Micah, welcome to the Inn! First of all, how are you and how have you been?
Hi! I’m good thanks, if not a little on the busy side, but also starting to get that Christmas feeling which is always a good thing.
Your debut novel, Lost Gods, released just over 4 months ago. Could you tell us a little bit about the journey of becoming a debut author? Any favourite moments along the way?
Man,what a journey! My favourite thing has definitely been the people I’ve gotten to meet along the way. Other authors, the guys at Angry Robot who I’m published with, and, of course, readers – meeting readers has got to be one of the most fun and humbling things a person can experience. It’s definitely been an incredible and exciting ride so far.
In some of your previous interviews,you’ve mentioned the Nigerian folktales that your mother used to tell you as a kid. How much did these shape the story that was to become Lost Gods? Are there any stories, Nigerian or otherwise, that stand out in your memory?
You know, I don’t think any one particular folktale has shaped the narrative of Lost Gods, but they have all definitely shaped the feel of it, the sensibility. There is something so gorgeously mythic about the aesthetic of those West African folktales, that sense of transcendence, or – a perhaps unfashionably hoary word here – wisdom, is something I very much wanted to attempt to share through the story I was telling. So yeah, I’d say their influence permeates the novel rather than defines it. And especially when it comes to Súnam, which I based loosely on a combination of East African and Tiv culture, the latter of which is the Nigerian tribe my family comes from (expect more of that in the sequel, Pale Kings).
One of my favourite parts of the book was the theme of questioning the supposed “truths” that you grow up with, and how Neythan’s character growth ties into that. Was this something that you felt was important to put in the book, or was it something that just evolved organically?
A little bit of both. I’ve always enjoyed stories that made me think whilst entertaining me, so I guess some part of me was hoping to emulate that to some extent. And the whole notion of questioning what we’re taught, trying to internalise or build an understanding of how we want to move through the world, who we’re going to be, that kinda thing, is just such a compelling and fundamental part of what it means to be a human being that it felt very natural for it to be part of Neythan’s journey in the story.
On your website, you talk about a“time/mythology machine” that you’d use to put together historical/mythological dinner parties and celebrity deathmatches. I gotta ask… who gets the dinner party, and who gets the deathmatch?
Oh man, what a cool question! Ok I think we’ve gotta go historical with the dinner party and a combination of historical and mythical with the death match. So…
For dinner: Marcus Aurelius, emperor of Rome and all-round fascinating dude; Amanirenas, warrior queen of Kush in the first century BC (who I may or may not one day write a novel about); Sun Tzu,author of the Art of War; Napoleon, and then Yaa Asantewaa (a Ghanaian queen mother in the early 20th century, who led the Ashanti rebellion against British colonialism) – all of them sitting around a table discussing war strategy over several bottles of Chateau Latour whilst I teach them how to play poker, and then later, Risk.
And then of course the evening would be topped off with the entertainment, i.e. historical/mythical death match:
Musashi Miyamoto, Achilles, the N’Nonmiton (all female warrior caste in ancient Benin – and yeah, I know, people think stuff like that is made up and only happens in Wakanda. Think again.), Perseus(because I’ll forever be a fan of those Ray Harryhausen movies I endlessly watched growing up), Thor, and Gilgamesh (whose epic is actually a surprisingly good read considering how ancient it is).
I can’t imagine a better night of fun and entertainment. What’s not to like?
Thanks for visiting the Inn and chatting with us, Micah! Anything you’d like to say to our readers to close off?
Thank you so much for having me. And thank you so much to the readers for being what you are, readers – dreamers, thinkers, wanderers, rebels. It’s you we write for after all.
About Lost Gods:
In this extraordinary fantasy debut, a young assassin finds himself hunted by the brothers and sisters he has trained alongside since birth. Neythan is one of five young warriors trained and raised together by a mysterious brotherhood of assassins known as the Shedaím. When Neythan is framed for the murder of his closest friend, he pursues his betrayer and in so doing learns there’s far more to the Brotherhood, and the machinations of the rulers of the warring kingdoms, than he’d ever thought possible. His journey will lead him across the five realms, from the Forest of Silences to the Ash Plains of Calapaar, and reveal the breaches that lie beneath the world, and the hidden truths of his oath.
About Micah Yongo:
Micah is a UK-based journalist, writer and videographer. When he’s not writing articles he can be found lamenting the often rainy weather in his beloved hometown of Manchester, working on his true passion – fiction writing – or blogging about the varied things that make the world tick, and those who live in it.