Happy early Thanksgiving! I hope that this final pre-holiday weekend isn’t too crazy for everyone. I know some people can get very overwhelmed this time of year. So let’s all make a pact to try and sit back and relax at least a little between now and January 2nd, shall we? Of course, for those of us in the education business, the first week after the holidays can be pretty crazy too. So let’s make a pact to not let *anything* get too overwhelming.
Speaking of being busy over the holidays, I’m planning to hold the official launch of The City of Shadows, the third and currently final (although that could change!) book in the Giaco & Luca series, during the first week of December. The book is already live on Amazon, though, so if you got an ARC and feel moved to leave a review, that would as always be much appreciated! The universal link is here.
Writing The City of Shadows was a lot of fun, even if I was also feeling really awful during the process. I worked a lot of the awfulness into the text (now doesn’t that sound enticing!), which was cathartic, or something. I also worked in a lot of cultural references, which is a little hobby of mine.
In my last post I wrote about how I reinterpreted card games such as Tarot and sette e mezzo in the Giaco & Luca series. This time I thought I’d give a brief background on some of the deities and other bits of Classical and Renaissance culture that appear in The City of Shadows.
(By the way, bonus points if you saw the title to this post and instantly thought of Terry Pratchett’s Small Gods).
The most obvious deity who appears in The City of Shadows is Pan, the Greek god of fertility and fear. The refrain that repeats throughout the story, “there is a reason why Panic is named after a god,” is based on the actual etymology of the word “panic,” a state of sudden terror that was believed to be triggered by Pan. However, I moved the setting from the bucolic countryside, where Pan was said to reside, to a large city. Pan, however, can go anywhere, and the city provides no safety from him.
Pan also has the distinction of being the only member of the Greek pantheon who dies, as witnessed by the famous phrase “The Great God Pan is dead.” I also work that into the story–although (spoiler alert!) I cast doubt on his actual death. I freely admit that I was influenced by the excellent Crossroads series by Nick O’Donohoe, which also features a Pan-character, about whom the same phrase is used. Sadly, the series appears to be out of print, but you can still get used copies.
While Pan is the main deity who appears in The City of Shadows, I also threw in a couple of female deities as a counterbalance. Most importantly, Proserpina (Persephone) is mentioned at the beginning and end of the story, as a deity who descends into the underworld and then comes back out, just as the main characters do in the story. I also include a couple of references to Cytherea (Aphrodite), the goddess of love and beauty.
And then there are a couple of fun theatrical things. During the state dinner before the main action, excerpts from what is meant to be the play Lysistrata are performed. There is also a giant tableau, something that was in fact popular in the Florentine Renaissance court. The discussion of the movement of pigeons on the market square, which in my story I make a form of fortune telling, was inspired by the development of ballet: one of the Renaissance-era choreographers who created an early form of ballet would take inspiration for his dancers by the movements of pigeons in the market.
All in all, I had great fun coming up with Classical and Renaissance allusions I could fit into the story, and I hope you have fun reading them too! Again, if you haven’t gotten a copy of it yet, it is out on Amazon now and free on KU, and will also be free for everyone during its official launch period in December. If you have already gotten an ARC and feel like leaving a review (once again, something that is always highly appreciated!), the universal link is here.
And now for this week’s selection of giveaways!
Want to start something new? Check out the Fantasy & Paranormal Series Starter giveaway for dozens of free first-in-series stories.
For more fantasy, head over to the November Fantasy Book Giveaway!