Today I am interviewing David Dalglish, author of the new fantasy novel, The Bladed Faith, first book in the Vagrant Gods series.
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DJ: Hi David! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?David Dalglish: Hello! I’m the somewhat prolific fantasy author of a bunch of different series, from the very D&D influenced the Half-Orcs and the Paladins, the assassin focused Shadowdance series, the anime inspired Seraphim Trilogy, and the overall bonkers Keepers Trilogy. I was there at the start of the self-publishing boom on Amazon, and also been traditionally published with Orbit Books for years now. With all this experience, you might think I know what I’m doing, but that’s still debatable.
DJ: What is The Bladed Faith about?David: The island of a young prince, is invaded by the Everlorn Empire, a sprawling power on the mainland ruled by their God-Incarnate, who is determined to slaughter all other ‘heathen’ gods and establish himself as the sole idol of worship. With his family executed, his gods slain, and his army crushed, any resistance seems hopeless. But then a core group of resistance fighters from the mainland arrive, rescue Cyrus, and offer him a chance to fight back. Using his ties to the throne, and their money and experience, they can create a new resistance, spearheaded by Cyrus himself. He will be their figurehead, trained to fight, to kill. He’ll become an assassin known as the Vagrant, and through rumors and subterfuge become a new hope for the island so they might believe this overwhelming, unstoppable empire can still be beaten.
DJ: What is the world and setting of the Vagrant Gods series like?David: The vast majority of the Vagrant Gods takes place on the island of Thanet. It’s a fairly small island, ruled over by two gods, the butterfly goddess Lycaena and the winged lion Endarius. Due to the cooperation of the gods, their earlier squabbles and fractured regions have united under a single royal family blessed by the gods themselves. Given their lengthy distance from the mainland continent of Gadir, the people of Thanet have mostly known peace…until that massive fleet arrives at their shores at the beginning of the novel.
DJ: What were some of your influences for The Bladed Faith and the series?David: Given the copious amounts of Final Fantasy XIV I played during the past few years, and a playthrough of FF7 Remake during the initial plotting, its influences are definitely sprinkled throughout. There’s an empire, a resistance group fighting against them, gods that would look right at home next to the various summons and espers, a villain who may or may not be influenced by Sephiroth… Beyond that, a lot of Vagrant Gods was more of an amalgamation of my earlier stories, particularly the assassins of Shadowdance and the worldbuilding of Keepers.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing The Bladed Faith?David: Every single chapter with Mari Ahlai. She’s this wonderful, lovable, kind woman who can speak with and take on the shapes of slain gods…and in doing so becomes a terrifying monster on the battlefield. There are moments when she comforts those in need by allowing gods to speak through her, turning quiet moments into something divine and magical. There are moments when she must be the strongest of the lot, and by taking the form of the slain Endarius, keep hope alive among the people that their god will one day return. She’s easily my favorite character I’ve ever written, and I suspect most readers are going to enjoy her every appearance.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?David: Bladed Faith has a core group of fighters making up the resistance. There’s Cyrus, the prince turned puppet assassin trying to reclaim his throne. There’s Rayan Vayisa, a paladin of the slain butterfly goddess struggling to maintain faith despite having failed to save her from her execution. There’s Stasia Ahlai, Cyrus’s trainer. She’s a brutal warrior who has been fighting the Everlorn Empire for almost twenty years, ever since her homeland was conquered. And then there’s Mari Ahlai, Stasia’s younger sister, who I’ve obviously rambled about plenty.
DJ: Aside from the main characters in the story, who is a favorite side character or a character with a smaller role in the story? Why?David: On the imperial side of things, there’s a powerful paragon named Soma that was so much fun to write. He’s aligned with the God-Incarnate’s daughter, playing the bodyguard, while also clearly working his own angle. It was his spear that claimed the life of one of the gods during the initial invasion. A smug asshole, utterly confident and unfrightened of anyone. I can’t help but like him.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?David: I suspect they will want to talk about the ending, and how it changes the main character, Cyrus, but to do that would also be massive spoilers, so they can’t. All of this amuses me to no end, for I am an author, and therefore cruel when it comes to those who read my stories.
DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began the Vagrant Gods series? The Bladed Faith is only the first book, but is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?David: Cyrus, Rayan, Stasia, Mari, and several other characters I haven’t talked about, they all in some way or another deal with how these battles they fight, and the struggles they must overcome, forcibly change them. Cyrus is a kind boy who is shy in crowds and wants to spend his days reading books in a library, yet he must become this confident leader, a brutal assassin willing to kill and champion his people to victory. Mari, as a god-whisperer, was meant to use her gifts to comfort people and bring to them the wisdom of the gods, but instead takes the shape of the slain lion god to fight with tooth and claw. Rayan, a loyal paladin to the butterfly goddess, wants only to tell fables and stories to children, yet with belief in his goddess outlawed, he must rely upon the sword. These characters, they know the cost, they can see it, feel it, and out of a sense of duty or honor or necessity they pay it nonetheless. Some try to hold on to themselves. Others hope that one day peace comes, and they can retire one persona and craft another. There is always the danger of no longer even recognizing themselves when they see their reflection. For Cyrus, that means seeing not his own face, but the skull mask of the Vagrant.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from The Bladed Faith that you can share with us?David: This one is easy. It’s between Mari and her older sister, Stasia. They’ve traveled from conquered nation to conquered nation attempting to free their people from the Everlorn Empire. Mari is starting to doubt their efforts, and the heavy cost they must consistently pay. Stasia shrugs it all aside. She is a warrior, not a thinker, and has this to say, perfectly encapsulating her character: “The wise can rebuild a better world from the ashes, but for there to be ashes, we must first burn down the old and the rotten. I say we get to burning.”
DJ: Now that The Bladed Faith is released, what is next for you?David: I’m currently finishing up the final edits on the second book, The Sapphire Altar. After that, book three! It’s fully plotted, about 20% finished, and so far I’m very much enjoying the chaos I can fully unleash at the end of a trilogy.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/David-Dalglish/e/B003AUKAI4/
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about The Bladed Faith the Vagrant Gods series that we haven’t talked about yet?David: There’s a lot of fight scenes. Like, a lot. The book is blisteringly paced, so if you want a story that hits the gas pedal to the floor and just goes and goes, I suspect you’ll enjoy the read.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!David: You’re most welcome. Thanks for having me!
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***The Bladed Faith is published by Orbit Books and is available TODAY!!!***
Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | Goodreads | IndieBound
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