By James Berardinelli

     What is The Last Whisper of the Gods? It's the first book in an epic fantasy trilogy I have toiled over for the past three years. Actually, I began writing The Last Whisper of the Gods in early 2007 and had about half the book done when real life forced me to put it aside. I returned to it in the spring of 2011 when I rewrote what I already had scribbled, redirecting aspects of the plot. By early the next year, I was finished. The second volume, The Curse in the Gift was written between April 2012 and February 2013. The final book, The Shadow of the Otherverse, was completed in draft form the day before Christmas 2013. Since then, I have been editing and revising. I completed that work at the end of May 2014. As far as I'm concerned the books are finished. The word count of all three combined is close to 600,000.

     The books concern a world in the midst of a major existential and spiritual crisis. The gods, bored with the endless tedium of immortality, have decided to will themselves out of existence. Although they have made certain provisions for the continued survival of their creations, the ramifications of their deaths are widespread. The Last Whisper of the Gods explores how the world survives in the post-gods era and how a key provision of the gods' plan - the restoration of magic to a land where it hasn't existed in 1000 years - impacts the characters.

     One of my initial goals in writing this was to start out grounded in the tropes of epic fantasy and slowly expand the envelope. The first book is fairly traditional in its scope and arc. The second book starts to go in new, interesting, and hopefully unexpected directions. The third book wraps things up in a way that could best be described as non-traditional. I have fallen in love with many of the characters, including a few who don't make it to the finish line.

     So when will the books be available? As I write this, nothing has been finalized with respect to publication plans or dates. I should have more to announce in the near future. As soon as I have something to say about this, I will reveal it. I'll admit that it's difficult for someone accustomed to the almost immediate gratification of self-publication to be held to someone else's schedule but that's the publishing world. It's taking self-control for me not to put aside the pitches and negotiations and put the thing out myself via But I will be patient...

     In the meantime, I have a few appetizers to whet the appetites of anyone who's interested. Early in the process, I conceived the idea of writing a series of short stories designed to tie into the main trilogy. Each tells the tale of a secondary/minor character who appears in one or more of the books. They are designed to be spoiler-free, meaning that no major plot points are revealed. My intention has always been for the stories to be accessible to both those with no experience with the books and those who have completed the trilogy. They are designed to stand alone. They give a flavor of the world in which events transpire and the backdrop against which the primary conflicts arise. There are five of them: "The Priest", "The Virgin", "The Knave", "The Warrior", and "The King's Man". As they are written, they will become available for free, on pages without advertising, at my website. The tentative schedule is to release them at the rate of one per month from June through October.

     The first story is "The Priest." It concerns how the devout disciple Valdemar copes with the death of the gods. Valdemar has a "walk-on" in Chapter One of Book One. It's a two page cameo. He briefly interacts with Sorial, the protagonist of The Last Whisper of the Gods. That conversation is related in "The Priest" from Valdemar's perspective. Sorial is the unnamed stableboy at The Wayfarer's Comfort. Another character from the book, the serving girl Annie, makes an appearance. But "The Priest" is Valdemar's tale, grim as it may be.

     Feedback is welcome, but whether you contact me or not, I hope you enjoy what I have written here and that it excites your interest for the full trilogy, which has consumed many, many hours of my life over the last three-plus years.