Monday, March 31, 2014

Mythical Monday (43)

It seems there are many books based on or influenced by Myths and Mythological Beings.

There are so many different Mythology and Mythological Beings recorded. Some are very popular and well known, others not so much. There are many similar beings, yet different depending on the culture it’s based in.  The definition of Myth covers about anything in the Urban Fantasy/Fantasy realm to me.

I’ve invited authors to share briefly the Mythological being or Myth that influenced their character(s) or story, or what their character(s) are based on influencing their books.  Hosting here, one author and being or myth per week.

This week we have:
Fantasy author 
Freya Robertson
Talking of the Firebird.

Kia ora and nice to meet you all!

I’m here to talk about my epic fantasy Sunstone, Book 2 of The Elemental Wars.

In Book 1, Heartwood, I talked on this blog about some of the myths behind the series, including that of King Arthur. The story isn’t about this mythical king, but it does feature some Arthurian themes like the link between the land and its people, and the age-old topic of resurrection and rebirth. Sunstone very much continues with these themes and elaborates on them.

Heartwood was about the element of earth and its battle against the Darkwater Lords or water elementals. Sunstone is about the element of fire. Originally, my plan was to make the king of the Incendi fire elementals a salamander, or fire lizard. This is because the land is called Anguis, which is Latin for dragon, and if you look closely at the map of Anguis in Heartwood, you may be able to see the way the mountains are in a vague dragon shape, with the Snout Range at the top, the Forest of Wings to the side and the Spina Mountains running down the middle. Making the sleeping king beneath the mountains a dragon-related species therefore made sense.

However, when I came to write the story, the themes of death, resurrection and rebirth became so prominent that I realised Pyra, the king, couldn’t be anything but a bird. In Greek mythology, the firebird or phoenix is a bird associated with the sun that is cyclically regenerated or reborn, rising from the ashes of its predecessor. The phoenix was later adopted by a symbol in early Christianity because of its association with resurrection.

The topic of rebirth is a common one in religions because of the way we observe how nature grows in spring, matures in summer, ages in autumn and dies in winter, only to begin the whole cycle again the following spring. This theme of birth, death and rebirth is also mirrored in the rising and setting of the sun and how the moon waxes, grows full and wanes again.

Sunstone is all about the circle of birth, death and rebirth. Set in three different timelines—22 years after Heartwood, five hundred years after that and a thousand years later—the plots interweave and culminate in the Apex, a fixed point in time during which the story concludes, with each timeline having a direct effect on the other. The firebird king’s power grows throughout the story, but everything goes in cycles, and even though he rises from the ashes of the Arbor or holy tree, so the wheel of time turns and the element of earth begins its ascension once again.

If you like stories about nature religions and about adventures through time as well as through vast lands, then maybe Sunstone is for you.


Author Bio:
Freya is a lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy, as well as a dedicated gamer. She has a deep and abiding fascination for the history and archaeology of the middle ages and spent many hours as a teenager writing out notecards detailing the battles of the Wars of the Roses, or moping around museums looking at ancient skeletons, bits of rusted iron and broken pots.

She has published over twenty romance novels under other pseudonyms and won prizes in fifteen short story and poetry competitions.

Freya lives in the glorious country of New Zealand Aotearoa, where the countryside was made to inspire fantasy writers and filmmakers, and where they brew the best coffee in the world.

Find Freya:
Her Site
Twitter:  @EpicFreya
Facebook:  Freya Robertson

Purchase Freya's Books: (click the image)


  1. fantasy world are always so intriguing and so complex, it's always fascinating to discover them I think. And the idea of the phoenix, is really interesting.

    1. Melliane, I think that's why I love fantasy worlds so much, there is so much there and the author can make it what they want. :) Thank you!

  2. Yep, rebirth is in all major religions. This is interesting and I'm curious to see what you make of this mythology. Great post!

    1. Melissa (B&T) I love the aspect of rebirth. You can really go so many places with it in stories. Thank you for visiting.

  3. I love a good fantasy novel, have not read these yet but the theme behind it is intriguing.

    1. Lily B, I enjoyed the first one. Very nature geared motives and world. I hope you like what you find in these. :)

  4. Loved the post. Now I want o go read one of my favorite Mercedes Lackey books, its a retelling of a Russian fire bird tale.

    1. Ryan! So glad you enjoyed the post. :) I've yet to get to Mercedes's fantasy books. I have been listening to the superheroes braided story she's involved in. :) Thank you!


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