Devil’s Night Dawning is essentially a supernatural whodunnit that takes place against a backdrop of war, in a high fantasy world of epic proportions with some very dark undertones.
Adelko and Horskram stumble on to something big when they learn a fragment of an ancient artefact has been stolen by a demon from their monastery. They don’t know who is behind it, but Horskram realises that if their mystery warlock succeeds in recovering the other pieces some serious One Ring shit is gonna go down… As they set off to warn the head of their Order in a distant kingdom they are pursued by agents human and supernatural, presumably sent to eliminate them by the very mastermind they are trying to uncover. To make matters more complicated, civil war breaks out in their native kingdom of Northalde, and the two monks become embroiled in this and a series of other misadventures. So there’s a lot going on: war, politics, high adventure, supernatural horror, human ambition, magic, and characters that struggle internally with their own identities and decision-making.
How does your main character fit into this world?
Adelko is a novice monk, indentured the Order of St Argo, a sacred body of monks tasked with apprehending warlocks and fighting demons and other malign spirits that cross over from the Other Side. He has been seconded to Horskram, one of the Order’s foremost exorcists, for on-the-job training in fighting demonkind and sorcerers. But there’s a lot of politics that goes with being an Argolian, as he gets to find out!
Is there a system of magic?
The Seven Schools of Magick are Thaumaturgy, Transformation, Scrying, Alchemy, Enchantment, Demonology and Necromancy. The last two belong to the darker Left Hand Path; the others mostly fall under the more benign Right Hand Path, depending on how one uses them. Magic was originally taught to the Varyans, an ancient race of wizards, by the Unseen, in days when angels walked the earth openly and held learned discourse with mortalkind. But over time, Ma’amun, the greatest of the Elder Wizards, became corrupted by Abaddon, King of Gehenna, who taught him the Left Hand Path at the gates of the City of Burning Brass. For this reason, many including the adepts of the Argolian Order are very suspicious of all kinds of magic, believing that even the Right Hand way will ultimately corrupt a practitioner.
What are the people who inhabit your world like?
I’ve closely paralleled medieval Europe (Urovia) and the Middle East (Sassania). I’m not trying to break the mould with my world-building to be honest – I really wanted an historic feel to my world, one that seems a lot like ours but isn’t quite the same. I can’t say why I chose to go with this approach, it just sort of came to me.
Are there any magical creatures?
Archdemons and archangels are the foremost denizens of the Other Side, the preternatural realm where anything non-mortal lives. All sorts of nasties can exploit the Rent Between Worlds to cross over at various places – to enumurate a few there are the Elementi (Saraphi, Aethi, Terri and Lymphi, each corresponding to the four elements), the Fay Folk (a malignant race of spirits that aren’t devils but enjoy corrupting nature and tormenting mortals), and Banshees and Gaunts (malicious ghosts who have it in for their former fellow humans). Then there are other races: Wadwos (a superhuman race of soldiers designed by the Elder Wizards, hugely strong but intrinsically vicious and loathsome to look upon), and the Seakindred and their implacable Triton enemies, who dwell beneath the waves and are locked in constant war against one another. But one thing my world no longer has is dragons – the last of the Wyrms was slain by Sir Azelin of Valacia before he took the Wheel and went off on crusade. So that’s one less thing for Adelko & co to worry about at least!
Is there a religious system in place?
The religion that Adelko and Horskram adhere to is called the Creed, and is based on the teachings of Palomedes, widely believed to have been one of the Unseen sent to earth in mortal form for the salvation of mortalkind.
Instead of being crucified he was broken on the wheel, hence temples are circular and the symbol of the Creed is the circifix – a conflation of the Latin word for circle and crucifix.
A parallel religion known as the Faith exists in Sassania, founded by a wandering mystic called Sha’abat a few generations before Palomedes. This phenomenon is called the Coming of the Two Prophets, and marks the revelation of Reus Almighty (i.e. one god) to mortalkind. However, not everyone has converted to monotheism! There are pagan communities too, in the Westerling Isles and Frozen Principalities, who worship the archdemons and archangels of the Faith and Creed as gods in their own right. By the time of the Broken Stone Chronicle, the Faith and Creed are locked in a bloody crusade against one another, while the King of Gehenna plans his return from the City of Burning Brass to usurp the mortal vale… So I suppose you could say the set-up is like a quasi-religious version of A Song of Ice and Fire, with warring human parties being too distracted fighting each other to unite against the real (supernatural) foe that threatens to overwhelm them all… There’s quite a bit more to it than that, but I don’t want to be putting in any spoilers!
What is one last thing you would like readers to know all about your world?
It’s pretty much a parallel universe. A world much like our own in the Middle Ages but where certain crucial things are different – most notably that magic actually works and God/gods take some interest in the doings of us mere mortals. Perhaps I’m trying to offer hope of a better world; or maybe I’m just relieved we only have to worry about our own demons!
Purchase Damien Black’s novel on Amazon:
Connect with Damien Black: