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The Trouble With Treasures
The Inquisitors' Guild stands as a bulwark against both the criminal and mysterious in Frosthelm. Now, there's a new threat. Or is it a threat? A strange phenomenon afflicts the city - a troubling manifestation, always accompanied by a buzzing sound, sometimes taking almost human form. An unlikely pair of inspectors, one a young investigator with one big case under his belt, the other a brand new apprentice, set out to solve the mystery. As they search for clues, they come across the murder of someone who should probably already have been dead, and they find hints of treachery and intrigue from a far distant land. The city they love may be under a threat as dire as it has ever known, and they are thrust into the twisting machinations of an ancient, deadly mistake and a curse that afflicts an entire nation.

The Outcast Crown is a stand-alone novel containing a complete adventure to enjoy. The events in the book occur after Flames Over Frosthelm and include some of the same characters, so you might want to read that book first, but is not necessary to do so. These books tell tales of the Inquisitor's Guild, the investigative arm of the government of Frosthelm, a medieval city-state where criminals thrive, nobles scheme, and dark secrets lurk. Expect intrigue, mystery, swordplay, adventure, politics, strong bonds of friendship, and some magic along the way. Because of the narrative path it follows, The Outcast Crown also includes some exploration of race, immigration, and prejudice.

The Outcast Crown is a full novel clocking in at just over 120,000 words. There is some bloodshed, fighting, and death, but little of it is explicit. Think along the lines of the harder end of PG-13, and you're probably close.

Author's Note

Ever since I started reading the Oz books and Andrew Lang's fairy tale compendia in elementary school, I have loved fantasy. As I grew as a reader, I branched out into heroic and epic fantasy, starting with tales of heros like Conan and John Carter, set in places like Middle Earth and Witchworld. I also adored comedic fantasy, from Terry Pratchett to Neil Gaiman to a host of others, and my favorite tales were those where young heroes and heroines grew (or were forced) to play a role beyond their station, in many cases learning on the fly and making it up as they went along.

There are so many great authors working now trying out new ideas, pushing the fantasy genre in interesting new directions (some of them full of sparkly vampires or brooding antiheroes with anime hair). Despite all that innovation, it is hard for me to resist the draw of the classics. In this book, I've tried to weave together many of my favorite threads from the books of my childhood, to write the kind of books I have always loved reading, both at 13 and at 50. If I've succeeded, this story should provide a fun mix of humor and adventure, a continued exploration of a new world and new cultures, with derring-do and jokes along with some solid emotional touches, against a backdrop of a classic fantasy city, bustling with taverns, markets, nobles, politics, religions, thieves, and warriors.

There's magic in Frosthelm, but it's usually limited to rare wizards, scholars, and artifacts, not pervasive, and it's not well understood. Everybody you meet is a human with human goals - no elves, dwarves, dragons, trolls, or Klingons. Although moral complexity is fascinating, and even the best people are not always their best selves, in general I like my good guys good, my bad guys bad, and the stakes high. I hope you do too.

Please enjoy The Outcast Crown and all of the other Inquisitors' Guild stories.

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  • We started tracking this book on October 9, 2020.
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