In my mind Ruin was always my Empire Strikes Back, the one where things got serious, and where the poop hits the fan. It’s where the plot strands and characters really start to come together, building towards the finale of the fourth book, Wrath, and the battle of all battles that will take place at the end of that book. Not that there aren’t big battles in Ruin. They are the biggest and bloodiest of the series so far.
Epic and intimate has always been my mantra in writing this series, and I hope that this is evident in Ruin. It is epic fantasy, a sweeping landscape, a large cast of characters, Machiavellian politics and battles galore, but I hope it is more than that. I’ve tried to root the big events in character and relationships. They have always been foremost in my mind as I’ve written this series, how bonds of family, friendship and love can affect cataclysmic events, and also how loyalty and betrayal, faith, hope and desire can impact the course of history.
At its heart Ruin is about Corban and Nathair, about how the choices of each character have led them to this point, where the truth of the God-War cannot be denied. They now know who they are in relation to the prophecy, and both make the choice to embrace what they consider to be their destiny. And of course the cast of characters around them have their own choices to make. Loyalty or betrayal, courage in the face of fear, victory or death. Running, hiding, these things are no-longer an option. It’s about fighting the God-War now, the only choices being how and where, and who to trust.
I hope that Ruin is a ramping-up, an escalation of events and emotions, and although terrible things can (and frequently do) happen, I have tried to give the book a glimmer of hope, because there was a phrase that remained in my mind throughout the writing of Ruin:
It is always darkest before dawn.
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Ruin is the third in John Gwynne's epic series, and is out next Thursday (10th March) in paperback. Click images for more details on all three fantastic novels.