I'm very pleased to be able to be to tell you about a new book coming to PD's catalog from a new author joining the Private Dragon ranks, "That Great Leviathan," by Tyler Kimball. "That Great Leviathan" is an upcoming historical fantasy novel that we are very excited about. Tyler Kimball is a skilled and meticulous writer that we are ecstatic to work with on this thrilling adventure.
Join me as I put Tyler under the microscope.
Tyler Kimball grew up in a forest outside of a small town in Missouri. He was curious by nature and always had a desire for learning and discovery. His father gave me an “A” encyclopedia which he used to teach himself a lot about ants, atoms, Audubon's birds, and autodidacticism.
"I became fascinated by the other continents, except Europe. Though I could go on about Andorra and Austria. Just before high school, I got internet access, which opened up a whole new world of B to Z." -Tyler Kimball
He works as a writer/editor for tabletop games. He has seen the greatest success with Sean McCoy's Mothership (Tuesday Knight Games), which doubles as one of his larger hobbies. He generally spends most of his free time writing, reading, or making art.
Tyler began writing like many others. He wrote in spiral-bound notebooks during his free time in grade school. Fantasy stories have been among Tyler's favorite genres for a while now, specifically because it allows you to integrate any wild concept, genre flavoring, or historical oddity you come across into your world. As readers will soon discover, Tyler has run with the idea of integration throughout his book.
When going about his writing, quality notes and research is key for Tyler. Those notes have many forms, either in one big chunk of text or scattered across multiple documents. Either way, the complexity tends to render it useless, and he admittedly struggles to learn from this mistake.
"I also read something dramatically different than what I'm focusing on; I feel like if I read fantasy while writing fantasy, I'll end up with dangerous amounts of stylistic and plotting bleed." -Tyler Kimball
"That Great Leviathan" was deeply inspired by Tyler's interest in the conflict of centralized, state power vs. localized government, which he has had for a while now. The title is drawn from Thomas Hobbes' "Leviathan," and its promotion of 'the Sovereign,' the philosopher-king of the Enlightenment. The setting draws from two historical eras. The first is the end of the 18th century to the Napoleonic era, and the characters struggle with the conflict of romanticism vs. enlightenment, traditional knowledge and the development of science, and the various forces of modernization and globalization. The transition from the final stage of alchemy to the science of chemistry plays a major role in the story's flavor and magic system. The second era of influence was more recent, being the annexation of Crimea back in 2014, the history of the Muscovite Duchy against the Novgorod Republic, and the establishment of the city of Arkhangelsk. There's also the influence of ecology, influenced by Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, Bookchin's social ecology, and several major incidents of persistent organic pollutants in the mid to late 20th century.
There are many other influences: high chivalry, neo-Classical art, the Ripley Scroll, Water Margin, Elric, Kull, and Conan, Icelandic sagas, William Blake, Arthur Machen, the paintings of Vasily Surikov, Julius Sergius von Klever, Konstantin Makovsky, Wilhelm Kotarbiński, Ivan Aivazovsky, Evelyn de Morgan, Simeon Marcus, and Frederic Edwin Church.
"That Great Leviathan" was written so that self-contained with a classical 'the adventure continues' ending, but there is a strong hook for further exploration of characters and themes. Since the setting parallels the early 19th century, he's considering a sequel or spinoff in which he would explore the French Revolutionary period and something like the Latin American rebellions. Tyler is also working on a story set in the same world, but without the same characters, and in something like the mid-20th century Caribbean.
"There are ideas, let's just say." -Tyler Kimball
In terms of books outside of "That Great Leviathan" and its world, he's already working on two series that are admittedly locked in a self-editing purgatory. One is Bangsian (a fantasy genre that concerns the use of the afterlife as the main setting within which its characters, who may be famous preexisting historical or fictional figures, act and interact) far-future science-fiction, while the other is a paranormal/occult pseudo-history of the First World War.
"I'd also like to do pure historical works and alternate histories." -Tyler Kimball
As expected here in the Microscope, I have a few things I'm able to share. Tyler has written a comprehensive (spoiler-free) synopsis of "That Great Leviathan" that I know you'll enjoy. I also have the book's map of Northernmost for your viewing pleasure.
For over a century, a curse has strangled Northernmost, an arctic port with a history of rebellion. The population is dying slowly, and only the draconic Mayor prevents an invasion by the national capital. But the forces of progress have arrived with the spring's Thaw - ambassadors from newfound republics and ambitious foreign doctors looking to apply modern medicine to an arcane mystery. Into this political powder keg flies Kingfisher Volganin, a harpy fascinated by tales of chivalry and romantic adventure after casting aside her monstrous ways. Displaced by the explosive sabotage of her ship and trying to make the best of a bad situation, she joins Nicodemus Fade, a young anatomist and surgeon of the port's long-abandoned research academy, attempting to find why its students tore each other apart in a mad, magical rampage. The other two members of their team, the well-traveled naturalist Dr. Lund, and Mageirissa, a shaman from the harsh tundra, look into an exiled court of alchemists. Both parties' efforts are interrupted when a mercenary company hired by the imperial government presses them into service, a treacherous trek into the polar wastes to unseal a legendary dragonslayer from a lonely tree. However, their offer is strongly rebuked by the sylph prisoner, Cunigunde the Whirlwind, and our heroes barely escape with their lives, largely because the ancient barbarian recognizes Kingfisher as a fellow monstrous anachronism. The people of Northernmost are soon alerted to this attempted assassination of the Mayor, and the long-simmering intrigues of the city boil over. Fade is imprisoned for a murder he didn't commit, Kingfisher dodges pursuers while attempting to prove their innocence, the Whirlwind plays the long game, and Lund and Mageirissa hunt for the connection between the capital's machinations, the curse, and the primordial forces behind the Throne.
I hope you've enjoyed this edition of Author Under the Microscope. More information and details about Tyler Kimball and his book will be forthcoming.