Crunch Week

Coming up on my deadline, so no Ask Luna today.  Last full chapter of Alex Verus #11 is done, just need to do the epilogue (not technically an epilogue, but the last chapters of my books are typically only a few pages long, so that’s how I think of them).  Still on track to send off the manuscript to my publishers by December 1st.

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Finish Line

Now that the release of Fallen has come and gone, I thought I’d give you guys a general update.  There have been various bits of minor good news as far as Alex Verus translations go (short version:  it looks as though all the countries in Europe with translation rights to Alex Verus are going to put out more of them) but I figure that most of the people reading this are primarily interested in the English version.  

During all the lead-up to the release of Fallen and during all the time after, I was continuing to work on the first draft of Alex Verus #11, and it’s finally almost done!  I’m writing the last chapter right now, and it should be finished in another week or so.  Then I’ll give the manuscript an edit and look-over and rewrite any bits that I think really need rewriting, and send it off.  My deadline for this one is December 1st, so one way or another, that’s the day I’ll be sending it to my publishers.  

Actual publication date is harder to predict, but going off past estimates, the usual average time between first draft hand-in and final publication is a year.  So assuming there are no major delays, best guess for the release of Alex Verus #11 is winter 2020.  As usual, once I have a firm publication date, I’ll post it up here!

And while I’m at it, I also have a (fairly definite) title.  The eleventh Alex Verus novel will be called Forged.

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Ask Luna #147

From: Warren

1. So magic types usually have personality traits that go with them but this doesn’t seem to apply with Richard. By that I mean that he seems to have a level of confidence/being at ease that I have never seen in any other mage, he’s not boastful, he’s not aggressive, or even particular cold, it’s like threats to him are just like talking about the weather calm and casual that couldn’t possibly be a concern to him.

The closest I have seen this level of confidence are in other master mages like Levistus or Druss the Red, and even then they have traits that show that they are a mind and a fire mage respectively. The only other mage who comes close is Morden and with him it feels like it’s partly a performance since he is the public face of Drakh’s Cabal. Do you think for Richard that this is just Dark Mage thinking to the extreme, his weird black threads of magic affecting him, or could it be something else that I am missing?

2. Does Morden have any specific personality traits that makes him a Death Mage? He is just so for lack of a better word, very social that I can’t tell what traits are just him being a powerful Dark Mage vs how a typical Death Mage would act if that makes sense.

1. Judging from recent events, I think he’s got some abilities that let him back up that confidence. Though that was always what we suspected.

2. Death mages aren’t especially anti-social from what I’ve seen. Actually, they can be a lot of fun. You might not want to be alone with one in a dark alley, but they never seem to have much trouble getting invited to parties. You do get the blatantly sociopathic ones, and they give the rest a bad name, but they’re a pretty small minority.

From: Michael

1. I was kinda surprised that diviners were colder and more calculating than Alex, I they would be more like Sonder, bookish and curious, not uncaring that they would view you like an insect. Is there a reason diviners aren’t Dark Mages since they seem not to care about others, or are they just more aloof and want to be left alone types?

And a side question have you met any diviners who did not see you as an insect on a cardboard? Or to paraphrase be an okay person to hang out with?

2. Have you or Alex met/heard of female diviners? I only ask because it seems all the other magic types are more or less evenly distributed among the sexes. Is this just because they are so few diviners that it only seems that way and is just luck of the draw for this time period, or is it just an information vacuum and there are female diviners we just haven’t met them.

3. Do you think Richard and Morden haven’t recruited you because it is more trouble than it is worth? One because of your curse/you being awesome, and two because it would antagonize Alex and Anne unnecessarily? Not that they wouldn’t in principle but getting them to be a Chosen or Jinn host is different from getting a competent adept.

1. That’s about three questions in one, so I’m honestly not sure how to answer.

2. Some, but not many. It does seem to be a much more male-skewed magic type, just as you get more female chance mages. I’m not sure why.

3. Um, I think they haven’t recruited me because I don’t like either of them and have zero interest in helping out with their plans.

From: Clark

1. Do you know what members of the Junior Council duties are? I get the feeling that the Senior Council are head of the Keeper Orders and various bureaucracies but I can’t figure out what the Junior Council does. As far as I can tell they seem to do nothing but listen to Alex and the Senior Council, are they just glorified aides and is Alex just unusually good at this?

2. So I heard that Morden was stronger than all of the Junior Council combined when he was still on it. Was he at the time before he was arrested, as strong as the Senior Council members? And are the Senior Council members relatively equal in power, or are some vastly stronger than the others?

3. Come to think of it, does Undaaris have any real power? I just can’t see how he got to the Senior Council everyone else even Sal Sarque (albeit in his case barely) seems to be ruthless political operators. Undaaris seems less influential than a Junior Council member and we don’t even no any aside from Alex. Is it just a case of him failing upwards or is it just Light Council politics make no sense.

4. Do you know how Isolationists maintain any power? I only ask because ostensibly it seems by their very nature they are not people inclined, so how can they maintain significant power if they can’t network very well?

1. What’s with all the political questions these days? No, I don’t know what Junior Council duties are. I assume it’s the kind of stuff Alex got up to.

2. (and 3. And come to think of it, this really goes for 4.) Look, you’re really asking the wrong girl. I could make guesses at this stuff, but . . . come on, guys. I run a shop. I don’t hang out with high-ranking politicians and I don’t have backroom meetings with people who give me the inside scoop on which Senior Council members are the strongest. Sure, I’ve picked up a bit from Alex, but honestly, you remember when Alex was asking if I wanted to be his aide? There was a reason I said no.

From: Owen

Hey Luna how are you doing just have a few questions about universal magic.

1. Do you know why diviners seems to overlap with Chance and Time magic when they by themselves Chance and Time seem to have little to do with each other? With Alex it seems like he got what you were going through even he if did not understand the nuts and bolts of Chance magic, and with Sonder it was the exact opposite, he got how Sonder did his magic but less with what drove his personality if that makes sense?

2. Are there any magic types that mirror Chance magic? Or in other words have there been any magic types that could understand you and your magic kinda of like Alex has and you him?

3. With Arachne being a magical creature does she have different paths/divinations from regular humans when Alex divines her? Has he ever described in general what is different or similar when he divines magical creatures compared to humans?

4. Do you think Alex could use his divination to see draconic prophecies without the actual consequences either for himself or having other people go to them and then tell him what they saw?

Thanks again you are an awesome person!

1. I don’t really know, sorry.

2. Alex seems able to understand it pretty well. Other than that, for whatever reason, I tend to get on best with the more active elementalist sorts. We might do different things, but the way Vari and I use our magic is actually kind of similar.

3. No idea, I’m afraid.

4. Still no idea.

I’m having to say ‘no idea’ a lot today. Maybe everyone’s run out of the sorts of questions I know how to answer.

From: floppytilleyhat


If Anne ever reconciles with her darker half, would you suggest the mage-name: Equinox? I think it’d fit really well.

Okay, finally one I know something about. I don’t know if you thought that one up yourself or talked to someone, but it’s a scarily good guess either way. I can’t remember who first suggested it, but I actually talked to Anne about picking a mage name a while back and that was one of the suggestions that got floated. She shot it down in that nice, polite way of hers, basically saying that she didn’t want a mage name, full stop. And given what’s happened lately, it seems further away than ever. It’s a nice idea, though . . .

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Ask Luna #146

Did another count and after some editing, the queue is at 80 emails, so I’m going to keep on trying to get through these fast. I think I’m going to make a habit of giving much shorter answers to multi-part questions, since those are the ones that tend to hold me up.

From: Gordon

Dear Luna,

1) Now that you’re officially a graduated mage, what do you feel are the best and worst changes to your situation that came along with it?

2) Do you know if the density of magical creatures is approximately the same throughout the world? Are there some countries where they have a greater presence, because of higher tolerance amount the local mages or simply because they’re able to retain a better foothold for other reasons?

3) Did Alex ever confide what his dream profession was if he never became a mage (and burdened with the ugly mess that came with it)?

4) If you, Alex, Vari and Anne had to move to another country, what would each of your choices be?

1) Best is probably security. I feel a lot safer now that the Keepers can’t just pick me up whenever they feel like it. Worst – nothing really.

2) This is way too difficult a question for me, sorry. You’d have to ask an expert.

3) That’s kind of an interesting one. No, he never has. Never occurred to me to ask, honestly. I always just saw him as Alex.

4) Me – Japan. Vari – probably India, though he’s got some issues with the place. Anne – I think it’d be Wales, Canada, or New Zealand. I’m not sure about Alex.

From: Ian

Hey Luna just have a few questions about your friends on the Council.

1. Do you know why Landis was a trainee with Caldera with him being at least ten years older than her? I only ask because he seems to be one of the better battle mages in Great Britain and I don’t see why he would be in a class with beginners.

2. Has Vari changed how he uses his fire magic now? If I recall he used to create fire by way of combustion but now he seems to be able to use regular flames, is he learning new applications or could he always do that?

3. I remember Arachne saying that with enough practice Alex could physically enter Elsewhere, is there a reason why he would want to do so? Sorry if this is an obvious answer but he seems pretty good with manipulating Elsewhere in dreams already without having to be there, unless I am missing something?

Thanks again hope you guys are doing well now and in the future.

1. I don’t think they were trainees together, so it couldn’t have been that. He might have been in a class with her for some other reason.

2. Yeah, he’s been diversifying. He used to just do heat, but he can create fire effects now, though the heat burst attack spells are still his favourites.

3. ‘Is there some reason why he’d want to do so’ . . . yeah, you could say that.

From: Phillip

I wonder how dark mages like Richard and Morden and others like him come about? What I mean is, we have these dark “chosens” like Onyx and Rachel (don’t tell her I called her by the name Rachel, please!), who got to be “chosen” by just being powerful and tough, but kind of stupid and impulsive. Basically, they became “chosen” because they hit first, without hesitating. The smart ones kind of think too much, and get sidelined (like Alex). So, what’s this whole weird “chosen” business, and you’d think brilliant dark mages like Morden and Richard would see the self-defeating dynamic and start to re-consider how things go – or is there a different long-term game at play?

It’s just the problems of the Dark mage attitude, I think. Their whole mindset makes it really hard for them to work together and means they get an awful lot of thug-types like Onyx who are really good at brute force and really bad at everything else. Hard for them to fix it without changing their whole way of thinking.

From: Brian

Hey Luna I just have a few questions about diviners.

1. Have you or Alex ever seen or heard of diviners that specializes in his short term/combat divination like he does?

2. Do you know if any Dionysian diviners can use short term precognition like Alex and other Apollonian diviners? I looked at the Arcana and it seems they can just make predictions, do all diviners share some common magic or does it differ depending on what branch you follow and you sacrifice one skill for another?

3.. Are there any common or otherwise Diviner focuses? Does it matter if the diviner uses Apollonian or Dionysian style?

4. Do you know if Dionysian diviners tend to be on the Dark side of the fence? I imagine most diviners to be Independent since they are so rare but this divination seems to be on the darker side. Do you know if Alex has met any and do you think he would agree?

5. Has Alex used his Council position to meet up with Alaundo the master diviner? At the very least he might get some more info on why he is the key to Richard gaining power, or just diviner tips in general.

1. Not sure.

2. I don’t really know anything about Dionysian divination, sorry.

3. Not that I’m aware of, and I still don’t know much about Dionysian divination.

4. Why is everyone so fascinated with Dionysis? (Dionysus? Dionysius?)

5. Okay, finally one I can answer. No, as far as I know, he hasn’t.

From: Sotiris

Hi Luna,

Once again thank you for taking time to answer all those questions. It is a delight reading through all of your answers!

I have a couple of questions but since I do not want to take much of your time I will probably split them into two sections. Here we go:

1) I won’t be asking about Richard’s magic type or powers since you have time and again told us that you can only speculate. I will though ask a similar one. Given that you do try to get ready for all possibilities and that we know for a fact that the team does speculate about his magic type, are any of your theories include the possibility he is just a normal guy with enough resources, charisma and intelligence passing of as a mage?
2) I know that power levels can be pretty hard to define (which makes sense, most of the time you are comparing apples with oranges given how diversly magic manifests even within the same magic type), but on the Council’s power ladder how close do you think Alex is to be considered as a Master Diviner?

p.s. I just recently moved to Mornington Crescent and love the area!

1) No, that theory was never a contender. It would be really, really, really difficult to do all the things he does and have the position he has without SOME kind of magical power to back it up, and probably a lot of it. Our best guess was that he was a mage with a relatively unusual/subtle magic type.

2) From what I understand, being a ‘master’ by Light classification is about connections and fame as well as skill. I’d guess Alex isn’t there yet, but he’s getting close.

From: Dakota

Hi Luna,

So I’ve noticed that Alex has gotten pretty good at predicting a bullet’s flight path and moving out of the way. Assuming he couldn’t dodge for whatever reason, do you think he could predict the path of a bullet and deflect it with his knife?

I’m pretty sure he could do it, yeah. He just never has because it’s a lot easier to move out of the way of a bullet than deflect one.

From: Isolda

Hi Luna,
In “Fated” it is stated that a witch put a curse on your ancestor. What does it mean to be a ‘witch’ in magical society? Is that another way to say ‘mage’?

It’s just another word for a magic-user, usually female, usually not a battle-mage. Any woman who can do ‘curse’ type spells has a good chance of getting called that. And yes, that would include me.

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Ask Luna #145

And we’re back. 

I’m going to have to make a few changes in how I answer these questions.  The backlog’s up to nearly 100 emails at this point and the questions below are ones I got back in May, so I’m obviously going to have to speed this up somehow. 

The emails I’m getting that are slowing me down the most are (a) the multi-part ones where the guy asks like five questions one after the other, (b) the open-ended ones where I’m expected to write an essay about mage politics in Canada or give a list of every magical creature in existence or something, or (c) the ones that do both.  So I’m going to just start giving very brief answers to these. 

From: Luke

Hey Luna just have a few questions about Alex’s allies on the Senior Council if you could call them that.

1. Spire is very hard to read, since he remains neutral on most issues yet does not seem like he is any less formidable than the other Senior Council members even though he is mostly connected to Independent Mages. Do you how much influence they have on the Light Council? I am making an educated guess the Light Council wanted to keep an eye on the Independent Mages and gave them an representative to appease them, along with keeping a seat locked up so one faction would not dominate the others completely. Perhaps that is what Spire meant when he talked about periodic transitions but I don’t know how much that helps independents in the long run with only one seat unless they have more power than we know of?

My other question about Spire is do you think he is just biding his time to throw in with one side or the other when the smoke is cleared for the sake of stability? On the one hand he seems like he could do just that, but then again he could also just be inclined to stay neutral unless someone forces him to.

2. I like Druss the Red he seems very down to earth and not at all like the the rest of the Light Council with their pretensions of class that. I think Alma mentioned he was connected to the Order of the Shield, do you know if he was a prior member or perhaps even its leader today?

Also do you know how he and Alex get along in general? Are they more allies of convenience or is there a stronger foundation?

3. Bahamus seems to be the closest thing Alex has to an ally since he seems one of the few who appreciate his abilities and has supported him against Levistus. Do you think this is because of Talsid and his alliance with Alex over the years or are there more people in the Light Council that think Alex is on their side?

1. I don’t really know anything about Spire.

2. Druss used to be the head of the Order of the Shield if I remember right.

3. I have no idea, sorry.

From: Randy

1. Do you know what the most common hybrid types that come from the different magical families?

2. Are there adept hybrids as well? If there are do you what the more common ones are?

3. Is the magic type illusion considered to be part of the Elemental Living or Universal families? For some reason I think it could be any of them. Can they use gate magic or does it vary mage to mage?

4. Are there any magic types that belong to all three families or is it just a matter of perspective? Do you know what the more controversial ones that defy easy classification?

1. There’s no such thing as hybrids.  It’s all how you define them.

2. There’s no such thing as hybrids.  It’s all how you define them.

3. It gets classified as living, but you’re right, it could really fit in as any of the three.

4. Sorry, but this is just way too much of a ‘fishing’ question.  Please give me something more specific, guys, I’m not an encyclopaedia.

From: Robert

Hey Luna I just have a few questions about adepts specifically what factions they form. I figure most of them are independent but I am curious about the ones who are Light or Dark affiliated specifically….

1. Is there a reason why there aren’t more pro-adept mages on the Council? I remember that Lee from the Nightstalkers had an impressive tracking ability, Kyle is really good at storing weapons and you could wipe the floor with most of the Light apprentices in dueling. Surely someone must see the uses of adepts even if they don’t give full mage rights ignoring them seems really wasteful.

2. I have heard there are supposed to be Dark Adepts but is that even possible giving how ruthless Dark Mages are in general? The only Dark Adept I can think of is Kyle but that seems like a specific and rare circumstance unless some Dark Mages see the usefulness of adepts?

1. Because just because they’re good at what they do doesn’t mean that the Council trusts them to use what they do in a way that’ll benefit the Council.  There are plenty of adepts who are affiliated with the Council one way or another, but the Council’s jealous of its position.

2. Actually, by some definitions, there are more dark adepts than Light ones.  Pretty much any mercenary/self-interested adept is going to be classified that way.

From: Calvin

1. Do you know what the average Dark Mage thinks of Alex as one of the strongest Junior Council Members? I know the half the Light Council thinks he is secretly working for Richard while the other thinks he is alright, do you know if Dark Mages think the same? I suppose the good part might be seen as weakness or being a traitor or that he is following his own True Path.

2. Do you think that the fact that Richard came back ten years to the exact day has something to do with gate magic? I know he went to another world using Katherine’s space magic but I could not think how he could of came back, unless it was like the bubble realm in Syria where only certain dates are available for it to be accessible.

3. On another note, portals to other worlds and the Jinn keep coming up as we learn more about Richard, do you think that is where he got his weird black threads of magic or do you think he has always had it? If he didn’t I wonder what other powers he has hidden, he couldn’t of become a powerful Dark Mage before he left if he didn’t have something.

1. They don’t really trust him either since he’s a Council employee. 

2. Well, I don’t see how he’d leave this world and come back without it.

3. Yes.

From: Kurt Von Bosse

Hi Luna, I hope you’re doing well today.

I was thinking about the fight inside White Rose’s HQ, when Vihaela took on both Caldera and Slate at the same time. Vihaela toyed with the two Keepers and she didn’t work very hard doing so. So my question is this. Is there anything Caldera or Slate could do to make their magic stronger, so they wouldn’t so far out of Vihaela’s weight class? To put it another way, does the mage equivalent of weight lifting exist to make one’s magic stronger?

We’ve seen mages practicing to have better focus and control of their abilities. You’ve had to do something similar to be able to both use and control your curse. Alex said he had to learn to control his divination because without such control it could have literally driven him mad. I haven’t heard Alex say anything to suggest that adult mages can do something; on their own, to make their magic hit harder or be bigger. This seems to suggest that once a budding mage or adept’s magic fully emerges, the level of power they have at that time is all they will ever have. They can only learn to control their magic and use it more skillfully.

However, if there is a way for a mage to increase their raw power level; and even though I don’t know what it would mean for a diviner to become magically stronger, it seems to me that Alex needs every edge he can get to take on and survive Richard Drakh, his sidekick Morden and Vaal Levistus.

It’s both.  You can do ‘weight lifting’ to get stronger, and you can learn better focus and control.  But there are limits to both, and you have to put in a LOT of time and effort if you want to see real progress. 

In Alex’s case increasing his raw power level wouldn’t do very much since his magic doesn’t actually affect the physical world – that’s like trying to get stronger so you can fly.  But it seems like he’s found a different way around that.

From: Thomas

Hey Luna thanks for answering my questions about the Dark Factions just wanted to ask a few clarifications.

1. Are the Dark Independents faction Chalice is apart of the same as anarchist/pure freedom faction? I apologize in advance if I am splitting hairs, I just assumed that the anarchists meant submit to no one/do whatever they want, while the pure freedom types were the ones wanted to be left alone.

2. Are the “pure power as objective reality” types a minority within the Dark Mage factions? I suppose technically that is what all Dark Mages believe in but is this an extreme position or is it a more common one?

3. On another note this could explain a lot of Richard’s reactions towards Alex’s going against him during his time as his apprentice up until now. I think that is why so many questions are being asked here about why Richard and Morden keep trying to get Alex to sign up with them willingly when he has said no to them on multiple occasions. My question is do you think this “pure power” way of thinking is why so many people keep bringing this up, because like the Light Council they can’t understand the Dark Mage way of thinking?

4. Do you think the Dark Mage factions and Light Council factions mirror each other? In my opinion they are too close for comfort, the only faction I could think that is unique to one side are the Directors but even that might change with the Light-Dark War, if Richard takes over and he gets access to their resources.

1. Probably, yes. 

2. I have . . . no idea, honestly. 

3. I’ve read this one three times and I’m still not quite sure what you’re asking, but assuming I’m guessing right, then, yes, that’s probably the reason. 

4. No, they don’t seem all that closely mirrored to me.  It’s political parties vs a bunch of paramilitaries.

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Finishing Up

My Reddit AMA is almost done.  I’ll be around for another couple of hours, then I’ll answer any last questions and call it.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by, it was a lot of fun!

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AMA is live!

My Reddit AMA is active.  I’ll be answering questions for the next 24 hours.  Come drop by!

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AMA Tomorrow

My Reddit AMA’s 24 hours from now, at noon GMT.  It’ll run for another 24 hours before I wrap things up.  Come drop by if there’s anything you want to ask!

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Release Notes & Upcoming AMA

The big news for this week is obviously Fallen being released yesterday, but here are some other bits and pieces.  

Fallen’s been getting a very positive reception – both the number of good reviews and the number of nice emails I’ve received have been higher than any previous book in the series (actually, much higher).  So thank you for those!  I’ve got a bit of an email backlog as a result, but I’ll try to respond when I can.  

Usually by the time a new book comes out, I’m busy finishing the old one, and that’s the case this time as well.  Alex Verus #11 (no title yet) is around 80% done, and I’ve just gotten into the final chapters.  It should be finished in another month and a half or so.  

For those of you who’ve finished Fallen and want to ask me some questions about it, I’ll be doing a Reddit Ask Me Anything next week, on r/fantasy.  AMAs are exactly what they sound like – you can ask me anything about the current book, the Alex Verus series as a whole, or whatever takes your fancy.  I’ll be starting the AMA on October 17th at 12 noon GMT, and I’ll finish at around October 18th at the same time.  That gives a 24 hour window to get your questions in.  If you want to read my previous Reddit AMAs, here are the ones I did in 2016, 2017, and 2018.  

And that’s about it.  See you next week!

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Fallen UK Release!

And it’s finally here!  Fallen’s released in the UK and the rest of the world as of today, and now everyone outside the US and Canada can read it as well.  

I’ve written enough about the book at this point, so I’ll leave it at that.  The book’s available in ebook, paperback, and audio formats as usual.  Hope you enjoy it, and I’ll write more tomorrow!

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