I’m so excited that the lovely folks at Glasstown Entertainment asked me to host a blog tour stop for Eleanor Herman’s new book Reign of Serpents (Book 3 in the Blood of Gods and Royals series)! I read Legacy of Kings, which is the first book in the series, a couple of years back, and I thought this fictionalized story of Alexander the Great was intriguing and very fun to read. I had the pleasure of asking Eleanor some questions about the series so far and where the story is headed in the fourth and final book! Read on to learn more about Eleanor Herman’s series and where the story is headed…
About the Book
New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman entwines the real scandals of history with epic fantasy in this action-packed follow-up to EMPIRE OF DUST.
In REIGN OF SERPENTS, the ancient power of Snake Blood threatens the known world. While Prince Alexander struggles with a very deadly inner demon, his betrothed, Zofia, is on her way to him, to unite their kingdoms…even as she begins to realize where her true allegiance lies. The fierce Cynane meets her match—not in her future husband, the deranged king of Illyria, but in her great-great-grandfather, Talus, possessor of Smoke Blood, who will teach her the true meaning of betrayal. And marooned together on an island in the Mediterranean, romantic tension blooms between Katerina and Hephaestion as they learn of lost civilizations and discover a device that could help them do the impossible: kill the last living god.
Q&A With Eleanor Herman:
Blood of Gods and Royals Series
After all of the non-fiction history books you have written about European kings and queens, what brought you to Alexander the Great for a YA Historical Fantasy series?
While I have written mostly about the Renaissance, my other period of expertise is the ancient world of Greece and Rome. Though separated by some 1500 years, both were periods of great discoveries, technical achievement, and a certain freedom of thought. Alexander was ripe for a YA novel because almost nothing is known of him until he became king of Macedon at the age of twenty. So I could fantasize about what he was like at sixteen and weave historical fact with fiction to create a riveting story.
What is your inspiration while writing The Blood of Gods and Royals? Do you listen to music or watch specific shows?
I watched Game of Thrones through my fingers, wincing at the bloodiness, but vowed to make my series a little more family friendly. I find it hard to watch, read, or write cruelty and violence, unless it is a battle scene. As for inspiration while I am writing, I work in a home office surrounded by ancient Greek and Roman statues, some reproduction and others original. I also wear original ancient jewelry.
Your stories and characters are so cleverly intertwined in this series. How do you decide when and where each story line will connect or come back together?
It’s not easy. I keep a meticulous timeline to make sure everything makes sense. For instance, in Reign of Serpents, Zofia makes a 40-day journey from Persepolis to Macedon, so I had to stall the action of all the other characters in their different places for that amount of time. I also keep accurate records of the phases of the moon for every month. Back then, without light pollution, the moon and stars were much brighter. When the moon was mostly full, you could see your way outside without a lantern. These details are important to me because they would have been to my characters.
What can you tell us about the future of Alexander, Kat, and the fate of their world?
As in Lord of the Rings, those companions who went their wildly separate ways will come together again for the climax. And, as in real life, not everything ends happily. One—possibly more—of our main characters will die. Some will make unexpected choices and discover surprising aspects of themselves. In Dawn of Heroes, the fourth and final book in the series, an epic battle of Fate, monsters, and heroes will set the scene for Alexander the Great to become one of the history’s most important figures.
What is your favorite moment in Reign of Serpents?
I have several favorite moments! I love that the selfish, deceitful Princess Cynane has to marry a complete lunatic, King Amyntas, (whom I modeled on the ancient Roman emperors Nero and Caligula) and has to use her wits every moment just to survive. I loved writing the earthquake scene in Delphi, which actually happened. And I was fascinated by the scene where Riel tempts Katerina, much like the Biblical story of the Devil tempting Jesus.
Again, huge thanks to Eleanor and her team for working with me on this blog tour!
About the Author
New York Times best-seller Eleanor Herman brings her skills as a historian to an exciting new Young Adult series on Alexander the Great at sixteen, the four-book Legacy of Kings: Blood of Gods and Royals. Eleanor calls herself a “Sherlock Holmes of history.” For Legacy, she studied and visited most of the major sites of the ancient world, usually with an archaeologist in tow, and read just about everything, ancient and modern, written on the Greek world of 340 B.C.
Her Sex with Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry and Revenge chronicles the history of Europe’s royal mistresses. Sex with the Queen: 900 Years of Vile Kings, Virile Lovers and Passionate Politics looks at the love affairs of European queens. Mistress of the Vatican: The True Story of Olimpia Maidalchini, the Secret Female Pope examines the life of a woman who ran the Vatican in the 1640s for her reputed lover, Pope Innocent. Eleanor spent months in Ghana researching a true story of a contemporary royal: King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village. A major motion picture studio is currently developing this book as a film starring Queen Latifah. King Peggy was chosen as the 2013 One Maryland One Book by the Maryland Humanities Council.
Eleanor has hosted shows for The History Channel and the National Geographic Channel on Henry VIII, the ancient Greek city of Aphrodisias, and the Hindenburg. She is an expert commentator on numerous episodes of a national show coming out this fall.
Eleanor lives with her husband, their black lab, and her four very dignified cats in McLean, VA. She is a member of the National Press Club, where she often moderates book events, a queen mother of Cameroon, an elections officer, and a volunteer for the aging in Fairfax County, VA.
My review of Legacy of Kings is up here, and reviews for Empire of Dust and Reign of Serpents will be up soon!