The first volume in the Tapestry of Life Series, and the first novel I wrote.
I began ElvenSword in my head long before I started writing it. My lady and I, and our eldest son had been on a trip through South Africa to see it for the last time, because we were emigrating to the UK. On the road back to Cape Town we passed through a town called Willowmore. Now you would imagine that such a town had a river flowing through it, lined with willows. Nope. A dry desolation, the river bed just dust and sand. A few miles on the other side of the sadly misnamed Willowmore, I noticed one or two wildflowers in the storm water drains next to the road. A few miles further on, there were more. Then we passed a few stumpy bushes, and a couple of pines, and then within a few miles, we were in a magnificent rain forest.
The idea for a great trek came into my head, a story about a man who comes to an inn in those great southern forests in the Southern Cape, and takes the inn’s boy with him. The man is heir to the throne of a great empire, and the story was to have been how they would work out their love for each other while allowing the soon-to-be emperor the chance to produce heirs. I even wrote a bit of it. But I was so dissatisfied with my writing I put is aside.
Still, the idea of something like that haunted me, a story about men loving men and women, and having to do what honor and duty demanded, and the price they paid.
A visit to Christchurch (South Island, New Zealand) which has a splendid extinct volcano right on its doorstep gave me the idea of Cappor. And I wanted to set the story in the southern hemisphere, where it gets colder the further south you go. The final catalyst was Lynn Flewelling’s Luck in the Shadows. I used this to see how to write a story. The first few chapters were terrible. But gradually I got the knack of it, and started to write better. I rewrote those first few chapters nine or ten times — and I’m still not happy with them! I found, also, as countless writers have found since story-telling began, that my story evolved and changed in unexpected ways, that the characters themselves shifted and grew. And so ElvenSword is very different to the story as I first conceived it, though you can see the underlying themes are common.
I wanted to write about a world where love happened despite gender. I was sick of stories dominated by heterosexuals. But I also thought that in a world where the gender of your partner really didn’t matter, most people would be bisexual to some degree or another, that they would have a ceremony and and institution for same-sex marriage, and that they would have very different values to those we have. So to complete the switch, I made it a female-dominated society, where the duchesses and queens and empresses outrank their consorts.
Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20
Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24
Chapter 25 Chapter 26 Chapter 27 Chapter 28
Chapter 29 Chapter 30 Chapter 31 Chapter 32
Chapter 33 Chapter 34 Chapter 35 Chapter 36
Chapter 37 Chapter 38 Chapter 39 Chapter 40