and welcome once again to Beyond the Words. Today, we are going
to take a fantasy flight to a world like no other; we're going to
visit the world of The Seven Isles of Ameulas. If the title
sounds familiar, it is because I reviewed this book when it was first
published. However, we did not discuss it here, for I had a prior
commitment. Now, The Seven Isles of Ameulas is enjoying a second
printing, and in celebration of that event, we're going to visit that
world and take another, closer look at it.
Trinadol Ghelderon is being taken home by the magical ship he created, the Stargazer. He had ordered the ship elsewhere, but she disobeyed him, and set a steady course for home. Trinadol knew there was only one reason the ship would head for home without his permission - his father was dying. Trinadol was just seventeen, very young for the magical and long-lived Cirilen rulers of Ameulas, and he was not ready to rule. He had not been home since he was a child, and knew nothing of the political climate. But he had no choice, for he was the only heir to the throne.
When he arrived, Trinadol found his father dead, but his spirit had remained in the rotting corpse long enough to give Trinadol this warning: "Beware the Crimson." But he didn't tell Trinadol just what he meant. But Trinadol had met a lady with whom he fell in love, so he put the warning aside. His wedding would take place on the same day of his coronation, and he could hardly wait for the day to come.
But the day would be marred by his father's warning coming back to haunt him. By tradition, when a new king took the scepter of the kings of Ameulas, the huge diamond called the Cronus Star changed to the color that would define his reign. Thus it was that when Trinadol accepted the scepter, the Cronus Star turned a blood red, the color of destruction. Not knowing an ancient enemy was at work here, Trinadol assumed it meant he would destroy Ameulas and his beloved bride, Neuvia, unless he separated himself from his people. Using his magical scepter, he created the seven isles south of Ameulas, with near disastrous results.
THE SEVEN ISLES OF AMEULAS is the story of the kind of self doubt that can lead to complete self destruction. It shows in stark detail that no one can do anything, not even to themselves, without hurting someone else. In the case of Trinadol, he almost destroyed his entire kingdom in his effort to save it from his destiny. It is only the true love and confidence of Neuvia and the citizens loyal to him that save both Trinadol and Ameulas.
If you love fantasy
that strains the imagination and stretches the bounds of credibility,
this is indeed the book for you. The reader will never forget the
strange scenes of magical islands, beasts, ships and towers. Nor will
you easily forget the love stories told within, for there is another
than that of the love between Trinadol and Neuvia. Read and enjoy
Now, let’s talk to Mr. Fahy and see how he created this world.
Jo Rogers: Mr. Fahy, welcome to Beyond the Words. First, tell us where this world is located. Is it in an identifiable area of space, or just “out there somewhere?
Casey Fahy: Ameulas is located on another world very similar to our own. As Tolkien claimed to have written a mythology for his native England, so I look at Ameulas as a mythical America. Therefore, it's culture and character reflect an enterprising, bold, individualistic American attitude.
JR: Who did you use as a model for Trinadol? Was it a real person, or a conglomerate of many teenage boys?
CF: Long ago, I wrote a first draft of Ameulas, when I myself was sixteen. However, many years have passed and the character of Trinadol has grown in dimension along with myself. Now, Trinadol is as much a portrait of an artist as a portrait of a young man. Like all young people, he faces a world he must someday take a place in and confronts doubts about his own worthiness in that world. Like an artist, he risks trapping himself in a dreamworld and giving up the practical universe; someday, that artist must emerge with the product of his dreams, and somehow it must mean something in the real world he has isolated himself from for so long. So in a way, Trinadol is a version of me as a teenager. In another way, he is a study of the paradox faced by an artist.
JR: From whom did you create the character of Neuvia?
CF: Neuvia is a character who was added along the way as I grew up and the realities of romance became more important to me. She is a composite ideal of the kind of woman who can see the potential of Trinadol's spirit while keeping both feet on the ground. I was impressed by the character of Cosette in Les Miserables. The moment Marius sees Cosette he finds himself detached from the world and he is nearly lost in a dream; the moment Cosette sees Marius her dreams come into clear focus and she finds her way. That dynamic resonated in what I was trying to do. Neuvia is Trinadol's link to the real world and his dream come true simultaneously. She is also unafraid of the risks involved in loving. She understands, especially as a common Ameulentian mortal, that such risks are the price of making all dreams come true.
JR: How do you create the names of your characters?
CF: I've been asked that many times, and I don't really know the answer. This is one of those areas where I let the muse whisper something in my ear.
JR: What triggered the idea for this story?
CF: The idea first came to me when I was twelve. The title was the first thing I thought of, because I wanted to write a sweeping adventure story, a sea voyage with heroes and monsters, the struggle of a teenaged king to discover his own soul before gaining the whole world. The rest followed as I sought to justify everything I envisioned in that original title.
JR: The magic is interesting, especially that associated with the Cronus Star. Does the stone possess magic powers, or is it just a channel for those who possess magical ability?
CF: The Cronus Star is merely a device that channels, magnifies and stores the magical instructions of its possessor. Such a possessor imprints his own purposes on such a stone; thus it will protect itself from the hand of those who do not possess it. Such stones are also used by Cirilen to measure and observe properties of the Hala World, and as a passageway to the Wynder World, the dream world from which all the power of the Cirilen ultimately comes.
JR: What characteristics are associated with each color, and how does thar affect the reign of the monarch who arouses that color in the Cronus Star?
CF: The color that manifests in the stone reflects the spirit of its possessor, yet such colors do not presage good or evil. Ameulentian superstition imagines certain colors to be fair or foul, a crude form of predestination, and this is what Drugor relies upon. Trinadol exiles himself because he believes he is cursed, not because he is. The crimson numen of the Cronus Star symbolizes unearned guilt, the judgment that one is essentially wicked, which cripples the good from engaging the world and delivers it to true evil.
JR: Neuvia is shown to wield a lot of magic power, yet she is a common kitchen servant. How is this possible? From whence does her power come?
CF: Neuvia acquires some of the magical attributes of Trinadol during the act of making love with him, along with the much-longer life span of a Cirilen. As in a later moment in the book, there is the suggestion that a genetic transfer of some sort occurs, but no such anachronistic description is revealed in the book. Assisted by her magical allies, Toy, Stargazer and her collection of books, she comes to understand what her transformed abilities consist of and how they can best be employed.
JR: Drugor is an especially vile and destructive person. From where did you get this character? Is it coincidence that his name begins with drug?
CF: Drugor is evil incarnate, a parasite who believes he is better than the host upon whom he is utterly dependent. He preys on virtue, which is the source of what he must plunder in order to survive in the real world. Most especially, he preys on the conscience of the virtuous, knowing it is vulnerable to accusations of immorality. True evil is impervious to such accusations and without conscience. It is, perhaps, a subconscious construction that his name contains the word "drug." As Drugor's kind were half-sired in the dream world, his lusts and ambitions are in conflict with and extremely dangerous to the real world and its inhabitants. Certainly, drug abuse is an analogy I considered while writing the novel.
JR: The dream world where Trinadol and Neuvia meet seems like a drug-induced hallucination. Was that what gave you the idea for it?
CF: Yes, you're right! The world of the mind is the source of all great things we accomplish in the real world, but becoming lost there in order to escape the real world leads to death and abandons the real world to true evil. Addiction, obsession, alienation, isolation are all parallels to Trinadol's dilemma, all of which are caused by the same thing: a sense of inadequacy and a belief that if one engages the world one will only cause it harm.
JR: Trinadol’s self doubt almost caused him to self destruct. Does the fact that he is a teenager play a role in his thinking?
CF: Sure. Teenagers are susceptible to self-doubt already. When they are instructed that mankind hurts the environment or is necessarily wicked on top of that insecurity, for example, it can be as potent a moment in their self-direction as Trinadol accepting the Cronus Star stained crimson. It is, I believe, why so many teenagers do escape the real world into drug abuse and other forms of self-exile -- not out of an I-want-to-have-fun-all-the-time attitude, but out of an I-don't-want-to-be-one-of-the-offending-humans-who-destroy-the-world-simply-by-living-in-it syndrome.
JR: Drugor is an old and powerful enemy. Why was Trinadol’s father not allowed to give him a more detailed warning?
CF: Drugor himself sees to it. He is the wind that fills Trinadol's sail that first night, and he snatches Trinadol's father and deals him a devastating blow in order to prevent Trinadol from knowing too much. Also, his teachers were afraid to tell him of the power he wielded while he was too young, which gave Drugor his window of opportunity.
JR: Neuvia’s love for Trinadol is powerful. I have seen this kind of love in real life, but I am told it is a rarity. What is your observation on this?
CF: I am ever hopeful. One of the powers of art is to present an ideal -- the only reason to present it is so that it can come closer to being real. For something to become real, we must first dream it! So I'm still waiting for my dream to come true.
JR: Thank you so much for visiting with us. We wish you well with the second printing, and look forward to your next novel.
CF: Thank you very much. I enjoyed it very much. My next novel is about teenagers in a possible American future, entitled Escaping America, and it will elaborate on some of the themes of Ameulas in a modern context.
This concludes our journey into a strange and fascinating world. All good things must come to an end, however. Next time, we'll take another trip into another fascinating world we haven't traveled before. Until then, happy reading!