“Of Salt and Wine,” an Overview

Urban fantasy conjures thoughts of oily streets and gritty dialogue, where the whole city seems to change shape at night, and sometimes (As Pollack’s City’s Son novel shows) even the buildings wake up to wage war. Born partially out of the Harry Potter womb of (what I’d call) Classical British Fantasy, partially out of a new generation of D&D/MTG/WoW players (and the crossbred explosion that is Butcher’s Dresden files), and partially out of a growing number of equally interested women partaking in said fantasy/games/writing, UF has cornered the fantasy shelves like Stephen King and Koontz cornered horror back in the ’80’s. UF could even be seen as Horror Lite (with all the aspartame your squirmy little brain needs to cloud out for a while). But it isn’t. There is no Metallica backing this genre, only alternative about being radioactive, or haunted and dead, or hipster emogoth. No biker gangs smoking huge cigars and reading by candlelight.

This is a new breed.

Yet, as I’ve read many Big Publishers say, UF is dying. We’ve written all we can on the subject. We’ve even exhausted sub genres of Steampunk and Cyberpunk and… Gaslight and everything else under the creaky, oily sun. What Is Left? The werewolves are overdone and diluted to 90% water, 10% adrenaline. The vampires are more spoiled kids and less immortal world changers. And the undead. Gosh, get rid of the rotting flesh and you have, well, a much more compelling story in war. Heck. Hunger Games is tapping into THAT niche. And Divergent. And all the spinoff Urban Scifi to come.

My Urban Fantasy novel is different. It breathes through the real world. It steps back, behind the curtain, to examine the stuff that comes from a deeper place. Think Poe. Think Lovecraft. Think the earth-thumping, soul-twisting stuff that made Christianity so terrifying back in the dark ages. Think dead poets like Peguey, forgotten pieces from Stoker, from the Gitas, from the Book of Judas, the ravings of Jung’s forbidden diary. Real-world experience, from a real-world shaman, tapping softly on drums so well you hear them in your dreams.

Demons. Doppelgängers. Shadows that know your name. Old gods. Mysticism exhaled with a tremble. All those things you know is real, but science hasn’t quite. Caught. Up. To explain. Sometimes, it’s downright quantum.

But that’s later.

This is the story of a broken man, and of the priest who tries to save him–no. This is the story of a desperate priest who seeks guidance from a world-weary shaman. No. Not quite. This is the story of a church. A church where all the dark things were allowed to grow strong and full, where one priest in a long line of corrupted men decides to fight his way back out. This is the story of the husk of a man who decides to help his fellows through a belief system only barely emerged from the religious soup that is Paganism, Judeo-Christianity, and Buddhism. Armed with a special form of understanding the world–or perhaps a world that only he sees–and a collection of artifacts he’s collected over his twenty-six years, Soren steps out of mourning and into a war only a very broken, or very brilliant, man could survive.

Those of Salt and Wine, he comes for you a-haunting.

~CHeisserer

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