Captain Marcus d’Ivoire, commander of one of the Vordanai empire’s colonial garrisons, was resigned to serving out his days in a sleepy, remote outpost. But that was before a rebellion upended his life. And once the powder smoke settled, he was left in charge of a demoralized force clinging tenuously to a small fortress at the edge of the desert.
To flee from her past, Winter Ihernglass masqueraded as a man and enlisted as a ranker in the Vordanai Colonials, hoping only to avoid notice. But when chance sees her promoted to command, she must win the hearts of her men and lead them into battle against impossible odds.
The fates of both these soldiers and all the men they lead depend on the newly arrived Colonel Janus bet Vhalnich, who has been sent by the ailing king to restore order. His military genius seems to know no bounds, and under his command, Marcus and Winter can feel the tide turning. But their allegiance will be tested as they begin to suspect that the enigmatic Janus’s ambitions extend beyond the battlefield and into the realm of the supernatural—a realm with the power to ignite a meteoric rise, reshape the known world, and change the lives of everyone in its path.
“Wexler has produced something unusual in the fantasy line, with a setting reminiscent of the early Victorian period, out on the bleeding edge of Empire, a world of dust and bayonets and muskets…and magic. The characters are fascinating and all of them have secrets. The heroes range from the noble to the distinctly ambiguous….I read it at a gulp and look forward to more.”—S. M. Stirling, New York Times Bestselling Author of Lord of Mountains
“I absolutely loved it. Wexler balances the actions of his very human characters with just the right amount of imaginative ‘magic’ to keep me wanting more.”—Taylor Anderson, National Bestselling Author of the Destroyermen Series
“I would wholeheartedly recommend The Thousand Names, not only to fans of fantasy but also to fans of military fiction of all types. Fans of Steven Erikson, David Drake, Glen Cook, Naomi Novik, Tom Kratman, Jack Campbell, David Weber, and John Ringo take note – there’s a new military fiction cowboy in town and his name is Django.” – SFSignal.com
“The scenes of military life and combat tactics are well crafted, and Winter and Marcus’s respective successes keep the story moving swiftly enough until the darker secret and elements of the fantastic make themselves known.” – Publishers Weekly
Django. Cool name! What’s the story behind it?
I’m named after Django Reinhardt, a jazz guitarist who played in the 20s and 30s. I always think there should be a cooler story than there actually is—some kind of elaborate personal connection, maybe a mysterious family secret—but really my mom read the name in a biography and thought it was great. So you can credit my parents’ good taste!
You seem to know a lot about weapons––did you do a lot of research because you were writing what might be called a ’flintlock fantasy,’ or were you already a weapons buff?
More the latter, I think. The idea to write The Thousand Names—that is, a relatively realistic fantasy set in a roughly Napoleonic setting—came out of a lot of reading about the period. It wasn’t something I did deliberately for the book, it’s just the kind of thing I read for fun. I had been getting a little disappointed by fantasy authors who wanted to have giant wars in their books but either left out what the fighting was actually like or handled it in a very ahistorical way for no good reason. So I decided to try do it “right.”
After I started writing, I did get a few more books to answer some specific questions on how the weaponry and tactics worked, though. I’ve accumulated a small reference library I can poke through when I need answers.
What are the major influences behind your novel?
Well, as I said, one impetus was to try and write something that took the military stuff pretty seriously. I think George R. R. Martin was obviously a big influence in this regard, he really opened my eyes (along with those of many others) to the kind of things you could do in fantasy. The idea of writing a fantasy story drawing on real events for inspiration I got from S. M. Stirling and David Drake’s series The General, which is loosely based on the campaigns of the Byzantine general Belisarius. Janus, as a character, draws from a long traditional of slightly crazy geniuses, the two most influential of which for me were Sherlock Holmes (of course!) and Timothy Zahn’s Grand Admiral Thrawn.
Non–fiction–wise, David Chandler’s The Campaigns of Napoleon is a brilliant history of the Napoleonic wars, and more than anything else this whole project came from reading that book and thinking, “Wow, I want to write that.” Simon Schama’s Citizens, a history of the French Revolution, was also important, although that will become more relevant once the series goes on a bit.
The singularity is occurring in t–10 seconds. Which of your appliances/gadgets are you most afraid of?
Hmm. The ones that can do a lot of damage like the blender or the oven are the most obviously scary, but I’d have to go with my phone. If I didn’t know it had gained sentience, it could engage in a campaign of subtle psychological torture that would quickly drive me insane. Plus it knows everything about me.
What are you currently working on?
Well, right now, a lot of blog posts and interviews for The Thousand Names release! But my next real project is to edit the sequel, The Shadow Throne, and then get started writing book #3. I also have a middle–grade fantasy series starting next April with The Forbidden Library, so I’ll need to get some work in on those as well. Busy busy!