Blaxland writer Matt Karlov has just launched a fantasy novel that combines Renaissance politics with an Australian setting.
Called The Lordless City, the book follows three characters as they strive to defend their city from a mysterious foe - and perhaps from each other.
The first novel in the series, The Unbound Man, drew praise for its compelling narrative and the depth and ambiguity of its characters.
For The Lordless City, Karlov focused on developing these qualities further.
"It's important to understand your strengths as a writer," he said. "I like stories about characters who are neither the good guys nor the bad guys - they're just people. That's become a more common approach for fantasy in recent years, as we've seen from the success of Game of Thrones."
The Lordless City is set in a Renaissance-era fantasy world with merchant companies, printing presses, cannons, and sorcery.
"The setting is partly inspired by the Italian city-states of the 14th century," said Karlov. "The larger cities have started to carve out territory between them, but the smaller cities still have a degree of independence."
But The Lordless City is not just another fantasy novel set in an imaginary Europe.
Karlov has lived in the Blue Mountains for many years and was determined to include the natural beauty of his surroundings in his work.
"What's fun about fantasy is you can combine things in ways that never happened in history," he said. "I've drawn on Australian wildlife, 14th century European geopolitics, and many other influences to create the world of this book."
Karlov is already hard at work on the third and final novel in the series.
"This will definitely be a trilogy. I know how the series will end. Now I just have to get there."
The Lordless City is available in print and electronic editions from Amazon and online bookstores everywhere.
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