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Literature: Glory in the Thunder

"The gods have come out to dance. Whenever they do, people die. The best one can hope for is that they turn only inwards."
Ziazan

Glory in the Thunder is the first book in the planned Aspects of the Divinity series, released on October 20, 2013.

Hayr is a young lad of the Tokhar protectorates, forced to flee home after his brother discovers his true nature. Alone and vulnerable on the road, a suspiciously convenient chance encounter sees him pulled into the company of Mad Oracle Rashk and his coterie of Artificial Humans. The four nations of the Tarim region are embroiled in a flow of events which the gods themselves do not fully understand, with Barsamin of Chald, Ismyrn of Petragon, Katarosi of Antaram and Hayr locked in the center. Meanwhile, Knight in Sour Armor Tsovinar seeks the unsettling truth that lies at the heart of her world.

A Gaslamp Fantasy novel set in a fictional counterpart to the Silk Road, with themes of non-standard theology, tolerance, and deconstructing You Can't Fight Fate. Involves Loads and Loads of Characters and lies somewhere on the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism between Harry Potter and A Song of Ice and Fire.

The author is One of Us and maintains a Tumblr related to the novel.


This novel provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Ismyrn Galatti, Tsovinar, Evren, Ninja Maid Ziazan, Thalass Veraldo, Friendly Sniper Oseni, and that’s without bringing up the lore characters.
  • A God Am I: Pretty much the general premise; the entire original biblical passage is quoted almost word-for-word.
  • All There in the Manual: Several otherwise anonymous characters have names listed in the back. There is a good deal of information not made explicit in the story which can be gleaned from the map.
  • Altar the Speed: As in like right about now.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Rashk is up to something, that much we know.
  • Animal Eye Spy: Rashk has artifices created for this purpose.
  • Animals Hate Him: Tsovinar and animals do not mix. Probably because she has all the empathy of a clay brick. Also, artifices smell weird to normal animals.
  • Arc Words: a l w a y s
  • Arranged Marriage: All over the place. The Tokharika culture seems to be built entirely on them.
  • A Storm Is Coming: The Deuteragonist is apparently “a storm on the horizon” for many people.
  • Badass Gay: Ismyrn, Solornel (who is the mostly-gay sort of bi), Ziazan (who by Word of God is bi), arguably Rashk; and Barsamin is apparently on his way.
  • Badass Normal: Despite being a world filled with gods and artifice people, Ismyrn is the one who seems to deploy violence most effectively. Of course, she learned it from her master Rodomond Veraldo, who is also this.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Deconstructed. Destiny in this case seems to be unhinged if not outright malicious, and characters often wonder why they’re listening to it at all.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Everything is terrible but we’re just gonna have to take it one day at a time. Pretty clearly not the end of the story as a whole... one hopes.
  • Born in the Saddle: the Tokharika. Proper Tokharika, anyway.
  • Break the Cutie: Barsamin’s backstory.
  • Caps Lock: Cruise control for divine meddling.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Four gay teenagers, one bi teenager, two old gay guys, the jury is still out on Houri. There are also explicitly asexual characters.
  • Cessation of Existence: The eventual fate of artifices - but only a few are smart enough to know it. The very fact that such intelligent artifices exist is considered unspeakably cruel by many people.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: Subverted in that nobody has died in the volcano dominating the horizon of one of the cities... so far. But we do get to see multiple characters fall off Chekhov’s Waterfall.
  • Citizenship Marriage: The process takes four years.
  • Creating Life: In fact, a large portion of the cast were given artificial life by other people in the cast.
  • Crossdresser: A much younger Rashk’s clothing choices are expressed in unambiguously feminine terms, to the point that the narrative itself briefly succumbs to Viewer Gender Confusion.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Rashk, the God of Sight, revels in these to the extent that multiple other characters call him out on it.
  • Dark-Skinned Redhead: Houri, Anahit and Sparkasuki
  • Decoy Protagonist: Establish Woobie. Kill her.
  • Deuteragonist: The plot largely bounces back and forth between two boys of very different background.
  • Dies Wide Open: Tsovinar. Briefly.
  • Divine Date: The reason Katarosi has been set up with Barsamin in particular is due to religious perception.
  • Do Wrong, Right: Rashk lectures Vahagn about the correct way to murder a good person who doesn’t deserve to die.
  • Dramatic Thunder: It’s right there in the title.
  • Due to the Dead: Ziazan stops and takes the time to dispose of the undead men she just re-deaded, even though she suspects something terrible just happened.
  • Emotions Versus Stoicism: Tsovinar’s driving inner conflict.
  • Engagement Challenge: Deloram throws one of these at Barsamin: win the approval of swordmaster Rodomond Veraldo. It’s been rigged.
  • Everyone Is Related: Justified; since divine potential seems to have a genetic component, there is a complex network of intermarried gods and relatives of gods.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Rashk can make monsters. Of course he made a pterosaur.
  • Evil Uncle: A rare maternal uncle example.
  • Eye Scream: One of the most important characters is the God of Sight… so this is everywhere, subtle or blatant.
  • Eyes Never Lie: The basis of the Aspect of Secrets, it seems.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Clarion is repeatedly described as the most beautiful and charming girl who evokes pleasant memories in onlookers. She either kills someone or threatens to in every scene she has.
  • Family of Choice: Rashk left his real family behind and has since accrued quite a large assortment. He characterizes family as those who “save each other from themselves.”
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Tarim Peninsula is loosely based on the Silk Road. As for Petragon - a republic to the west, characterized by wealth, interfering in the interests of smaller countries, and even specifically mentioned to have an unjust health care system? Hmm. When Ziazan meets a man from the Vrie Countries they start speaking Fake Dutch.
  • First Name Basis: The people from Tarim have no last names, but they all seem to understand they’re supposed to call the Occidentals by last name. Notably, Barsamin refers to Ismyrn by first name. No wonder Katarosi thinks he likes her.
  • Founder of the Kingdom: We get quite a few dropped on us in lore interludes, most prominently Sparkasuki, the bloodthirsty conqueress.
  • Friendly Sniper: Oseni. Nice enough to stop Barsamin from making himself a murderer. Dutiful enough to try to take down Luzcrezo when he threatens her lord.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Clarion was apparently once a perfectly ordinary rustic girl before she became an immortal clingy yandere with power over iron.
  • Gaslamp Fantasy: Technology is not evenly distributed across cultures but electric lighting, automobiles, steamboats, drilling machines, typewriters, and most importantly guns all exist.
  • Gaydar: Luzcrezo has one. So does Rashk.
  • Gayngst: The root cause of why Hayr ran away from home.
  • Gender Bender: Heavily implied to have happened to Erasmin Arcocelli as we know her.
  • Genius Bruiser: Tsovinar, tall and strong and a published author.
  • God Is Flawed: The “gods” are ordinary people and hence quite flawed. “God” in the grander sense might be also. Or maybe she just knows something we don’t.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Queen Anahit abolished slavery throughout Antaram and is generally viewed as a lovely person. Her ancestress, Sparkasuki … threw people off waterfalls.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: The off-page fate of Diadem Correl, and presumably most other Gods of Truth.
  • Hell Seeker: “And may I be damned for it.”
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: It turns out that the good lady Deloram worked in harlotry and thievery before she got married and settled down.
  • I Am X, Son of Y: The peoples of the Tarim Peninsula do not have last names; they tend to fall into doing this when they’re being particular.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Evren warns Hayr concerning her little sister. Katarosi places down one of these ultimatums regarding herself.
  • Immortality Inducer: An Aspect of the Divinity will do this when it decides it’s finally found the right person. By whatever measure it may be using.
  • Impoverished Patrician: The royal family of Antaram is running on borrowed money from across the sea.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Vahagn murders his own young daughters, knowing they will never be able to wield his Aspect.
  • In the Blood: Barsamin pretty legitimately worries about this.
  • It Is Not Your Time / Foreseeing My Death: Rashk gets away with an awful lot simply because he feels certain it is not his time.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: Solornel ultimately falls not to the potential successors he fears, but to a snake bite courtesy of Rashk.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Tsovinar literally sets her hopes and dreams on fire after accepting they can never come true, and wonders aloud why she even bothers intervening for the good of others, but she just keeps doing it.
  • Lightning Reveal: The God of Thunder. Pretty inevitable.
  • Lineage Comes from the Father: Subverted and in one case inverted. Aspects bounce around between men and women with no particular pattern, except for the Queen of Birds, which has centuries of tradition that the successor should be a woman.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: There are seventy in the character index in the back.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Hayr’s father was forced to abandon his wife and sons to go back to his “proper” wife chosen by his parents. He was never heard from again… we can all see where this is going.
  • Loser Son of Loser Dad: Everyone’s opinion of Aramaz.
  • Magical Eye: The Aspect of Sight, as one would assume.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: An unusual case in which Rashk plots Tsovinar’s death against her will, knowing that she will return immortal.
  • My Parents Are Dead: Barsamin’s father is dead!
  • Nay-Theist: Said to God Herself: “I do not much care what you want.”
  • Nobility Marries Money: Eodar turned down his one chance to marry into money, and now he is pressuring his daughter not to make the same mistake.
  • No Eye in Magic: Aspected powers can be limited by line of sight - or by hearing.
  • Non-Human Undead: Most artifices are patterned on animals rather than people. In some countries, person-shaped artifices are outright illegal.
  • Oh My Gods!!: Well, naturally. By the shattered godhood what else would they say?
  • Old Shame: An in universe example: Tsovinar is the opposite of proud of the work she put out when she was young.
  • Our Souls Are Different: The soul is characterized as the personable component of existence which interacts with the physical mind. Everyone has one, but artifices are using “borrowed” ones, which are apparently being temporarily barred from afterlife.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: Hayr’s father had no legal right in the eyes of the Tokharika to marry his mother without permission. It is also the premise of the historical lore of Arakel and Kandakari.
  • Physical God: Each Aspect can only be held by one person at a time, so religious fervor and tradition tends to pop up around the wielders.
  • Posthumous Character: The plot is advanced with many flashbacks so there are quite a lot of them.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Artifices, in some cases extremely literally.
  • Prophecy Twist: Rashk seems to be trying to set these sorts of things up deliberately.
  • Religion is Magic: One night magic just sort of fell from the sky in a finite number of chunks. It seems to be universally agreed that these are PiecesOfGod in some sense.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Antaram is small enough that Eodar and Deloram manage many things directly.
  • Sad Bollywood Wedding: It’s a western work, but the marriage of Katarosi and Barsamin follows this pattern - with the twist that they’re pretty clearly both gay.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: If young Rashk had kept his mouth shut concerning the details, Clarion would never had taken actions towards fulfilling his own vision of his own death.
  • Soul Jar: Evren postulates that Rashk has a large collection of these. He probably does. Golem Artifices blur the concept of golems and the undead.
  • Taking the Veil: Houri has this to look forward to.
  • The Conqueror: The lore focuses on one; the plot raises the worry that another is coming. Or coming back, really.
  • The Glasses Gotta Go: subverted: both Barsamin’s mother and Katarosi’s grandmother claim this. Barsamin and Katarosi both think the other looks better with glasses.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Katarosi and Houri are prone to bickering.
  • The Theocracy: Antaram is this, but the requisite goddess is MIA.
  • Virgin Power: Played with: Anahit is passed off as this in folklore but in reality she was a lesbian.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Well Solornel sure does, and Houri is in favor, but Tsovinar is absolutely terrified of the potential consequences.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Gods have a reputation for going quite mad. Holding an Aspect is a challenge of mental and moral fortitude that many characters are unable to overcome.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Hayr is going to die. Definitely, we’re sure. No, no, Rashk is never wrong. Hayr isn’t long for it. The bell tolls for Hayr.
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