Friday, September 16, 2011

Guest Post: Stephen Zimmer (Author of The Exodus Gate) on Through the Gate

Happy Friday everyone! Today I have the pleasure of having Stephen Zimmer, author the Rising Dawn saga, gurst posting on the blog today. See my review of The Exodus Gate, and you will see why I am so excited that he dropped by. I hope ya'll will give him a warm welcome.
Born in Denver, Colorado, Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning fantasy author and filmmaker based out of Lexington, Kentucky.
Stephen has two series being published through Seventh Star Press. One is the epic fantasy Fires in Eden Series, which was launched with Crown of Vengeance (winner of the 2010 Pluto Award for Best Novel). Book 2, Dream of Legends, was released in January of 2011. The other is the epic urban fantasy series The Rising Dawn Saga. The Rising Dawn Saga launched in spring of 2009 with The Exodus Gate (nominated for a 2009 Pluto Award). The next step was taken in June of 2010 with The Storm Guardians. Highly prolific, Stephen is adhering to a release schedule that sees a new book approximately every seven months! (Bio taken from author's website)
Through the Gate by Stephen Zimmer
The Exodus Gate kicked off a series (The Rising Dawn Saga) that takes more than a few chances when it comes to urban fantasy.   With its larger ensemble cast, scale, and multiple threads, it allows for a very ambitious story, within which a dedicated reader can immerse, and enjoy discovering layer after layer.  It offers a rich trove of references to the mythical, the supernatural, and much more. 
It is the kind of series where many seeds are planted in each title that will be realized in future volumes, so no thread is without definite intent and importance.  It is also the type of series that promises new discoveries with subsequent readings.  Yes, it is a bigger, more complex body of work than many other urban fantasy series, but it offers a very substantial reward to those that take the jump into it.
The book and series involve the concept of parallel worlds, and states of existence that are not governed by time and space as we know it.  It provides for an extensive blending of the modern and the ancient, juxtaposing imagery that could find a home in science fiction right alongside the fantastical and otherworldly.  It is the place where anything can happen at a given moment, a journey of the imagination rife with exciting possibilities.  It can shift from the intimate to the cosmic, and back again, one of the true strengths of epic-scale types of storytelling.
The Exodus Gate is the foundational book for the saga, and it sets a tone for the kind of things that readers can expect on their journey through Terra, The Middle Lands, the Abyss, the Void, The Ten-Fold Kingdom, and other places found within this saga.  In setting that tone, this book reaches heavily into the roots of flood lore, regarding a global flood said to have taken place in the ancient world.  This lore is not just limited to the Great Flood of the Bible, but is found in a diverse range of cultures in all areas of the world.  I have always been particularly fascinated with the parallels in the Sumerian and Babylonian myths (most importantly the Epic of Gilgamesh), and the biblical account of the Great Flood. 
The correlation between the Sumerian/Babylonian myths and the Bible is not just limited to the worldwide flood either.  It also entails the accounts of beings such as the Annunaki, from the Sumerian/Babylonian lore, to the Nephilim of the Bible and apocryphal literature (works such as the Book of Enoch, which were written during biblical times and later omitted from the final list of books agreed upon for the bible as we know it today.  It is this book in particular which gave rise to many specific names of fallen angels, and details stories just briefly referenced in the biblical Book of Genesis).
The parallels in ancient accounts and myths flows right into the core of the Rising Dawn Saga, in the way it blends together mythical influences from across the world.  From the start, I wanted this series to encompass such a range and blending of mythical foundations, to make them interact, come alive, and intertwine.  I wanted to bridge the world of the modern and ancient, and make the things written of upon tablets and animal skins live and breathe alongside characters that we can all relate to today.
These aspects are made very clear in The Exodus Gate, where elements of Asian, Sumerian/Babylonian, Persian, Hebrew, and other rich cultural heritages are drawn upon, combined, and harmonized with a course of events in a world like we have today, a sequence of developments that many will find quite possible, at least in concept.  This aspect only broadens and deepens within The Storm Guardians, and The Seventh Throne, allowing for some very fun, intriguing combinations in scenes and story threads, as the creatures and lore of many traditions are brought fully into a modern-era setting.
I encourage everyone to take a look at the myths and traditions of societies across the world, and to see for themselves the things they often share in common, whether it be their pantheon of gods, half-human/half-divine offspring of the gods, or the great trials faced by humans.  I am confident a deeper appreciation of this world’s mythical heritages will add considerably to their enjoyment as they travel deeper into the Rising Dawn Saga, as the magic of ancient times meld with the present, becoming more alive with every step that the reader takes!

-Stephen Zimmer

The Seventh Thron (The Rising Dawn, 3) by Stephen Zimmer, 2011. Published by Seventh Star Press.

The epic saga advances, as the shadows deepen ... Friedrich accompanies the powerful Avatar Enki into the depths of the Abyss. They seek to discover the fate of Erishkegal, who crossed the Veil to spare a horde of outcast Nephilim ages ago. The quest will take them to the brink of hell itself, but it is one that may hold astounding revelations. Elsewhere, martial law is installed across the UCAS during the outbreak of a deadly virus, and the onset of a war to the Far East threatening the stability of the entire world. The imposition of a diabolical technology looms, as centuries-old organizations in the service of Adonai race to confront the looming menace. Ex-marine Gregory Andreas leads a budding resistance to the authoritarian government, while Dagian Underwood, the mastermind behind the oncoming Living ID technology, reaches out to the dark realm of Set to gain the help of an ally with a rare, formidable ability. Seth Engel and his teenage friends venture forth once again to seek proof of spreading rumors; this time of rounded-up townspeople being herded into large detainment facilities close to Godwinton. Even the shape shifting An-Ki are caught in the maelstrom of uncertainty. Godral and the others of Sargor's clan struggle to find their place in the strange modern world, while Uria leads his renegade new clan into the unknown. Threads intertwine as the dangers escalate swiftly. The Seventh Throne will leave the reader hungry for the next installment, after a revelation of tremendous magnitude culminates the latest Rising Dawn Saga adventure.
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