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Book Tour Q&A: The Last of the Atalanteans by P.L. Stuart



Today we're taking part in the book tour organized by Escapist Book Tours for The Last of the Atalanteans by P.L. Stuart! Continue reading for the book blurb and a Q&A with the author.

 
About the book

A painted mage. An unfaithful queen. A stolen throne. Three lords in disguise. Escaping Atalantyx’s destruction, Prince Othrun has forged alliances with Eltnish kings: former enemy Hert and King Wely, who has promised Othrun a kingdom of his own.


When Wely’s realm was stolen by Wely’s wife, a powerful mage, and Wely’s brother, a feared warlord, Othrun hatched a daring plan to restore the rightful king. The bold scheme involved Othrun entering Lynchun in disguise, risking his life and the life of those with him, to topple the usurpers. But for Othrun’s plot to succeed, he must entrust his Atalanteans into the uncertain hands of Hert—on the cusp of confronting his own political challenges to kingship, while tasked with protecting Othrun’s followers—even as Wely, a captive where he should be king, gambles both crown and the head upon which it sat on Othrun’s survival.


Othrun’s abilities, faith, and trust in his mysterious guardian spirit are soon to be tested. The mage Lysi continues to entangle herself in Othrun’s affairs, tempting him, challenging his beliefs, and threatening to bring his plans to ruin. But Othrun, Lord of the Last of the Atalanteans, does not intend to fail. He will be a king. Or die trying. Othrun will go to battle, and he will triumph against the odds. If not, all will be burned to ashes, consumed in the fires of his ambition. And so, the ancient war banner of Atalantean kings will fly. One last time. A kingdom has fallen. A legend will rise.

 
On to the interview...!

Thank you so much for joining us for this Q&A! We’ll start off with one of our standard podcast opening questions–what are you currently reading or what’s up next on your TBR? What made you pick up this book?

I am currently reading "The Way of Kings" by Brandon Sanderson. If you can believe it, this will be my first true foray into Sanderson's world. Encouraged by some of my booktube and writing friends, I decided to take the plunge into an author that so many people rave about. I am a lover of immersive worldbuilding and I understand that is one of Sanderson's strengths, so I am excited to see what's in store.


What is one book you want to shout about to the world? What about it makes you love it so much?

I would have to say “To Ride Hell’s Chasm” by Janny Wurts. "To Ride Hell's Chasm" is to-date my favourite standalone fantasy book ever. For me, Wurt's writing is unparalleled, and quintessential. There is so much nuance of meaning to every single word, so many layers of complexity, in a line of words, so many emotions, details, plot revelations, in every paragraph. The book is approximately 650 pages, however it feels like it is over 1000, while never being boring, too verbose, or having the plot drag. To be able to pack that much meaning into those few words, is a skill Wurts possess to a degree that, in my opinion, is unmatched. Moreover, to write this book took an incredible amount of courage and skill. Throughout the book, the prejudice, mistrust, and disdain - even outright hatred - for protagonist Mykaeel because primarily of the colour of his skin. The aplomb and grace, and frankly bravery, with which Wurts deals with the bigotry against Mykaeel is astounding. She should be highly commended for this, and, as with the author in general, I am unsure if she has ever been properly recognized for how courageously and unflinchingly she tackled this very sensitive topic. She should be praised, without question, for what she has done in this regard in "To Ride Hell's Chasm".


What comes first to you when you’re writing, the world, the characters, or the storyline?

The characters always come first in my stories. Stories, for me, are foremost about people, and their experiences. I want my readers to find my characters to be as fleshed out as possible, and believable. I am a character-driven reader, and a character-driven writer. Next comes the world. I build the world around how my characters perceive their environment. Then, comes the storyline. The storyline becomes "what happens to these characters".


They say to never judge a book by its cover, but a cover is still a marketing tool that helps sell books. Can you tell us about the idea behind the cover of your book?

The main cover image is of an ancient war flag of Othrun's extinct Atalantean Empire. It is tied to the title of the book, "The Last of the Atalanteans". The beast on the flag, a mammoth, is also extinct, along with Othrun's homeland, drowned beneath the waves. Because this book is very much the penultimate book in terms of : will the remnants of the Atalanteans survive, or will they fade into history, I chose this essentially defunct flag as the cover image. I believed it would be a stirring image, and also remind readers of the colonial past Othrun is tied to, the fact that, one way or another, the Atalanteans will be no more. Either they will become part of a new kingdom, once established, or they will be obliterated. “The Last of the Atalanteans'' is also a book more focused on armed conflict than the previous book, “A Drowned Kingdom”, so a war-flag as the main image seemed appropriate.


Can you give us an elevator pitch for your book?

A painted mage. An unfaithful queen. A stolen throne. Three lords in disguise. A kingdom has fallen. A legend will rise.


In your opinion, what kind of reader would like this book?

If you like immersive world-building, challenging and compelling themes that may be hard to read, thrilling battle scenes, morally ambiguous characters, political intrigue, and a fight for survival in a new land, this book is for you.


What would you like readers to take away from this book?

I hope readers have a sense of how difficult it is for someone like Othrun to change, and that such change does not happen overnight, nor is it linear. I also hope readers take away that, as a good friend said about Othrun as a character, two things can be true at once. Othrun can be brave, devout, clever, honourable, self-sacrificing, and yet petty, vindictive, shallow, bigotted, myopic, etc. That is the nature of humankind - we are made up of fascinating contradictions, and for the most part it comes down to degrees in terms of HOW much we are one way or another - either good or not so good.


Do you have a favorite quote from your book that you can share with us? What about this quote in particular makes it your favorite?

This quote comes from Othrun’s uncle, Old Yedwol, who is also a prince, and an experienced warrior, counsellor, and nobleman. “All good kings are killers, all kings good killers? Do you know of any famous kings who didn’t kill anyone?” It’s my favourite line because it’s not about glorifying violence in sovereigns. It’s about that fact that if we look at the stark reality of whom throughout history we consider great rulers, especially in the ancient context, these rulers typically killed A LOT of people. It's incongruous in some ways with our images of someone being “good”. So really what the quote is all about is substituting the word “good” for the word “effective”. Sadly, being a ruler is more about being effective, than being kind, magnanimous, or a nice person. In that context, being effective, that typically means fighting wars of conquest, defence, or both, elminiating traitors and threats to your rule such as rebellions. Alexander the Great, Henry V, Charlemange, etc. All considered good kings, all very much killers.


Is there anything you can tell us about any current projects you’re working on?

I’m currently working on “Lord and King”, Book Three in the Drowned Kingdom Saga. In this seven-book series I’m writing, this third book is absolutely pivotal to where the series will go. I think some people will find it shocking. At least I hope that people will be surprised and extremely extreemed after reading the events that occur throughout the book, especially the ending. This is a book where the women dominate the narrative, Othrun’s love life is turned upside down, he is in constant danger, with a lot of people wanting him dead, and we really have to wonder if he’s going to make it out alive.


Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for us! Do you have any parting thoughts or comments you’d like to leave for our readers?

I want to thank readers for taking the time to read and review my work. It means so much. If you are willing to leave a review, on Goodreads or Amazon or on your preferred platform, it is greatly appreciated.


And finally, where can you be found on the internet if our readers want to hear more from you?

Twitter is by far my preferred social media platform. You can find me there on @plstuartwrites .

I am also honoured to be an assistant editor under the incredible Beth Tabler with the amazing www.beforewegoblog.com You can find many of my book reviews there, and on Goodreads. I am also humbled to be a co-host of PAGE CHEWING, an interview feature where creatives from the writing community chat with incredible booktubers Steve Talks Books, Maed Between The Pages, and I.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6blIdKXYwPw&list=PLw6bQEbZ9ujT45twa4FhQIRqEQS2K6KxA

 
Where to buy the book:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Last-Atalanteans-Drowned-Kingdom-Saga-ebook/dp/B09WZF1GWC

Publisher Direct: https://books.friesenpress.com/store/title/119734000211681211/P.L.-Stuart-The-Last-of-the-Atalanteans

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