Just like the other two books, the maps in this volume are brought to you by the talented Isaac Stewart—video game designer, writer, and all-around great guy. Isaac is a member of my writing group, and he started work on the maps for Hero of Ages early, since we knew we’d want maps of Urteau and Fadrex to replace the map of Luthadel (which doesn’t have as big a part in this book as it did in the others).
I’m curious to know what people think, opening this book and seeing these two cities instead of the familiar Luthadel. Part of me still wishes I’d been able to set the book in Luthadel.
And yet, I worried that that setting was played out. In book two, the action came to the characters—but I wasn’t certain I wanted them to still be sitting there, dealing with the problems life threw at them. I wanted them to be out proactively seeking to head off the end of the world.
That required them to leave Luthadel, and while I did find opportunity for a few scenes in the city, they aren’t the focus of the book.
I like how both of these maps turned out, as they both have visual elements that were challenging to describe in the text. For Urteau, the streetslots are an unusual image, and I think the map helps get across the idea of the empty canal streets. Fadrex was an even bigger problem—it was tough to get down the descriptions of the rock formations around the city that provide natural fortifications. I think that the map here gives me a leg up on description, as it adds a visual image I can work from before I even have to begin describing.
I know some readers complain about how fantasy writers feel a need for maps, but for me it’s always been a vital part of the experience. The map is an initial visual image that begins to pull you away from our world and deposit you someplace else. David Farland always says that one of the goals of fantasy—and reading in general—is to take you somewhere new. Maps are the gateway into doing this, and I’m happy to include them in my books.