Trial of Intentions is the second volume in Peter Orullian’s Vault of Heaven series, following The Unremembered (2011). In his recent Black Gate article, Peter gives a tantalizing glimpse of the worldbuilding in these novels:
In the midst of these political machinations, this one regent realizes that even if she can get all the kingdoms to agree, it might not be enough. The sheer numbers of the army they could create may be insufficient this time. What do you do then?
In the instance of my book, this takes a couple of forms. There is, in fact, an entire kingdom given to the production of what I call “gearworks.” This society is densely populated with smiths of various kinds all designing and building better war machines…
This time, the threat from beyond the veil is more dire than ever before. And to meet it, this lone regent realizes that mere muscle and bone won’t be enough. The escalation needs to go further this time. They need to exhaust approaches that might once have seemed inconceivable and forbidden…
War is coming. One of those great wars you read about. The kind people call “the war to end all wars.” And in the face of such a thing, you arm. You do all you can. Pull out all the stops. Ask impossible, impractical, maybe unholy things. Because losing isn’t an option. Losing means annihilation.
Peter has been writing a series of acclaimed short stories set in the same world, and many of those are available free online at Tor.com. It’s a great way to get introduced to to Vault of Heaven. Here’s a few helpful links.
“Sacrifice of the First Sheason” (Nov 3, 2010, Tor.com)
“The Great Defense of Layosah” (Feb 2, 2011, Tor.com)
“The Battle of the Round” (April 12, 2011, Tor.com)
“A Beautiful Accident” (Jan 7, 2015, Tor.com)
“The Hell of It” (Feb 25, 2015, Tor.com)
Here’s the description for Trial of Intentions:
The gods who created this world have abandoned it. In their mercy, however, they chained the rogue god — and the monstrous creatures he created to plague mortalkind — in the vast and inhospitable wasteland of the Bourne. The magical Veil that contains them has protected humankind for millennia and the monsters are little more than tales told to frighten children. But the Veil has become weak and creatures of Nightmare have come through. To fight them, the races of men must form a great alliance to try and stop the creatures.
But there is dissent. One king won’t answer the call, his pride blinding him even to the poison in his own court. Another would see Convocation fail for his own political advantage. And still others believe Convocation is not enough. Some turn to the talents of the Sheason, who can shape the very essence of the world to their will. But their order is divided, on the brink of collapse.
Tahn Junell remembers friends who despaired in a place left barren by war. One of the few who have actually faced the unspeakable horde in battle, Tahn sees something else at work and wonders about the nature of the creatures on the other side of the Veil. He chooses to go to a place of his youth, a place of science, daring to think he can find a way to prevent slaughter, prevent war. And his choices may reshape a world…
Trial of Intentions was published by Tor Books on May 26, 2015. It is 671 pages, priced at $27.99 in hardcover and $14.99 for the digital version. The cover is by Kekai Kotaki.
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