So, it’s common for Fantasy novels to come with a map or two printed in the front of the book to give the reader a sense of this new and unfamiliar geography we are about to delve into. Some are exquisite pieces of cartography, complete with major features, cities and the like; or perhaps an intricate street-map of a major metropolis integral to the story. Others are clearly cobbled together because it’s expected, and therefore are less-than-inspiring or interesting.
Debut author Sam Sykes, on the other hand, has something a little different to offer. The UK and US editions of his highly-acclaimed debut novel, Tome of the Undergates (book one in his Aeon Gates series), did not include a map. His German publisher, however, has requested one. So he went about putting one together…
If you haven’t read the novel, then you should know it’s a dark, twisted quest/journey of a band of disparate, bitchy, and flawed characters. It takes many fantasy tropes and gleefully dashes them across the rocks of the author’s twisted imagination, making them new and a good deal more disturbing (in a very, very good way). Or, as his publisher describes it: “a vast and sprawling story of adventure, demons, madness and carnage”.
This map really suits the novel and the slightly warped mind of its author. So, here it is, the map to go with Tome of the Undergates, created with the help of Michael Lee Lunsford:
Frankly, I think this is brilliant.