Winter has become a distant memory, as the Golden Sun arises to herald another glorious spring. Work continues apace on many writing projects, even as I’ve taken a well-earned retreat from the pages of future novels in the making. I’ve recently returned to my writing desk to pen Whispers of White Sapphire to digital parchment before my deadline arrives to hand it to the editor.

A Sanctum of Swords: Embers Edition has returned from the editor and is finished after I tied up some loose knots she tasked me with. The manuscript is finished, but I’ve placed one more major milestone in front of myself before re-publishing the book.

I had long aspirated to create an audiobook for A Sanctum of Swords. I searched for talented individuals who could help bring this dream to fruition, drawing inspiration from their previous work. As the story of A Sanctum of Swords unfolded, so did my connections, and by the end of last autumn, I was delighted to have found my current narrator. This choice filled me with anticipation, as I knew he was the perfect fit for the project.

Marcus Freeman, the second narrator I approached for A Sanctum of Swords, has taken on the role of narrator, guiding the manuscript on its journey to becoming an audiobook. In this collaborative process, I act as the navigator, providing guidance and support as we navigate the sometimes turbulent waters of audiobook production.

The audiobook adaptation of A Sanctum of Swords presents a unique challenge due to the multitude of distinct characters in the manuscript. Each character, with their unique backgrounds and narratives, demands a high level of voice talent to bring them to life in an engaging and authentic way. Among the many talented voice actors I considered, Marcus stood out with his audition, demonstrating his ability to meet this challenge head-on.

Hearing the audio sample for the original version of Chapter 1 – A Dominion of the Mind, blew me away!

If you are curious, here is the original audition.

Now here is the latest version of that scene from the audition featured in A Sanctum of Swords: Embers Edition.


Marcus still has to edit and finish this scene, but it’s already coming together very well.

What I love about Marcus is that we share a similar mindset to how we see the manuscript. After several discussions and some character sample reels to familiarize him with the characters and help dial in their voices, his unique ability to possess many different shades of voice and tone makes each character shine. From the main character to the supporting cast, everyone feels like an individual in a living, breathing, hand-written world breathed into life by his voice.

A Sanctum of Swords – Who are the Characters?

In a world of light, darkness, and various shades of grey in between, I’ve made it a point to emphasize that sometimes the roles of protagonist and antagonist are a matter of perspective and not a universal truth. Instead of saying that one character is inherently evil and another good, I went with the perspective that every character in A Sanctum of Swords is a human being with an untold narrative waiting to be revealed.

Are some more evil or good-natured than some of their peers? Yes. However, I wanted to come from the angle that the true antagonist would be an ancient and cosmic force. Two Goddesses originating from the darkness of the void.

You will catch glimpses of Zesiro and Sabah, deities who reign over a broken world long forgotten by the mortal races of Khios. Where Sabah is stoic and unfeeling about the devastation she brings, she is a Goddess of archaic wisdom and pragmatic in her dealings with mortals.

Zesiro, on the other hand, is a beguiling creature of soothsaying and manipulation. She always feigns innocence to achieve her malignant agenda. She is more akin to a puppet master, maneuvering mortals across her chess board like pawns to achieve her own desires.

Lord Erasyl Sar Amun is the God-King of the Carth Dominion. The last of four sons to Anwar the Golden and a warrior king discarding the ways of constant bloodshed to become an enlightened monarch in times of peace. He is also one thousand years old and ageless, immortal in the sense that time cannot degrade him.

Erasyl has had many centuries to temper the hot-headed nature of his bloodline. He has witnessed the near collapse of the Sar Amun House due to countless wars and betrayals. His firstborn daughter, Shoushan, High Queen and Spouse Tabia, and his favored orphaned niece, Siham, remain the last of his House and bloodline.

Opposite to the Children of the Sun in times of war and peace, Erasyl prefers thinking with his mind and speaking with great wisdom to benefit others. Shoushan, his Firstborn Daughter, is forever seeking to follow in her father’s footsteps to become his next successor over a rebuilt Dominion. Tabia, her mother-in-law, has no love for her God-King’s firstborn heir due to sharing none of her blood. Siham remains headstrong and independent, eschewing tradition to live freely and pursue matters of her heart.

Korian is a legendary assassin of the Ashen Blades Syndicate. Having spent decades fighting the Sanctum Queen’s various shadow wars, he has cast down numerous tyrannical and wicked individuals. After a lifetime of devotion to defeating Goddess Zahira’s enemies, he ends his saga by defeating the greatest tyrant of the known world: Karayan Akara, Grand Master of the Ashen Blade Syndicate.

His twin cousins and niece, Mahir and Gadara, follow in his footsteps to become Ashen Blades. Their careers end in an act of betrayal by Karayan, but they reunite with each other in death (there’s a whole system on how that works).

Adofo Akopian is a seasoned Zar’qin legionnaire, a volunteer slave warrior serving the Carth Dominion. Having retired far earlier than he anticipated several years before the manuscript’s beginning, he is now part of a unit of the Palace Guard known as the Bloodsworn. He is a royal prince from a neighboring kingdom but has lived as a member of the Zar (slave) caste for over a decade. His companions come from similar backgrounds and possess similar stories.

There are many more supporting characters, but the main points of view are the ones through which the story is told. Stay tuned to hear more about A Sanctum of Swords: Embers Edition and see this world and its characters come to life like never before.