Book Spotlight

JQM LITERARY SPOTLIGHT PRESENTS Bane of Ashkarith by Ariel Paiement

JQM LITERARY SPOTLIGHT PRESENTS Bane of Ashkarith by Ariel Paiement





I’m a Christian fantasy and sci-fi author who strives to craft engaging fiction that presents real world issues, Christian themes, and Christian morals through the vehicle of fantasy. Something unique about me is that I have created my own language (grammar and all with a slowly growing vocabulary) for the world of Alcardia where Bane of Ashkarith takes place. I love languages and started learning other languages all the way back in third or fourth grade when my mom did a history module on Ancient Egypt (I was homeschooled), and I took the hieroglyph page and taught myself all of them then found more on the internet. Yup. I’m a nerd. Keeps life interesting, at least for me.


This book is written at a reading level appropriate for anyone who is at least thirteen. It is, however, written with the whole family in mind, and the idea is that it would be an acceptable story for any age, though younger children might struggle to understand some concepts. The genre is solidly high fantasy with an archaeological flavor mixed in.

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As with most of my books, a combination of things. First, I had already written a short story in this world for an anthology that was coming out after this book was set to release. That short story was about Bane and Rith’s love story, and this book features them (in a round about way, just as most of the books set on Alcardia often do). I loved the characters, but I also knew where their story would end because I was simultaneously working on world-building for another book my friend and I started together. In a way, I suppose Bane of Ashkarith never would’ve come about if not for the summer I spent rooming with my friend and working on campus prior to my senior year of college. My friend and I had the kernel of an idea and began building the story out from there. We built an entire mythology (or at least the bare bones of it) for the world’s origin, the gods and goddesses the various religious groups would worship, and the magic system that would be used. Initially, those elements took a back seat to the story. We didn’t do much with it over the summer, though I spent time at work doodling sketches of the characters and building backstories for my part of the cast or for the gods and goddesses we’d created. But we only wrote one or two chapters by the end of the entire summer. When senior year started, my friend was too busy to really write, and I didn’t want to write without her, so I spent my time worldbuilding instead, and that is where Bane of Ashkarith’s idea really came to life. Then I saw a prompt on Wattpad for their yearly Open Novella Contest that challenged writers to write a 20-40K word novella on myths of the old world where over time the truth has become a lie and the lie has become the truth. I loved the idea, but instead of doing it with myths of Earth, which was probably more what the creators of the prompts had in mind, I went with mythology from Alcardia, and that’s when the archaeology, Bane and Rith, Kaidan and Zerua, and a lost city all ended up coming together.

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This book is predominantly about the struggle between what people want to believe and what is ultimately true. Though it isn’t in the reader’s face in a preachy way, it is a natural outgrowth from the goal Kaidan and Zerua have from the beginning: discovering the truth no matter what the cost to them will be. As Seekers, Alcardia’s version of archaeologists, their job is to learn the truth using various historical relics and dig sites. They set out to do just that with a dig site where a huge battle between the “gods” supposedly occurred, and on that site, they make a discovery that sets them off on a journey across continents and through a haunted, abandoned city to find out what really happened two-thousand years in their past. They find the truth, but sadly, it doesn’t align with what the rest of the world feels should be true or wants to believe, and they find themselves with a dilemma: tell the world that there is an absolute truth that doesn’t align with their beliefs or keep quiet. Sharing what they found could cost them everything, even their own lives. Though this theme occurred naturally from the book’s plot itself, when I started to see it emerging, I definitely played it up because I feel it’s a very important theme that presents an even more important question to get our young people thinking about: is there an absolute truth, and what is the truth worth? Additionally, the theme’s presentation is meant to get people thinking about the world around them, just as much of my fiction is. My goal with this particular book was to challenge people to examine themselves. How far will you go to have the truth? Are you content with believing a lie because it’s accepted by society or more comfortable for you? How far will you or others go to remain blind to a truth that isn’t comfortable or pretty? Is the status quo and the lies it may contain really better than facing reality? These are questions that we and our young people are faced with on an ever-increasing basis these days, and they’re questions we need to take a serious look at. To me, that’s what fiction is about. It isn’t there just to entertain. It’s also there to provoke us to thought or even to action and to teach us something about the world around us. That can be used in both a beneficial way and in a harmful way, and my hope is to provide more fantasy rooted in Christian philosophies and Biblical concepts even if the story isn’t directly related to Christianity. I strive for that in all of my work. This one’s basis is in learning what truth is, and my hope and prayer is that it will provoke people to reevaluate their lives and their ideas about truth while simultaneously providing an easy, fun read for the whole family.

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By James Quinlan Meservy

I am James Quinlan Meservy
Fantasy Author Extraordinaire,
Embellisher of Events,
Creator of Creatures,
And Firebrand
“Stories that Kindle Imagination"