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The Wells of the Worlds


Bid the Gods Arise

Maurin in the Gray Lands
Caleb Havertape
The Wells of the Worlds, ancient gateways between planets, are guarded and kept by sacred warrior custodians known as Wardens. Some Wells, however, have been lost and fallen into legend. Isolated worlds whose people have no knowledge of civilizations beyond their own are ripe for the picking, fodder for a thriving slave trade.

On one such forgotten world, two cousins prepare for a momentous wedding between two clans. But the elder, Maurin, has reason to be concerned. Young Aric is dreaming again, and that’s never a good thing. His dreams have an uncanny knack of coming true, and now he’s seeing visions of the future—they’re not pretty.

Aric's visions cannot prepare the cousins for the horrors that await. Kidnapped from their homeworld and sold into slavery, they despair of seeing each other again. But when Maurin is ransomed by a mysterious woman and reunited with Aric, he joins an unlikely group committed to the downfall of the slave trade. It isn't long, though, before he realizes they are being hunted--not only by the blood-lusting head of the slave trade, but by an ancient evil that wants their souls.

***

Known primarily for his field research on the elusive cryptid known as Mokele-mbembe, Robert Mullin is working on completing an epic series twenty years in the making. The first book is due to be re-released as an illustrated edition with art by Mike Lynch, while the second volume, Forsake Not the Gods, will be released shortly thereafter.


The story of the story:

A little over twenty years ago, while I was in college, my cousin Jeff and I had an idea for a novel. Originally intended to be a single book written more or less for ourselves, it was an amalgam of a number of stories we ourselves had always liked. As we brainstormed and wrote back and forth, the tale grew, and we realized that it was likely going to be longer than one book could hold. More
Darkhorn Fell
John Kenneth Patterson
significantly, we realized that it could be a "real" book; not just a story we told for our own enjoyment, but one that others might benefit from, as well. We were aware that a number of the influences that went into the "cauldron of story" (as Tolkien put it) were not particularly good in and of themselves, but just interesting notions whose concept far outweighed their execution. That was something we wanted to change as we laid out the initial framework for the worldbuilding. A bit ambitious, perhaps, for a boy in his teens and a young man barely into his twenties, but we wanted to tell a vast, interconnected story whose execution would (hopefully) be worthy of its concept. Whereas Tolkien delved into Greek, Norse, Finnish, Latin, and other cultural mythologies to create his world, I decided that for our world, we would use the alternative science/ancient alien/UFO culture as an interesting starting point for our own mythopoeia. While full of strange and sometimes crazy ideas, it had the advantage of appealing both to futuristic and quasi-historical frameworks, and might even be used to explore deeper spiritual concepts in abstract form.

I have had many people ask me, upon reading Bid the Gods Arise whether or not the characters of Maurin and Aric are meant to be reminiscent of Jeff and myself. The answer to that is a resounding yes . . . and an emphatic no. When we first conceived the story, we tried to imagine what young men of similar temperaments, who shared a similar relationship, might do in a completely different world. The idea was not to create doppelgängers of ourselves, but rather to cast familiar templates into unfamiliar roles, so the reflection is only an homage as seen through a glass darkly. The notion of closer siblings (such as brothers) set at odds was so cliché in the genre as to be legendary, and while I did strive for mythopoeia, I put my foot down when it came to outright plagiarism. So the choice to make Maurin and Aric cousins was a natural one, as it was a relationship about which I could easily write. Every author uses a form of shorthand, particularly those dealing with speculative world-building. So much was strange and alien in our world that we wanted people to have something tangible to grasp onto as they read—in this case, realistic human relationships. And as any sitcom writer can tell you, family feuds are instantly identifiable across the board. When we sat down and started drawing out the story and characters, our first thoughts were not what would we do in a given situation, but what would Maurin or Aric do?

Final cover
James Cline
So while it is impossible for those who know me or knew Jeff not to see certain similarities, there are times that I have more in common with the other characters than Maurin, and Jeff was a much kinder and more giving person than Aric ever was (though his tendency to be a smart-alec definitely inspired some of the earlier drafts of the character). When my cousin died, and the shared storytelling experience was suddenly thrust into my lap, I determined that I would try to make decisions regarding the characters and the story based as much as possible on the early discussions we had, remaining true to our initial concepts. When I came to a crossroads, I frequently had to ask myself what Jeff might have suggested, thus keeping the story as much in the vein of what we had always intended from the outset.


That having been said, there are many ways in which the story is necessarily different. I have grown, both as a person and as a writer, and the story reflects that. While there are some elements to the novels that we might not have considered back in 1994, when the story was first conceived, I like to think that had Jeff lived, he would have approved of the choices I made in expanding our original vision.

Original cover art
Matt Marcy
My very good friend and co-storyteller par excellence Mark McDonald also aided in the gestation of this book. He helped shape the narrative in great depth and detail, adding major plot elements, structure, realistic characterization, psychological insights, and scenes, giving the story more emotional power and validity. When Jeff was too busy—and later, no longer able—to help in the creative process, Mark guided me through some pertinent parts of the story, provided a framework for many disparate elements, generated a wealth of ideas and material, and argued faithfully with me over the technical issues. In many ways, he could really be billed as the coauthor; Mark’s input cannot be measured in terms of quantity or quality. After a necessary re-write, I decided to return to a story closer to the original concept Jeff and I had in mind. But much remains of Mark’s input, and the story is infinitely better for it.

My late friend Matt Marcy, whose art I first spied when visiting Oregon to make preparations for my second trip to Africa, was one of my biggest supporters. Matt’s painting captured the essence of the story. He had agreed to do the cover art for the entire series, and died before he could see the final cover for the first novel. Though the dictates of consistency necessitated the replacement of his art for the trade paperback, his painting is to be featured on the special hardback edition of this book. I will be forever indebted to him for his enthusiastic love for the project, and his spirit, like Jeff’s, will continue to imbue the future novels.

Praise for Bid the Gods Arise:

In Bid the Gods Arise, Robert Mullin has brought us his long-labored creation of a fully realized world, complete with a real world’s conflicts, passions, and dynamic characters. This is an epic fantasy and a thrilling adventure and love story, in the best tradition of the masters of the genre. Hopefully there will be many more to come in the Wells of the Worlds saga!
—WM. MICHAEL MOTT

A great epic fantasy with compelling characters, a full-orbed plot, and an amazing and believable sci-fi world. Bid the Gods Arise is a literary journey you will thoroughly enjoy and not soon forget. Highly recommended!
author of Water from an Ancient Well

Master wordsmith Robert Mullin brings you a classic tale of good versus evil, but with unexpected twists that leave you breathless for more. Fantasy and sci-fi fans alike will fall under the spell of Bid the Gods Arise as they embark on a journey of temptation, betrayal, sacrifice and love like none other in this first in the epic series, The Wells of the Worlds.
author of Prophecy of the Heir

In the tradition of the fantasy genre’s revered masters, Robert Mullin has crafted a fascinating journey and a powerful love story that encompasses a tapestry deserving of many sequels—and, one can only hope, its eventual place on the big screen. This first installment of The Wells of the Worlds is a riveting, epic work of art. Mullin creates compelling characters and explores powerful, universal themes. If Bid the Gods Arise is any indication of what’s to come, I predict Mullin will have a long, wonderful career ahead of him—and I, for one, look forward to the ride with great anticipation. Consider me a fan.
—RICH HANDLEY
author of A Matter of Time: the Back to the Future Lexicon


A tour-de-force of mythopoetic imagination blended exquisitely with a well-founded verbal artistry, Bid the Gods Arise is a novel richly textured and subtle in its storyline, resonant with the multifarious heights and depths of the human condition. With seamless effort and compelling insight, Mullin weaves together some of those eternal themes that we ignore to our peril and that in the end are unavoidable in our earthly journey—good and evil, love and hate, cowardice and heroism, anarchy and cosmic order.
—MARK SEBANC

In Bid the Gods Arise, high fantasy fans like those of Tolkien and Guy Gavriel Kay are sure to find an instant favourite. Filled with fast-paced action built around realistic cultures and histories, characters that jump off the pages with fully fleshed personalities, flaws, quirks and passions are coupled a multi-leveled plot that draws you in and keeps you hooked until the last page. In the eternal struggle of finding out what lives inside of us all, and what it means for us, and others, finding purpose in our lives and how and why we live them, Robert Mullin strikes a strong cord that flows seamlessly into the fight for a greater cause and against great evil that threatens to change an entire world. This is a must read for anyone who seeks to get lost in another world and more!
—AMY MCDONALD
advance reader

This book is great. From the moment an interdimensional slave ship appears and tears the heroes’ lives apart, you never know what will happen next. You’re in for an entertaining, heart-warming, gut-wrenching ride. You’re going to meet soul-suck¬ing vampires, a gladiator with an overdeveloped sense of justice, and a faun-like girl who will capture your heart without a word. You’re going to see someone kick butt with a staff, experience prophetic dreams, fly airships (and crash them), and venture into the heart of a twisted mountain-sized tree. What are you waiting for? Read it!
author of the Spacetime Legacy series

Bid the Gods Arise is painted with a vibrant palette. Clever wordsmith Robert Mullin illuminates a tale of the heights and depths of the sentient experience. A vibrant maelstrom of emotionally charged adventure, indeed.
author of Umbral Haiku

Bid the Gods Arise possesses the music of epic and the color of myth. It’s a big story, spanning planets, but with a specific human heart. Once read, it lingers in the mind like a dream.
author of The Year of the Warrior, West Oversea, and Troll Valley

Bid the Gods Arise is Robert Mullin’s stunning breakthrough in a fantasy niche that has long needed a jolt of energy. This book starts with powerful action and the dynamic between the two main characters is intense and keeps you guessing. It’s a gripping tale and great read!
author of the Chronicles of Llars and Heck Thomas series

Robert Mullin has a gift for storytelling. In Bid the Gods Arise, his characters and the world he’s created come alive. Readers will be pulled into Maurin’s and Aric’s journeys and will find themselves turning the page to see what unfolds. This is a ride you won’t want to miss.
author of “A Certain Point of View” 
in Star Wars: Tales from the Empire

Bid the Gods Arise is fantasy/sci-fi at its finest. A turn of the page sends the reader into a sudden new world where nothing is as it first seems, where temptation and loyalty clash. This kind of storytelling builds new worlds, one within another, making for Robert Mullin the apt nickname of “the Architect.”
author of The Windows of Heaven novel series and 
One Faith—Many Transitions: Worldviews in Church History


Blending fantasy, sci-fi, and horror, Bid the Gods Arise is smothered in violence, sprinkled with complex theology, and sticks in your mind long after the final page. Whether you are into swords or spaceships, this book will leave you satisfied yet still hungry for more.
author of The Age of Apollyon and Black Sun

The book was phenomenal. There were so many scenes that contained some of the richest, most delicious writing I’ve ever read. I was never bored, never skipped a single sentence, and am still in awe of the strong character development and plotting. Very nice work!
—JULIAN HERNÁNDEZ
author of Unrelenting Darkness, Inescapable Light

Bid the Gods Arise is a mash-up of fantasy and sci-fi, with a bit of Ancient Rome thrown in—and the blending of genres is flawless. Even with action at every turn, it was the strong characters and dialog that kept me engrossed the whole time.
author of the Toch Island Chronicles

In Bid the Gods Arise, Robert Mullin grants us a story we have not quite seen before. He introduces us to an original world and sympathetic characters, both brought to life with intricate craftsmanship. A rewarding and fascinating book.
author of the Arrivers series