In the far northern kingdoms, an evil army gathers, the finest warriors of history resurrected to take over the land.
A farmhand named Gahspar finds himself squarely in their path. With one hand deformed since birth, Gahspar has never been able to use a sword and shield, but as the skeleton army sweeps across the land, Gahspar must find a way to help save his homeland.
Author Interview With Dave Robertson
Tell us about your book, The Brave and the Dead. What compelled you to write this story?
The Brave and the Dead is a heroic fantasy story. I started with a vague notion of a war between vikings and an army that had been raised from the dead by an evil necromancer, but as I began to write, a likable underdog appeared. His name was Gahspar and though he was not a warrior, he would have to find a way to help fight this evil. The book eventually came to be about Gahspar and his struggles with courage and adversity against a backdrop of war and loss.
Your main character, Gahspar, wants to help defend his homeland, but he has a particular disability. Explain how this affects him throughout the story.
Gahspar was born with a malformed right hand. It was assumed from an early age that he would never be able to fight properly with a sword. In a warrior culture where men are judged based on their ability to fight, Gahspar is a bit of an outsider.
People look down on him or dismiss. When war threatens his farm and his country, he must find a way to help. Can he contribute in some other way? Can he go for help? Can he find a different way to fight? Gahspar must face physical challenges, his own fears, and the prejudices of others if he is to succeed.
Can you give us one or two of your favorite scenes from the book (no spoilers, of course!)?
The necromancer, Vorus, is the dark antagonist and leader of the risen army. In one scene, a raven arrives to give him a message from a goddess he serves. The raven has taken it upon itself to deliver the message in the form of a rhyming riddle.
Vorus’ response, and the way the raven reacts, was one of those interactions that even I didn’t see coming. It sort of played out between them, without me doing anything but writing it down. No spoiler, but let’s just say the scene didn’t play out the way you’d expect.
Why do you think readers will enjoy The Brave and the Dead?
The book has adventure, imagination, and lots of action. There are quirky, offbeat characters and an evil antagonist who is constantly finding new ways to defeat his enemies. The story doesn’t go quite where you’d expect it to.
Any current or new projects you’d like to share about?
My first book, Strange Hunting, was an adventure/horror novel that was pretty well received. I’m working on a sequel to that and a new YA horror novel where three teenage boys find three live vampire heads. I hope after that to write something that’s a little more grounded and real, not in the fantasy or horror genre!