Dear Agent,

After all the years the king and queen finally have a little girl. The whole kingdom celebrates. But at her naming, the wisest sister, Erta, foretells that their little princess will one day marry a fisherman’s son, from that tribe known throughout the land as black-hearted back-stabbers! Everyone can afford to forget this, but the king cannot. He begins a search to protect his daughter and the kingdom from bloodletting, to find and kill this little fisher boy. But can he kill an innocent child? Will he succumb to the prejudice of the noble classes to save the kingdom from rebellion and keep his daughter and the royal line? Even if he must kill the boy—can he?

This is the burden of King Daemus in my novel, The Titan of Wisdom. I based this fantasy on a tale from the Brothers Grimm (#29) “The Devil with Three Golden Hairs,” as well as a version by Duncan Williamson, the Scots traveler, which he called “The Giant with the Golden Hair of Knowledge,” published in A Thorn in the King’s Foot by Penguin (1987). There are many other versions and partial versions of this plotline, including J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Tale of Beren and Lúthien, in which the elf-king Tingol sets an impossible task for his daughter’s mortal suitor: to obtain one of the three Silmarils from the Iron Crown of Morgoth. This novel is completely my own reimagining of the tale, with a binding myth of wise sisters and Darklings, who live in caves. And I carry this mythic interplay into my next fantasy, also based on folk literature from ancient times. These novels will continue in what I call The Darkling Chronicles.

I have been telling stories from the wisdom of folklore about thirty years now. After writing a number of tales, it occurred to me that most in our culture cannot recognize the wisdom of this folk heritage, and so we leave it when we leave childhood. I include myself in this. Yet I personally have experienced this wisdom upholding me. At a midpoint in life I could not quite see who I was or what I wanted. I turned away from modern stories and went back to folktales, where I knew the ending always had balance and completion. No, not “happily-ever-after,” but living well “to the end of their days.” In the last several years I have been grounding my life in that balance. My novel is in a lyric style, but grounded in emotional truth, as the old tales are. Every teller through the ages looks for this truth to stand and dance upon. I look forward to your reading and immersing yourself in the subtleties of The Titan of Wisdom.