Take Five with Greg Keyes, Author, ‘Lord of Souls: An Elder Scrolls Novel’


Greg Keyes is the contributor for this week’s Take Five, a regular series where we ask authors and editors to share five facts about their latest books. Keyes is the author of Lord of Souls: An Elder Scrolls Novel, the second volume in a story begun in the The Infernal City: An Elder Scrolls Novel.

Forty years after the Oblivion crisis, the empire of Tamriel is threatened by a mysterious floating city, Umbriel, whose shadow spawns a terrifying undead army.

Reeling from a devastating discovery, Prince Attrebus continues on his seemingly doomed quest to obtain a magic sword that holds the key to destroying the deadly invaders. Meanwhile, in the Imperial City, the spy Colin finds evidence of betrayal at the heart of the empire—if his own heart doesn’t betray him first. And Annaïg, trapped in Umbriel itself, has become a slave to its dark lord and his insatiable hunger for souls.

How can these three unlikely heroes save Tamriel when they cannot even save themselves?

Greg Keyes:

1. If you poison someone in an attempt to murder them and they don’t die, best allow more than a week for their irritation to fade.

2. The city of Umbriel was inspired by browsing Jan Knappert’s Pacific Mythology and by a hanging tomato planter.

3. When playing Oblivion as research for this book, I was really taken with the city of Anvil. I’m not sure why – it just felt like home.

4. On a related note, one of the most difficult things in approaching these books was deciding what and especially where not to write about. I would have liked to have written scenes in Hammerfell, Valenwood and Summerset Isle. I would have liked to have spent more time in Elsweyr and Black Marsh, but there is only so much you can do with two books and still have it make sense.

5. At one point in Lord of Souls, durian is mentioned. Durian is a real fruit, native to Southeast Asia. The time between when it turns ripe and when it begins to rot is best counted in hours, which means you pretty much have to be in Southeast Asia to eat it at its best – it’s available here frozen, but it’s not the same. I had it in Malaysia, and fell in love with it. It tastes something like a stinky sweet garlic pudding, and the smell is so strong it is illegal to take it onto buses or into public buildings, at least in Malaysia. People either love durian or are revolted by it. There isn’t much middle ground.