Sanctuary Series

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Epic Fantasy

The world of Arkaria is a dangerous place, filled with dragons, titans, goblins and other dangers. Those who live in this world are faced with two choices: live an ordinary life or become an adventurer and seek the extraordinary. 

Cyrus Davidon leads a small guild in the human capital of Reikonos. Caught in an untenable situation, facing death in the den of a dragon, they are saved by the brave fighters of Sanctuary who offer an invitation filled with the promise of greater adventure. Soon Cyrus is embroiled in a mystery - someone is stealing weapons of nearly unlimited power for an unknown purpose, and Sanctuary may be the only thing that stands between the world of Arkaria and total destruction.

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Master (Volume Five)
Fated in Darkness (Volume 5.5)
Warlord (Volume Six)
Heretic (Volume Seven)
Legend (Volume Eight)
Ghosts of Sanctuary (Volume Nine)
Call of the Hero (Volume Ten)* - Coming Late 2018!

(Co-authored with Michael Winstone)

A Haven in Ash: Ashes of Luukessia, Volume One
A Respite From Storms: Ashes of Luukessia, Volume Two
A Home in the Hills: Ashes of Luukessia, Volume Three* - Coming Late 2018!
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*Forthcoming, and subject to whatever schedule changes may come.



Spoilers begin in 10...










Rules for discussion page:

1. Be courteous. No name calling, no nastiness.

2. This page will be culled every 30 days or so for ease of reading. Older posts may be deleted at any time, but I'll try and leave them up as long as possible. If someone asks a really awesome question (subject to staff opinion on what makes up a "really awesome question") then it may stay.

Discuss, question and speculate away!


  1. I have a set of matchups I'd like to know to get an idea of the skill level for each character: I'll limit myself to 5 and cause it will take too long to reply to, I only need one word answers for each. Who would win in:
    Tirner Gaull with rodanthar vs Pretnam Urides with philos?
    Vara with ferocis vs Aisling with epallette?
    Terian with noctus vs Cyrus with Praelior only?
    Curatio with praelior vs Alaric with aterum?
    And the final one:
    Vara vs all the gnomes? ;)

    1. Hahaha, yeah, no, you guys can argue this one among yourselves. I've got other shit to do.

    2. I think that there is one key question here, with or without the new magical restrictions. So here is my personal opinion and explanations for each in both scenarios.

      Tirner Gaull would only win with "New world" magic because otherwise Prentnam Urides would just immediatley incinerate him. How ever in hand-to hand the Sanctuary crew beat Prentnam even without the full complement of godly weapons that they had when Tirner kicked their ass.

      Pretty sure Vara would win both times, while Aisling is good Vara has strong magic and has stong mystical armour as well as a sword VS a dagger. Aisling is a better spy and assasin than front row fighter (She is still good obviously but Vara is just better)

      With magic I have to go for Terian here becuase even Cyrus admits that without a healer he could not defeat a dark knight 1v1. (I know that this was back in Defender, I think at least but he cannot cast sublingual spells and the lockjaw curse would strip him of all magical ability) and Terian could just kill him with afflictions to weaken him , just like hid father actually. But with magic Cyrus is admitted to be the better swordsman, I think this was shown clearly in Crusader.

      Difficult to say as we have never seen Alaric actually beaten with his guard up (I don't think Gaull getting him as he came from the ether counts as being ready for a fight) but from what we are told we can assume Curatio is a better spellcaster and swordsman. Alaric has the advantage of full mastery of Ether "magic" and better armour. Still my vote is Curatio and definitely with magic, but with weakened magic it is up for debate until we see more of the combat limits the ether provides.

      I don't want to say it but I have to. The Gnomes would win.
      Unless the elves intervened to save the Shelas'akur....

    3. Thanks a lot for the reply. Its great to hear your opinions. I'm considering writing another set of matchups: Yea or nay?

    4. By the (god of good)! You nearly gave me a heart attck when I saw the RESPITE FROM STORMS at the top of your website. Thought it had come out early!
      Anyway, onto other matchups:
      Ehgraz vs Ashan'agar
      The scourge vs all the final band at the end of legend (replete with all their godly weapons and heretical magics). This means Cyrus, Scuddar, Vaste and all godly weapon bearers.
      Chavoron with Rodanthar Vs Cyrus with praelior and ferocis (both have magic).
      Martaina vs Aisling and Calene together (no godly weapons allowed).
      Finally a battle between the gnomes, elves, trolls and humans vs the dark elves, dwarves, goblins and men of the desert. Luukessians are counted as humans and there are no godly weapons in the balance.
      Whattdya think?

    5. Forthe scourge vs final band matchup, they are fighting on the endles bridge. (Thats quite a situational one)

    6. No RESPITE isn't out early, but if you check its page, the pre-orders are now up for it EVERYWHERE.

    7. I have not clue about dragon fights, we never actually see Ehgraz fight but we do know that Ashan'agar wanted to avoid fighting him. It is impossible to be sure but it seems like Ehgraz at least has a better reputation as a fighter so take from that what you will.

      I am being real here. THE SCOURGE ALWAYS WIN. They admit that they have to give ground in a conventional fight and would eventually fall asleep and die of run out of ground and die. That's why I think our esteemed author has given them a weakness of water . To contain them. Correct me if I am wrong Robert but there is no way yet seen to defeat the scourge other than hoping they have some weakness they have have related to necromancy of shaman magic (Hear that Malpravus?).

      Chavoron. The issue again is that against a powerful spellcaster swordplay doesn't factor in as you are dead before you get close.

      Difficult to say between the rangers because at range it is Martina and she can outrun them both (Remember how she carried Cattrine at full speed in Lukkessia?) So they would have to sneak up on her, Aisling is good but at the end of the day she has to go unheard by an Elven hunter and Calene way give her away. I think it has to go to Martaina purely due to her ability to detect them and outrun them while being deadly at range.

      Umm... Let's rmember we know nothing about the Dwarven, Gnomish, Goblin, Troll or Desert armies (Do they even have a standing army Robert or is it more like a militia that forms in times of war?).I have to support the Humans as the Dark Elves have 10,000 men and the humans have 104,000 and Trollish support. Rmember that the Troll Armies were not totally ravaged by the way the Dark Elves were as they withdrew their forces after the sack of Gren. The elves will give an additional 50,000 soldiers. We know that the Goblins at their (Presumed) military might had 10,000 goblins and thought they could take the dwarves and the gnomes in a war for simplicity I will cancel them out as the give or take does not reconcile the fact that the Humans and Elves win easily. Unless you are talking about pre-war Dark Elves, Humans and Elves ect... In that scenario we know however the Dark Elves win.

    8. Hmmm..
      Personally I thought chavoron vs cyrus would be more even as cyrus had a speed advantage with two godly weapons. Dont forget he was fast enough to dodge godly attacks every now and again in LEGEND.
      I was actually talking about the pre war dark elves, but sorry for not clarifying.
      Interesting considering weaknesses of the scourge. I doubt it will be necromancy or our favourite blue skinned bastard would have taken control of them. I was wondering if the spell quinneria used on the trolls at thurren hill might be used to steal all the scourges lives away. But in the ashes series there is a good scourge so not all scourge will die I dont think.
      One threads of a scenario that is floating in my mind is that the revenants will use the ark in some way to destroy the scourge (remember how alaric said this was the last time he was coming out of the ark?).
      I'm also interested in seeing if 'Scourgey' a.k.a. Niamh will be resurrected from he scourge body and we will see her in GHOSTS at all.
      In any case, we'll just have to wait for the man to release the next book...
      Onto some MORE matchups (do tell me if you are getting tired of them).
      Malpravus with his god power vs bellarum with his evil god power?
      Calene with Fulmenar vs Scuddar with Ventus
      Drettanden with praelior vs eruditia with philos
      Talikartin the Guardian vs Tirner Gaull (no magic)

    9. Considering the damage that Cyrus and the rest were able to do before he was sealed in I would have to assume Bellarum would win that fight based on the fact he was an older God that had absorbed more power. Who really knows though?

      I would say Scuddar there because the Cyrus clearly absorded lightning with a godly weapon while battling Tempestus so he could probably close the distance between them. Calene is always at a disadvantage in these matchups because she seems to be a (sorry) slightly worse Martina skill-wise and godly weapons make bows less effective as people can somewhat dodge arrows so she works better as support in why opinion, still a great asset that I hope to see in CALL OF THE HERO.

      No idea, both seem pretty evenly matched and were defeated by a surprise attack. Sorry but the numbers of lines dedicated to each one in the flesh don't give enough information.

      Well both seem to have similar ease in taking out Cyrus while not obliterating him easily like Bellarum but I would say Gaull. Not sure why to be honest but he just seems to have a massive experience advantage. It is difficult to say though, Gaull swings it for me because Talikartin attacked and beat Cyrus with titan support but Gaull beat a teams of godly weapons that actually outnumbered him.

      And on the Thurren Hill spell, Quinnera said it was part of the dark knight/necromancy tree so it could still be. Interesting idea about using the Ark. Still our possible theories are unexplained heretical necromancy MacGuffin or unexplained Ark magic MacGuffin so who knows?

    10. Alternatively, it is possible the secret to the destruction/ freeing the scourge is hidden in the realm of death itself.
      Furthermore, who said the sourge needed to be defeated? What if Arkaria evacuated to one of these other lands?

  2. So earlier in the page you said "nope to all of this" I assume you were talking about the gods but you gave us a teaser about Terian being involved again from what alaric said, plus he has a godly weapon that would extend his already long life time considerably more. Please don't be toooo criptic with your response :)

    1. Terian will return, yes. Nope to all the rest of Nathan's ideas about the God of Good being involved in ridding Arkaria of the scourge, etc.

  3. I could have sworn you posted a while back about godly weapons not being so much about godly weapons but isn't the gaull/rodanthar, vara/ferocis, curatio/praelior thing all based around power of godly weapons?
    I also wanted to know what the dragons worship: curatio sorta suggested they have respect for the elements, and i can see in your map of the ashen wastelands that hewat is surrounded by 6 'elemental' mountains, but I was wondering if this is important in some unforeseen way?
    As well as this, I was re reading the series (6th time now????) and talking trees are talked about. Will we see some of them, even if both these qs are about quite obscure topics?

    1. Hey, let's celebrate that this one made it past the spam filter. Go, Nathan.

      1. I meant that the next phase of the series will have less to do with pursuing godly weapons and making them a central focus of the series. Book 1/2 was largely about pursuing one, and then as the series ground on it was like an arms race of continually getting more and more into the hands of guild members all the way through to the end of LEGEND. They were a key focal point of the first part of the series; they won't be as much in the back half. That doesn't mean they're going to disappear, or no issues will arise involving their use. They're still out there, they'll still influence the course of the story by their presence or a character's lack. There's just not planned to be any more introduced, and they're not going to be a major theme (empowerment being a motif in 1-8).

      2.) The dragons do worship the elements, I think. Been a long while since I wrote Warlord, but that sounds right. They're more spiritual-based as I recall rather than actually worshipping the east wind or some such. Kind of Shintoist, IIRC. Like I said, it's been a while since I delved into their culture.

      As to the six mountains and the elements, think also of the Dragonshrine; I think those six elements corresponded with the dragons fought in WARLORD during that expedition. One for each element, one to represent each kind of major dragon.

      3.) Come on, man. Stop fishing for spoilers. Fullness of time, blah blah...surely you know the chorus by heart by now.

    2. Yeah, but the sanctuary series is like a drug:
      1) I can't get enough of it.
      2)Its addictive.
      3) Once I start reading a book I just HAVE to finish it. Oh well, thanks for answering my somewhat obscure questions anywy.

    3. Well I just won £250 ebook voucher afte completing school competition so I know what some of that is gonna go towards!
      Is the next ASHES book going to be set in Lukessia or are the two kids gonn be spirited away elsewhere?
      Ps I dont class my second question as 'fishing for spoilers'.

    4. There's really nowhere else for them to go on Luukessia now that Terreas's bubble of protection has blown sky high, so's going elsewhere.

  4. Never mind Luukessia, just finished re-reading Fated in Darkness and completely forgot the ending. Can't help but wonder if that little bundle of joy make an appearance any time soon? :)

    1. "Soon" is in the eye of the beholder.

      "Joy" is also as absent as his father.

  5. Oops, missed out "will" in that sentence, guess where it should be :)

  6. Eye of the Beholder, ah, feeling nostalgic now, pass me some dice and a page of graph paper...

    Probably changing the age demographic of your readers slightly, still, great stories, looking forward to more.

  7. I am just saying now before any new books come out that the key to defeating the scourge is somehow related to Necromancy. I have mentioned it before when talking about the Scourge but I want to elaborate. You see Mr Crane has given Cyrus and the bunch a huge task if they want to clear out the Scourge and the whole idea of this new series is to be an equal-opposite reflection of the other as far as I can tell with all the magic vs technology and building a legend vs living up to it ect...

    So instead thinking in "Old Sanctuary" terms it makes sense that they need to work with the "Lesser Evil" that Malpravus has always represented in the books. As well as this it just makes sense, they are spirits given physical form and necromancy is all about controlling spirits.

    Still I could be wrong and the answer could be hidden in some masterfully hidden and thought through way. But Nathan if you read this remember that After some rough calculations for the claims in crusader about war populations and the dark elves having 2 million as well as the fact that the populations grew form a small population pool from the purge I can very roughly say (Assuming Mortus' reach ended at the Border with the southern lands and Lukessia,) that there are several BILLION scourge potentially to fight! Even if they could kill them would be logistical feat that would take over a hundred years easily even if completely automated. Think zombie horde but for hundreds of generations, not just one.

    1. I guess I should let you live with your hope or whatever, but since this is going to be answered super quick in CALL OF THE HERO, lemme just say...there will be no alliance with Malpravus, though of course he's going to push for one.

      He and the Sanctuary crew are going to be fighting within one chapter of us picking up at the beginning of CALL. Too much bad blood, they know him too well. Not one of them would ever trust an alliance with him, no matter how great their need. Whatever solution there might be to the scourge problem (if there is one at all), it will not involve Malpravus (who, frankly, would be a lot closer aligned to the scourge in this, thematically speaking, than to our heroes).

    2. Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
      Super excited for the new book though!

    3. Yeah. I knew that there would be no alliance with the devil becaus I asked Crane earlier about that.
      What also sprung to mind was you know how the scourge were afraid of fire and water? What if the revenant scourged (badum tss) the scourge of the face of the land with fire, or washed them away with the water heretical spell Mandicant used against the golems in the final battle of LEGEND?
      Ive not read the new book yet but another map has popped up in the maps section. Take a look at 'Necromancy Isle'. Maybe we find the origins of magic. Raises questions...

    4. I KNEW IT!!!!
      When Crane told us that Longwell had disappeared after 150 yrs I put 2 and 2 together and realised he must feature in the ASHES series.
      Wow. Off to read the rest of the book...

    5. Firstly: Typo.
      Secondly: Review.
      Good job. Admittedly I wasn't expecting wonders (being honest here, the first ASHES book was a bit of a let down for me), but you have once again written a really good, and perhaps most importantly, original book. I wouldn't rank it as high as GHOSTS but imo GHOSTS was one of the best SANCTUARY books you have ever written.
      I really enjoyed the pacing in this: you really aced it this time: not too fast, not too slow. Who am I anyway to critique your excellent work? I got a good grasp of the new lands without getting bogged down in some of the trivial details.
      So to the plot: the children carry on their journey to a weird and wonderful city, meeting (drumroll…) Samwen Longwell of all people who has a grudge to settle with (drumroll #2…) Baraghosa. As the book progresses, we find that Baraghosa has pissed off more people than we can safely count without using both hands. We are also informed later on that while not invincible, our good friend Baggy (Baraghosa) is a formiddable fighter (he is kinda like Tirner Gaull in that he fights multiple opponents with ease). At least until Longwell enters the field…
      Anyway: points I would like to raise:
      1) Longwells introduction kinda made me want to read his story instead of Jasens and Alixas because we Sanctuary readers simplyknow him better from the 6? books he appears in. Why does he not have amnis? What is he doing in those waters?
      I expect all will be revealed… …in the fullness of time. ;)
      2) I'm not sure about the warrior queen lady, but her introduction seemed very rapid and although she plenty showed her anger at Baraghosa I don't quite get what Baraghosa did to their village.
      3) I can believe Baraghosa is truthful. Sure; hes a murderer with no empathy, but I kind believe he DIDNT destroy Terreas. Dont know why he was collecting kids. Speculation, but I think Baraghosa is trying to collect sources of power (he seems similar to Malpravus in that regard).
      4) I for one thought the description of the journey on an almost day by day basis in the first section of the book was a little boring, but this didnt detract too much from the main storyline.
      P.s. dont take any of my negative comments to heart: they are just an avid Crane fan's opinions.
      TL;DR You have written agreat book (much better than the first ashes book) but some of the description length o different parts of the book could have been better. Otherwise, great read. +1
      You know the line: if it gets deleted by blogger could you please repost this. Thanks!

    6. Making this fast cuz I'm bailing offline for days and maybe weeks after I answer these last couple things - so if you land in the spam filter, there will be no one to stop you for the next little while.

      1. He has Amnis. He uses it. No one in the book knows its name, though.

      2. Huanatha? He got her deposed and she lost her kingdom (not village).

    7. How could he be using Amnis? It clearly states several times in Respite that he is carrying his three pronged lance, but amnis is a spear.

      Also a bit of a hint that Baraghosa could be the son of malpravus? There was an interesting sins of the fathers reference.

    8. Look, man, If you want to believe that he's not wielding Amnis, that's cool, I'm not gonna argue with you. Amnis is a three-pronged lance/spear (yes, they're used somewhat interchangeably, probably because I'm not a weapons master - it's a long pointy weapon that you skewer people with and such), and it looks kinda like this with the outward tines pointed up:

    9. Andrew? Whats this sins of the fathers reference? Where?
      Maybe I'm just an ignorant reader but I missed this...

    10. Sorry Robert, it's your story sir, I'm just along for the ride, what you say goes. :)

      Just that Samwen wields a three pronged lance all the way through the sanctuary series until he receives amnis near the end of legend. It confused me that he was back to what I thought was his mystic lance. Given how ineffective he was against Baraghosa I'm surprised it was amnis. Looks like our heroes have a mountain to climb.

      Nathan, chapter 27 when the group face down Baraghosa in his lair, he and Samwen have a brief conversation where this was mentioned. My first thought was Pretnam Urides could be his father, but I'm sure it mentioned in heretic that he never had children.

  8. I haven't finished Ghosts of Sanctuary yet, but every time they destroy a building all I can think of is there are limited resources in the city. They can't just waltz into the country and chop some trees or whatever. They are destroying limited resources instead of finding ways for them to be re-purposed. Ack!

    1. I'm personally not interested in the economics because I suspect that the scourge will be defeated soon, so people will be able to leave Reikonos. Although didn't the revenants throw the money out the window in the candle shop?
      Anyway, (actually you might not have gotten this far yet), the final building they burn down I have no regrets about. I think limited resources is kinda the least of the revenants problems atm: the scourge, the machine, the lord protector (not telling you who because you might not have found out yet) and these cities across the seas.
      I gotta say, once the problems in Arkaria are solved, I want to se if the revenants go to abolish slavery in the other nations. The problem is that these other nations seem to have very advanced weaponry so this could be a challenge. Dugras mentions his captain could release something terrible (this gives me the shivers). Furthermore, I think Crane is going to try and release all the ASHES books before we meet Longwell in GHOSTS so that the ASHES series is not spoilt.
      Damn, I went off on a tangent from your original point, but TL;DR economics (probably) isn't gonna play a key part.

    2. Nathan's right. Economics isn't going to be a big factor in this. Not that I don't consider those impacts - I usually do. But sustainable revolution isn't really a vocab term they'd understand.

      I did like this, though, Nathan: "I suspect that the scourge will be defeated soon, so people will be able to leave Reikonos."

      You think so, do you? MWAHAHAHAHAHAH. We'll see.

      Dugras giving you the shivers was probably apropos. He was referring to Imperial Amatgarosa's policy equivalent of CIVIS ROMANUS SUM - "I am a Roman citizen," i.e. the idea that Amatgarosa responds with great viciousness to any harm upon its citizens. Basically, they would make unrelenting war upon the Machine.

      Regarding ASHES and may happen that way, it may not. ASHES was originally meant to be a trilogy, but I came up with some ideas that turned it from a trilogy (the first three books will still be the same arc) into a potentially much longer series, nine, ten books. We'll see. It's definitely a full-fledged spinoff now as opposed to the limited story I'd originally planned. There's also the simple fact that Longwell may not survive the events of ASHES...

    3. First, I'd like o thank you for clearing up that amnis/lance thing. That got me confused as well.
      Second: so is Dugras' captain owning some kind of nuclear bomb or tame dragon, or was he just talking about vengeance in general?
      Great news about the ASHES book. The bigger the better right?
      Well, at least until I read the possibility that Longwell might die. I am praying for him now...
      I still don't think the scourge will take a huge time to defeat for the reason that Malpravus and th revenants are all cooped up in a city together. Honestly, that can't be healthy...
      What I am interested in is how you are going to get the ghosts and Malpravus away from each other (because come on: Neither Malpravus nor the ghosts are going to kill each other in the first chapter of the book). I'm kinda getting the feel that Malpravus will turn into the 'last enemy to be defeated', although I suppose its possible the scourge steal that title. Anyway, thanks for your replies,

    4. Dugras' captain is just...well, she's something else. You'll see in CALL OF THE HERO. There are no nuclear bombs or tame dragons, but her wrath'll see. On all these counts, you'll see.

      Though, regarding Malpravus and the ghosts not killing each other in chapter one of volume ten...he won't kill *all* of them, that's for sure.

    5. (o) (o)
      Oh gods,
      My prayer for Longwell will have to be extended to all the revenants.

  9. I know earlier you mentioned you were at a time where you purely wanted to be productive. I have to ask though whether it would be possible to draw the known 'trees' of magic mentioned in your books to get an idea for how they are interlinked (e.g. necromancy and dark knights both use some form of the soul drain spell)?

    1. No, I can't do that. I'd actually have to go back and reread the entire Sanctuary Series from the beginning in order to create that list of spells and remember how they overlap, and there's way I can do that at present. I just reread most of the books last year, reading them again so soon = NOPE.

      Actually, here's a handy cheat sheet for asking me for things-

      Is it going to take Robert's time? Yes------> NOPE
      No-------> Maybe, depending on what it is.

      Is this a somewhat arcane piece of information?
      YES-------->Robert might not remember this, he's presently engaged in story creation for seven different universes or something like that.
      NO------>He still might not remember, see above. I also putatively need to remember other important information, too, like my anniversary and wife's birthday, etc.

      I'd add more to this, but I gotta go finish writing my words on Sienna for the day.

    2. Does it make Robert mad when people fish for spoilers?

    3. Not really. How forthcoming I am on any such occasion is probably a function of how much I think it will spoil or how trivial it is, along with what mood I'm in at the time.