In the meantime, stubborn, sensible Sera lives on sufferance with wealthy relations, where she keeps a protective eye on her cousin, Elsie. Elsie’s mother, Clothilde, has been subjecting the girl to one fashionable “cure” after another, for an illness that exists solely in Clothilde’s mind. Between the exertions of the phlebotomists and the physic of the doctors, it’s a wonder Elsie survives at all. Sera intervenes where she can, but she can’t discourage a dubious foreign nobleman who courts Elsie under the sponsorship of her “almost godmother,” the Duchess of Zar-Wildungen.
While the Duchess lays deep plots, she also plays patron to Jenk, hoping to gain possession of the homunculus.
Now it was time to add further complications. I had already decided that the story was to be darker than anything I had written before, and now the ideas that were coming so fast developed along those lines.
Elsewhere, genuine deviltry is afoot: A secret society murders young prostitutes in perverse rituals; slavers use spells to lure innocent girls and boys, in order to ship them to brothels half a world away. Witches plague the countryside; the dead are raised untimely from their graves.
At this point, I noticed the absence of a hero — or rather, an anti-hero. Jed was too earnest for that role, and Sera, while a suitable heroine, was too principled, besides having enough on her hands already.
Against all this stands one man, pledged to pursue and bring to justice all those who would use magic for nefarious purposes. Like those he hunts, he is as ruthless as he is resourceful, and the different identities he adopts are more than just disguises: they are manifestations of a fragmented personality.
And there I had them: all the elements I needed for my plot. The challenge then was to see what I could make of them. A year later I had Goblin Moon.
(Originally published on Goodreads)