Every fantasy story, every novel and series, needs a map. Sometimes a map is all you need to tell a story. I would imagine cartographers and historians of maps would agree. What I know is, since I was a kid I’ve been drawn to maps. Whether in color or black & white, hand drawn, topographical, or physically realistically, I love pouring over maps and imagining the places they represent. It makes sense then that any fantasy story, any tale told in an unfamiliar, fabricated universe be accompanied by a map of some kind. Be it of a city, a county, a country, or a continent, when we enter a fabulous world it is the map that first grounds us and allows us to enter into it.
I’m still perfecting the map of Syr Nebra, the world of Adversaries Together and the next six Ascendant Realms books I have planned. At some point, I’m going to need to sit down and create proper sketches of the cities I have imagined, the political boundaries of nations, as well as the land features. I have all this in my mind, of course, and a slew of loose papers where I’ve hastily drawn what I see but they are nothing more than sloppy notes. So in the meantime, I’ve decided to fall back on paleogeography.
My wife is a geologist, specifically an invertebrate paleontologist. What does that mean? It means she does hard science. She won’t find oil for you and she while she finds dinosaurs as interesting as the rest of us do she doesn’t muddy her hands with bone hunting. Invertebrate paleontologists work in deep time trying to reconstruct and imagine life when it first emerged. Bones are a rather recent development.
Due to this, I decided to base the planet of Syr Nebra on one of our own planets geological eras. I chose the Pennsylvania era, roughly 300 million years ago. To get a sense of what Earth looked backed then, I suggest looking over Richard Harwood’s wonderful course timeline on the Paleozoic Era. Many of the links on Harwood’s page go to the maps of Colorado Plateau Geosystems, which is the work of Dr. Ron Blakely.
Rather than leave us laypersons alone to try to imagine what these eras in the Earth history might have looked like from colorful graphs, Dr. Blakely decided to create some of the most beautiful maps of the deep Earth. You can even purchase posters of the maps to really indulge your geekery. If you travel over to here you can scroll through some of these lovely maps that have had our modern day political boundaries overlaid so you can get a sense of just where you’d be back a hundred or more million years ago.
So, again, I chose the to model my world on the late Pennsylvanian. I altered the map that you will find in the first pages of Adversaries Together, shaving off a few bits here and there and removing the modern political boundaries while inserting the story’s own.
In the world of Syr Nebra, there are three continents. What you see above the known world’s primary continent. It is separated from the southern continent by the Ragan Mountains. The southern continent will be revealed in future books, but it is mostly an arid, desert continent with some subtropical zones. The northern continent has several climates. Around the Novostos Sea, the climate is like the Mediterranean. The north of the Siracene Highlands the climate is temperate, a mix of the North American Great Plains and upper Midwest. Going further, beyond the lakes around Sulecin the land becomes taiga. The third continent of Syr Nebra can be seen just peaking into this map in the northeast corner. It is the smallest continent, entirely frozen tundra.
The next question is, who are the people of Syr Nebra?
In the meantime, why not buy Adversaries Together.