Thursday, February 15, 2024

Audiobook Tour: A Vengeful Realm by Tim Facciola @TimFacciola @RABTBookTours


The Scales of Balance, Book 1


Epic Fantasy

Date Published: October 24, 2023

Publisher: First Torch Books

Narrator: Landon Soelberg

Run Time: 16  hours, 6 minutes


"Arena-set action sequences shine ... but even more impressive is the constant political maneuvering, as characters mingle with enemies while plotting against them. There is, of course, plenty of mystery, and Facciola amps up excitement with signs of magic, appearances from gods, and betrayals." 

— Kirkus Reviews

"A captivating fantasy with strong characters and even stronger combat scenes ... It is difficult to overstate the storytelling prowess of author Tim Facciola." 

— Independent Book Review

Peace bought by blood seldom lasts, for vengeance knows no end. The same is true for mortals and gods alike. Decades, centuries, and even eras may pass, but the cycle remains. As war and revolution rise again, Zephyrus finds himself at the center of it all. Chosen by the gods, hailed as a prophet of liberation, and forged as a weapon to break the kingdom and restore balance to the realm, hope rests squarely on his shoulders.

If only he could remember....

Enslaved as a gladiator and thrust into a prince’s game of espionage, Zephyrus has only two clues to help unlock his shattered past: a prophecy foretelling destruction, and a letter to the enemy king, promising peace. Now Zephyrus must survive the dangers of the gladiatorial arena, the cunning fury of the prince’s enemies, and the gods’ torment if he is to find the truth of his identity and fulfill his fate. But to have any hope of breaking the cycle, first he must secure his freedom—and not just from his slavers.

Within this vengeful realm, a queen protecting her kingdom, a prince defending his father, and a gladiator slave haunted by a prophecy each contend for their own brand of freedom. But the gods have an agenda of their own, and they'll use any vessel—patrician, plebeian, or slave—to see it done.

The scales must be balanced. By peace. Or by blood.


Interview with Tim Facciola

    Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

    I always enjoyed reading fiction, but the first book that changed the way I viewed it and altered the way I’d think about it moving forward was Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy. Yes, it has an immersive world, a unique magic system, and a cast of great and complex characters, but it sheds light on so many facets of the human experience that it has subverted my expectations of what a story can do. This story tackles class issues, political structures, faith paradigms as well as the more personal and interpersonal issues that can arise because of issues in the former. It changed the way I view the power of fiction.

    How do you select the names of your characters?

    I typically start out with some naming conventions based on the world building; this is usually established in theology, myths, legends, history, etc. The names of people usually reflect the significance of the world around them, so I attempt to structure my character names in much the same way as it relates to what I call the “shape” of a name. I typically try to be cognizant of what a name looks like versus what it sounds like because I consume a lot of stories via audiobooks. So for example, one of my characters in A Vengeful Realm is named Iylea (ill-ee-yuh). In former drafts, there was another character named Aylenia (eye-len-yuh). Though they don’t look the same, they have similar structures (vowel, followed by a “y” ending in the “yuh” sound. To me, it was too similar in name shape and sound so I changed Aylenia’s name to Odetta. But each character is different. Some feel right from the beginning, some grow into their names, and for some it serves as a placeholder until something feels right.

    Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

    I have a couple little easter eggs in my novels. I plant character names (that still obey the world’s naming conventions) that are adopted from characters in other stories that inspired me, authors who helped me on my journey, or people in my life who helped make it happen. My favorites are the little homages to my favorite video games growing up or to my favorite book series. I won’t say more because I don’t want to ruin the fun of a good hunt :)

    What was your hardest scene to write?

    Each book is different, but if we’re talking about The Scales of Balance, book 1 in A Vengeful Realm, it is undoubtedly chapter 52. If you know, you know. But it was such a difficult chapter because it dealt with a character’s ultimate failure despite valiant effort and noble intention in a way that hit near and dear to me. I tried tapping into my own emotional distress to make that scene come alive. I think it was effective!

    Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

    There is a blend of both. The A Vengeful Realm trilogy definitely has connections to other projects I’m either currently working on or have plans for in the future. While connected, I like to consider them “accompanying” novels, stories that if you have read the trilogy you might have a deeper context for, but it is not required reading. And, it’s also important to me that they could be read in any order (outside of the books within a trilogy/series–they should be read in order!). I love an immersive, interconnected world, but I also recognize that it shouldn’t feel like work to be “up to date” on an author’s backlist.

    What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

    The goal of this book was to show the perils of a “black-and-white” world and demonstrate how the characters, each in their own way, navigate the shades of gray to find balance, both intrapersonally and societally. In terms of how well I achieved that, it depends on how readily the readers receive that. Rather than giving readers an answer to a problem, it is my hope that this story, and the trilogy as a whole, inspires readers to ask themselves questions concerning the things they might have accepted as fact without thinking critically.

    What inspired you to write A Vengeful Realm?

    A Vengeful Realm is the combination of my interests. It was a book written specifically for me, so it’s great that other people can find pieces of themselves in it too. But I was always fascinated by Greco-Roman history, culture, and mythology. That was one big seed of inspiration. The second was Spartacus’s rebellion and the Third Servile War. Something about a man challenging a broken system and fighting for a cause as noble as freedom is constantly inspiring. And thirdly, I wanted to explore the human condition through interpersonal relationships while leveraging diverging perspectives to explore the world. George RR Martin’s A Game of Thrones was a huge inspiration in this regard.

    Can you tell us a little bit about the next books in the A Vengeful Realm trilogy or what you have planned for the future?

    The trilogy is complete… another inspiration from George RR Martin… I wanted to finish the trilogy before I began the release of it. So The Scales of Balance was released in October ‘23, the sequel, The Breaker of Chains was released in January ‘24, and the third and final installment of the trilogy, The Age of the End will be released April ‘24. Additionally, Ghosts of Rheynia, an accompanying novel that will serve as a prequel to the trilogy, is currently in the editing process. So I hope to have that out soon!

    Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in A Vengeful Realm?

    How much time do you have? There are seven main POV characters throughout the story:

  • Zephyrus is the main protagonist of the trilogy—a gladiator slave with no memories of who he is or where to place his allegiance. Absent the biases of upbringing, familial attachment, or the pressures of social conformity, Zephyrus has only his principles and intuition to rely on as he attempts to make sense of this conflict he finds himself in the middle of. Is he an emissary of peace sent to serve the king? Or is he a Prophet of the Return meant to free the enslaved?

  • Nallia is the privileged daughter of a successful lanista (owner of a gladiator school) who, despite her best intentions, realizes she’s part of the problem with New Rheynian society after meeting Zephyrus.

  • Threyna, the victim of a magical curse, is on a harrowing quest to arm herself to fight an undying “Skeleton King” attempting to gather the souls of the world to his One True God. Even if she has to betray good people like Zephyrus to do so.

  • Fenyx is one of Zephyrus’s fellow gladiators in Nallia’s ludus (gladiator school), but while Zephyrus dreams of life beyond the walls of the arena, Fenyx concerns himself only with making the best of what he has the chance for: glory.

  • Laeden, the outcast Prince of New Rheynia, is the only one who seems concerned with the Revivalists, an ideological social group turned theological terrorists. He allies with Zephyrus to stop the assassination of his father, the king, and uproot the zealots before they start another war.

  • Danella is the Queen of New Rheynia, step-mother to Laeden, and leader of the Revivalists. She loves her husband, but she will not let her people’s short memories usher in a new wave of the Gods’ disasters.

  • Iylea—handmaid to Danella, secret lover to Laeden, and a seer who will be executed if her abilities are discovered—finds herself trapped between her truths. If she uses her abilities to help Laeden stop Danella, she’ll expose herself as a seer. But if she does nothing, Laeden will fall victim to Danella’s machinations.

    What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

    This story had a long gestation period before it was ready for the world. In that time it has changed quite a bit. It’s led to me creating relationships with wonderful people I otherwise never would have met. Chersti Nieveen, my developmental editor at Writer Therapy who changed the way I consume story; Morgan Gist MacDonald at Paper Raven Books whose enthusiastic approach to navigating the publishing industry was a constant inspiration; Landon Soelberg at Soelberg Studios, an exceptionally talented narrator and voice actor who brought the audiobook to life; and Freya at Lunaris Falcon Studio who made my beautiful covers. Stories are nothing without the people they connect us to :)

About the Author

When Tim isn’t writing epic fantasy, he can often be found in his garage-gym or in the mountains where he lives. A virtual fitness professional by trade, he integrates his creative passions into movement, training with maces, clubs, staves, and swords to unlock his inner gladiator. More than writing, reading, gaming, playing music, hiking, and paddle-boarding, Tim loves story. If he’s not working on his own story, he’s helping others develop theirs as an author coach. Living in Arizona with his wife, Colleen, Tim continues writing epic fantasy novels while exploring different storytelling mediums so he can inspire others to hope. To live. And to believe.


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