My Favorite Bit: Peter Orullian Talks About TRIAL OF INTENTIONS

My Favorite BitPeter Orullian joins us today to talk about his new novel, Trial of Intentions. Here is the publisher’s description:

The gods who created this world have abandoned it. In their mercy, however, they chained the rogue god–and the monstrous creatures he created to plague mortalkind–in the vast and inhospitable wasteland of the Bourne. The magical Veil that contains them has protected humankind for millennia and the monsters are little more than tales told to frighten children. But the Veil has become weak and creatures of Nightmare have come through. To fight them, the races of men must form a great alliance to try and stop the creatures.

But there is dissent. One king won’t answer the call, his pride blinding him even to the poison in his own court. Another would see Convocation fail for his own political advantage. And still others believe Convocation is not enough. Some turn to the talents of the Sheason, who can shape the very essence of the world to their will. But their order is divided, on the brink of collapse.

Tahn Junell remembers friends who despaired in a place left barren by war. One of the few who have actually faced the unspeakable horde in battle, Tahn sees something else at work and wonders about the nature of the creatures on the other side of the Veil. He chooses to go to a place of his youth, a place of science, daring to think he can find a way to prevent slaughter, prevent war.

And his choices may reshape a world . . .

So what is Peter’s favorite bit?


I wrote Trial of Intentions as an entry point to my series—it’s only book two. I wanted readers to be able to jump in without having to read prior stuff. And I like it as a starting place for a number of reasons. Chief among them? Resonance.

Let me explain.

When I was world building for my series—The Vault of Heaven—I had this notion: There should be (what I call) governing dynamics. I liken these to mechanical law. Think gravity, magnetism. It made sense to me that a world would operate on certain principles.

Add to this that I’m a musician. I hear the world around me more than I see or smell or taste it. This led me to one of my primary governing dynamics: Resonance.

In my world, Resonance is not precisely the same as it is in ours. Or perhaps I should say that it’s more. What I mean is, Resonance still has some of the same physical behaviors as it does in our world, but I also give it other attributes. If you’re familiar with the concept of quantum entanglement, then you’ll understand another of Resonance’s powerful uses in my fictional universe. In short, things can be moved, changed, affected at a distance.

Resonance has become the underpinning for five magic systems in my world so far. And what I think is cool, is that these various forms of magic all look and feel different. That makes sense to me, since they originate from different cultures. But the reader can see how they all ladder-up to Resonance.

Of course, my music magic system gets most of the stage time. I go deep on how it works. And the woman in the story who possesses this ability isn’t shy and retiring and singing sweet lullabies. Her song is rough and combative. And powerful.

And if I’m to believe my early readers, the music magic system is unlike anything they’ve read before. That gives me a happy.

But Resonance underlies something else that Trial of Intentions does—which is also quite a change from book one: science.

In Trial, there’s an entire society dedicated to science: astronomy, physics, mathematics, cosmology, etc. There’s a college for each. And they work collaboratively (and in formal debate) to establish scientific principles.

One of my characters in Trial of Intentions has this crazy notion that instead of escalation by half the world to fight an apocalyptic war, that maybe, just maybe, science could be used to avert war before it begins.

And at the center of that inquiry? You guessed it. Resonance.

I love the scenes in Trial of Intentions where a few characters are trying to get at answers through investigative inquiry and debate. Oh, there’s conflict, too. Tension. Mortal danger. Battle. Imagine all that in the context of academia! I mean, as my character uncovers this scientific principle, he’s also learning how to use it. But not always with perfect control. And it’s usually against “bad guys” who‘ve mastered its use.

And still . . . there’s another application of Resonance. And I may like this one better than the rest. It has to do with one friend comforting another friend. It has to do with wounds of the heart. And regret. And the slow movement toward healing those deep scars.

In Trial of Intentions I deal with suicide. Without going into it, I’ll tell you that a friend of mine made this choice just before I began writing the book. Suicide was always a part of my world, because I’ve conceived a dire place. At least for some. But in hindsight, I can see that the real world got into the pages of my fictional world as a few of my characters struggle through the aftermath of loved ones who do self-slaughter.

What about Resonance then? Well, there’s a thing that happens when two people who care for each other connect regarding shared pain, or strong emotions of any kind. Two souls resonating with each other. Finding some solace. Forgiveness.

I posit that even these things—which might be seen as ephemeral—can affect mechanical systems. That they touch the physical. Or can.

But that’s secondary to the quiet moments of struggling through shared suffering to arrive at a better place. Maybe I said it better in the book:

But everyone knows that when the heart fails, what’s needed is a friend who doesn’t falsely reassure, and can walk a road with you just because. Doing things because. That’s what friends do when the heart fails.


Twitter: @peterorullian
Barnes and Noble


Peter Orullian has worked at Xbox for over a decade, which is good, because he’s a gamer. He’s toured internationally with various bands and been a featured vocalist at major rock and metal festivals, which is good, because he’s a musician. He’s also learned when to hold his tongue, which is good, because he’s a contrarian. Peter has published several short stories, which he thinks are good. The Unremembered and Trial of Intentions are his first novels, which he hopes you will think are good. He lives in Seattle, where it rains all the damn time. He has nothing to say about that.

Did you know you can support Mary Robinette on Patreon!
Scroll to Top