Ryan Van Loan is joining us today to talk about his novel, The Justice In Revenge. Here’s the publisher’s description:
Featuring boardroom intrigue, masquerade balls, gondola chases, street gangs, and shapeshifting mages, Ryan Van Loan’s The Justice in Revenge continues the Fall of the Gods series as Buc and Eld turn from pirates to politics and face the deadliest mystery of their career.
The island nation of Servenza is a land of flint and steel, sail and gearwork, of gods both Dead and sleeping. It is a society where the wealthy few rule the impoverished many.
Determined to change that, former street-rat Buc, along with Eld, the ex-soldier who has been her partner in crime-solving, have claimed seats on the board of the powerful Kanados Trading Company. Buc plans to destroy the nobility from within—which is much harder than she expected.
Stymied by boardroom politics and dodging mages at every turn, Buc and Eld find a potential patron in the Doga, ruler of Servenza. The deal: by the night of the Masquerade, unmask whoever has been attempting to assassinate the Doga, thereby earning her support in the halls of power. Blow the deadline and she’ll have them deported to opposite ends of the world.
Armed with Eld’s razor-sharp sword and Buc’s even sharper intellect, the dynamic duo hit the streets just as the shadow religious conflict between the Gods begins to break into open warfare. Those closest to Buc and Eld begin turning up with their throats slit amid rumors that a hidden mastermind is behind everything that’s going wrong in Servenza.
Facing wrathful gods, hostile nobles, and a secret enemy bent on revenge, Buc and Eld will need every trick in their arsenal to survive. Luckily, extra blades aren’t the only things Buc has hidden up her sleeves.
What’s Ryan’s favorite bit?
RYAN VAN LOAN
My favorite bit in The Justice in Revenge was one that caught me by surprise. I’m a hardcore outliner when it comes to plot, but my characters tend to develop very organically. I knew that The Justice in Revenge would be about how our protagonist: Sambuciña “Buc” Alhurra—an autodidact rogue raised on the streets and first private investigator in her world—would handle navigating the uncharted waters of boardroom politics and the ruling elite, but I didn’t know exactly what canal would be her entry point. No one was more surprised than me when it turned out to be another young woman, Salina.
Readers of The Sin in the Steel may remember Salina as the representative of the Kanados Trading Company—the most powerful trading company in the world—who tried to blackmail Buc and Eld and kickstarted their adventures facing down pirate queens and undead mages to solve a mystery empires had failed to solve. This time around, with Buc now a member of the trading company’s board, we get a different view of Salina. Not the haughty, know it all noble, but rather a young woman often pushed to the side by those more powerful looking to find her way just as much as Buc is. The friendship that develops between these two women turned out to be my favorite storyline in the book and one that beta readers kept coming back to in their comments. Let me explain why…
Very much a bit character in the first book, Salina turned out to be an intriguing, fully realized young woman who played the older sister to Buc when neither Buc nor myself thought she needed one. Buc had a sister who protected her when she was a child and died for it and Buc’s ensured she never needs protecting again (although her partner in crime-solving and swordmaster Eld might disagree) but Salina doesn’t offer protection. Instead she offers Buc friendship, something nearly as foreign to our booksmart, fiercely independent protagonist as the need for protection. Unfortunately for Buc, The Justice in Revenge puts her through the ringer with street gangs, mages, rulers, and the Gods all gunning for her and that’s to say nothing of a mysterious figure who appears to be her equal in the machinations department. Buc told Salina in the first book that she didn’t need friends, but I’ve never believed in the myth of the Lone Ranger. We all need someone at some point in our lives, often several someones. Buc has Eld, but in Salina she finds someone who understands her struggles as a woman and who has insight into this society she seeks to overthrow. For Salina’s part, she’s drawn to Buc’s steel core, her harsh uncompromising approach that even forces the formidable Chair of the Company back on her heels at points. Each fulfills a gap in the other’s armor and it was great fun to watch their friendship develop from rivals to allies plotting out tactics and maneuvers for board sessions and masquerades where costumes are armor and words are daggers that cut as deep as steel.
The Justice in Revenge is a rip roaring adventure fantasy that turns from pirates to politics with gondola chases, running street fights, and tosses Buc and Eld into the deadliest mystery of their careers, but I think you, Dear Reader, will stay for the heart. And at its heart, we have two young women banding together to show a society that vastly underestimates each of them, how badly mistaken they all are.
Ryan Van Loan is a Fantasy author who served six years as a Sergeant in the United States Army Infantry (PA National Guard) where he served on the front lines of Afghanistan. Ryan has traveled around the world wandering Caribbean island haunts, exploring the palaces and cathedrals of Europe, and hiking with elephants in the rainforests of Southeast Asia. His work has appeared in numerous places including Tor.com and Fireside Magazine. His debut novel, The Sin in the Steel (Tor Books), Book One in the Fall of the Gods series came out in Summer 2020, the sequel, The Justice in Revenge follows on July 13, 2021, and the conclusion to the series, The Memory in the Blood drops Summer 2022.