Fantasy author Myke Cole on grounding a medieval world with demons in it

Myke Cole is best known for his urban fantasy Shadow Ops series, which focuses heavily on portraying a world much like ours that is suddenly infused with magic. Cole’s hallmark in the fantasy world has been the incredible level of realism that he approaches his books with. This is especially true when it comes to his portrayals of the military, which draws on his own time serving in the armed forces.

For his next act, Cole is changing things up a bit. His upcoming series, The Sacred Throne, exchanges the modern-day world that he’s been using as a setting for a more traditional fantasy realm. The Sacred Throne series is very much a modern-day fantasy thematically, but more on the “grimdark” side of the genre in the vein of authors like Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence, or George R.R. Martin than the more optimistic worlds of Tolkien or Lewis.


Artwork: Tommy Arnold / Tor.com

The Armored Saint is the first book in The Sacred Throne series, due out next February. It introduces Heloise, a 16-year-old girl who finds herself clashing with the Order, a religious group that violently puts down any magic users. This is for a good reason, given that any use of magic could open a portal to hell and unleash demons on the world.

The new series is set to be published through the Tor.com imprint of Tor Books, which came onto the scene three years ago and has already established itself firmly in the industry with its emphasis on novellas and shorter pieces of fiction.

We recently had the chance to chat a bit with Cole about his upcoming book seres, and we have an exclusive look at the cover for the first book in the series, The Armored Saint (artwork by Tommy Arnold.)

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Can you tell us a little about The Armored Saint?

The Armored Saint is dark medieval. It’s very, very bleak. It’s about a young girl who lives under the thumb of an oppressive order that has reasons to want to deny the use of magic. They see it as very dangerous, as a real existential threat to all humanity, and they crack down on it brutally. They will burn your house down, burn your village down, kill everyone you know, sow the ground with salt. Whatever they need to do to make sure that taint, that blight, that potential for infection is eradicated. And, of course, that’s an oppressive and hard way to live. And this girl finds herself thrust…

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