Tag Archives: angels

Who were the djinn?

In mythology: The djinn are a race of people in Arabian mythology, people made of “smokeless fire” who possessed various powers such as invisibility, swift movement, and shapeshifting. Despite these abilities, the djinn were still just people, living in cities and families, free to choose lives of virtue or vice. After the advent of Islam, the djinn were sometimes interpreted as demons, including the man-eating ghuls, the fiery ifrits, and the enormous sea-dwelling marids.

In fiction: Djinn (or jinn or genies) have appeared in fiction in both the east and west for a very long time, from horrible monsters to friendly wish-granting cartoons. In my novel Zariel’s Doom, the djinn are revealed to be a complex society of people who live hidden from humans. They live for many centuries, can run with blinding speed, and build beautiful cities deep underground. But they are also physically weaker than humans, and more fragile. Two great djinn cities are explored, Odashena in the west and Ramashad in the east. And while the djinn of the west have chosen to remain in hiding to avoid conflict with humans, the djinn in the east are another matter entirely…

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Who was the serpent-woman Shahmaran?

In mythology: The mythical creature Shahmaran is the queen of snakes in Kurdish legends. She has the upper body of a woman and the lower body of a snake, similar to the naga. She is wise and kind, and once fell in love with a young man. But he betrayed her to save his dying king.

In fiction: As much as I love to learn about fantastic monsters in world mythology, I like to learn about heroes and healers even more, so the story of Shahmaran was a real jewel for me. I incorporated her into Zariel’s Doom as “Marana”, a woman who once lived in the city of Raziel until she was betrayed and transformed by the corrupted clerics and forced to flee into exile as a half-serpent creature.

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Who were Rostam and Tahmina?

In mythology: The hero Rostam and his wife the princess Tahmina appear in the Persian epic poem, Shahnameh. Rostam is born under mythic circumstances to the albino prince Zal, with the assistance of the mythical creature Simurgh. He goes on to have many adventures with his mighty horse Raksh, such as slaying dragons and demons, and saving kings.

In fiction: When I learned about Rostam and Tahmina in my research, I definitely wanted to introduce my readers to these fantastic heroes. And at first, I actually named two of my characters Rostam and Tahmina in my novel Zariel’s Doom. But since Rostam is such a celebrated figure, I did not want to appear to be misusing him in my book, and I changed his name to Rahm and his wife to Hadara. But their adventures in the novel closely mirror those of Rostam, including slaying a very unusual dragon, battling bizarre demons, and meeting with the angel Simurgh.

Check out Zariel’s Doom today!

Who was the angel Simurgh?

In mythology: The mythical creature Simurgh appears in Persian / Middle Eastern stories as a large dog-like animal with wings. Simurgh is female and typically helpful to the people she encounters. In one traditional epic, Simurgh rescues an abandoned albino child and raises him as the prince Zal, and later is summoned to teach Zal to perform a cesarean procedure to deliver his (very large) son, the hero Rostam. She lives in the Tree of Life, which stands in the world sea.

In fiction: I first learned about Simurgh while researching for my books, and decided early on to incorporate her into Zariel’s Doom. She appears as a giant, golden, winged dog and speaks with a woman’s voice. She lives in the Tree of Life, a massive and fantastical creature itself, and she is friends with a certain young hero…

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Who was the angel Zariel?

In mythology: No one. At least, not that I can tell. Seriously. I haven’t been able to find any definite use of the name “Zariel” in any traditional texts. Which brings us to…

In fiction: According to Google, the only fictional use of the name “Zariel” appears in Dungeons & Dragons as some sort of female demon. Which makes sense to me, because I (for my part) made the name up. I just wanted to recycle the same sounds and letters in “Raziel” and “Azrael”, so “Zariel” was just the last logical option.

In my novel Zariel’s Doom, our heroes slowly uncover the mystery of the super-powered djinn and the disappearance of the angel Zariel, the Angel of Change. As revealed at the end of Azrael’s Wrath, the djinn of the east have found a way to add shreds of angelic souls to their own souls, thus giving them angelic power. In the third book, Iyasu the seer and Zerai the falconer both learn that the name of the lost angel in question is Zariel.

This new (only?) Zariel appears as a human man wearing golden armor, but can manifest his flaming red wings when exerting his angelic power. Sort of like this:

Check out Zariel’s Doom today!

Who was the angel Azrael?

In mythology: The angel Azrael (whose name means “One Whom God Helps”) is an angel in Judaism and Islam (also known as Malak or Izrail or Azriel). He is the Angel of Death, and sometimes also of retribution or justice. He keeps the book of the dead, recording and erasing the names of the dying, and he will be the last to die at the end of the world. He is responsible for separating the soul from the body at the moment of death.

In fiction: The angel Azrael appears in many works of fiction, as a being of death and vengeance lends itself well to dark, action-packed storytelling. I first encountered the name reading Batman comics in the 1990s, in which Jean Paul Valley becomes the brain-washed and not-entirely human assassin Azrael, and later even becomes Batman for a short time.

In my novel Azrael’s Wrath, the angel is a woman who has succumbed to rage and despair after witnessing the moment of death for billions of people over thousands of years. And while she cannot kill anyone by her own hand, she can inflict terrible punishments on people for causing suffering and death. Unfortunately, her actions attract the attentions of a local warlord who is preparing to invade a neighboring kingdom after she attacks his soldiers.

This new Azrael appears as a human woman in a dark silk dress with bright copper jewelry, but can manifest her enormous black wings when exerting her angelic power. Sort of like this:

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Who was the angel Raziel?

In mythology: The angel Raziel (whose name means “Secrets of God”) is an angel in Judaism (in the Kabbalah). He stands close to God (near his throne, or at a parted curtain) and records everything he hears in his book, the Book of Raziel the Angel. When Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden, Raziel gave his book to Adam to help him, but the other angels disliked that idea and threw the book into the sea, but God then decided to give the book back to Adam.

In fiction: The angel Raziel appears in many works of fiction, no doubt due to the fact that he has a magnificently gothic-sounding name. I first encountered the name playing the Legacy of Kain game series in the late 1990s (how old am I?).

In my novel Raziel’s Shadow, the angel Raziel chooses to come to earth to teach humans and djinn how to heal the sick and injured, transforming him from the Angel of Secrets to the Angel of Life (sort of replacing Raphael, who is usually associated with healing). Unfortunately, at the beginning of the novel Raziel is dead and his healers have unleashed a plague of demons (ghuls, ifrits, the usual) on the nearby kingdoms.

This new Raziel still has his book of secrets, and appears as a crystalline man with six wings. Sort of like this:

Check out Raziel’s Shadow today!