Tag Archives: djinn

War of the Magi #3: Coming soon…

zariel copySo tonight I completed the first draft of the the third and final book of the War of the Magi trilogy. It’s a little ragged and has a few loose ends that I need to carefully tie up during the revision process, but it is complete. And it was exhausting.

It’s titled Zariel’s Doom.

Here are a few details about what you can expect next month when it comes out:

  • The story takes places 2 years after Azrael’s Wrath.
  • It is the longest of the three books.
  • Most of the main characters from the first two books are back, but the two focal characters are Zerai and Iyasu.
  • Zerai’s story arc is grounded and real and personal, similar to his story arc in Raziel’s Shadow, except he is now a very different man with very different priorities.
  • Iyasu’s story is fantastical and bizarre, and pulls in elements from Persian myth, history, and literature.
  • There are lots more djinn!
  • There are lots more angels!
  • There are lots more fantasy creatures!
  • And yes, I am aware I have a character named “Zerai” and a character named “Zariel”. I have great faith that you will be able to tell them apart, despite how similar their names are.

That’s all for now…

New Book! War of the Magi: Azrael’s Wrath

Hello friends and readers!

I’m back. I’ve been quiet, I’ve been positively mouse-like, but I’m back and I have a book. A new epic fantasy with a gorgeous cover by artist Laura Sava.

Azrael’s Wrath is Book 2 in the “War of the Magi” series, and it’s a doozy.

Our heroes Zerai the falconer, Veneka the healer, and Iyasu the seer are back from Raziel’s Shadow and this time they aren’t dealing with mere demon hordes. We have more angels, more djinn, and more bizarre romantic entanglements than even I suspected to find. Here’s the description:

At the age of seventeen, the brilliant young seer Iyasu was sent to the west to help a mighty kingdom prosper in peace. But instead, he has brought them to the brink of war. Devastated by his own failures, and haunted by the bloody nightmares he unwittingly unleashed, Iyasu escapes to the jungle in search of the angel Raziel and the help of the magi clerics.

Now he must return to the kingdom he destroyed, accompanied by a healer, a falconer, and three mysterious djinn to confront a blood-thirsty warlord and his legions. But he no longer trusts his own visions, two of the djinn hide terrible secrets, and the Angel of Death herself now stalks the land to punish the wicked for all the death and suffering she has seen in the world.

Available now on Amazon Kindle.

And if you email me a promise to post a review on Amazon as soon as possible, I will send you the book for free this week.

Want to test-read Azrael’s Wrath?


Hello friends,

I know I’ve been terribly quiet lately. Many things have been happening, complicated and demanding things, as life tends to throw at us. But who cares about that because I have a new book coming out!

Azrael’s Wrath is the second book in the Tales of the Magi series, the sequel to Raziel’s Shadow. And I’d like to get a few of you clever, demanding, insightful readers to take a look at it before I release it.

What’s a test reader?

It’s very simple. Just read the book and then let me know if you liked it, and what was good or bad. No editing, nothing heavy or complicated. Just your reaction, your opinion.

Do you need to have read the first one to understand the new one? Not really. It would help, but it’s not necessary.

What’s the new book about?

Azrael’s Wrath is about a group of people trying to stop a king from destroying three nations. The heroes include a demon-slaying falconer, a magi healer, a djinn cleric, a mutilated singer, a death-obsessed alchemist, and the young seer who crowned the king in the first place.

It’s about coping with violence and suffering, both on an individual level and on a wider political level. It’s about fear and regret, and hope.

It’s also about several strange romantic relationships between humans, djinn, and angels. And that includes some interesting sex.

When is feedback due?

Please read the entire book and email me your thoughts about it by Friday, December 6.  That’s just under three weeks from now.

How do I sign up?

If you want to be a test reader, just email me at josephrobertlewis@gmail.com and say that you will send me your comments by December 6, and I will send you a PDF of the book to review.



Raziel’s Shadow: Arabian mythology and fantasy

Raziel's ShadowI’ve written a lot of books with strong mythological bones in them. Greek, Norse, Russian, Aztec, Spanish, Indian. Much like Pokemon, I intend to explore them all, sooner or later. And for my new book Raziel’s Shadow, I have journeyed into Arabian myth and legend.

[ Note: I am aware that, like many cultures today, Arabian culture is vast and complex, and while some modern Arabs may see their own ancient stories as mythological or folkloric, others may see them as living aspects of their beliefs and world-views. My use of these ideas, images, and stories is not meant to belittle or appropriate them, but to explore and perhaps introduce them to readers in an engaging manner. I certainly hope I succeeded. ]

The advent of Islam in Arabia, much like the advent of Christianity in Europe, involved the incorporation of “pagan” or other external concepts of the divine or supernatural world into the new religious framework. This included two very important classes of beings: angels and djinn.


Angels are fairly familiar to us westerners. They tend to have wings (often more than two), and sometimes have strange numbers of feet, hands, eyes, and tongues. Sometimes they carry flaming swords or trumpets or books. And they all have jobs, though few have names. Officially, only a few angels are named: Gabriel (Jibril), Michael (Mikail), Raphael (Israfil), and Azrael among them.

Angels, of course, serve God in countless functions to make the universe work and carry out special tasks, ranging from teaching people to destroying cities. In the Arabian interpretation, angels are beings of light, lacking in free will, and serving both cosmic and personal functions.


Djinn (or jinn) are a bit more complicated. Djinn are beings of smokeless fire (and humans are beings of clay), but djinn have more in common with humans than angels. Djinn have free will, they live in societies, worship God (or not), and generally act like people. Key differences usually relate to the djinn’s supernatural abilities, such as invisibility, shape-shifting, and traveling at great speed. In this tradition, Satan (Shaytan) was a djinn, not an angel.

But beyond this notion of djinn as merely “invisible and somewhat magical people”, they also existed in several classes of monstrous creatures, which you may recognize from various fantasy games and movies. Ifrits are powerful creatures of fire, marids are enormous creatures of the sea, ghuls are bestial eaters of the dead, and Shaytan (aka Iblis) had no power at all except the ability to lead others into evil.

And I thought that was all fertile ground to explore in my new book, a classic quest through demon-infested lands to save a kingdom (and the world!).

[ Learn more about Raziel’s Shadow ]

Raziel’s Shadow: Turning Star Wars inside-out

Raziel's ShadowWhen I set out to write my epic fantasy adventure Raziel’s Shadow, I wanted to take a swing at two story-telling issues in the beloved Star Wars universe that I really don’t like.

Issue 1 – The Chosen One

In Star Wars, Luke Skywalker is just another farm boy until he discovers that he’s the magic son of a galactic overlord, and is basically destined to save the universe using his magic torpedo-aiming powers. (Harry Potter suffers from a similar problem.) Why couldn’t he just be a real Nobody who rises to greatness on his own merits?

In Raziel’s Shadow, our hero Zerai begins the tale as the orphan prince of a conquered kingdom, believing himself to be destined to one day return, free his people, and reclaim his grandfather’s throne. I don’t want to spoil it too much for you, but all of Zerai’s assumptions turn out to be wrong and all of his plans fall apart, forcing him to rediscover his purpose in life.

So instead of the wish-fulfillment of a Nobody turning into a Godlike Hero because DESTINY!, Zerai is an arrogant would-be hero who evolves into a deeper, nobler, wiser human being (who kills demons and falls in love with heroic women, as you do).

Because I like that more.

Issue 2 – The Magical Training

In Star Wars, Luke receives a two-hour “Intro to the Force” seminar from Obi-wan Kenobi before poor Ben gets sliced in half by Darth Vader. Then Luke goes to Dagobah where he takes the two-day camping retreat and then runs off to spring break in Cloud City, where Darth Vader slices his hand off.

In the first movie, Obi-wan is clearly the most qualified person to defeat Darth Vader, and yet he sacrifices himself for no good reason (so Luke can be the hero). In the second movie, Yoda is clearly the most qualified person to defeat Darth Vader, and yet he agrees to “train” Luke for the weekend (so Luke can be the hero).

This is terrible story-logic!

In Raziel’s Shadow, our hero Zerai travels to a distant land where the fabled magi warriors learn other-worldly powers from living angels. He asks to be trained as a magi warrior himself so he can reclaim his kingdom from invaders. His request is… Denied! (For real, not as a minor stumbling block, he seriously never becomes a magi. Not ever.)

As the king explains, they already have an army of magi warriors who are very much qualified to save kingdoms from demon infestation. Not only would it take years to train Zerai, but it’s illegal to train adults anyway, so that’s out of the question (because unlike Yoda, this king actually sticks to the rules).

So poor Zerai is forced to join the magi warriors not as an equal but as a mere guide. This sets up the drama of the first act of the story, which I personally think is much more believable and far more interesting.

[ Learn more about Raziel’s Shadow ]

New release: Raziel’s Shadow

Raziel's ShadowToday it is my great pleasure to announce the release of my newest epic fantasy novel, Raziel’s Shadow.

[ Cover art by the very talented Laura Sava ]

This is a classic adventure quest, a band of heroes on an arduous journey to save the world from great evil. But it’s also full of twists and anti-tropes, which I’ll talk about more later this week. Raziel’s Shadow combines the djinn, angels, and demons of Arabian mythology with the history of the Aksum Empire, which ruled over ancient Ethiopia and Eritrea for centuries. Intrigued?

From the back cover:

As the long-lost prince of a country conquered by demons, Zerai Djonn has known only hardship, fear, and death all his life. But the legends of the great magi warriors tempt him to travel east in the hopes of gaining divine powers so he might return to free his people and reclaim his grandfather’s throne.

But nothing goes according to plan. Upon returning home, Zerai is reduced to a mere guide, helping a band of powerful magi to cross a land infested with ghuls, ifrits, marids, and djinn in search of a way to undo the madness that was unleashed when the angel Raziel was murdered.

For a time, Zerai finds solace in the arms of a magi archer, but even this joy is short-lived when they discover two women from the distant south who are hiding a terrible secret that could either heal the world or usher it into a new age of darkness.

Links: Amazon | Kobo | Smashwords

Raziel’s Shadow – coming in 3 days!

Raziel's Shadow

Excerpt from Chapter 1:

“Wait, please. I’m not here to rest or eat.” Zerai waved Leun back. “You need to understand. Tigara was invaded by two armies. The first came from Lashad under the command of Ras Moro Hanadin. But he never could have conquered Azumar alone. He brought a second army from even farther south. From the land of Rumaya. From the city of Naj Kuvari.”

A soft gasp traveled across the crowd. Salloran’s already troubled visage grew darker still, gathering deeper lines across his brow. The queen said, “But the borders of Rumaya were sealed by our clerics centuries ago to contain the creatures that dwell there.”

“The seal was broken somehow,” Zerai said. “The soldiers from Lashad brought the demon hordes of Naj Kuvari to Azumar, led by Ras Moro under the flag of Naj Kuvari, the flag of the war-queen Jidira. There were thousands of them, men and beasts. Today, Moro’s soldiers control every town and his demons roam freely across the countryside, killing whatever they find. The rumors from the south are even worse. They say that all of Hamara is overrun with demons and no people have survived at all. And now Ras Moro sits on the golden throne of Azumar, protected by these djinn-beasts from the south.”

Salloran sank one of his mighty hands into the thick folds of his beard.

“Before you say anything, great Negus, I want to say that I’m not here to ask you for your armies, or your wealth, or even a single plate of food,” Zerai said, sinking down on one knee. His back and arms ached, his feet throbbed, and his head began to swim with a fresh dizziness. “As a child I heard the stories about the great magi of Shivala. I know that beyond this city there are holy mountains where four of God’s angels still live and teach your people the magi arts. I have seen the beauty of your great city, and I’ve seen your gray warriors who carry no weapons at all, so I know the old stories are true. And that’s why I’m here. My lord, I’ve come to study alongside your warriors at the feet of the angels, to learn the magi arts, so one day I can return to my homeland and free my people from the demons.”

Zerai bowed his head and swallowed.

There. I did it. I said it. And now I can start to gain the power to fulfill my destiny and take my rightful place in


Zerai looked up and blinked. The queen had answered him as her husband sat stroking his beard in silent contemplation. “No? My lady?”

“We cannot allow you to journey to the holy mountains or study before the living angels,” Makeda said. “Such a request is impossible for us to grant.”

“But…” Zerai blinked as the sunlight steaming in through the tall windows began to blur into a bright white haze across his eyes. “I…”

He slipped sideways and fell to the floor, and the last thing he heard was the scream of his white falcon.

Continued in Raziel’s Shadow