Folks, please read this entire post. Don’t skim it. This is important.
These are the words of my friend and fellow author, Brandon Barr, as written this past week in his final days as his body is ravaged by leukemia:
“Fantasy fiction is a blessing in that it allows authors to tell heroic stories that WE need to hear. We may sit in an office chair half the day, or be stuck in traffic, or need to get groceries, or this or that; but fantasy fiction touches deep into something that humans long for. That under our suits and ties or tee-shirt and jeans, we have a hero or heroine inside of us. They may be timid, but this heroic person inside of us is an admirer of fantasy stories where they can identify with the characters, root and cheer for them, and in some cases, want to be them (even if the going is very difficult). We long to fix the world by going on a quest, or throwing the One Ring into Mount Doom, or playing out some great prophetic role like Paul Atreides in Frank Herbert’s sci-fi fantasy classic, Dune.”
Who among us could find the strength to write such hopeful and inspiring words in our final moments while suffering from such a terrible and painful disease?
Brandon. That’s who. And he’s been doing it for years.
The first three books of his Song of the Worlds series are now available on Amazon, beginning with Rise of the Seer. Certainly, please go get the books, but first I’d like to tell you a bit about them, and a bit about Brandon.
The story is brilliant: two women from distant enchanted worlds, bound together by prophecy and destiny. Huge stakes, deeply developed characters, war, heroism, magic… a true epic in every sense of the word – but what’s even more remarkable is that these books have been written while Brandon has been literally fighting for his life. If you know anyone with this disease, you already know: it’s a toss up what is more painful; the disease itself or the treatments… and the physical pain is only one part of the equation. Brandon has a wife and three young boys, and since 2015, he has had two bone marrow transplants, and has gone back and forth repeatedly between being in complete remission and on the brink of passing away. Just this February a biopsy showed NO signs of leukemia, and the battle seemed won. But the leukemia returned with a vengeance last month, and now he is out of treatment options. He is still with us for now (we love you Brandon!) but, tragically, his time is short.
Throughout this hellish rollercoaster ride, Brandon has been writing, and in his work, he explores that single most pressing, existential question we all ponder: why? If there is a God, why does He allow such suffering to exist? In Rise of the Seer, through his character Winter’s eyes, we see Brandon’s poignant and personal exploration of the struggle with faith and doubt. We see Aven’s fear for those he loves; an allegorical representation of the fear Brandon carries for his own family’s security after he’s gone. We see Meluscia’s search for unknowable answers to timeless questions, and her struggle for peace amidst the recognition of her own shortcomings.
More than simply being entertaining, these books are a true window into the soul and mind of a beautiful man, husband, and father who is facing his own pain, doubt, and mortality with courage, grace, and poise. If you’re a fantasy reader, or if these questions are important in your own journey through life, you absolutely must read these books. Rise of the Seer is just 99 cents right now, and free on Kindle Unlimited. The next two books are available for pre-order as well.
For more information on how to support Brandon Barr and his family, as well as his books, go to Epic Fantasy Fanatics.