Maps, Maps, Maps and More Maps!

Every good fantasy book needs a map, and From the Valley of Orchids has five.

Throughout the nine books in The Legend of Saru, you’ll explore all fifteen provinces of Yamato, from the sweltering Osumi in the south of Kyushu to the frozen northern plains of Ezo where the White City of Niseko looms:

The scrolls of the island names reference landmarks from the stories. In Ezo, you’ll see the swamp plants from the Rubythroat Fens and the Stone Pillars of Shakotan. East Honshu features Mount Kazan and the petrified tree from the Adachi Wastes. In West Honshu, there’s Ihara’s Cave, Mount Ogawa and the Kraken of the Deep. Meanwhile, Shikoku features the whirlpools of the Naruto Strait with Mount Ishizuchi beyond. Finally, Kyushu includes the staggering peak of Mount Shouza with the Europan style turrets of Shouza College.

Designing these maps drove me to several nervous breakdowns (just ask my wife!), so I hope you’ll enjoy them and find them helpful. They were made using elements from K.M. Alexander’s Ishikawa Set, Map Effects Fantasy Map Builder and Japan Map by

A version of the whole of Yamato is available here.

The ebook of From the Valley of Orchids (book one in The Legend of Saru) releases on May 22nd. The paperbacks and hardbacks are out now.

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Announcing the Legend of Saru

An epic fantasy series in mythological Japan

Artwork by Nicolas Castel

It’s been over five years since my last post, and for good reason: I’ve been writing an entire fantasy series. All nine books in The Legend of Saru series are now finished and ready to release monthly this year, starting with From the Valley of Orchids on May 22nd. During its first week, the ebook will be available at the reduced price of $0.99. Here’s the cover and blurb:

From the Valley of Orchids by Niels Saunders

Gods and Demons Clash in Mythological Japan

In the Kingdom of Yamato, magic is misunderstood. When humans pray at shrines to the spirits of the land, their wishes are not granted directly. Instead, sometimes gods are born: shapeshifting animals with the power to conjure weapons and enter the realm of dreams.

When a snow monkey named Saru is born from a prayer of hope, he longs to understand the truth about his nature. At an enchanted temple, he crosses paths with the demonic monk Akame whose infernal magic destroys everything Saru loves—and could soon threaten the whole world.

Saru flees to Otari Village, a settlement of kind people who welcome him into their homes. The village, however, is plagued by ghosts and wicked men who would exploit Saru’s powers. With Akame’s arrival looming, will Saru save the village, or lose everything again? How far will he go to protect those he loves?

I’ll be making another post when the ebook is out, but you can already buy the paperback and hardback versions from Amazon. They look absolutely beautiful, so if you feel like treating yourself, I’d highly recommend them.

I’ll be making lots more posts in the following weeks, so stay tuned for more news and deals!

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