Guest Post: Shared Settings by Marshall Ryan Maresca

October 3, 2017

Today we are happy to welcome Marshall Ryan Maresca to The Speculative Herald. His latest book, The Imposters of Aventil, releases today (October 3, 2017) and is the final book in the Maradaine trilogy, but also ties in with another one of his current series, which share a setting. Mr. Maresca was kind enough to share a blog post about what makes shared settings work.

Also, if you have not yet started this series, don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY below! DAW was kind enough to offer up one copy of the first book, The Thorn of Dentonhill, for a giveaway! (Who doesn’t want to read about a vigilante magic student??)

Shared Settings and The Imposters of Aventil 

By Marshall Ryan Maresca


The Imposters of Aventil is the third Novel of Maradaine.  It’s also the sixth novel set in the city of Maradaine, because the “Novels of Maradaine” is just one of the three series set in that fantastical, magical clockpunk city.


Of late— by which I mean in the past decade— we’ve seen a lot more of the idea of several different series taking place in a shared universe.  It really is nothing new, but like many things in pop culture, what it really takes to get engrained in the collective conscious of the public-at-large is a big movie— or in this case, a movie franchise.  Thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, audiences embrace the idea of multiple stories taking place in that same shared space.


However, a shared setting is pointless without laying solid groundwork.  The Avengers is meaningless if you don’t have a set of characters established with their individual movies.    Similarly, your investment in Maradaine lies with your introduction to it.  Perhaps you first discovered Veranix Calbert, the magic-student-by-day, vigilante-by-night hero of The Thorn of Dentonhill. Or Satrine Rainey and Minox Welling, the outcast inspectors of the Maradaine Constabulary in A Murder of Mages.  Or even Asti and Verci Rynax, the thieves-turned-straight-turned-back-to-thieves who strive to survive on the streets of Maradaine in The Holver Alley Crew.  You could read any of those books, and the sequels within their series, without even knowing that the other books existed.


But if you read them all, then you can find the gears moving under the surface.  Because the shared space requires more than just saying, “these stories are in the same setting”.   Without showing the connections within the stories, the the declaration has no weight.  That’s when you see that, for example, a case being discussed by inspectors in A Murder of Mages is tied to the events of The Thorn of Dentonhill.


Sharing the universe means more than just tendrils of connection.  You want the crossover event.  You want to see what happens when the different heroes have their orbits intersect.  You want characters who are all essentially “good guys” to clash over what’s right.


You want to see what happens when Veranix, a self-appointed vigilante and street-level hero, crosses paths with Minox and Satrine, brilliant investigators and dedicated law officers.


And that’s what you’ll get in The Imposters of Aventil.

About the Author

Marshall Ryan Maresca grew up in upstate New York and studied film and video production at Penn State.  He now lives Austin with his wife and son.  His work appeared in Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction and Rick Klaw’s anthology Rayguns Over TexasHe also has had several short plays produced and has worked as a stage actor, a theatrical director and an amateur chef. His novels The Thorn of Dentonhill and A Murder of Mages each begin their own fantasy series, both set in the port city of Maradaine. For more information, visit Marshall’s website at


About the Book

Guest Post: Shared Settings by Marshall Ryan MarescaThe Imposters of Aventil by Marshall Ryan Maresca
Published by Daw Books on October 3rd 2017
Our reviews of this author: The Alchemy of Chaos, An Import of Intrigue, The Holver Alley Crew

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Blending vigilante justice with epic fantasy, this third Maradaine novel finds student Veranix Calbert returning to fight crime • “Veranix is Batman, if Batman were a teenager and magically talented.” —Library Journal

Summer and the Grand Tournament of High Colleges have come to the University of Maradaine. If the heat and the crowds weren't enough to bring the campus and the neighborhood of Aventil to a boiling point, rumors that The Thorn is on the warpath—killing the last of the Red Rabbits—is enough to tip all of Maradaine into the fire.

Except Veranix Calbert, magic student at the University, is The Thorn, and he's not the one viciously hunting the Red Rabbits. Veranix has his hands full with his share of responsibilities for the Tournament, and as The Thorn he’s been trying to find the source of the mind-destroying effitte being sold on campus. He’s as confused as anyone about the rumors.

When The Thorn imposter publicly attacks the local Aventil constables, the Constabulary bring in their own special investigators: Inspectors Minox Welling and Satrine Rainey from the Maradaine Grand Inspectors Unit. Can Veranix find out who the imposter is and stop him before Welling and Rainey arrest him for the imposter’s crimes?



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Lisa Taylor
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