The Icemark Chronicles

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The Icemark Chronicles is a series of books consisting of The Cry of the Icemark, followed by Blade of Fire, and Last Battle of the Icemark[1] and the upcoming prequel called Prince Of The Icemark. The books were written by Stuart Hill from Leicester. Fox 2000 Pictures optioned the film rights to the book. The film was set to be produced by Courtney Pledger and Sarah Radclyffe, but it is unknown if or when it will be released. The books are published by Chicken House.

The Cry Of The Icemark[edit]

The Cry Of The Icemark tells the story of Thirrin Freer Strong-in-the-Arm Lindenshield, Wildcat of the North, a thirteen-year-old Princess to the land of Icemark.

Thirrin enjoys life as a carefree daughter. She is an impulsive teenager, who gets bored in the lessons that she has with an old scholar named Maggiore Totus. Her father, King Redrought 'Bear of the North', stresses that she not only is adept in the subject of fighting, but has the sharp mind of a competent scholar. After troubles in an expansive forest that borders the capital of the Icemark, Frostmarris, she meets Oskan Witch's Son, a fifteen-year-old boy, with healing talents learned from his mother, a White Witch. He later becomes Royal Advisor and accompanies Thirrin throughout the story.

The Polypontian Empire, led by General Scipio Bellorum, have lost few battles, never a war, and have taken control of most of the countries around them, save Icemark and some others. They are "supposed" to improve the world with Science and a better quality of life and are inspired by the Romans. It is in one of these Polypontian territorial wars that Redrought sacrifices his entire army, including himself when the last soldier kills him in a surprise attack. He does this to give Thirrin time to prepare to fight off the rest of the empire's forces, make an alliance with the Wolf Folk, evacuate Frostmarris (Capital of Icemark) before the entire Polypontian army invades. After defeating a small Polypontian army, Thirrin succeeds in reaching the Hypolitan people, an Amazon-like tribe, who were forced out of their lands for they could not live the way they wanted to, much like the exodus of the Hebrews. She is disheartened however, when several Wolf-Folk spies come back with her father's dead body. As a result, Thirrin becomes Queen of the tiny northern country. She embarks on a quest to find new allies for the Icemark, resulting in alliances with the Vampires and the mythical and ferocious Snow Leopards. Later, as the harsh winter's ices begin to thaw, the Polypontian army begins to advance. Queen Thirrin's army of her own Housecarls, the Snow Leopards, the Wolf-Folk, and Vampires are waiting for them.

Thirrin and Tharaman-Thar(leader of the snow leopards) fight various battles without the help of other allies. In one fight, Thirrin's aunt dies. In another, Oskan, seeing that Thirrin is in danger, calls down lightning, which kills many Polypontian troops, but almost kills him too. Later, Oskan is healed miraculously, but for Thirrin things gets harder. In one of the last battles, General Scipio Bellorum himself fights with Thirrin in a challenge, where Thirrin cuts his hand off. In the last battle, with Thirrin's army outnumbered and the Black Army (Polypontian "armies", which may be the equivalent of a corps in a modern army, are differentiated between using colours rather than numbers) arrives, Oskan, having recovered during the battle, rings a bell and calls "The allies are here." General Scipio Bellorum's army gets frightened to see unnatural people coming. The vampires and the snowy owls drink the blood of many soldiers and the were-wolves tear the soldiers apart. The Holly king and the Oak king's army arrives with their summoned creatures of the wood. Thirrin wins the battle when the Polypontian Empire flees. The story ends with the preparations for Yule, which parallels the opening.

Blade of Fire[edit]

Main article: Blade of Fire

Twenty years have passed: Thirrin and Oskan have married and had 5 children. However, when war threatens the Icemark once again, their crippled son Charlemagne is sent to the South Continent as Prince Regent to the Icemark as a refugee for his and their protection. But he has no intention of acting like a good little prince, and sets off to find some of the greatest allies the Icemark could hope for. He travels through deserts and is protected by the Blessed Women, spirits who vow to protect him. He arrives at the Desert Kingdom; he befriends the Crown Prince Mekhmet. Thanks to the Dance Master, he loses his disability and learns to fight. He gathers more allies such as the Lusu People and a battalion of zombies, Rock Trolls, and ghosts, proving he has inherited the ability to unite people from his mother.

Meanwhile, back in Frostmarris, Thirrin and her allies are at war with the Polypontian Empire, led by Scipio Bellorum and his two sons. This time the empire has a new weapon at their disposal - giant airships that can drop bombs hundreds of feet from the air to the ground. The Vampires arrive and battle the ships in their bat form. The war progresses, with the Sky Navy and Vampires being the key weapons of both armies. During one battle, the Vampire King engages Bellorum. The battle is of such skill and beauty that all around stop to watch its progress. When Bellorum finds himself losing, and asks the King for one last request, and gives a signal. His soldiers clear the deck of the airship, and cannons are revealed, along with muskets. These literally tear the Vampire King apart and the Vampires return to The-Land-of-the-Ghostsfor his funeral rights, led by the mourning Vampire Queen. This gives the edge back to the Empire's armies, as they still have their air ships.

During the final battle, all appears to be lost when Charlemagne appears, leading his army. They tear into the Empire's flank, turning the tide of the battle. Bellorum's sons are both killed; with Charlemagne beheading Octavius, although not before he almost fatally wounds Mekhmet; and Charlemagne's sister, Cressida, impaling Sulla in the stomach. Scipio's army turns and flees, breaking their rock hard discipline. Scipio himself flees, but is hunted down by the Vampire Queen, who has returned. Thirrin takes the pleasure of killing him.

Throughout the story, Medea, the youngest daughter of Thirrin and Oskan, has been causing havoc. Inheriting the legacy and powers of Oskan, who inherited them through his father, she also has the choice between Light and Dark. She inevitably chooses the dark, and begins trying to murder her little brother, Charlemagne, for "stealing" her parent's love. She uses her weather powers to create a storm and try to take out the fleet of ships Sharley is traveling with on his journey to Venezzia, hoping that the storm will kill him. Many of the ships collapse but Sharley survives. She later causes the death of her brother, Cerdic and many soldiers of The Icemark by manipulating the leaders of the allies minds and making them go into a battle that they can't be successful in. When Sharley returns to the Icemark, she possesses his friend Mekhmet and gives Sharley the option to kill him or be killed himself. Only with the help of the Blessed Women do they both survive. Oskan realizes that a Dark Witch is causing trouble, but does not believe it is his daughter. Then, she attempts to murder Charlemagne as he "returns to the north with a blade of fire in his hand" (as stated in Oskan's prophecy). When Oskan calls down lightning from the sky, she takes it from him and directs it at Sharley. Oskan, enraged, deflects it back at her. He then shows her how strong the temptation of the Dark is on him, and how much it could heighten his own powers. Finally, he sends Medea into the realms of Dark. The book ends with Charlemagne and an old housecarl who is an expert, showing Mekhmet how to fish, something never seen in the Southern continent.

Last Battle of the Icemark[edit]

Two years have passed since The Icemark defeated The Polypontian Empire in Blade of Fire. This has caused the Polypontians to break up and many civil wars have started to take their place with the defeat of the Polypontians at the end of the second book, The role of antagonist then settles on Erinor of Artemision and her Tri-horns (Triceratops used as command platforms/siege weapons, similar to war elephants), and Oskan's father Cronus, his Ice Demons and his granddaughter, Medea. Erinor's dinosaur cavalry move in on what remains of the Polypontian Empire, fully intending to move on to the Icemark afterwards. Responding to a plea for help from the Empire, a reluctant Thirrin leads her army into the heart of what was once enemy territory. Initially, Thirrin hates having to work with the Polypontians, however upon meeting their emperor (who is only a young boy, not yet in his teens) she realizes that everything she hated about the Empire comes from the Bellorum clan. With them gone, feelings towards the Empire, though still embittered by previous wars, begin thawing. However, by invading the Empire to confront Erinor, the Icemark is left open to an invasion from the Darkness (Cronus and his ice demons). Fortunately, because the Vampire Queen chooses to remain behind, she and her vampires are able to defend the Icemark, launching raids and ambushes on the ice demons. Although the Vampire Queen knows she cannot win, she harries their efforts. Oskan, entrusted with the secret knowledge that Dark Adepts cannot kill the ones they love without dying, defeats Cronus and Medea at the cost of his own life.

Prince Of The Icemark[edit]

Prince Of The Icemark is the prequel to The Icemark Chronicles. It was released on 6 June 2013.[2] When his brother, the King, is killed in battle, Prince Redrought must rally his people and learn to defend his tiny kingdom against savage supernatural invaders – werewolves, vampires and zombies. Redrought must take the fight to enemy territory in The-Land-of-the-Ghosts, and it’s there he will fall or stand for ever in the legends of the Icemark. Stuart Hill has stated in interviews that the book would tell the tale of how Redrought met Thirrin's mother, that Redrought will encounter the soldiers of the Holly and Oak King, and that the novel will feature a cat character called Cadwaladar.

Prince Of The Icemark has been nominated for the Red House Children's Book Award.[3]

Characters[edit]

See List of Characters in the Icemark Chronicles.
See Medea (The Icemark Chronicles).

Timeline[edit]

Introduction[edit]

Prior to King Redrought's reign, The Icemark had a violent history. Of the previous eight monarchs, only two died in their bed. King Redrought's reign lasted the longest. His majesty ruled for more than twenty years.

The Hypolitan of the southern continent were at war for years with eastern invaders before the Hypolitans went north into The Icemark to find peace. The eastern invaders had similar fighting methods to the Polypontians, in particular their tendency to overwhelm their opponents by sheer force of numbers.

At the beginning of the story, The Icemark had enemies to the north (The Land-of-the-Ghosts) and to the south (Polypontus) as well as to the east and west (Sea Raiders:Zephyrs and Corsairs).

400 Years Ago[edit]

There was a long, fierce war between The Icemark and Hypolitan, during which they came to respect one another. King Theobad The Bold, of The Icemark, granted land to the Hypolitan.

The Province, known as Hypolita, is ruled by woman warriors, and the monarch of The Icemark is its overlord. The Hypolitan became The Icemark's greatest ally.

Maggiore Totus, Thirrin's tutor, discovers in the Hypolitan archives that The Icemark's King Theobad had also signed a nonaggression treaty with The Land-of-the-Ghosts, which mean they had left him to fight with the Hypolitan without fear of invasion from the vampires. This indicates there's a precedent for The Icemark making a treaty with the vampires.

250 Years ago[edit]

The Blood Wars happened 3,000 moons (250 years) prior to the events in The Cry Of The Icemark. Wolf-Folk fought against the vampire king and queen.

Unknown time ago[edit]

According to Maggiore's history lesson, the navy of the southern continent helped in the defeat of the Corsairs and Zephyrs in the great Battle of the Middle Sea. Exactly when it happened is not indicated (or not known), but it was prior to events in The Cry of The Icemark.

Ghost Wars: King Redrought defeated the army of the vampire King and Queen at the Battle of the Wolfrocks - mountain range to the north of Frostmarris and province of Hypolita.

Werewolves were banished from The Icemark after The Ghost Wars. Evil witches were banished from The Icemark, but good witches were allowed to remain, as they're good healers and midwives, can drive blight from a harvest, and are a brilliant defense against the vampire King and Queen. They're staunchly loyal and the first to offer help.

One Year ago[edit]

The Icemark was attacked by a fighting fleet of Southern Corsairs and Island Buccaneers. After massing his forces, King Redrought defeated their army at the battle of Sea Haven. The victors burned the enemy fleet. The battle lasted one day.

Present[edit]

Thirrin recognised early that there was a need for new allies; Thirrin suggested The Icemark approach The Land-of-the-Ghosts. Though enemies of The Icemark, the vampire King and Queen and their undead peoples might join them against the Polypontian Empire for their mutual benefit and safety.

Notable Locations[edit]

The Icemark[edit]

The Icemark is a small, northern country that is covered in snow for seven months of the year and seems to be covered in rain for the rest. The object of war to Scipio Bellorum. The country seems to be barbarous to the rest of the world yet it is strong willed and improvising. The people of the Icemark use everything available to aid their cause and/or need. They are military country that live for battles and war, but only fight to protect their land(and others e.g. in the last battle of the Icemark, when they went to save Polypotus from Erinor and her hordes). Their Sea Navy is only bettered by Venezzia. The Country is home to all many of species from Witches to Wolf-Folk to the elusive Tree Soldiers of The Wild Wood. Implied to be the equivalent of a Scandinavian country, or the Vikings if they had survived, due to the fact when warriors die they are sent to Valhalla, a vital part in Viking myth. Though there towns resemble English names (e.g., Middlehampton). And they have a British-like Feudal system with Barons under the monarchy.

Geography

The country is divided into a north, south, east and west Riding with the Middlelands called the Five Boroughs. It is bordered by the Dancing Maidens to the south and The Wolfrock Mountains to the north. The Southern Riding is made up of the towns of Barrowby, Bolby and Inglesby and the River Freme. The Five Boroughs are made up of the towns of Crawsby, Learton (which is destroyed by the Sky Navy), Middlehampton, Collingham and Allenby. Further north is the Asgard Cut where The army battles Bellorums forces who are in pursuit of refuges. The Capital city is up next, called Frostmarris. Surrounding Frostmarris is a plain. Just north is The Great Forest (sometimes called The Wild Wood). The forest is a place of fear and legend. The Mysterious tree soldiers dwell here, along with the Dark Witches who have been hiding there. The province Of Hypolita lies north of the forest with its capital, Bendis. The two Northernmost cites are called Pendris and Wearford. The Icemark also has two coastal towns called Old Haven and Michael's Bay.

Hypolita[edit]

The land given to the Hypolitan people in the north of the Icemark following a war with the Icemark. Home of a matriarchal society of warriors who dress in bright colours. They originally came from the southern continent before being driven out by a great army, possibly the early Polypontians. Their society appears to be based around the Amazons of Greek myth, and the name itself appears to be derived from Hippolyta, an Amazon queen.

The Polypontus[edit]

A huge Empire, spanning over several continents, and clearly inspired by ancient Rome. The main drive of such success is the Polypontian army, an equally expansive army of loyal soldiers, driven constantly to fight and fight alone. As the Romans did, they proclaim "Veni, vidi, vici", or "I came, I saw, I conquered". The name Polypontus means 'many bridges.' It has two major cities; the capital of Romula, and Tri-Polis.
The Polypontus is ruled by an Emperor and his senate.

The-Land-Of-The-Ghosts[edit]

A dark, Arctic wasteland that consists of snowy plains, snow-capped pine forests and rocky areas. Ruled by their Vampiric Majesties who reside in the Blood Palace. The land is inhabited by the more strange species, Namely the Wolf-Folk, Vampires, Zombies, Ghosts, Spectres, giant snowy owls, and rock trolls.

Venezzia[edit]

Venezzia is the capital of the Republic of Venetti. A southern country, ruled by the Doge - who himself is elected by the ruling merchant families of the city, it is situated in a lagoon and comprises many canals. The land enjoys favourable climates and excellent resources and is a center of learning and commerce. The city is implied to be the equivalent of Venice.

The Desert Kingdom[edit]

A land that is astoundingly dry and arid and covered in large expanses of sand and dunes with a few scattered oasis's. The people who live there are very exuberant and rich. The land in seared over by the Sultan. They are monotheist and disdainful of alcohol. It is implied to be equivalent of the Muslim World; perhaps the Ottoman Empire. Its capital is Haifolex, or "the jewel of the Desert" in which the city gates are made of gold. Haifolex and one coastal town are the only surviving settlements from the war. No other cities were rebuilt.

Lusuland[edit]

The hot and lush lands of Lusuland are set in the continent of Arifica. It plays host to the amazing people of the Lusu. Fierce warriors and gentle people they pride in their resilience. Lusuland is the obvious equivalent to sub-Saharan Africa, rich with exotic animals and fauna. It is widely believed that the Lusu people are based upon the Zulu. They live in a city that gradually moves called Swahati. The land is home to deadly creatures called 'The Laughing Ones' who are believed to be some form of Hyena.The Lusu are like the Hypolitan because they both have males and females in the army. Also the Lusu acknowledge the Desert Kingdom as its overlord like the Hypolitan acknowledging the Icemark as its overlord.

The Hub of the World[edit]

Even farther north than the Land-of-the-Ghosts and beyond the northern ice sheets, this is home to the giant Snow Leopards. They are ruled by a Thar and Tharina. They dwell in the Hub Mountains. The Snow Leopards become adults at a faster rate than humans. They hunt polar bears and are in a never ending war with the Ice Trolls.

The Circle Of Dark[edit]

The seventh and most dangerous of the circles of the spirit plains. Though in reality it isn't part of the spirit plains but the void between the spiritual and physical realms. Very few who enter this realm survive. They suffer an unending torture from the demons of the realm before their souls get trapped into one of the many shards of snow that make up the realm. It is inhabited by the seven fallen immortals that were banished from the heavens by the Goddess. It is also inhabited by thousands of Ice Demons though why they live there is never explained.

Artemesion[edit]

This is the homeland of the Hypolitan. The Hypolitan left Artemesion to escape from the threat of an early Polypontian Empire.The people of the province believed women were superior to men and their leaders were always female Basileas.
A great wall was built around this mountainous kingdom because the Polypontians couldn't control its inhabitants. It is described as a great mountainous region, with flat plains and steppes for the use of chariots. The chariots are similar to those that Boadicea used, with sharp spikes emanating from the chariot wheels. They use Yurts similar to what the Mongols did.

The Plain Of Desolation[edit]

This is the plain between Physical Realms and The Darkness. Nothing in this location is good or evil. Many creatures inhabit this place including giant wasps, giant elephants, trolls, ghosts and imps. The Vampires have a special connection to this place, It isn't fully explained but there are enough hints to presume its where their magical powers allow them to exist in the physical realms originate from.

Other Locations[edit]

The Hellenes play a role in the sea battle with the Corsairs in Blade of Fire but their land is never explored. Other Locations that are mentioned are Gallia, in which Charlemagne is named after one of its kings. They also mention the Polypontus provinces of Dacia, Asteria, Iberia and Isteria. In the third book Sharley mentions in The Eastlands it is occupied by khans and potentates, and in the Westernholds people are killed every day in the name of justice.

References to the modern world[edit]

In the Icemark Chronicles (Particularly in Blade of Fire), the characters make many references to places in their world that can be related to our modern world. The trilogy takes place in a world so full of counterpart cultures that it may as well be a straight-out parallel world. A list follows:

In Book 1, The Cry of The Icemark
  • Veni, vidi, vici was used by Julius Caesar in 47 BC when referring to the short war with the Pontic Empire or Kingdom of Pontus.
  • Names from the country of The Icemark seem to be old Germanic and Norse.
  • The Rock Trolls and Ice Trolls seem to be derived from the Old Norse Rock Giants and Frost Giants.
  • The Icemark appears to resemble Denmark in location and name, though it is also based upon England. While The Polypontus is based on The Romans and its centre seems to be geographically where modern day Germany is located
In Book 2, Blade of Fire
  • During the siege of Frostmarris, Gen. Scipio Bellorum's sons refer to the tactics they're using as 'Lightning War', which suggests that they're using the Blitzkrieg form of fighting that Germany used during World War II.
  • In a few instances, characters (namely Charlemagne, Thirrin, and a few others) say how their dead loved ones are waiting for them in Valhalla, the hall of Odin; this statement(s) gives a reference to the Norsemen (also see Viking).
  • There is a reference to the Ottoman Empire region (namely the Middle East) in the form of the desert that Charlemagne travels in search of allies, and the Desert People he encounters (i.e. Crown Prince Mekhmet and his father the Sultan).
  • A reference to an area of Africa (Northern Africa or Central perhaps) is tied in in the form of the Lusu. Another reference that may solidify this is that after Charlemagne got the Lusu on his side, a statement was made that was something like "the brave warriors of Arifica", which is just Africa but a little mixed.
  • In many ways (such as in the names of the people), the Polypontian Empire is the equivalent to the Roman Empire, only with the use of some form of sail-powered airships (a ship-of-the-line galleon supported by helium balloons), muskets, cannons, and other pre-World War I weaponry.
  • The Hellenic (see Greeks) fleet uses a type of incendiary that "burns even on water", called Hellenic Fire; this could be none other than the famous (or infamous) Greek fire.
  • The city Venezzia, where Charlemagne landed after his sea voyage, is a city that floats on separate "islands" that you can get from one place to another by series of canals, not unlike Venice, Italy. Also, the name Venezzia just sounds a little more drawn out then Venice, but still sounds the same, indeed the Italian for Venice is Venezia, with a single z.
  • The Hypolitan appear to be based on the mythical Amazons featured in Greek legends. This is backed up by the fact that they appear to be named after the wife of King Theseus of Thebes, Hypolita alongside their Greek-sounding names e.g. Elemnestra,Olympia. The name might also be derived from the Greek Hoplite, a type of spear-carrying warrior that moved in phalanxes. There is also a nearby area to ancient Greece called the Peloponnesus, which is similar in spelling to Polypontus.
  • The Icemark seems to be stuck in the Dark and Middle Ages, using longbows, trebuchets and ballistae. The Polypontians (based on the people who invented ballistae) are much more technologically advanced, using muskets, matchlock pistols, and cannons with wheels.
  • Scipio was a real-world Roman general famous for his victories against Carthage in the Second Punic War, which before him Rome had been losing; 'Bellorum' is Latin for 'of battles' and also means Duke. Sulla was also a real general/leader of Rome. Octavius is probably derived from Octavian, who was Julius Caesar's grandnephew and successor. Octavian was later given the honorary title of 'Augustus'.
  • Medea is influenced by the cunning sorceress from Greek Mythology. Her middle name, Clytemnestra is also based on another Greek tragedy.
  • Lugosi is based on the famous actor from the film Dracula.
In Book 3, Last Battle of the Icemark
  • In Last Battle of the Icemark, the reference to the Polypontus building a wall around the Artemison territories because they couldn't fully control them is probably a parallel to when the Romans built Hadrian's Wall or less likely the Great Wall Of China.
  • Cronus is a parallel to Lucifer. There are many occasions when he is called the fallen immortal and at the beginning of the book he is banished from Heaven by the Goddess.
  • An Imperial fortified city with three sets of defensive walls known as Tri-polis is mentioned. This may refer to a parallel of the real-world city of Tripoli, but it is more likely to be the ancient Greek District of three cities called Tripolis
  • The road through Romula is called the Eppian way, which may be a reference to the Roman Appian way.
  • The Polypontian capital Romula is similar to both the city of Rome and Romulus, who was, according to legend, Rome's founder.
  • The towns in The Icemark have very English/British like names (e.g. Middlehampton is obviously a play on Southampton and Northampton). The capital city of the Hypolita, Bendis is the only exception being named after a Thracian Goddess
In Book 0.5,The Prince of the Icemark
  • In a brief conversation, the Vampire Monarchs talk of a strange foreign land, "A-mer-ik-a". Other lands mentioned are Caledonia And Zoroastria.

References[edit]