It’s not a very original title for a post about the last book of a series, but I was actually thinking about the last episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, where Old Picard, Young Picard and SomewhereInTheMiddle Picard all have to go and do something to save the universe, because if they don’t, the universe itself is going to END. All of it.
Endofseries books have a duty to deliver closure. Hopefully, if you’ve read the first two parts of A Memory of Flames, what that closure will be remains a mystery. Will the viperous Prince Jehal get his comeuppance, will his experiences change him or are leopards unable to change their spots? Will the various factions that have been fighting each other put aside their differences and find a way to put the genie of the dragons back in its bottle or will there be some accord between dragons and mankind? Will Jaslyn find a way to reach out to them? Or maybe the bloodmagician Kithyr will unlock the old magic of the Silver King held within the Adamantine Spear? Will Kemir and Snow reach an understanding? Maybe Jehal and Zafir and the Night Watchman and the rest will put aside their differences and put down the dragon uprising by force. Maybe the Taiytakei and their mysterious friends will appear to deliver some deusexmachina ending that no one could possibly have seen coming and that will make you want to slap me repeatedly with a large wet fish. Maybe none of that and the world will end in flames. I’m hoping, as book three begins, any of these might seem possible, perhaps other ends too.
Here’s another thing about endings, though: the end of one story is almost always the beginning of another. Whatever is destroyed, whatever is built, whoever dies and whoever lives, there’s always something left, and in every something lies the seed of another story. However the pieces fall by the last page, there is almost always the possibility of more, and if I have once piece of wisdom for any budding authors out there who haven’t twigged to this already, it’s this: Pick those possibilities that most pique your interest. Foreshadow them a bit, just in case. Then, later, look smug and say it was all part of the plan. Possibly followed by some cackling.
Unless, that is, you go like Star Trek threatened to do and the end is that of the very universe itself. Hard, perhaps, to have a sequel to that.
Tell me, Kemir, would you know the end of the world if you saw it?
Snow to Kemir in The King of the Crags