The Big Idea: Howard Andrew Jones

History is often an inspiration for fantasy, but as Howard Andrew Jones explains in this Big Idea for Lord of a Shattered Land, how that inspiration hits can be a surprise, even for the author himself.


It seemed like such an obvious what-if question I couldn’t believe no one had written about it yet. And for a long time I thought my answer to that question was my big idea. It turned out simply to be the gateway to the real one. Let me explain.

Famous generals are sometimes associated with the defense of territory, but their renown is usually about conquest. The summary of Hannibal of Carthage’s activities in intro level history class makes him seem like all the other commanders out for land. After all, he invaded Italy with an army, famously via an alpine pass with a contingent of elephants.

The truth is a little more complicated. Hannibal meant to defeat the Romans but had no illusions about transforming Italy into a Carthaginian colony. He expected other regions of the peninsula to rise against their oppressors and join him in a confederation that would break Roman power. He foresaw that if he did not act, Rome would one day bring an end to his people…

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