FrostFire is a companion novel - not a direct sequel - to Daughter of the Flames. The characters Zira/Zahira and Sorin do not feature in FrostFire, because as far as I'm concerned they deserve some peace!
FrostFire has an entirely new set of characters (some of whom are related to the original ones in unexpected ways) and is set in the same embattled kingdom of Ruan, in the Subira mountains where Daughter of the Flames opened. FrostFire takes place about seven years after the close of the action in the first book.
So how did this companion novel come to be published almost four years after the release of the original story?
Well, not surprisingly, it all began with Daughter of the Flames. When I first conceived that story, it was very different to the version you see on shelves now. The whole second half of the story was going to be this massive arc about betrayal and secret histories and um...other stuff. And I never wrote any of that, because I realised that if I DID, DotF was going to end up being about 130,000 words long, and I panicked.
I made radical changes to the characters and the story, and created an entirely different book which turned out to have a lot of other interesting (to me!) themes. But I never forgot the devastating storyline that I had originally planned. And I also never quite let go of Ruan and its beautiful mountains. However, in order to write a book you need more than half a story arc and a setting.
You need characters.
FrostFire 's characters were a first for me. They arrived in my head as a trio.
I was haunted by three scenes which would define the characters. The first was of a pair of injured, lost people, talking to each other in the cramped darkness of a tiny cave while a river flowed by outside, confiding secrets that might never emerge in the light of day. The second was of a golden person with stars in their eyes, standing in ripples of sunlight, reaching out to someone else and givng them a chance to change their life, and the sense of fearful exultation that second person would feel. And the final one...that was the most emotional, the most shocking of all. But I can't tell you about that one, as it would spoil the whole book :)
I saw a sort of triangle of personalities, each of them vulnerable and broken in a different way, each of them extraordinary and heroic in a different way. I saw how the flaws and strengths of these individuals would both support and aggravate the others, causing them to love and hate one another in unique ways, and to change and grow and eventually - hopefully - heal.
FrostFire deals with all the issues that I never had a chance to explore in DotF. Betrayal on a fundamental level, betrayal by someone that you love. How, in the middle of a war, bad guys and good guys sometimes merge into the same thing, how it feels to love someone who is utterly beyond your reach. The way that people can transcend suffering and horror and become true heroes.
Some random things that might interest you about this book.
FrostFire made Cicely Loves Books Top Ten Books Read in 2012, A Reader of Fictions Top Ten Books of 2012, the Fluttering Butterflies Top Ten of 2012, Great Imaginations Top Ten I Read in 2012 and Raimy-Rawr's 2012 Top Ten Books of the Year.