Inkarna - in Nerine Dorman's words...
Your House is your Home
It’s a bit of a dog-eat-dog world for my Inkarna—a race of reincarnating body-thieving magicians who are often in conflict with different cabals among their kind. That’s why there’s safety in numbers, and it’s rare that one will find lone Inkarna in the material world, as well as in their conception of the afterlife, or Tuat, as it is known.
They have existed since Pre-Dynastic times in ancient Egypt and, over the eons, strive for mastery in their society where it’s quite possible to make oneself eternal, implacable enemies.
It’s often said: keep your friends close and your enemies closer, which is true for my Inkarna. Rivalries that span centuries are bitter, and those who would seize immortality do so at a price which is often higher than anticipated. So, while my Inkarna will cluster in Houses that have a particular focus in their work, the internecine squabbling can have more devastating effects on individuals than the conflict arising between the Houses.
Inkarna the novel is the story of a woman—and a man—or rather a person who learns to make do with the limited resources at hand. Despite every setback, the Inkarna that is Lizzie/Ash fights hard to stay true to House Adamastor, a small grouping of Inkarna who have remained in hiding at the very tip of Africa for centuries.
What Lizzie/Ash doesn’t know is that her House has been protecting a dangerous secret—hence the reason why House Adamastor has remained under the magical radar for so long. All that changes when circumstances surrounding Lizzie’s return go horribly wrong.
How does it work? The Inkarna have means to keep watch over the world of the living, and when they detect a person who is about to go through a near-death experience, they summon the energy to punch through one of their own to displace the target’s soul. The Inkarna take over the body and the departed sinks into the primordial chaos that is the Sea of Nun. I agree that what they do is not very nice, and it’s often that the Inkarna will justify their actions by stating that the individual whose body they have stolen would have died anyway.
While House Adamastor’s Inkarna are considered “immortal librarians” by the others; their specialities lie in information-gathering and sneaking about. The other Houses have far more sinister powers.
What’s eternity without an overambitious enemy? House Montu (named for the falcon-headed Egyptian god of war) seems set to take over the world, with fingers in many pies but mostly involved with the production of arms and the support of warfare. To put it mildly, they kick ass in combat, as Lizzie/Ash soon discovers.
Other houses that are mentioned, but not featured, include House Alba, Malkuth and Thanatos. This is where it gets fun for future instalments. Alba are British imperialists who trace their origins to the time of King Arthur. Malkuth are concerned with worldly matters and business, and messing around with politicians. Thanatos are possibly the ones I’ll play with next. They’re necromancers and I’ll leave it up to your imagination for now when it comes to some of the activities they engage in.
So, if vampires, angels and ghosts have outstayed their welcome on your bookshelves, and you’re looking for a fresh supernatural departure, I offer you my Inkarna. Even better, I don’t think I’ll be running out of stories anytime soon. And yes, I do plan to follow up with more instalments.
Follow Nerine on Twitter @nerinedorman, like her Facebook author page, visit her blog, or see her website.
Buy Inkarna in print here.