I first heard about the ‘Book of Deadly Names,’ when I was collecting research for another project (see my blog back in 2010). Back then I was looking for something old and demonic and the story of an old manuscript that documented some of the most deadly was too good a gift to miss.
Allegedly they had been revealed to Solomon and written down by some anonymous ancient sorcerer who had left complete details on the 72 most evil of the djinn, their names, their descriptions, their locations, their afflictions and the magical keys to counter their attacks on humans. Apparently, the manuscript stands unique in comparison with traditional djinn grimoires, since djinn demand that the sorcerers must not reveal their secrets, or suffer terrible pain.
The manuscript was said to have been hidden in the palace of a Spanish Royal Commissioners and was lost until it was dug up many centuries later.
This is prime material for the Infinity Engines, everything I could possibly ask for: a lost, mysterious book with ties to ancient magic and set in the beautiful backdrop of Andalusia with its Moorish architecture — especially places such as the Alcázar of Seville (which I believe got used in Season 5 of Game of Thrones).
Once you find something as intriguing as this, it’s difficult not to want to spend weeks digging around in the archives looking at the dark and sometimes gruesome history of this part of Spain. The danger with such a rich source is that it takes over your original plotline and you quite literally get lost in time. You will have to forgive me, but I can’t say too much about what came out of this wonderful sojourn into the history of the book and what it inspired – but safe to say there are more than a few chapters in book 2 that have benefitted from it.