Welcome to Elbora – the world of Kratzenfels!

This page will tell you something about the setting for my book The Outlaws of Kratzenfels.

The Outlaws of Kratzenfels is described as a fantasy-steampunk fairytale, and so Elbora is a fantasy-steampunk fairytale kind of place. It’s a reimagining/reinvention of a late 18th/early 19th century Europe, not in any way a parallel or alternate reality; it just is. It’s the kind of world in which the residents of just such a parallel/alternate steampunk Europe might set their fairytales. Except it’s real. See? Makes total sense…

Elbora is the westernmost part of a continent which is bounded to the north by the freezing Eismeer, to the west by the Endless Ocean, south by the sun-baked lands of the Mashardi, and east by the nomad-infested plains of Dzergel Dzyyn leading to far Siyan (it’s always far Siyan, even if you’re living next door).

The action takes place in Kratzenfels, a country of mountains and forests somewhere in central Elbora (at some point I will do a map of the whole thing). A few other countries or regions get a mention: Gruselstein, a neighbour to Kratzenfels, very similar culturally, sometimes rival, sometimes ally; the Handelstadt Hundreds, a confusing “patchwork” of occasionally federated trading cities; the Pentanese islands in the Mittlesee to the south; Jotunheim; Guthnagard; Ennor and the Brutish Isles; Miglaskrasts along the Amber Coasts; etc, etc, and the dwarf city of Novy Nizhgorod (see what I did there?). There’s more, but until these places appear in print, I’m keeping them vague.

The history of Elbora is a matter for another time and place (because it is another time and place), and there are dwarves [sic.] too, but we’ll finish this brief tour with a word about what wildlife you might see. There are wolves of course, and ravens (and probably dachshunds and sparrows too, but none of these appear in the book). Mammoths roam the cold northlands, and further south, in Kratzenfels, there are wolpertingers (delicious broiled with a red wine and ginger sauce) and rasselbocks (roast, yum!) and even the fearsome and flightless man-sized bird of the forests, the horned elwedritsch (run away!). Trolls lurk around, and so does the occasional spider-wight.

On which note: should you decide to visit, don’t forget to pack a swordstick and your Hexenkessel’s Repeating Rotary Musketeer. Gute Reise!

Header image: Austria, not Kratzenfels, Salzburg, not Krasny Karlsbad, but you get the idea (photo by Gerhard mauracher (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons), URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AFestung_Hohensalzburg_im_Winter.jpg)