Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Gunung Api

Gunung Api. Volcano in whose vicinity the Forest Folk first domesticate fire in Fire and Ice. Its exact location is unspecified, but it lies on the far side of the Baltic Sea from Sealand. Its slopes are surrounded by the vast and richly populated Forest of Change: a paradise whose memory gives rise to the myths of Eden, the Isles of the Blest, and the world-tree Ygdrasil, while Gunung Api itself is the archetype of Loki and Lucifer. Gunung Api’s ultimate fate is to be ground down by glaciation and deposited as shingle in the Baltic, but the fire it provides allows a distinctive people—formed by an intermingling of the Forest Folk and the Ice Folk—to thrive in Scandinavia. They follow a nomadic existence as hunter-gatherers, whose legacy is a hereditary restlessness, until the crucial inventions of agriculture and animal husbandry permit a further diversification of folkways.


*Sealand. Major eastern landmass of what is now Denmark; part of an archipelago separating the Baltic Sea from the Cattegat channel. A Sealand fjord is the birthplace of Norna Gest, the immortal hero of The Cimbrians and rediscoverer of the technological rudiments of seafaring. The development of sailing ships allows Gest’s family to colonize Sweden before he embarks on a world-encompassing odyssey in search of the Land of the Dead.

Migration routes

Migration routes. Gest’s fellows institute a great Stone Age migration, crossing the Baltic and penetrating the heart of continental Europe, then...

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